Weight loss isn’t all about hitting the gym five days a week and eating nothing but salad. There are many ways to beat weight gain and promote weight loss that don’t require money, time or dramatic changes to your life.
Check out weight loss hacks that actually work below to get you past your weight loss plateau and back into your skinny jeans.
Lower Your Thermostat
Studies show that lowering the thermostat by just a few degrees at night can help burn fat while we sleep. Yes, you heard that right. Burn fat while you rest. The body will automatically initiate fat burning in order to keep you warm. You may also sleep more soundly. When our bodies are slightly chilly wrapped up in the covers, our sleep cycle tends to be interrupted less frequently. A hot, cozy room might feel nice when we first fall asleep, but waking up at 3AM feeling dehydrated and hot doesn’t help anyone. Try lowering your thermostat to 60F at night to initiate fat burning while you sleep.
Stop Wearing Sweats
Lounging in comfortable sweatpants and leggings is necessary in life. They can be stylish, complement your outfit and often pass for regular clothes when done right. But when you’re watching your weight and trying to lose a few pounds, those stretchy waistbands and fabrics will give and give, preventing you from seeing changes to your figure. Even if sweats are a regular part of your wardrobe rotation, try throwing on a pair of tailored pants or jeans every once in a while to remind yourself how you fit into regular clothes.
Skip The Commercials
Seeing food on TV makes us want to eat. Research shows that food-based television advertisements can influence our late night eating decisions. We won’t necessarily run out to buy a Big Mac after a MacDonald’s ad, but we just might head to the kitchen to see what we can munch on instead. Similarly, watching cooking shows for new recipes can prompt snacking and hunger. Getting up and walking away when the commercials are on will help. Find something else to do while they’re on like folding laundry, playing with the kids or checking your email. Anything but staring at pizza and chocolate commercials for four minutes straight.
Get Some Sleep
While it isn’t always easy with a busy schedule, getting more sleep can have a significant impact on your ability to lose weight. Numerous studies have shown that getting seven to eight hours a night ensures your body wakes up rested, boots your metabolism and is able to sustain energy for longer periods of time. That 3PM slump? Won’t be a problem. And you certainly won’t be reaching for the large caramel macchiato or the muffin to get you through the afternoon. Studies show that people who are sleep deprived eat significantly more sugar simply to keep their energy levels high. And sugar cravings become more and more difficult to suppress, adding inches to the waistline.
Choose Your Plates Wisely
Research has showed time and time again that eating off a small plate will make your meal look larger and “trick you” into thinking you’re eating more. This works especially well with carb heavy dishes such as pasta. Grab the appetizer plate and serve your dinner to give it a try. Size isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to overeating. The color of the plate can also have an impact on how much we consume. Eating from a dish that is a high contrast color from your food, such as bright blue or red, can help. It might be time to change your kitchen décor.
Eat Before You Shop
Grocery shopping while hungry can have disastrous effects on your choices, and grocery bill. If you browse the aisles while hungry, you’re more inclined to pick out the things that look tasty to you in the moment, which can lead to purchasing more snacks, carbs and salty foods. Your best bet is to shop after a healthy meal, or munch on an apple or a small turkey wrap in advance so that you feel satiated. You’ll be more prepared to stick to your grocery list, plan ahead for meals and avoid unnecessary purchases.
Eat Dinner Earlier
Eating dinner earlier can help your digestion and help to avoid packing on the pounds at night. Consider that after dinner, we are often sitting on the couch watching TV or just relaxing at home without much physical activity. Our dinner sits with us in a way that breakfast and lunch do not when we’re on the go. If you eat a few hours before bed, you will give your body a chance to digest and prevent the body from converting the meal directly to fat. Try going for a brisk walk one hour after dinner to take some air and keep your body moving before bed. Avoiding carb heavy meals at night can also reduce the risk of gaining weight. Eating vegetables and lean meats for dinner in addition to eating earlier will make a difference.
