Youd love to drop some pounds, but its tough to find time to breathe during the holidays, never mind prepare calorie-conscious meals. Thats why weve created a 1,500-calorie-a-day plan that lets you shed 10 pounds in five weeks, eating packaged meals, salad bar offeringsand even fast food.
Our grab-and-go diet is based on research showing that eating convenience foods can actually help you lose weight. The benefit: Built-in calorie and portion control. “Most people are not that good at judging what constitutes a portion,” says LeaAnn Carson, RD, MS. “With frozen entrees, the choice of how much to eat is already made for you.” Thats probably why in an eight-week study that Carson coauthored at the University of Illinois, women who ate two frozen entrees daily lost four pounds morea total of 12.3 poundsthan women who cooked their own meals.
Get fit quick
To lose up to two pounds a week, follow our easy eating plan, plus do a cardio workout five days a week. Take these quick ideas from fitness expert Geralyn Coopersmith, a trainer in Healths Expert Network and a senior national manager of the Equinox Fitness Training Institute.
• Use your iPod to download a fresh cardio routine in an instant from a Web site like PodFitness.com; choose an intense workout to maximize your calorie burn.
• Sneak three 10-minute walks into your dayand be sure to make em vigorouson your way to the deli for lunch, for instance, or to the post office.
• For an easy way to add in a strength workout to get toned, keep a resistance band handy in a drawer at home or work. When you have a few minutes, twice a week, do 12 to 15 reps of each of these moves:
1. Stand with both feet on the band; grasp the handles, and curl your biceps.
2. Stretch band taut between hands, hold it above your head, and pull it down behind your head to do lat pull-downs.
3. Add some other easy-to-do muscle moves without the band, like crunches and lunges, to work your abs and legs.
How to suss out portions
• Dressings: Make an “OK” sign with your thumb and finger; thats 1 tablespoon.
• Nuts, dried fruit, and cheese: 4 to 5 playing dice equals about 1 1/2 ounces.
• Meats, chicken, and fish: Your palm, without fingers, is about 4 ounces.
• Potatoes, pasta, and rice: A serving the size of half a baseball is 1/2 cup.