The Weight-Loss Industry’s Best Kept Secrets

Lose weight without high-priced diets, personal trainers and expensive gym memberships.

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Exercise, by itself, is an ineffective weight-loss tool

If any trainer tells you his gadget or workout routine will burn off all the weight you need, you should burn some calories by running away from him. To lose weight and keep it off, you have to pair exercise with a diet plan. In fact, exercise alone leads to a very modest decrease in total body weight: less than 3 percent. What's worse: For some, exercise alone as a weight loss plan induces more hunger, which can offset what improvements you've made.

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Fat is an essential part of a weight-loss eating plan

The trick is eating the right kind of fat. Sure, saturated fat in highly processed meats and trans fat in desserts are bad for your health and waistline. But good fats, such as monounsaturated fatty acids can actually help you lose weight. Eating foods such as olive oil, nuts, avocados, and fatty fish including salmon is an easy way to add these fats to your diet. These fats can help increase how many calories your body burns and help you feel fuller longer. A handful of nuts or some peanut butter on whole wheat crackers makes a terrific snack.

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An air filter can help weight loss

Really. It's true! Researchers have determined that the toxins and chemicals in our food and air contribute to being obese. For example, a College of Public Health at Ohio State University study found that exposure to air pollution was related to insulin resistance, reduced glucose tolerance, and increased inflammation. In fact, the researchers believe that long-term exposure to air pollution increases the risk of diabetes.

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Chocolate is actually good for you

The trick, though, is to nibble on chocolate that's heavy on the cocoa and light on sugar or milk. The cocoa contains loads of antioxidants and when eaten in moderation will lead to weight loss. As another plus: those same antioxidants can boost the health of arteries and help avoid fat deposits, too. Look for unsweetened cocoa to add to any recipes or dark chocolate bites for snacking.

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Early weight loss boosts confidence and is better physically

One trick many weight loss gurus like to emphasize is long, steady weight loss. While they're coaching you through this weight loss, they're also likely draining your bank account in a long, slow fashion, too. However, research has shown that you get a great psychological boost and can keep weight off if you lose weight quickly with your initial efforts. A recent study has shown that shedding weight fast leads to a greater weight loss and longer-term success at keeping it off.

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Fidgeting burns lots of calories

It's a little difficult to sell an exercise plan or workout video about fidgeting, but simply tapping, squirming, and making little movements throughout the day can lead to weight loss. Look for little ways to burn calories throughout your day and it'll add up. One study found that incorporating such activities during your day can burn 650 calories or more.

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Dairy can lead to shedding pounds

A weight-loss myth that's been around awhile is that dairy products make you fat. But in fact, research shows that calcium deficiency contributes to weight gain and loss of appetite control. Plus, certain dairy sources of calcium, such as yogurt and low- or nonfat cheese, are more effective at speeding weight loss than other sources of calcium. So, try this: Eat three servings of low-fat dairy a day and it'll likely accelerate weight loss.