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Four Strategies for Losing 20 Pounds Fast

Losing 20 Pounds

Would you like to make 2013 the year that you finally lose weight and keep it off? Madeline Vann, MPH, has researched different options for losing 20 pounds permanently, and she offered the secrets with input from other experts.

Food for thought: "Having a realistic weight goal makes good sense,” says dietitian Jenna Anding, PhD, RD, of the department of nutrition and food science in the Texas A&M System at College Station. “Eliminating 500 calories a day can help promote a one-pound-per-week weight loss. Increasing physical activity can also help promote weight loss.”

Try these four strategies for losing 20 pounds:

Say farewell to sweetened beverages.

Soda, sweetened tea and coffee and even flavored milk is on the "stay away" list from now on. Go for plain water and sugar-free drinks.

Get active.

Set a goal of exercising 30 minutes a day. By walking 30 to 45 minutes at a brisk pace, you can burn 100 to 200 calories.

Remember: Your goal is to cut out 500 calories a day. So by increasing your exercise so that you burn 200 calories a day, you only need to cut out 300 calories.

Do the Math

The key is to cut the calories. If you add fruits and vegetables, you'll fill up and even eat more food for fewer calories.

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Keep a Journal

“Research has shown that exercise and journaling really make a difference in long-term weight management,” says Gail Curtis, assistant professor at Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, N.C. Keeping a detailed food diary will help you find out where you went off the path to cutting calories.

Tips for Staying Full

One of the biggest challenges in losing weight: Hunger! What can you do? Certain strategies can help, says Madeline.

Get enough lean protein and fiber. "Protein is the number one thing to help you feel full," says Emily Banes, RD, clinical dietitian at Houston Northwest Medical Center. "The second thing is fiber."

Feel like you have to snack? "Choose the snack food that has more air in it - think cheese puffs instead of potato chips, rice cakes instead of cookies. You will feel just as full as you would if you ate the same serving size of another snack, but you will consume fewer calories on average."

Sip soup. Drink broth-based soup before lunch and before dinner to cut down on your calorie count.

Bonus Tip: to fill up fast on just a few calories, try Dr. Mehmet Oz's green drink. It's high in fiber to keep you full.

Makes 3-4 servings (about 28-30 oz)

2 cups spinach
1/2 cucumber
1/4 head of celery
1/2 bunch parsley
1 bunch mint
3 carrots
2 apples
1/4 orange
1/4 lime
1/4 lemon
1/4 pineapple

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Serve and enjoy!