If you’ve ever wondered about these and other diet fads, relief is here. We’ve checked out every I-swear-it-works diet tip we’ve ever heard against expert advice and airtight studies. Here’s the lowdown on what works — and what doesn’t.
Setting a reasonable weight-loss goal. Aim to lose no more than 10 percent of your pre-diet weight, unless your doctor feels more is necessary.
Dieting by the numbers. That means cutting back your kilojoule and fat intake; and exercising at least three times a week for 30 minutes a pop.
Downing at least eight cups of water daily. It’ll keep you hydrated, which can stave off snacking.
Preparing snacks and meals ahead of time. This will prevent desperate visits to the vending machine or fast food spots.
Keeping a journal of what you eat each day. This will make you mindful of mini-munch fests.
Picturing your plate as a pie chart. Pile half with colourful fruits and veggies. Fill the other half with higher-kilojoule meats and starches.
Eating plenty of whole grains like oatmeal, barley and whole-wheat bread. Their fibre fills you up.
Eating lots of greens and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower. They’re also filling.
Eating a little fat at every meal. It keeps you satiated.
Cutting your usual portions in half.
Walking: An hour of walking a day takes off about a half a kilo every two weeks if you also eat a balanced diet.
Having the right appetiser. Start your meal with a broth-based soup or green salad; it will fill you up so you eat less of your high-kj main course.
Eating five mini-meals instead of three large ones. This will keep you fueled and prevent pig-outs.
Tracking your every bite. Counting kilojoules, weighing yourself daily and precisely measuring every portion could help you lose (on the other hand, it could drive you crazy and make you want to abandon dieting altogether).
Putting your fork down between bites. This tactic works if you tend to eat too much, too fast.
The small-plate trick. It fools you into thinking you’re eating big portions — just don’t load your saucer with super-fatty foods.
Cutting down on carbs. End breadbasket binges, but don’t ban whole grains.
In-your-face reminders. Research shows a slinky dress in your wardrobe or a photo of someone svelte on your fridge may help you avoid the cookie jar.
Indulging only on the weekends.
Boycotting restaurants. Eating out can be high-kj, but it’s convenient and celebratory.
Choosing family-style restaurants. You control what goes on your plate. But then again, you control what goes on your plate.
Salad dressing and sauce on the side. Works if you dip your fork, then spear your food, but not if you spear then take a big dunk.
Munching by the food pyramid. It helps you eat a balanced diet — just remember, six to 11 grain servings doesn’t equal 11 scoops of mashed potatoes.
Hanging a mirror in your kitchen. Some people find watching themselves eat halts mindless noshing.
A drastic calorie cut-down. Getting fewer than 1,200 a day slows your metabolism, so you’ll pork up as soon as you resume normal eating. Instead, crank up your metabolism with these surefire strategies.
Fad diets — basically, any diet that’s based on a single food. They’re all just gimmicky versions of the kilojoules cut-down.
The blood-type diet. Blood type is no more relevant to dropping extra pounds than eye colour.
Diet “scent sprays” purported to distract you from hunger with their aroma. They don’t.
“Thermogenic” foods, such as celery, that supposedly cost you more kilojoules to digest than you consume. They don’t.
Denying yourself when you’re starving. Learn to recognise your hunger signals and satisfy them, instead.
Over-the-counter diet pills. Most contain caffeine, which might help you lose water weight, but those kilos return with a vengeance just days after you stop taking the pills.
The no-fat approach. You’ll only replace it with sugary nonfat substitutes.
The no-carb approach. Once you eat ’em again, your carb-starved body will hoard the calories.
Skipping breakfast. Your metabolism slows when your body has nothing to burn.
The “Don’t eat after 8 p.m.” maxim. Your stomach doesn’t know what time it is!
Food-combining rules (such as only eating carbohydrates at the same time as protein). In the end, it’s all digested together.
Diets that promise to drop a lot of weight a week. For a safe, steady weight loss plan.