How-To :: Twenty Easy Weight Loss Tricks for Teens

by Timothy

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From Teenagers Today:

1. Substitute baby carrots for potato chips.
For every one baby carrot you swap out for one chip, you'll save about 10 calories and one gram of fat. Make this substitute for 12 chips, five days a week and you'll save 600 calories, which adds up to 9 pounds you'll lose within a year!

2. Brush your teeth.
Successful weight loss gurus swear by this trick. Brushing your teeth after a meal seems to send a signal to your body that you're done eating, and it makes your breath fresh without relying on gum and mints made with sugar that can set you up to crave something sweet.

3. Make the kitchen a "cooking and eating only" zone.
Don't do anything in the kitchen that isn't involved with eating. No homework, no talking on the phone, no painting nails at the table.

4. Set the timer on snacks.
Limit your after-school grazing to 10 or 20 minutes, and brush your teeth when you're done. You'll send a signal to your appetite that you're done, and you can focus on something else. (Homework, anyone?)

5. Put your fork down.
In between every bite, put down your fork or the food you're holding in your hands. Forcing yourself to separate bites like this will slow down your eating and help you recognize when you are full, which will help prevent overeating.

6. Don't eat anywhere but at the kitchen table.
You'll pay more attention to what and how you're eating. Staying out of the kitchen except at meal times will reduce the chances of mindless grazing.

7. Turn off the radio.
When a restaurant decides they want you "fed and out in 40 minutes, they play music that pounds to 125 to 130 beats per minute — the faster the music, the faster you eat." So either turn off the music or play slow, relaxing tunes that help you relax while you eat.

8. Get some sun.
"Too little sunlight can trigger cravings for high-calorie, fatty carbs like cakes, cookies, ice cream and chips," says one weight loss expert. Especially in the winter, get outside and get some fresh air and sunshine. Your body needs those rays to produce serotonin, a feel-good hormone in our brains that helps control cravings.

9. Get a caffeine buzz.
Drinking an unsweetened, caffeinated cup of coffee or tea before a workout can help you burn more calories. In a recent study, "subjects who consumed at least 300 milligrams of caffeine two hours before a 30-minute ride on a stationary bike burned a significantly greater number of calories than did their caffeine-free counterparts." (Just don't take this as a license to drink the entire pot of coffee! A cup may help before a workout, but coffee-stained teeth aren't too appealing!)

10. Don't get sweet on us.
The average person eats about a half pound of sugar every day! This epidemic of sugar consumption may be related to the skyrocketing rates of obesity. Look for foods that have less than 5 milligrams of sugar per serving, and remember: The more sugar you eat, the more you'll want. The less sugar you eat, the better you'll feel.

11. Drink like a fish; look like a gazelle.
Experts say drinking about eight glasses of water every day raises your metabolism slightly and allows your body to avoid retaining fluid. Drink a glass of water before every meal and before workouts.

12. Avoid white starches.
Whole grains are great for weight loss, but refined white foods such as white bread, crackers and donuts are proven to impact insulin levels, which actually protect your stored fat instead of burning it.

13. Don't stress out.
Stress can turn on your body's hormones that control fat storage, especially around your abdomen, and increase your appetite for carbohydrates. To prevent stress from wreaking havoc with your diet, exercise every day, including taking short breaks throughout the day to climb the stairs or walk the dog. And keep plenty of fruits and vegetables around to snack on.

14. Think small to lose big.
A study of dieters showed that those who focus on small goals such as losing only 5 to 10 percent of their body weight at a time were more successful at weight loss. Not only are small goals easier to reach, but reaching them keeps your motivation high and your momentum building.

15. Believe you can change.
In one study, women who worked on changing their thinking were the most successful at changing their weight. To mimic their success, remind yourself daily that only you can change your weight, one healthy choice at a time.

16. Pack in protein power.
People who snack on protein stay full for up to 40 minutes longer than those who don't. For even more weight-loss power, include a complex carb with plenty of fiber, such as fruit and a lean dairy.

17. Drink a glass of skim milk with every meal.
Eating dairy foods will help your body avoid storing fat and burn it instead. If the skim milk is replacing a sugar-sweetened soda or tea, you'll also be saving 150 to 300 calories a day, which can lead to a weight loss of 25 pounds within the year!

18. Get plenty of sleep.
A study conducted at the University of Chicago Medical Center showed that lack of adequate sleep impairs your body's ability to process and store carbohydrates and also regulate hormones and blood sugar.

19. Skip the soda and juice.
Women who drink sweetened soda and sweetened juice gain much more weight than women who drink one or less per month. Daily consumption of sweetened juices and soda are also linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

20. Soup it up.
Research has shown that eating soup before a meal can reduce your caloric intake by up to 26 percent at the meal, and you won't "make up" for those calories later. Great choices include broth-based soups and soups high in protein. Skip the cream soups because they contain more fat and calories.