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Lose 3 Pounds in 6 Meals!

Eat fewer calories, and you will lose weight.

If you asked me to distill nine Eat This, Not That! books into a single golden rule, that would be it. The best part: It's a rule that will never, ever change.

So why don’t we all just do it? Because today’s restaurants are designed to make us eat more calories, not less—and swimming against that tide means outsmarting a whole industry of professional food marketers who are out to force-feed us their wares.

Now, you might think that a restaurant would make more money by giving us less food, not more. But restaurants know that by feeding us a ton of calories, they can addict us to their products the way tobacco companies try to addict us to their cigarettes. A 2010 study from the Scripps Research Institute found that rats given one hour per day to eat fatty, sugary foods began binge eating, and their brain patterns mimicked those associated with escalating cocaine use. Not surprisingly, the rodents gained a ton of weight.

This is what's happening to us—the more sweet, high-fat foods we eat, the more sweet, high-fat foods we crave. And then we're overweight and wondering why we're still hungry. And it's not just restaurant foods. There are plenty of calorie dealers at your local supermarket as well. Avoid becoming a victim with our list of the 125 Best Supermarket Foods.

If you can switch your habits, even for a couple days, I promise you'll begin to lose weight. To show you how much, I've set up two days of big-calorie swaps. Granted, most of us aren't eating three high-calorie like this every day—and certainly not for two days in a row—but I bet some of us eat six of them a week. And many of us eat six meals like this a month. Make the simple swaps below and you'll still indulge your grumbling belly and your sweet tooth. But you'll also save 10,500 calories. That's 3 pounds of belly fat . . . poof!


Not This!
IHOP Country Fried Steak & Eggs w/ hashbrowns, pancakes, and syrup
1,790 calories
95 g fat (29 g saturated)
4,065 mg sodium

The word “country” conjures up feel-good images of big red barns, rolling hills, and roaming cows, but rest assured, there’s nothing wholesome about this IHOP breakfast disaster. Not only does it deliver most of your day's calories, but it also has 1.5 days' worth of saturated fat and about 2 days' worth of sodium.

Eat This Instead!
Belgian Waffle w/ bacon and syrup
550 calories
21 g fat (10 g saturated)
835 mg sodium

You lose: 0.4 pounds!

LOSE WEIGHT—SLEEPING! According to a new study, dieters who sleep 8 hours a night (versus 5.5) lose more fat and less muscle. For more of the latest research in nutrition and weight loss, follow me right here on Twitter!

Not That!
Carl’s Jr. Western Bacon Six Dollar Burger w/ large fries and large Coke
1,850 calories
78 g fat (26 g saturated)
3,410 mg sodium
111 g sugar

The soda and fries certainly contribute to the problem, but even if you just consumed the burger, you'd take in more than 900 calories. That's a lot of cheeseburger. Your goal in choosing a burger at Carl's Jr. should be the same as your goal anywhere: Skip the big-ticket burgers and go with something more modest. The Big Hamburger below is the perfect compromise.

Eat This Instead!
Big Hamburger w/ small fries and a medium iced tea
810 calories
33 g fat (10.5 g saturated)
1,645 mg sodium
15 g sugar

You lose: 0.3 pounds!

HIDDEN HEALTH FOODS: Not all delicious-sounding restaurant dishes will set you back in your quest for leanness. Find out which meals ended up on our list of 20 Shockingly Healthy Restaurant Foods.

Dinner & Dessert
Not That!
Uno Chicago Grill Individual Deep Dish Cheese & Tomato Pizza with a Bananas Foster
3,020 calories
88 g fat (46.5 g saturated)
3,010 mg sodium
71 g sugar

Thanks to oversized portions and thick, oily crusts, "individual" pizzas are rarely as innocuous as their name implies. Instead, grab a pal and split a few slices of the thin-crust pepperoni pizza. You'll save you more than 1,200 calories without sacrificing the cheese-y, tomato-y goodness you crave. Then, instead of wolfing down an entire Bananas Foster, opt for the "mini" version. That will save you 30 grams of sugar.

