"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL

It’s insane what some will do to have a slight edge in a fight. The biggest example that comes to mind is Anthony Johnson. The dude would walk around at like ~230 lbs and fight in the 170 lb weight class. He would rag-doll guys because of the huge size advantage. Of course, he always had trouble making weight, but it’s still a huge advantage if you can do it properly.
What smells like an exotic vacation and can shrink your waist faster than your favorite Zumba class? You got it: coconut oil. A study of 30 men published in Pharmacology found that just two tablespoons per day reduced waist circumference by an average of 1.1 inches over the course of a month. However, the health benefits of coconut oil are still debated—coconut oil is high in saturated fat. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing; it’s in the form of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which aren’t processed in the body the same way long chain triglycerides (LCTs). A study published in International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders found that when MCTs replaced LCTs in the diets of overweight women, they were less likely to gain weight. 

Not much of a coffee drinker? Tea is also a natural diuretic, and types of herbal tea such as dandelion or fennel root can also lend a hand. In fact: When a recent study compared the metabolic effect of green tea (in extract) with that of a placebo, researchers found that the green-tea drinkers burned about 70 additional calories in a 24-hour period.

In a new study, Stanford University researchers put more than 600 overweight adults on either a healthy low-fat or low-carb diet. It turns out, participants had similar levels of weight loss success on each plan. Researchers looked for clues (such as insulin levels and gene patterns) to see if there are any factors that might make someone more successful on either diet, but after combing through the data, they were not able to make any connections. Since it may take years before scientists discover individual traits that could lead to more success on one plan compared to another, for now, we can learn a lot — and lose a lot! — by recognizing the dieting advice that all experts agree on.
Starchy veggies (like potatoes) and processed whole grains (like whole-wheat bread) are foods I’d normally recommend eating in moderation, since they provide plenty of nutrients, fiber, and healthy carbs. However, high-carb foods aren’t your best friend when you’re looking to drop water weight. Essentially, when your body stores excess carbs, it stores them with water. So replacing carb-heavy foods with non-starchy veggies that still provide filling fiber without as much water retention is the way to go. For a week before your event, you can swap out the starchy carbs for more non-starchy vegetables to lose some water weight. (These are 10 things experts wish you knew about water weight.)
We know this can be a bit of a tall order when you're working long hours but trying to eat at least 2 meals a day at home will work wonders for your waistline. Logistically you don't have the time or effort to knock something healthy up in the office kitchen, so unless you're super organised you will often go to snack stores for your food. So if you try to eat a healthy and satisfying breakfast and dinner at home you're less likely to snack through the day at your desk or when you get home late at night.
(The main potentially-lethal drugs used by pro athletes are: Diuretics, insulin, mitochondrial OXPHOS uncouplers like DNP, EPO, amphetamines, painkillers such as vicodin, & growth hormone. Natural testosterone and, worse, DHT or over-the-counter testosterone precursors, can have unpleasant side-effects. Oral anabolic steroids stress the liver. Injectable anabolic steroids, by contrast, have never been demonstrated to be dangerous to healthy ADULT men in any study, never been implicated in a death, and may have health benefits because they are less toxic than the natural testosterone they displace. They ARE dangerous to high-school athletes as they disrupt normal growth. Simply having more muscle, however acquired, is life-shortening due to increased metabolic demands, mitochondrial oxidation, cardiovascular stress, and the down-regulation of FOXO-dependent repair pathways caused by muscle growth.)
Coffee jumpstarts your metabolism, making the non-decaf stuff a worthy weight loss ally. According to a study published in the journal Physiology & Behavior, the average metabolic rate of people who drank caffeinated coffee was 16 percent higher than that of those who drank decaf. And remember, don’t ruin your fat-blasting cup of joe by adding any unhealthy creamers and/or artificial sweeteners to it, both of which are enemies of weight loss.
You know that hitting the recommended five to nine daily servings of fruits and veggies can make it easier to slim down, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accomplish. A simple way to make it happen? Buy a fruit bowl. You’re more likely to grab fruits and veggies over less-healthy options if they’re ready to eat and in plain sight. Katie Cavuto MS, RD, the dietitian for the Philadelphia Phillies and Flyers, suggests keeping washed and prepared veggies like cucumbers, peppers, sugar snap peas, and carrots in the front of the fridge so they aren’t overlooked. Bananas, apples, pears, and oranges fare well as sweet snacks and should be kept on the counter where everyone can see them.
There’s no denying dinner rolls are delicious, but you don’t need to take the “breaking bread” aspect of a meal so literally. Instead, steer clear of the bread basket and munch on a leafy green salad instead. If the carb-heavy starter is still too tempting to avoid, try nibbling on a high-fiber snack before sitting down to eat, such as a handful of nuts. The fiber found in nuts will keep you satiated, meaning you won’t be as easily induced to reach for the bread and butter, and you’ll be swapping out unhealthy fats for healthy ones. It’s a win-win!
The bigger your plate, the bigger your meal, Brown reminds us. How so? While smaller plates make food servings appear significantly larger, larger plates make food appear smaller—which can lead to overeating. In one study, campers who were given larger bowls served themselves and consumed 16 percent more cereal than those given smaller bowls. Swapping dinner for salad plates will help you eat more reasonable portions, which can help the pounds fly off your frame! To kick even more calories to the curb, use small red plates. Although the vibrant hue may not match your dining room decor, the color can help you eat less, according to a study published in the journal Appetite. Researchers suggest that the color red reduces the amount we’re likely to eat by subtly instructing the mind to stop noshing.
Moving your muscles against resistance helps them grow and get stronger. Having more muscle mass also means that you burn more overall calories. Resistance training has profound effects on your bones and joints, and helps to prevent osteoporosis (loss in bone mineral density), sarcopenia (loss of muscle mass), and lower-back pain, assuming you use proper exercise form.6
Cutting weight under the watchful eye of an experienced coach is pretty normal for teenage grapplers/fighters. But take heed: trying to do this on your own without a coach can be extremely dangerous. Also, here’s something important to note: cutting weight gets easier each time you do it. So your first few cuts, you’re lucky to get 8-12 pounds. After years of cutting, that number goes way up. What we’ve posted here is a modest cut. I know some athletes who can do 35 pounds in a week! 

Why a top-pick? Many weight loss retreats develop their programs around a specific exercise schedule and predetermined nutritional goals. At Kripalu, participants spend more time delving into why they eat and what they can do to make healthier choices. Dieters don't go home with a specific meal plan to follow, but they have the opportunity to connect with others so that they can continue to build on the foundation that they establish at Kripalu.
Learn how to balance stress, weight and nutrition during Cooper’s popular six-day “Wellness Week” program ($2,195, does not include accommodation). The program includes two personal training sessions, group fitness classes, three calorie-controlled meals a day and two dining-out experiences where guests learn how to choose healthy options. Before you get started, sign up for the six-to-eight hour comprehensive physical exam that includes a stress test, blood test, skin cancer screening, and CT scan, as it is one of the few that provides same-day results.
Weight loss tips # 1: Drink at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Beverages with little or no calories, caffeine or sodium, including herbal tea, are best. Avoid regular soft drinks and soups with lots of sodium. If you are eating plenty of water-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and low-sodium soups, you can get half of your water requirements from foods, according to a 1998 NAS Food and Nutrition Board report.
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Interval training can also be a very effective weight-loss tool. It's pretty easy to incorporate into any fitness plan because it can be applied to a variety of settings, and different types of equipment can be used. Choose an activity that you can do at a high intensity (greater than 80 percent of your maximum heart rate) for 30-60 seconds, then follow it with 30-60 seconds of rest.

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