Most nutritionists and trainers will tell you that skipping breakfast – skipping meals altogether – is a big mistake when trying to lose weight. When we wake up, our blood sugar levels are low and our muscles and brain are looking for nutrients to get moving. If your body isn’t getting the fuel it needs to start the day, you may feel zapped for energy and you will be more likely to overeat later in the day. Many people don’t eat breakfast because they don’t have time. Rushing out the door doesn’t mean you can’t grab something to go. Try prepping your breakfast the night before so there’s no excuse in the AM.
Eat Off A Plate, Not Out Of A Bag
If you’re snacking out of a bag on something like chips or popcorn, try serving it up in a bowl or on a plate so you can clearly see how much you’re eating. Eating out of the bag can get out of hand fast, especially when distracted by the TV or browsing online. Grab a cereal bowl and fill it with your favorite chips. Eat one at a time and pace yourself. You’ll find you get more enjoyment from the flavor and you won’t risk polishing off the bag without realizing it.
Clear Out Your Cupboards
Get rid of the junk food. It’s just that simple. When we know there is junk food just steps away in the kitchen cupboards, we are more inclined to reach for it to satisfy a craving. Even if the fridge is stocked with healthy snacks, it’s more likely that the chips or ice cream will tempt. Try getting rid of it all so that if you absolutely must splurge on a sweet or salty craving, you have to get out of the house to do it. Putting that extra effort and time in the way of getting to junk food will help to deter you, or offer a moment to pause and reflect on the craving itself.
Stop Drinking Soda
Soda is loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners and calories, yet completely devoid of any nutrients. For this reason, it’s not going to help shed pounds or shrink waistlines. If soda is a big part of your daily calorie intake, you will notice a change in your weight almost immediately just by eliminating it from your diet. Substituting water for soda will cleanse your system, eliminate those extra calories and reduce your sugar intake. Such a small change can make a dramatic difference to your health. Don’t let diet sodas fool you. They’re just pumped full of artificial sweeteners that pack on the pounds, regardless of the false advertising promises.
Buy Healthy Snacks
We all want to snack between meals, especially in the afternoons when our energy slumps and we need to get through those long strategy sessions at work. Try purchasing healthy snacks at the grocery store the next time you go shopping. Opt for a variety of fruit that you can pack easily in your bag for work, or when you’re out and about. Some great snacks that will help you to sustain your blood sugar levels are: apples, pears, bananas, almonds, cashews and Greek yoghurt. Try keeping a week’s worth of snacks at your desk so you’re set from Monday through to Friday.
Chew On It
They say it takes up to twenty minutes to feel full. How much you consume during that twenty minutes can have a big impact on your overall consumption. Taking your time and chewing your food can help. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of finally eating dinner after a long day. Before we know it, we’re on our second or third helping. Try chewing your food longer with each bite. This will not only slow down mealtime, but it will break down your food making it more digestible.
Pack Your Lunch
Right after dinner with leftovers at the ready, pack your lunch for the next day. Choose portable, leak-free containers to keep your meal fresh. Grab it and go while you’re on your way out the door in the morning. Great lunch options include leftover sir-fry with whole grain rice and a protein of your choice, turkey wraps, tuna sandwiches and loaded salads with protein. Keep in mind that a heavy lunch can make you feel tired and unfocused in the afternoon. Try to keep the heavy carbs at a minimum and load up on fresh vegetables, light proteins and high-energy foods.
No time, money or interest in the gym or the local barre class? Fear not. Walking is an effective exercise for weight management, joint and bone health, cardiovascular exercise and mood enhancement. If you take an early morning walk (before or after breakfast, depending on your energy levels), you will notice significant improvements to your day, including: less joint pain, improved focus and heightened energy. Try walking at a speed that mirrors walking quickly through an airport to catch your connecting flight. If you’re 150 pounds walking briskly (around 3.5 miles per hour), you can burn up to 300 calories in 60 minutes. Exercise doesn’t have to be high impact, grueling, sweaty endeavors. Give walking a chance.