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Thirteen Secrets the Weight Loss Pros Don’t Tell You

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(NEW YORK) -- ABC's Good Morning America has teamed up with Reader’s Digest on a special series, “13 Things Experts Won’t Tell You.”

This month, Reader’s Digest unveils the secrets weight loss professionals won’t tell you, like how to maximize your workouts, what may be holding you back from losing weight and how to get the most bang for your buck.

1. Do not arrive at a training session in the following states: a. on an empty stomach, b. coming off a cold/stomach bug, or c. on four hours’ sleep.  It wastes your time and a personal trainer’s when your body isn’t fueled, hydrated and ready to work.

2. If you find your workouts are getting a little stale, a trainer is a great way to put some pep in your push-ups.  If you can’t afford one, get some friends together for a small group session.  They cost less per person -- and working out with friends is proven to improve your commitment and overall weight loss.

3. To kick start your metabolism, opt for intervals.  In a recent study, women who did 20 minutes of cycling sprints lost three times as much fat as those who cycled slowly and steadily for 40 minutes.

4. When you hit the point where you think you can’t go on, imagine you have a trainer right next to you, cheering for you.  Studies show that actively encouraging yourself improves outcomes.

5. You can do OK at the drive thru.  There are now some reasonable options if you look for them.  Stay away from anything with the word “crispy,” steer clear of all mayo-heavy sauces (use mustard instead) and stick to no-fat dressing.

6. Nibble on the move.  If you are shopping and fading from hunger, avoid settling in at the food court and, instead, nibble your way through a shopping marathon.  Pick up a snack, such as a hot pretzel, a small bag of roasted nuts from a kiosk or even a chicken taco and nibble on the move.  Portable meals can still weigh you down, so check calorie counts on your mobile phone before you go.

7. Douse your afternoon slump or hunger pangs with water.  The energy drop that hits in afternoon is likely a combination of perfectly natural factors -- the results of a light lunch, mild dehydration, a momentarily lack of iron or a crash off that coffee you had at the late-morning meeting.  Before wandering to the cafeteria or fridge, start your recovery with a tall glass of water, which boosts your blood flow and, as a side benefit, makes you feel full.

8. It’s hard to win against a cookie.  While food is not addictive the way cocaine or alcohol is, there are some uncanny similarities.  When subjects at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia were shown the names of foods they liked, the parts of the brain that got excited were the same parts activated in drug addicts.

9. Your bedroom, not the kitchen, might be making you fat.  Sleep deprivation upsets our hormone balance, triggering both a decrease in the hormone leptin (which helps you feel full) and an increase of the hormone ghrelin (which triggers hunger).  As a result, we think we’re hungry even though we aren’t -- and so we eat.  Sleep may be the cheapest and easiest obesity treatment there is.

10. Your weight really is genetic.  When scientists first discovered a gene in certain chubby mice, they called it simply the fatso gene.  Turns out, people with two copies of the gene were 40 percent more likely to have diabetes and 60 percent more likely to be obese than those without it.  Those with only one copy of the gene weighed more too.  But your “destiny” is no excuse.

11. Ear infections can taint your taste buds.  In one study of more than 6,000 people, researchers found that people over age 35 who had suffered several ear infections had almost double the chance of being obese.  Why?  These infections can damage a taste nerve running through the middle ear.  When researchers found the at former ear-infection patients were a little more likely to love sweets and fatty foods, they theorized that the damaged nerve might cause them to have a higher threshold for sensing sweetness and fattiness.

12. Fat might be your mom’s fault.  A growing body of science suggests that sugary and fatty foods consumed even before you’re born can mess with your weight.

13. At dinner, make yourself useful serving people and cleaning up.  It gets you away from your plate, but still makes you a vital part of the meal.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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