If shedding those few unwanted pounds is clearly an exercise of will and power, then keeping them off is yet another trial altogether. And, with specialists concluding that every person tends to gain up to 2 pounds each year, the struggle of maintaining an attractive figure becomes even more difficult to manage than usual. On the other hand, it has also been shown that by simply reducing your daily calorie intake with anything between 100-500 units can easily make this and any other surplus pounds basically melt away from your body – and stay away! Don’t believe it just yet? Then stick around to find out how to lose extra weight for good in only 20 steps:

  • Salad first – by satiating your appetite with a healthy, low-calorie salad, you are then less likely to munch on too much of your main course. Aside from the nutrient and antioxidant kick, salads also provide your organism with a proper dose of hydration, which is crucial in weight loss regimes of any kind. To keep your dish both wholesome and delicious, opt for an Italian dressing and some light mozzarella cheese to reduce your caloric intake by up to 10% for the rest of the day.
  • Choose a fork – as mentioned before, salads are a great option for any main meal, but there are ways in which even this super-healthy food can disturb your usual dietary count via hidden calories. For example, covering your salad with liberal amounts of dressing can add up to 100 more calories than you’ve initially accounted for. So, to get rid of this culinary issue, use the following trick: leave your dish unseasoned and, instead, dip your fork in the dressing before each bite. As such, you’ll still be getting the same delicious taste, but with a far more figure-friendly meal.
  • Go nuts – from almonds and pistachios to cashews, hazelnuts, and pecans, nuts have proven themselves to be a very versatile and enjoyable snack for anybody who wants to both stick to a weight management diet and not cut down on the small culinary pleasures of life. In fact, more recent experiments have demonstrated that regularly eating a handful of mixed nuts or peanuts, for instance, can help reduce cravings, regulate MUFA (monounsaturated fatty acids) levels, and reduce your overall calorie intake on a regular basis.
  • Simplify your coffee order – while going to Starbucks or any other similar coffee shops for a creamy and tasty cup of coffee might seem like the perfect start to the day, you should really start paying more attention to your order if you want those extra pounds to stay off instead of on your body. Not surprisingly, drinks such as a cappuccino or caramel macchiato can contain up to 300 calories each, aside from lots of hidden sugars and fats. Consequently, you’d be better off (and ultimately slimmer) by sticking to a black cup of joe, with the occasional sprinkling of some low-fat milk into it.
  • Double the appetizers – yes, you definitely read that right! If you think about it, ordering two smaller appetizers when you’re going out for lunch or dinner makes more sense than going for one big dish. As one recent experiment concluded, your average hamburger is nowadays 23% bigger than it was in the year 1977, meaning that this inclination towards bigger portions of the same foods can have a detrimental effect on your figure on the long term. Instead, try opting for more healthy combinations like soup and a sandwich or a salad and some light pasta dish for fewer calories, yet the same yummy taste.
  • Choose a vending machine – as crazy as this might seem, nutritionists generally agree that an extreme craving is better off satisfied with something from a vending machine than otherwise. Why? Well, because these mechanisms usually contain single-serving or small-portion versions of snacks like chocolate, chips, etc., which translates into fewer calories per each item. And, unless you walk around carrying pocketfuls of change, you most likely won’t end up binge-eating too much unhealthy food in this way.
  • Go for a walk – when your phone rings and you know it’s going to be a longer conversation (more than 10 minutes, let’s say), then don’t just sit around. Whether you’re at work, at home or out in town, walking around at a moderate pace while chatting into your mobile phone can bring wonderful changes to your health and weight readings alike. For instance, some studies have revealed that performing this activity each workday at approximately 3 mph can rid you off more than 1 000 calories in one month and simultaneously keep you 3 pounds thinner each year.
  • Get a good night’s sleep – sleeping less than the recommended 6-8 hours each night can not only lead to tiredness, crankiness, and low energy levels, but it can also greatly influence your day-to-day caloric intake for the worse. When you don’t snooze enough, your body starts producing the stress hormone named ‘cortisol’, which is amongst others responsible for appetite control and carbohydrate burning. So get a restful night of sleeping in order to simultaneously perform better during daytime activities and keep fat deposits at bay.
  • Stock up on protein – good protein is the ideal way to fill up and still actively promote weight loss within your organism without that much effort involved. Moreover, the combination of high-protein and low-carb foods is seen by most nutritionists as the ‘winning’ couple in any regime that aims towards fat shedding, but not losing muscle mass along the way. This situation can be avoided because leucine – the amino acid found in eggs, fish, poultry, dairy, and beef – acts towards muscle mass preservation in the long term.