Eat This Instead!
Thin Crust Pepperoni Pizza  (1/2 a pie) with a Mini Bananas Foster
845 calories
41 g fat (19 g saturated)
1,310 mg sodium
40.5 g sugar

You lose: 0.6 pounds!

FAT-MELTING TIPS: Want more ways to fast-track your weight loss? Check out these 7 Simple Ways to Save 700 Calories.


Not That!
Denny’s Grand Slamwich w/ hash browns
1,520 calories
101 g fat (44 g saturated)
3,550 mg sodium

Denny’s crams bacon, sausage, ham, cheese, and mayo into this shameful sandwich, and then bastes it in a maple glaze. Yikes! Create your own breakfast off the chain's Build-Your-Own menu and you can opt out of the high-liability fare and save yourself more than 1,100 calories at one meal.

Eat This, Instead!
Build-Your-Own Grand Slam w/ Egg Whites, Bacon, Hash Browns, and Seasonal Fruit
400 calories
17 g fat (4.5 saturated)
1,067 mg sodium

You lose: 0.3 pounds!

FAT FRENZY: Some fat is good for you. But the gratuitous amount of fat drenching restaurant dishes across the country isn't good for anyone—with the sole exception of corporate food industry big-wigs. Prepare to be shocked by this comprehensive list of the Fattiest Foods in America. 

Not That!
Chili’s Southern Smokehouse Bacon Burger w/ fries and Coke
2,530 calories
139 g fat (46 g saturated)
6,575 mg sodium

The person who decided to add battered and deep-fried onions to a gargantuan BBQ bacon cheeseburger certainly did not have your health—or your silhouette—in mind. This burger will add two-thirds of a pound of fat to your gut, plus it contains more than double your recommended daily intake of saturated fat and about 3 days' worth of sodium! Because none of the chain’s burgers fall below the 1,000-calorie mark, you’re best move is to ditch the burger and opt for a Steakhouse Sandwich with corn on the cob. It's still a high-calorie item, but it's far better than the alternative.

Eat This Instead!
Steakhouse Sandwich w/ corn on the cob and unsweetened iced tea
810 calories
36 g fat (15 g saturated)
2,665 mg sodium

You lose: 0.5 pounds!

Dinner & Dessert
Not That!
Cheesecake Factory Shrimp Scampi and Steak Diane w/ mashed potates, with Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake
4,300 calories
141 g saturated fat
3,601 mg sodium

Here's the thing: The Shrimp Scampi and Steak Diane doesn't actually sound all that bad. But if that's your dinner, and you order a Chocolate Tower Truffle Cake for dessert, you're looking at more than 2 days' worth of calories. That's just absurd. For reasonable portions, go with the Factory's Petite Grilled Tenderloin of Beef finished off with a bowl of chocolate ice cream. That puts 3,215 calories back in your pocket and saves you nearly a pound of flab.

Eat This Instead!
Cheesecake Factory Petite Grilled Tenderloin of Beef w/ carrots and broccoli, with Chocolate Ice Cream
1,085 calories
28 g saturated fat
1,276 mg sodium

You lose: 0.9 pounds!

Don't forget to sign up for the FREE Eat This, Not That! newsletter and discover the secrets to eating smarter, feeling better, and staying slim and fit for life!

Also, check out our new book, Eat This, Not That! 2012, which includes our annual ranking of the best and worst restaurants in America. And don't miss Cook This, Not That! Easy & Awesome 350-Calorie Meals, which will save you time and money—and help you and your family lose weight without giving up the foods you love!


TODAY'S NUTRITION NEWS: The Superpowers of Strawberries ... The Biggest Mistake You Make at the Supermarket ... Junk Food Cravings, Solved!

NO-DIET WEIGHT LOSS: When it comes to dropping pounds, what you eat is only half the equation. How you eat is equally important. Check out the Top 20 Habits That Make You Fat and watch the belly fat disappear!  

IMPROVE YOUR LIFE—WITH YOUR iPAD!  Check out the all-new interactive iPad edition of Men's Health!, now available by subscription. 

BUILD YOUR BEST BODY FAST! Find your plan here: The Men's Health Big Book of 15-Minute Workouts and The Women's Health Big Book of 15-Minute Workouts

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