Keep your summer body: 3 secrets to jump-start your weight loss

If you're like me, when you first start working toward a goal, such as weight loss, you're motivated. The pounds come off easily; you're meticulous about exercising and watching what you eat. But, eventually, your rate of weight loss slows and then… stops. Don't worry-this is not the beginning of the end! It's the beginning of the second phase of your weight-loss journey.

Don't give up now! Try these secrets to kick-start your diet.

1. Fill up on less. Loading up on high-fiber foods like vegetables can help you feel full and prevent you from overdoing it on higher-calorie fare later. Satisfying salads, such as The EatingWell Cobb Salad (recipe below) (just 346 calories), are a great way to feel full on less.

2. Jump-start your fitness routine. Set a weekly goal to burn 1,000 calories through "programmed" aerobic exercise-such as brisk walking or jogging, cycling or rowing. You can assume that you burn about 100 calories for each mile you walk or run-which means that to hit 1,000 calories, you'll need to put in two miles a day, five days a week. If you're cycling, estimate 100 calories for every three miles you ride. (Get some easy ideas for building an exercise routine here.)

Looking for something that doesn't feel like a "workout"? Try these 6 ways to sneak in your exercise.

3. Take the guesswork out of portion control. It's easy to get carried away with a bag of pretzels or a sleeve of cookies. Stick to snacks that offer built-in portion control. Here are ideas for 10 days of 100-calorie (or less) snacks. Also try a piece of fruit or those handy 100-calorie packages.


EatingWell Cobb Salad
This Cobb salad is true to the original with all the good stuff-chicken, eggs, bacon, avocado and a tangy dressing. But we cut the saturated fat in half and doubled the amount of healthy monounsaturated fat. We've left the blue cheese optional, but the salad is so nutritious you might just want to go ahead and indulge yourself with a little bit anyway.

3 tablespoons white-wine vinegar
2 tablespoons finely minced shallot
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
10 cups mixed salad greens
8 ounces shredded cooked chicken breast (about 1 large breast half; see Tip below)
2 large eggs, hard-boiled (see Tip below), peeled and chopped
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 large cucumber, seeded and sliced
1 avocado, diced
2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)

1. Whisk vinegar, shallot, mustard, pepper and salt in a small bowl to combine. Whisk in oil until combined. Place salad greens in a large bowl. Add half of the dressing and toss to coat.
2. Divide the greens among 4 plates. Arrange equal portions of chicken, egg, tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, bacon and blue cheese (if using) on top of the lettuce. Drizzle the salads with the remaining dressing.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 346 calories; 23 g fat (4 g sat, 15 g mono); 142 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrate; 21 g protein; 8 g fiber; 397 mg sodium; 711 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (117% daily value), Vitamin C (27% dv), Potassium (20% dv), Folate (18% dv), Iron (15% dv).

TIPS:

  • To poach chicken breasts, place boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a medium skillet or saucepan and add lightly salted water to cover; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, 10 to 15 minutes. To shred the chicken, use two forks to pull it apart into long shreds.
  • To hard-boil eggs, place in a single layer in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook at the barest simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, pour out hot water and fill the pan with a mixture of cold water and ice cubes; let stand until the eggs are completely cooled.

By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D.

Brierley's interest in nutrition and food come together in her position as an associate editor at EatingWell. Brierley holds a master's degree in Nutrition Communication from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. A Registered Dietitian, she completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Vermont.



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