This is so familiar – you pledge to honor a daily elliptical routine and count every last calorie. But soon, you’re eating chips at the office and grabbing happy hour mojitos, thinking, diet over!
There is a better way to lose weight – Swap the all-or-nothing approach for one or two healthy switch-ups in your daily routine. Doing this can lead to more weight loss than you ever imagined.
Here are 15 tricks that will help you tweak your lifestyle to a skinnier and sexier body.
1. Eat More Snacks
Skipping snack time won’t necessarily lead to weight loss: Low calorie consumption can actually slow metabolism. Eating less than three times a day may benefit those who are obese, but research shows skipping meals throughout the day and eating one large meal at night can lead to some undesirable outcomes (like delayed insulin response) which may increase the risk of diabetes. Instead of forgoing breakfast or lunch, stick to a few meals a day with healthy snacks between them.
2. Stock Your Fridge With Healthy Foods
Make an effort to fill your fridge with healthy produce and proteins. And when the crisper is empty, make sure the freezer is stocked with frozen veggie mixes or berries (and don’t forget to grab the bags that are sans added sauces or sugar). You may be less apt to order out when you’ve got the makings of a healthy dinner right at home.
3. Eat a Hearty Breakfast
Skipping breakfast in order to “save your appetite” for dinner probably isn’t a safety shield for late-night noshing. While there’s still debate on how important breakfast really is, not eating until the afternoon may lead to binge-eating later (think: a massive dinner because you’re starving). Stick to a reasonably-sized breakfast with plenty of protein, so you’re not tempted to eat unhealthy snacks mid-morning.
4. Snack Before Going Out To Eat
Grabbing an apple or a small cup of yogurt before meeting friends for dinner can help ensure you’ll eat a reasonable amount of that enormous entrée. And be sure to reach for the protein—research shows that an afternoon snack of Greek yogurt can lead to reduced hunger, increased fullness, and less eating come dinner time.
5. Do Not Watch TV While You Eat
Eating while watching television is linked to poor food choices and overeating. Getting sucked into the latest episode of “Scandal” can bring on mindless eating—making it easy to lose track of just how many chips you’ve gone through. It’s not just the mindlessness of watching televsion that’ll get us. Commercials for unhealthy foods and drinks may increase our desire for low-nutrient junk, fast food, and sugary beverages.
6. Fill Up On Fibre
Eating more vegetables and other high-fibre items like legumes can help keep us fuller, longer. Look for at least five grams or more of the stuff per serving. Snack on some of our favorite high-fibre picks like stuffed baked apples or jazzed-up oats.
7. Ditch The Added Sugar
Adding sugar to food may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and obesity. Stick to sugar that comes in its natural form (think: fruits, veggies, and whole grains) and scrap that spoonful on your cereal or in your coffee.
8. Skip Frying
Even healthy food can go bad when it’s been dropped in a fryer. Instead, pan fry or pop a dish in the oven. Use non-stick spray to sauté foods, or rub oil onto a pan with a paper towel for a light coating.
9. Eat the Fruit, not Drink It
Juices (which are often not 100 percent fruit) provide some vitamins, but without the same fiber and phytonutrients as a real piece of fruit. Take an apple for instance: The average apple juice box has nearly double the sugar and seven times less fiber than the apple itself.
10. Use Free Weights
Strength training on its own is a great idea— but it gets even better when you set yourself free. And by that, we mean squatting with a pair of dumbbells instead of using the leg press. Working out with free weights can activate muscles more effectively, and adding muscle can help torch calories.
11. Do Functional Exercises
Functional exercise has been shown to increase strength and balance and reduce the risk of injury all while working multiple muscle groups at the same time. All that movement promotes muscle gain, which can increase metabolism, which can help shed fat. Added bonus: Functional exercises can make real-life tasks—like hauling groceries up stairs—easier.
12. Stand Up – All the Time
It may sound ludacris to peel your tush from a desk chair at work, but sitting all day has been linked to obesity, poor posture, and chromic pain. Try a sit-stand workstation to switch things up and burn more calories.
13. Have Sex – All the Time
Working up a sweat in bed can burn around 60 calories in just a half hour. Having sex also reduces blood pressure and overall stress levels (and stress can lead to weight gain). Need we say more?
14. Sleep – A Lot More Than Before
Sleep not only reduces stress, helps us heal faster, and prevents depression, it can also help shave off pounds. That’s because sleep loss is linked to changes in appetite and the metabolism of glucose (sugar in the blood). Moral of the story: Sleep is associated with less weight gain.
15. Just Get Moving
A simple phrase for losing weight is: Move more and eat less. The secret is that moving doesn’t just mean hitting the track or going to the gym. Make the conscious decision to get more steps into the day by taking the stairs, having a walking meeting, or parking the car far away from a store’s entrance.