Five secrets to successful weight loss -

Five secrets to weight loss

If the belt isn't getting any looser despite a resolution to lose weight, it may be time for a gut-check. Personal trainer Carlos Rivas says that by sticking to five simple rules, the weight will come off.

First, eat breakfast. "Eating breakfast is the most important meal of the day," says Rivas. "Because you're breaking the fast from sleeping. Food wakes up the metabolism and kicks calorie burning into gear." Rivas and his trainers also suggest eating more often. He says mini-meals about every three hours will help keep the metabolism going all day.

His second rule is strength training. Rivas recommends doing this two to three days every week. "From age 35 to 40, we lose about seven pounds of muscle," he explains. "One pound of muscle burns about 15 calories per day, so if you're losing muscle mass your metabolism is dropping."

And while the body needs time to repair after a day of strength training, cardio should be done five to six days a week. Getting enough cardio is the third rule of losing weight. "Doing 10 minutes a day will decrease chances of being obese by up to 30 percent," Rivas says. It pumps blood to the heart, the muscles, the brain and that helps to clear the head, and Rivas notes that "[people] start making better choices everywhere, especially eating."

For anyone new to cardio, 10 minutes a day is enough to start. Too much too soon, warns Rivas, will sideline a weight loss goal.

Fourth on the list is drinking plenty of water. Rivas recommends 64 ounces a day to keep energy levels up and headaches at bay.

Finally, the fifth tip is getting six to eight hours of sleep every night. Sleep keeps leptin levels controlled, which Rivas explains is your "satisfactory hormone." When leptin levels are higher, hunger levels stay lower.

"So we tell people, 'Hey, stick to those five principles and you're going to do fine,'" says Rivas. "Never mind all the other crazy diets."

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