Ashley Koff, R.D., author of Mom Energy, has a simple philosophy to melt off the poundsthat you should eat the right amount of nutrients at each "eating occasion"(that's Koff-speak for three meals and one snack a day).
To make it easier, follow Koff's six pound-melting tactics.
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Make sure to down food within 45 minutes of waking up. "The reality is, until you eat, you are in fat storage mode," Koff says. "When you put nutrients into your body, you go into fat-burning mode."
To that end, try to have your last meal at least three hours before going to bed. "We want the body to finish digestion before sleep so you can get optimum weight loss and energy benefits," Koff notes.
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Nosh about every three to four hours to keep the body operating at its highest fat-burning levels.
Eating a balance of nutrients in the proper amount will keep you satisfied, she says.
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Keep it in proportion
Having a single serving size is key to shedding pounds, but it's easy to blow it. So you want to make it simple: Pre-portion foods as much as possible. And keep too-tempting bulk itemswe're talking about you, tub of ice cream!out of the house when possible.
If you go out for ice cream, "order the kiddie cup and you're practicing portion control," Koff says.
"And then you don't run into the issue of ‘I'm gonna have another scoop' two hours later."
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Drink lots of water
Besides helping you feel full, Koff says, "water allows your metabolism to work at optimum levels."
Don't wait until you're thirsty to reach for the water bottle.
"On waking, try to drink at least 10 ounces," she suggests. "Adding lemon slices will help with flavor and digestion."
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Get back to nature
The closer a food is to its original form, the better. Steer clear of ones with partially hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup. Koff's also not a big fan of "diet" foods:
"The lower calorie count may be alluring," she says, but you're getting little good nutritional value.
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Give yourself permission to fail
So you had an off day and downed half a pepperoni pizza. Setbacks are normaland not deal breakers.
"You don't change years of habits overnight," Koff says. "Don't beat yourself up. Wake
up the next morning and say, ‘Today I'm back on my plan.'"