  • Hydrate away – drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water each day is an essential part of any healthy diet, as is eating lots of hydrating fruit and vegetables. By keeping your organism on normal levels of H2O, you’re not allowing it to mistake thirst for hunger, hence eliminating all those unwanted and annoying cravings that seem to pop out of nowhere. Water also helps promote normal digestive patterns, aids with proper nutrient absorption within the gastrointestinal system, and boosts metabolic rates towards burning off unwanted fats at an accelerated speed.
  • Track your training – by keeping a journal where you put down everything from your initial weight and daily working out routine to every small or big milestone you’ve managed to achieve through your weight loss efforts, you are becoming more aware of your body transformation and how you can improve upon it. By adding your daily dietary regime and ‘cheating’ patterns to this regular log, you can determine what foods help you keep the weight off and which don’t, as well as better understand how your organism ‘works’ during extended periods.
  • Move around more – did you know that you could burn calories by doing nothing? On average, a normal person can get rid of approximately 100 calories each hour by simply sitting down and doing their normal work-related activities, let’s say. However, this number increases to 140 calories when the person starts walking around, so make sure to be on your feet at least a couple of hours each workday to significantly increase your caloric burn, avoid a sedentary lifestyle, and become around 6 pounds lighter by the end of the year.
  • Apple, then dinner – at almost 5 grams of pure fiber per each piece of fruit, apples have rightfully been considered one of the healthiest and most figure-friendly superfoods out there. As such, specialists advise in favor of consuming one apple before every main meal in order to generate a feeling of fullness, improve digestive rhythms, and boost antioxidant levels. One study actually demonstrated that combining this good habit with proper dieting and exercising can lead to weight loss amounting up to 17 pounds at every 3 months. So make sure your fruit bowl is not missing out on apples and you’ll never have to worry about weight gaining ever again.
  • Don’t forget about dairy products – dairy products are crucial for fat loss because they accelerate your metabolism, as well as satiate you faster than other foods. In addition, most chess and yogurt-based products contain good bacteria called ‘probiotics’, which promote normal digestion and help your body better absorb all the nutrients it needs to function properly. As one recent study showed, individuals who both cut down on 500 calories from their normal diets and started including more dairy products into their regime lost a whopping 13 pounds in just 12 weeks of the experiment.
  • Eat less white food – believe it or not, the color of your food says a lot about its nutritional factor. For example, brightly colored vegetables and fruit are obviously healthier and packed with more vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc., whereas foods like potatoes, bread, rice, bagels, and other such variants are usually a bland, whitish color that basically screams ‘not good for the scales’. Your goal for getting a better lifestyle and slimmer waist would thus be greatly facilitated by aiming for vivid and appetizing dishes and not something which might otherwise blend in with the tablecloth.
  • Never skip breakfast – while you might presume that skipping a meal can give you extra calories to munch down on later, your body will most likely ‘remember’ this pattern and, instead of burning off fat and producing energy, it will actually start depositing it more quickly. By enjoying a hearty and wholesome breakfast, you can greatly decrease your chances of becoming obese, developing diabetes, and experiencing severe cravings or energy spikings later on in the day.
  • Choose only the best bread – although not the most waist-friendly food possible, bread can become a great addition to weight loss diets if chosen carefully. Products made from whole grain are always preferable, as well as those which contain a minimum of 2 grams of fiber per each slice. Hence, in moderate amounts, bread can actually promote a healthy digestive pattern and, ultimately, long-term weight loss.
  • Brush your teeth to avoid cravings – ever tried to eat anything with a mouth full of minty freshness? If you have, then you know how horrible the taste can be, regardless of what you’re munching on in the first place. So, next time you feel a craving coming up, just grab your toothbrush and start cleaning your pearly whites or simply take a low-calorie mint. Thus, you’ll also avoid the formation of cavities while keeping your figure slim and attractive.
  • Have a small snack – let’s face it: nobody’s perfect when it comes to dietary regimes, especially when there’s candy involved. Instead of suppressing your cravings to the point where they mentally affect you, it’s better to ‘cheat’ a little and have a small bag of something plain, yet satisfying (for example, the smallest pack of peanut M&Ms you could find). The result of this will be that you only add some 100 calories to your normal eating plan, yet avoid developing even bigger cravings or, worse, giving in on your diet altogether because of the psychological pressure it involves.
  • Bring out the child in you – as we grow older, we tend to either ignore or suppress our more childlike impulses. As a result, most adults associate physical activity with the gym, yoga lessons, or YouTube tutorials which you can follow from the comfort of your own home. Even so, it seems that becoming a kid again could really help improve your weight loss and figure maintenance over time. For instance, if you have kids yourself, then you could take them outside for some entertaining activities to equally spend more time with them and burn off those extra calories you had for lunch today. One research team claims that this sort of ‘hidden’ training can burn almost 120 calories every 20 minutes, as well as change your entire perception of exercising and improve your mood stability.