This is usually how it goes – you promise yourself at least 45 minutes on the treadmill – every single day – and to also count every last calorie you eat. But soon enough, you’re eating cupcakes, beef jerky and popcorn in bed with Friends re-runs playing in the background. Oops, your diet is over.
But, there’s a better way to lose weight. You don’t have to settle for the “all-or-nothing” approach – you can just swap your ‘fat’ habits for one or two healthy switch-ups in your daily routine. In fact, doing this can lead to more weight loss than you ever imagined.
So, here are some tips from women at a weight loss camp that I attended – these women had knocked off 10, 25, even 60 pounds with some easy tweaks in their daily habits – and they’re a huge inspiration to all of us. Use their slim-down secrets to transform our body the real-world way – for real, fast and for good!
1. Change your take-out orders
If you are the ultra busy them and eat out or take-out at restaurants, then you can cut back the calories easily buy just switching what you get. Order a grilled chicken salad instead of a large bowl of pasta, and you can easily lose 15 pounds in one month.
2. Make snacking an inconvenience
Stop buying snacks at the grocery store. Make it inconvenient for yourself to get a hold of snacks – like if you really want a bag of chips or a candy bar, you had to walk to the store to get it. You may think your cravings will win you over but small inconveniences like having to walk to the store would usually make anyone ignore their cravings. Drink a glass of water instead.
3. Eat a really hearty breakfast
Like most women, skipping breakfast is normal – we think that if we skip breakfast, our bodies would burn off the calories from the food we eat the night before. How wrong were we… One of the women at the fat camp I spoke to started eating about 300 calories of a healthy mix of protein and whole grains for breakfast every single day. It kept her hunger down so she snacked less throughout the day. In a little over a year, she shed 65 pounds.
4. Five minutes is really all you need
Try to fit in small bouts of exercise whenever possible, like doing jumping jacks or crunches during television commercials or dancing while washing dishes. This burns extra calories and keeps you from mindlessly munching in front of the TV.
5. Clean out your pantry
It is true – if you don’t see it, you won’t crave it. So, do a purge. Clean out your pantry and replace any over-indulgent foods with lower-cal snacks. Healthy and yummy options include roasted sunflower seeds or Special K Chocolatey Delight cereal. Over time, you will non-consciously begin to make better choices automatically.
6. Make happy hour outdoors
Instead of going out for cocktails after work followed by dinner, start going for long walks or short runs. During the winter time, you can sign up for swimming at your local YWCA. If you keep this up, you will see your body slim down tremendously.
7. Create a kick-ass playlist
Get fired up by loading your your iPod (walkman, phone, whatever you have) with jams that make you look forward to going to the gym. They will energize you, and allow you to pick up speed on your favorite cardio machine—and because you probably want to hear the entire playlist, your workouts will be longer. Imagine what 2 months of consistent gym time can do for your body.
8. Eat an enormous pile of veggies
By adding vegetables to the foods you love—like eating pizza topped with arugula and green peppers instead of pepperoni—you will become full quicker and no longer have that desire for chips or super-rich desserts. Say good-bye to size 14 for good.
9. Run, run run
This tip is from me – when I wanted to fit into my skinny jeans again, I started running 20 minutes a day during my lunch hour. In two months, I’ve lost 20 pounds, have tons of energy, and just finished my first 5K. Those jeans I was talking about, they’re too big now!
10. Eat your biggest meal after a workout
After an intense weight workout, your body needs carbs and starches to replenish blood-sugar levels and stop the breakdown of muscle. This is also the time when your insulin sensitivity and metabolism are at their highest. Enjoying your biggest meal when your body is craving energy and cutting back on the rest of your meals throughout the day will minimize any unwanted fat gains.
11. Get more flexible
Everybody thinks yoga does not help with weight loss – you just get more flexible. But doing yoga allows you to have a deeper relationship with food and your body. If you practice it consistently enough, you will see yourself more in touch with your hunger cues—so you eat intuitively and stop when you’re full. Never heard this one before, huh? I haven’t either – but it apparently helped this lady lose 15 pounds in a month.
12. Stop snacking before going to bed
Because you tend to eat ONLY junk at night, you should just stop eating entirely after 6:30 p.m. Maybe do this 5 times a week and save the other two evenings for dinners out. Not being full before you sleep also helps you get a better, deeper sleep through the night, which also helps tremendously in weight loss (i.e. if you did not know, when you’re tired, you tend to eat more.)
13. Say no to juice
It’s natural! It’s packed with Vitamin C! It comes from Florida! What could be wrong? Well, although 100 percent fruit juice is a better pick than sugary drinks like Sunny D, even the all-natural stuff still packs up to 36 grams of sugar per cup—or about what you’d get from popping 4 Krispy Kreme glazed donuts into a blender and hitting frappé. What’s more, most of the sweetness in juice comes from fructose, a type of sugar associated with the development of visceral adipose tissue—yep, that’s belly fat.
14. Just drink water, and lots of it
People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. You can end up consuming extra calories when a glass of water is really what you need. You should aim to drink about six to eight glasses of water, every day – or more if it’s warm or you’re exercising.
15. Don’t be hard on yourself
Lastly, obsessing over losing weight is counterproductive! Making yourself stressful does crazy things to your body and you will ultimately have a harder time losing weight. So, don’t think too much and overcomplicate things—with weight loss, more often than not, simplicity is best.
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