Yes, it's finally time to stop the calorie counting. "I tell all of my clients not to sit and try to count every macronutrient and calorie they consume," says Gisela Bouvier, R.D., owner of B Nutrition and Wellness. "When you focus so much on the numbers you can become obsessed with every gram and calorie — this can lead to disordered eating patterns and doesn't put the focus on good and wholesome nutrition." Instead, she says to focus on the quality of the foods you're eating to make sure you're getting the nutrients you need. "That way you'll learn proper nutrition and how to put together well-balanced meals and snacks with lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fats, and fruits and vegetables," she says. "When good nutrition is learned, weight loss occurs and becomes more sustainable."
Go for a Quickie
"The days of 45 minutes to hour-long sessions on a cardio machine are long gone," says Bouvier. "To get an effective cardiovascular workout in, do high-intensity interval training (HIIT) instead. It brings your heart rate up then decreases it for a recovery period, so you'll burn calories and fat in a shorter period of time." Translation: You only need 15 to 20 minutes to squeeze in a solid workout, and you may even burn more calories than you would slogging it on the treadmill for an hour thanks to the after-burn effect.
Pop Those Pills
Supplements may seem like a scary alternative only die-hard fitness freaks go for, but Bouvier says that's not the case. "Supplements are an absolutely crucial component to health and wellness because, even with a proper diet, you can't consume all of the nutrients your body needs on a daily basis," she explains. Incorporating multivitamins, fish oils, and a probiotic is a strong start, she says, and those who work out on the reg could also try pre- and post-workout supplements (like protein powder). "With a good supplement regimen, you'll have improved function in how nutrients and fuel are utilized to help with weight loss and muscle gain," adds Bouvier.
Follow the Royal Rules
You know proper portion sizes matter, but here's a fun fact: The size of your meal should directly correlate with the time of day, too. Sarajean Rudman, M.S., a certified personal trainer and certified nutritionist, says you should follow the "royal" guidelines (sadly, this has nothing to do with Kate Middleton). "Eat breakfast like a prince, lunch like a king, and dinner like a pauper," she says. "Eating your smallest meal at least three hours prior to bed, and keeping it a small meal that is easy to digest, regulates the blood sugar and aids in a good night's sleep (and research has proven time and time again how important sleep is for weight loss). You'll also have more of a chance to burn off the energy if you eat your biggest meal in the middle of the day." If you want bonus points — and who doesn't, really? — Rudman says it's best to take a short walk after each meal to further support digestion and blood sugar regulation.