Meticulous meal planning. Counting every calorie you consume. Spending an entire weekend cooking healthy meals for the following week. Finding even more time to exercise. Sure, these weight-loss strategies work, but they can be awfully time consuming and can drain a person to a point where they give up on their weight loss plan entirely.
Enter some good news – there are ways to lose weight without having to give it your all – by adding simple activity back into your daily life and by following some simple healthy living and eating rules.
But keep in mind that you have to make your goals realistic. Yes, we all want Jennifer Aniston’s body tomorrow but that’s clearly not possible. So instead of resorting to a crash-and-burn diet—which you know is going to fail before you even start it, incorporate the below healthy tweaks to your routine one at a time and you’ll see the pounds peel off without you going crazy in the process. Good Luck.
Tweak Your Living And Eating Ways
1. Eat more protein.
Protein requires 25 percent more energy to digest than carbs, so it’s possible to cut your calorie intake without eating less food. Your body has to work harder to digest a salmon filet than it does a bowl of pasta, meaning you can get away with a few extra bites of that perfectly cooked fish while the noodles could do a number on your waistline. Eating protein also causes your body to release a hormone called leptin, which makes you feel fuller so you eat less later.
2. Stay hydrated—with salt water.
When it comes to H20, salt is not the enemy. Water needs electrolytes like sodium, potassium, and chloride to be best absorbed, which explains why they’re added to popular sports drinks. Add a pinch of Celtic sea salt or real salt (unrefined and unbleached) to your water before chugging. The electrolytes in the salt will push water into the cells where they need to be, rather than letting the water get flushed out, causing you to go to the bathroom every other minute. You’ll notice a spike in energy after staying hydrated, too, and you’ll be less likely to give in to cravings which are even harder to avoid when you’re running on empty.
3. Eat regular meals. Don’t skip any.
Your mom taught it to you when you were little, and now you’re teaching it to your kiddos, but are you doing it yourself? You better be. Otherwise, you’ll end up snacking on the wrong food or eating too much at the next meal. But just to be sure, have some healthy snacks around to keep your belly happy in between meals.
4. Get more sleep.
If you’re tired and up late, you’re more prone to late-night snacking, which often causes weight gain. Lack of sleep impacts your hunger and fullness hormones—ghrelin and leptin—making it more difficult to lose weight. Put those chips back on the shelf, girl. It’s midnight.
5. Write down what you eat.
Keeping a food journal forces you to look at the foods you’re eating on a daily basis. You’ll be much more honest with yourself about what and how much you’re actually eating. And science backs it up: A recent survey found that users who logged their daily eats lost more weight than those who didn’t. Think about it: You’ll actually want to eat healthier because writing, “12 cookies” and “18 chocolate squares” in the same journal entry is just not ideal, while writing “oven-roasted salmon with broccoli and wild rice, plus two squares of dark chocolate for dessert” sounds way more satisfying—and something to be proud of.
6. Stop stepping on the weighing scale every morning.
Research shows it can backfire when weight loss is your goal. If you get too wrapped up in the number of pounds you still have to shed, you can get discouraged and be tempted to give up altogether. Just focus on having healthier behaviors—and use your clothes or weekly selfies as a guide if you need one—and the weight loss will follow.
7. Get social.
Speaking of selfies, don’t be afraid to show them to your friends. And yeah, we know your instinct is to give some major eye roll when scrolling through an abdomen-filled Instagram feed, but try to refrain. Studies show that celebrating your clean eats and workout commitments on social media can actually promote weight loss because the support you’ll get from those around you will motivate you to keep it up. So go on and click “post” already.
8. Mix in some matcha.
We’re talking about the powdered green tea that’s been popular in Japan for quite some time now, and is now making waves in the U.S. A study found that it contains extremely high amounts of epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, which helps stop the growth of fat cells. Matcha is also loaded with these health benefits, so get ready to go green.
9. Branch out with berries.
A new study found that camu camu, an Amazonian berry, contains about 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C in just 3.5 ounces of fruit and can help lower blood sugar. When your blood sugar is too high, you need more insulin to metabolize the food you eat, and insulin stops your body from using stored fat as energy, says Westerkamp. In other words, higher blood sugar = more insulin = stored fat sticking around for way too long. Unfortunately, you won’t find fresh camu camu berries at your local grocery store, but you can purchase them as a raw powder—perfect for mixing into smoothies—online or at natural health food stores.
10. Go nuts for nuts.
Studies have shown that a diet high in nuts results in greater weight loss, and now scientists are finding the benefits go even further. New research found that peanuts can improve vascular health, while almonds can reduce belly fat and your risk of heart disease. Snack on a handful in the afternoon, or toss ’em in your salad for some extra healthy crunch.
Tweak Your Daily Movements
11. Take yourself off cruise control.
Increase the intensity of your everyday tasks, from vacuuming to walking the dog. Turn on some music, add in some vigorous bursts, and enjoy the movement.
12. Step it up—and down.
Climbing stairs is a great leg strengthener, because you’re lifting your body weight against gravity. In addition to taking the stairs at every opportunity, try stepping up and down on the curb while you’re waiting for the bus or filling your gas tank, says Brooks.
13. Stand taller.
You’ll burn calories (and look thinner) when you stand tall. To improve posture follow this shoulder girdle crunch: Stand or sit with your arms relaxed at your sides, palms facing forward. Visualize a pen placed vertically between your shoulder blades, and squeeze them together as if you were trying to hold the pen in place. Hold for a count of 6, relax, and repeat 12 times.
14. Carry your own bags.
When you let someone else load your groceries or carry your suitcase, you’re missing a great opportunity for strengthening and calorie burning. Carry your groceries, balanced with a bag in each hand, even if you have to make several trips. And pack two smaller suitcases instead of one big one, so you can carry them yourself.
15. Have a ball.
Replace your desk chair with a giant exercise ball. You have to engage the core muscles to maintain stability on the ball so you’re getting a great workout right at your desk.
16. Take the longer route.
Stop using the closest rest room, parking space, or vending machine. Get in the habit of taking the longest route to the rest room (on a different floor, if that’s possible) and climb stairs to get there.
17. Do chair aerobics.
Set a timer to ring hourly. When it goes off, stand up, and sit down slowly four times. This will boost circulation and give you a nice stretch, and you’ll be doing 4 squats an hour, or 32 a day. That’s a great way to strengthen your lower body.
18. Play waiting games.
Don’t just sit there while your computer is downloading or the copier is collating. Do a stretch (place both hands behind your head, open your elbows, and lean back), try balancing on one leg, or do a few buttocks squeezes.