The Top 10 Holiday Slim Down Tricks

The Top 10 Holiday Slim Down Tricks

Published December 27, 2007

Posted Dec. 26, 2007 – I’m sure you’ve heard them all, but we at don’t see the effectiveness in giving you all the slim down strategies that were ever spoken. We’ve narrowed down over one-hundred slim down strategies into the ten most effective. Keep reading to catapult your weight loss journey into high gear.

1. Weigh yourself 1 time per day
Weekly weigh-ins are a staple of many popular diet programs, but studies now show that daily weighing is the key to lasting loss. Step on the scale first thing every morning, when you weigh the least. Expect small day-to-day fluctuations because of bloating or dehydration, but if your weight creeps up by 2% (that's just 3 pounds if you weigh 150), it's time to pass up the bread.

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2. Watch no more than 2 hours of TV a day
TV junkies miss out on calorie-burning activities like backyard tag with the kids; instead, they become sitting ducks for junk-food ads. Wean yourself off the tube by introducing other activities into your life. Eliminate the temptation to watch between-show filler by recording your must-see programs so you can fast-forward through the ads.

3. Contact a friend 3 times per week
"Long-term weight loss requires support," says Marion Franz, RD, a nutrition consultant in Minneapolis. Her study review found that people who met regularly with a dietitian or attended groups like Weight Watchers were more likely to maintain their losses than those who didn't. If you can't attend group meetings, announce your weight loss intentions so friends can support you, says Franz. And add a dieter pal to your regular call or e-mail list, too.

4. Eat 4 g of fiber in every meal or snack
A high-fiber diet can lower your caloric intake without making you feel deprived. Experts see a number of mechanisms through which fiber promotes weight loss: It may slow down eating because it requires more chewing, speed the passage of food through the digestive tract, and boost satiety hormones. To get 25 g of fiber a day, make sure you eat six meals or snacks, each of which contains about 4 g of fiber.

For instance, Hester started her day with grapes (1 cup = 1.4 g of fiber) and cracked wheat toast (two slices = 6 g) or oatmeal (1 cup = 4 g). She often had a cup of black bean soup for lunch (4.4 g) with a slice of cracked wheat bread. One good trick: For to-go snacks, buy fruit; it's handier than vegetables, so it's an easy way to up your fiber intake. For instance, one large apple has just as much fiber (5 g) as a cup of raw broccoli.

5. Take 5 (thousand) extra steps a day 
A typical person takes about 5,000 steps per day between going to work, running errands, and doing chores around the house. Doubling that number can have significant health benefits: higher "good" HDL cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, improved glucose control, and yes, a lower number on the scale. Walking more steps per day also leads to a lower percentage of body fat and slimmer waists and hips, reports a recent University of Tennessee study of 80 women. 

Wear a pedometer to make sure you log your 5,000 extra steps, or aim for about 50 minutes of extra walking (2 1/2 miles) per day. In the Tennessee study, "Some of the women walked with friends; others increased their steps by taking the stairs and parking farther away," says lead researcher Dixie Thompson, PhD.

6. Log it 6 times per week
"Monitoring your eating and exercise every day will let you know if you're reaching the 500-calorie daily deficit you need to lose about a pound a week," says Robert Carels, PhD, a psychology professor at Bowling Green State University. Carry a small notebook or PDA to record what you eat and use a pedometer to estimate the calories you burn. Although you should try to keep a daily log, it's realistic to give yourself a break one day a week and allow time off for holidays and houseguests. "Then get back on track," says Carels.

7. Sleep 7 hours a night
A University of Chicago study found that people deprived of Zzzs had lower levels of the hormones that control appetite. "The research suggested that short sleep durations could be a risk factor for obesity," says James Gangwisch, PhD, an epidemiologist from Columbia University Medical Center. The key number for most people is 7 hours or more a night, says Gangwisch, so set an early bedtime and stick to it.

8. Drink 8 glasses of water per day
Water is not just a thirst quencher—it actually speeds the body's metabolism. Researchers in Germany found that drinking two 8-ounce glasses of cold water increased their subjects' metabolic rate by 30%, and the effect persisted for 90 minutes. Increasing water consumption to eight glasses per day may help you lose about 8 pounds in a year, says Boschmann, so try drinking a glass before meals and snacks and before consuming sweetened drinks or juices.

9. After a 9-hour day (lunch included!), go home
A University of Helsinki study of 7,000 adults found that those who'd packed on pounds in the previous year were more likely to have logged overtime hours. Lack of time for diet and exercise is most likely the cause, but it's also possible that work stress has a direct effect on weight gain through changes in hormones like cortisol. 

Set firm limits on your workday so that when you're done, you still have the oomph to take a bike ride and broil fish for dinner. To help you stay productive enough to finish on time, set an hourly alarm; when it goes off, deal with your most pressing duties.

10. Shave 10 points off your glycemic load 
Foods high on the glycemic index—including sugars and refined carbohydrates—cause blood sugar to spike. The body stores the excess sugar as fat. But that leaves blood sugar levels low, so we feel hungry again and eat more—an unhealthy cycle. Read labels to avoid added sugars, or better yet, eat fresh produce. Healthy swaps include a baked sweet potato (48 on the glycemic index) instead of a russet potato (94); grapes (49) instead of dates (103); pasta (45) instead of pizza (60); and Nutella (30) instead of jelly beans (80). And skip the liquid glucose known as juice.

This article was provided courtesy of For more holiday health tips, visit


Written by BET-Staff


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