Tip 1. Eat more fiber.
Tip 2. Opt for a sensible amount of high-quality carbs.
* Fill up on fruits and vegetables.
* Avoid high-carb/empty-calorie foods like fast food, snack cakes, cookies and candy.
* Focus on balanced eating. For best results, eat at least three to five 4-ounce servings of veggies (15-25 grams of carbs); two to four 4-ounce servings of fruit (30-60 grams of carbs) and about 1 cup (8 ounces cooked or 2 ounces dry, or 2 slices of bread) of whole grains per meal (90 grams per day).
* Make sure you eat enough calories, from complex carbs, lean protein and healthy fats. If you don’t get an adequate number of calories (most women require at least 1,800 per day to lose weight, 2,000 to maintain), you risk temporarily lowering your metabolism, which can also bring on bloating.
Tip 3. Drink up!
Tip 4. Watch the sodium.
* consume no more than 2,400 milligrams of sodium daily — roughly 1 teaspoon of table salt.
* Choose fresh, natural foods over fast, commercial or packaged foods. Instead of ordering french fries (265 milligrams of sodium), have a baked potato (8 milligrams). Instead of a pickle (1,730 milligrams!), enjoy a fresh cucumber (6 milligrams). And beware of cured meats: Three ounces of ham packs in 1,009 milligrams of sodium. compared to just 48 milligrams for the same amount of roast pork. Soups are also notoriously high in sodium; some canned varieties contain more than 1,100 milligrams per cup. Read labels carefully and stick with low-sodium brands like Healthy Choice.
Tip 5. Eat light at night.
* Eat five times a day. Your body needs food every three to four hours, so instead of eating three large meals, try to schedule five smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day (breakfast-snack-lunch-snack-dinner). By staying full and energized, you’ll avoid hunger pangs, maintain an even energy flow, make better, healthier food choices (no bingeing or craving) and enjoy the most efficient burning of calories.
* Eat two-thirds of your calories before dinner. Your body needs calories when you’re active, not at night, when your natural rhythm is slowing down. Make sure to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner to keep your metabolism revved.
* If you have to eat at night because you’re hungry, stick with fruit, vegetables and other foods that are low in fat, calories and sodium.
Tip 6. Reduce stress.
* Move it to lose it. A recent study showed cardiovascular exercise is effective in reducing midsection weight gain.
* Chill out. When you feel stress building, take a few moments to breathe deeply and regroup.