Q:”I just can’t get the last 5 pounds to budge. What gives?”
Answer: First, ask yourself whether you’ve set a goal weight that’s too low — your body may be telling you that the weight would be hard to maintain. “If you’re sure you need to keep losing, remember that the final 5 pounds are very different from the first,”
Cut 100s of Calories
1. Scramble your breakfast routine
Start your morning with one-half cup of Egg Beaters. They’re just 60 calories, fat-free, and packed with protein and vitamins. And they contain no cholesterol.
2. Eat until you’re hara hachi bu
This Japanese term means “eat until you’re 80 percent full.” It’s a calorie-saving strategy used by the Okinawans, who have one of the lowest rates of heart disease, cancer, and stroke — and one of the highest life expectancies — of any population in the world. Stop eating when you feel only slightly full; within 15 minutes, you should be satisfied.
3. Spray calories away
Avoid a heavy hand with cooking oil: Use a sprayer like Misto (misto.com) or an olive- or canola-oil spray from Pam. A two-second spritz is roughly one-half teaspoon of oil — 100 calories fewer than the three teaspoons that could end up in your frying pan.
4. Fill up on fiber midday
Munch on cereal for a hearty snack. Choose a healthy type, such as bran flakes. Add one-third cup of antioxidant-rich blueberries and you’ll rack up just 148 calories (without milk).
5. Speak up
When you eat out. “Ask for foods made with low-cal cooking methods, such as poached instead of fried,” says Lisa Young, RD, PhD, a FITNESS advisory board member and author of The Portion Teller Plan. That alone could save you 100 calories a dish.
6. Eat slo-o-owly
Research shows that college women who wolfed down their pasta in nine minutes consumed 67 more calories than when they savored their meal for about three times as long. “Eating mindfully gives you a chance to realize you’re full,” says Barbara Rolls, PhD, a nutrition professor at Pennsylvania State University and author of The Volumetrics Eating Plan. Do this at every meal and you could cut 200 calories a day — or 21 pounds a year!
7. Eat lots of whole fresh fruit
You’ll get tons of nutrition for few calories. Try oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, bananas, and grapes, says Barbara Rolls. They’re loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, and they make great healthy portable snacks. Bonus: Fruit is filled with fiber, which helps fill you up and keeps you feeling satisfied longer.
8. Downsize your snacks
“Research shows the bigger the package, the more you’ll eat,” says Young. A whopping 45 percent more, according to a study from Cornell University. Divvy up big bags of munchies into single-serving sizes as soon as you get home from the store. Or buy 100-calorie snack packs of your favorite treats, such as Oreo Thin Crisps. Two regular Oreo cookies have 107 calories, and honestly, who can stop at just two?
9. Start with a salad
Studies by Rolls show that people who munch on low-calorie, high-fiber foods like veggies and salad 15 minutes before a main course eat 64 to 107 fewer calories overall.
10. Dress for success
Don’t sabotage your healthy greens by drowning them in high-fat dressings. For instance, two tablespoons of Thousand Island costs you nearly 100 calories more than reduced-fat Italian. “Always ask for dressing on the side when eating out,” advises Young. Put just a little on your salad; you can always add a bit more later if you need it.
11. Wrap your sandwich
“Thin whole-grain tortillas have 60 to 80 fewer calories than two slices of hearty grain bread,” says Anne VanBeber, RD, PhD, a professor in the department of nutritional sciences at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. One to try: the 120-calorie La Tortilla Factory Whole Grain Wraps.
12. Ask for what’s not on the menu
Some restaurants offer small side orders, despite the fact that they’re not actually listed on the main menu. Same goes for Starbucks, which will give you a “short” coffee if you ask. “Choosing from the child’s menu, bringing half your entree home, or eating two appetizers for your main course are other good ways to control calories,” says Young.
13. Take the fat out of your frying pan
“Saute meats and vegetables in broth rather than oil or butter,” VanBeber recommends. Use two tablespoons of broth instead of two tablespoons of olive oil and you’ll save more than 200 calories.
14. Pump up the volume
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, which contain lots of water, and you’ll consume 24 percent fewer calories a day, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. One easy trick: Throw a cup of vegetables into your pasta and cut back on the noodles; you’ll get more nutrients and fewer calories.
15. Cook more, eat less
A study at the University of Texas found that female dieters took in an extra 226 calories and 10 grams of fat on the days they ate out. That’s because restaurant portions are up to five times larger than in the past, says Lisa Young. Make extra servings of your favorite meals to eat throughout the week.
16. Do more baking
Dry-heat cooking methods, such as broiling, baking, and roasting meat, cut the fat, says VanBeber. For instance, broiling salmon can slash 120 calories from the pan-fried version. And remove the skin from chicken after it’s cooked. “You’ll retain moisture yet chop 40 calories and 6 grams of fat,” she explains.
17. Slim down your sandwich
Switch from tuna packed in oil to tuna in water and you’ll save 73 calories. Bonus: A study found that people who had fish for lunch ate 75 fewer calories at dinner than those who had beef.