Decrease/eliminate processed carbs and junk food.

Decrease/eliminate processed carbs and junk food.

They do nothing for you outside of creating a favorable environment for gaining fat. If you have trouble moderating specific treats, keep all chips, dips, and cookies out of the pantry. It’s not about willpower; it’s about being realistic. Instead, buy healthy snacks—like jerky—for your glove compartment or desk drawer so you’re prepared at all times.

4. Eat more produce. They fill you up, provide plenty of fiber and have few calories. Just avoid high-calorie dressings. If you have trouble sneaking in the veggies, start every meal with a salad. Salad provides bulk to help fill you up – so that you eat less calories overall.

Although some people fear fructose, fruit will not make you gain weight, and that includes the so-called “high sugar” fruits like bananas and melons.

5. Lift weights. Develop an exercise plan that includes heavy weights. Build more muscle, burn more calories. Make sure to cut down on rest time between sets. This keeps your heart rate elevated, causing an increase in calories burned.

6. Do intervals. Study after study continues to show intervals are more effective and time efficient than longer activity performed at a lower intensity.

7. Eat more protein. Replacing refined carbohydrates with lean protein will not only help satiate you, but will also increase your metabolism—through something called the thermic effect of food. While you’re at it, time your intake so you’re eating protein regularly throughout the day—not just in one lump sum, like most do at dinner. Every meal and snack should include some protein.

8. Do full body exercises. Your exercise plan shouldn’t just focus on one area. Instead incorporate exercises that use your whole body. Think: squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, and pushups. You’ll get more bang for your buck out of each workout. If you have trouble hitting the gym after work, wake up early to exercise.

9. Cycle your carb intake based on your activity level. Sure, carbs are important. But on the days you don’t work out, you simply don’t need as many compared to the days you exercise hard. Rule of thumb: The more active you are, the more carbs you can eat, and vice versa. Plain rolled oats are a great complex carbohydrate that fills you up more than the high sugar breakfast counterparts.

10. Track your food. There’s no better way to track what you’re putting in your mouth. Use a free app, like MyFitnessPal, which makes it easy to log from anywhere. Chances are you’re eating more than you think, which makes it a good idea to weigh food, too. This ensures your tracking is precise and that you’re not incorrectly estimating calories in your food journal.

11. Eat whole eggs. Daily. A study published a couple years ago showed that those who ate whole eggs versus a bagel for breakfast ate less at the next meal. A similar study showed eating whole eggs increases HDL (good) cholesterol.

12. Eat breakfast. A review published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that those who eat breakfast are more successful with long-term weight maintenance. Other research has shown the same for weight loss. Grab hard boiled eggs, scrambled eggs, Greek yogurt, a piece of fruit and handful of nuts, or make a smoothie. It doesn’t have to be fancy.

13. Eat the bulk of your meals in the A.M. Then eat progressively less throughout the day. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that eating most of your calories earlier in the day positively influences weight changes.

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