1. Snooze and Lose – In a 16-year Harvard study, scientists found that people who slept for 5 hours or less a night were 32 percent more likely to pack on major pounds than those who dozed a full 7 hours. Although “major” was defined as 33 pounds, the average increase was 2 pounds a year, a gain that can quickly add up over time. “Due to accumulating fatigue, those who get the least shuteye may also move around the least during the day,” says study author Sanjay Patel, M.D.
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2. Walk the Weight Off – Don’t want to spend money joining a gym? Take over the family dog walking duties and you may see weight loss that rivals what you could achieve through a program. Walking the dog 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week produced an average weight loss of 14 pounds for participants in a University of Missouri-Columbia study. No dog? No problem. Meet up with a friend, instead.
3. Whey to Drop Weight – To lose weight, you need to cut back on certain foods—but not dairy. Milk and other dairy products can actually help dieters slim down and build muscle, according to Canadian researchers. Their study found that heavy people who exercised every day and followed a high-protein, high-dairy (and calorie-restricted) diet for 16 weeks lost about 10 pounds of fat and gained 1 1/2 pounds of muscle. The reasons: Milk may help regulate appetite, and whey protein can activate muscle growth.
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4. Cut the Carbs – Eating a diet that’s low in carbs, not fats, is the best way to lose weight. In a recent United Arab Emirates study, people who followed a low-carb diet had lower body weights, insulin levels, and triglyceride levels than those who went with a low-fat diet. And a European study that tracked nearly 90,000 people for several years found that participants with a low fat intake had the same risk of being overweight as those who ate higher amounts of fat. But, if you boost your fat intake, make sure you adjust your calories and physical activity accordingly.
5. Pack on Protein – New research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms that people who follow high-protein diets may have more success losing weight than those who eat less protein and more carbohydrates. You may lose more weight on a high-protein diet because your body spends more energy processing dietary protein than it does carbohydrates. Protein also helps you feel full longer and helps stabilize your blood sugar so you don’t crave sweets.
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