Do this: Eat your first meal within 90 minutes of waking. The UMass scientists determined that people who waited longer increased the likelihood that they'd become heavyweights by 147 percent; those that didn't eat breakfast within three hours of waking elevated their risk by 173 percent.
Bonus Tip: As soon as you wake up, consume 16 ounces of chilled water. German scientists recently found that this strategy boosted metabolism for about 90 minutes afterward (a smaller amount of water had no effect).
According to a USDA survey, an average American eats 82 grams of added sugar every day. That's almost 20 teaspoons, which contribute an empty 317 calories.
The researchers report that 91 percent of these added sugars can be attributed to intake of regular soda (33 percent), baked goods and breakfast cereals (23 percent), candy (16 percent), fruit drinks (10 percent) and sweetened milk products (9 percent) such as chocolate milk, ice cream and flavored yogurt.
What's not on the list? Meat, vegetables, whole fruit, and eggs, along with whole grain and dairy products that haven't been sweetened.
The bottom line: If you simply eliminate the added sugars from your diet, you're going to automatically weed out most of the junk food as well as empty calories. The result is a pretty decent whole food diet. And from there, you can tweak your diet even more -- by managing your "carb bucket" -- to speed your results.
Do this: Carefully read labels -- especially when it comes to cereal (a serving of Kellogg's Health Heart Smart Start packs as much sugar as a serving of Froot Loops).
Or even better, trade your morning bowl for an omelet. St. Louis University scientists found that people who had eggs as part of their breakfast eat fewer calories the rest of the day than those who ate bagels instead. Even though both breakfasts contained the same number of calories, the egg eaters consumed 264 fewer calories for the entire day.
In a study at Ball State University, scientists put overweight men on a 1,500-calorie-a-day diet, and divided them into three groups -- one that didn't exercise, another that performed aerobic exercise three days a week, and a third that did both aerobic exercise and weight training.
Each group lost almost the same amount of weight -- about 21 pounds. But the lifters shed 5 more pounds of fat than those who didn't pump iron. Why? Their 21-pound weight loss was almost pure fat, while the other two groups lost just 15 pounds of lard, along with several pounds of muscle.
Do this: Make three total-body weight training sessions a week a non-negotiable part of your weight-loss plan. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that lost muscle is replaced by fat over time. This not only makes you look flabby, but it also increases your pants size -- even if you somehow manage to keep your scale-weight the same. The reason: each pound of fat takes up 18 percent more space on your body than each pound of muscle.