Whether you're determined to lose those last few pounds or just want to slim down so you can indulge without guilt on Turkey Day, we've got a fat-torching plan that really will subtract up to 5 pounds from your bod in seven days. How? It's all about small sacrifices combined with specific techniques. And rather than giving you a one-size-fits-all regimen, we figure you're more likely to stick with the plan if you pick the eating and exercise strategies that fit your lifestyle.
1. Make One Food Sacrifice
Cutting out one indulgence - such as the chips you have with lunch or the chocolate dessert you eat after dinner - can subtract a few hundred calories from your diet, which translates into less flab, says Blum. "Your body won't even notice their absence." Replace junk food with one of these tasty treats. They practically melt flab away!
2. Do Cardio 30 Minutes a Day
Any workout that gets your heart rate up will burn calories. But you'll use more calories if you pick a cardio routine that engages multiple muscles simultaneously, says Wendy Larkin, personal-training manager at Crunch's Polk Street gym, in San Francisco.
Three to consider: spinning, cardio kickboxing, and boot-camp workouts. Half an hour of each torches 200 to 300 calories while toning up your arms, legs, and core so everything appears sleeker and tighter.
Add on some of the moves celeb trainers recommend to really see results. You'll burn even more calories per session if your workout incorporates interval training: alternating short bursts of intense cardio with slower activity. Experts aren't sure why it works, but trainers swear by it.
3. Ban White Bread and Pasta
Cutting out all white grain products - such as white rice, spaghetti, sandwich rolls - will instantly slim you down because the simple carbs in these foods cause bloating, especially around your belly. "Simple carbohydrates wreak havoc on your weight because they're digested very quickly, leaving you hungry and more likely to overeat later," says Jana Klauer, MD, author of The Park Avenue Nutritionist's Plan.
Fill up on these healthy foods that'll feed your sex drive. To go a step further, instead of replacing them with healthier yet still bloat-triggering whole-grain bread products, substitute vegetables for the week. This way, a chicken sandwich becomes chicken salad, and chips and dip turn into carrots and dip. The complex carbs from vegetables are digested more slowly, so you remain full longer. And because veggies are mostly water, they also help flush out excess water weight.
4. Sleep 30 Minutes More a Night
That extra half an hour, whether you sleep 5 hours or 8, can refresh you enough that you will make better food choices (in other words, no quick sugar fix for breakfast in search of energy) and won't feel lethargic and skip the gym, says registered dietician Esther Blum, author of Eat, Drink, and Be Gorgeous. More restful sleep (7 to 8 hours is best) also boosts your metabolism. And since your body builds muscle while you snooze, getting zzz's equals better muscle tone. Find out how to fall asleep when you can't shut your brain off.
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