There are lots of ways to lose fat, from going on a TV show, to the latest diet fad, to becoming addicted to heroin. The real trick is keeping it off. Not every method works for every person, but here are six ways we’ve seen that get rid of fat:

1. Quit Eating Sugar. This means you don’t eat anything with sugar in it, except for whatever is naturally in fruits and vegetables. No candy, no cake, no juice, no bagels, no chai, no energy drinks… With this tactic, you’ll be forced to eat good things. You see, almost no junk food can be made without sugar, because creating taste without sugar is expensive. So check the ingredients list, cut the sugars — everything named “Something-ose” (glucose, fructose, lactose…etc) — and what are you left with? Meat and beans and nuts and all kinds of other things that don’t make you fat. Also, nothing that lists corn syrup, molasses, agave syrup or honey as one of its first three ingredients should be in your diet. While you’re at it, you might as well cut out refined wheat flour, too. You say that I’m crazy, it’s just too hard… As long as you think that way, you’re absolutely right.

2. Balance Your Eating. The idea here is to eat protein with each meal, balancing the amount of carbohydrate you eat with an equal amount of protein. This works really well for people who lack even a semblance of willpower. Sure, have some ice cream, but put some chicken in with it and you’re golden. The protein and fat help slow the digestion of carbohydrate, and this helps you avoid huge fluctuations in your insulin. This slower digestion helps you feel full, eat less, and eventually get skinny. Plus, putting a protein with all your carbohydrates (CHO) will help underscore the vast amount of CHO you are eating, and maybe you’ll cut back.

3. Eat More Often. This one sounds crazy, but it’s based on the very sound principle that you eat more when you’re hungry. Avoid hunger, eat less. This also keeps your body in hormonal balance so you can avoid cravings and other such “fat habits.”  The best strategy here is to eat a big breakfast, a morning snack (not just a piece of fruit, either), a medium-sized lunch, an afternoon snack, and a small dinner. I say small dinner because we tend to eat about half of our daily calories after 6 p.m….a really bad idea.

4. Avoid Back-Loading Your Calories. I learned about this from nutrition professor Dan Benardot’s book, Nutrition for Serious Athletes (Human Kinetics, 2000). What he found was that athletes who ate late in the evening (after 8 p.m.) tended to hold more weight than those who ate earlier, even though both ate a similar number of calories. Eating late causes you to digest food while you are sleeping, when your metabolism is primed for fat storage. So break the “small breakfast/big dinner” habit that keeps your energy low and fat storage high.

5. Train To Boost Your Metabolism, Not To Burn Calories. You are dreaming if you think jogging a few miles three times a week is going to make you thin. Energy expenditure from cardiovascular exercise is just a small percentage of the total calories burned in a day. Where you can really make up ground is by boosting your resting-energy expenditure. You do this through high-intensity interval training and metabolic resistance training. You burn calories during and after these workouts.

6. Eat Anything You Want…But Eat This First. OK, so you have no self-control, and don’t seem to have the time to pay attention to limiting your intake. Try this: You can eat anything you want during the day as long as you consume everything on this list first: ten eggs, four chicken breasts, four cups of vegetables, four pieces of fruit, four cups of coffee, and two cups of cottage cheese. All done? Then, eat your fill of whatever else you’d like.

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