You want to lose 10 pounds over the next four weeks so you’ll look great for that Fourth of July beach party, but are you going to have a tough time shedding the weight?
The answer to that question has a lot to do with your gender, said Allison Krall, a registered and licensed clinical dietician at Ohio State University Medical Center.
“A man has more muscle mass, so he’s allowed to eat more calories, and he doesn’t have to cut back as much,” Krall told FOXNews.com. “Women tend to be yo-yo dieters, which skewers their metabolism, and that also makes it harder for them to lose weight; however, it is possible for both sexes to lose those 10 pounds.”
The trick to losing the weight is to keep your diet on track, said Meagan Stangle, assistant manager of public relations for the Calorie Control Council, a non-profit association that represents the low-calorie food and beverage industry.
First, you need to beware of the three main diet saboteurs, as outlined by Krall:
— Having a setback event
Many people believe that if you overeat one day, the whole diet is blown. False, said Krall.
“It’s just one bad day; it doesn’t mean the end of your diet plans,” she said.
— Being “guilted” into eating
Just because one of your co-workers brings in homemade cookies, that doesn’t mean you have to eat them.
“You shouldn’t eat to please someone else or to avoid hurting their feelings,” Krall said.
— Enjoying too many summertime drinks
Frozen margaritas and smoothies are loaded with calories. Drinking too many of them actually can use up your entire calorie allotment for the day.
So to keep your diet on the right track, Stangle offered the following tips, in accordance with the Calorie Control Council:
1. Practice portion control. Cutting 500 calories a day sheds one pound per week. This can be as simple as cutting down on soda consumption.
2. Make healthy choices. If you modify your snacks to include fruit, fiber and protein, you will stay full longer and provide your body with essential vitamins and minerals. Also, there are a variety of low-calorie, light foods and beverages on the market that allow you to enjoy your favorite foods and beverages without sacrificing the taste.
3. Exercise regularly. Aerobic exercises such as brisk walking, jogging and cycling will burn the most calories. Aim for at least five days of moderate-intensity exercise during which you burn at least 300 calories.
4. Include strength training in your exercise regimen. Strength training is important because it builds muscle, which facilitates weight loss/maintenance. Your body uses more energy to keep muscle alive than it does to keep fat alive, so the more muscle mass you have, the greater your resting metabolic rate is, and the greater amount of calories you burn at rest each day.
5. Keep moving even when you aren’t exercising. Additional physical activity (other than planned exercise) can help burn more than 200 calories a day. A 10-minute walk around your office building can burn approximately 75 to 100 calories. Taking the stairs and parking in the farthest parking spot can help burn between 50 to 100 calories.
6. Watch for hidden calories. Ordering salad dressing and sauces on the side is an easy way to cut down on fat and calories. When eating out, get in the habit of asking for a to-go box before your meal arrives. That way you can save half your meal and half the calories.
7. Read food labels. Know what the calories per serving and recommended serving sizes are. If you want to stay within a certain calorie range, be sure you are sticking to appropriate serving sizes.
8. Eat four to six small meals per day. This will give your body an opportunity to better digest and metabolize what you are putting into it. More importantly, it will help you stay full throughout the day to prevent mindless snacking.
9. Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat makes you accountable. If you are reaching for a mid-afternoon sugar fix and know you have to write it in your food log, chances are you will reach for the fruit, instead.
10. Remember that everything in moderation is OK. Don’t tell yourself you are not allowed to eat certain things. This will only lead to cravings and overindulgence. Eat what you want, but eat it in appropriate portions.
Krall added that to avoid any health dangers it is important not to eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day during your diet.
Also, if you suffer from a chronic medical condition, it’s important to check with your doctor before you begin any diet.