38 Super-Easy Fat Loss Hacks That Work, According to Science
Got a minute? Great because that's really all the time it takes to start making a significant change in your body weight and your health. We all have a need for speed, don't we? Things that take a long time are too easy to blow off. But 60 seconds? We can do anything for a minute. We bet you can, too! Especially when it comes to easy weight loss tricks.
A study in Plos One showed that you could enjoy the same cardiometabolic health benefits of traditional endurance training for a fraction of the time. That research suggested a quick 10-minute workout of intense interval-style training—including 60-second bursts of all-out effort—would provide the same physiological benefits as a full 50-minute workout at a moderate level of intensity.
Briefer is better when it comes to exercise in our book. So, we started hunting for other speedy ways to save precious time and lose those stubborn pounds. And we rounded up 40 surprisingly easy tips and tricks that can help you lose weight fast.
We'll set the stopwatch. Try these out, quick. Ready, go!
Sniff an Olive
Yes, you read that right. Just a whiff of olives may exert a powerful influence over your waistline, according to one study. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich found that people who ate foods infused with the scent of olive oil consumed fewer calories and had better blood sugar control than another group that ate foods lacking in olive oil scents.
Looking for more easy ways to stay on track with your weight loss goals? Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get daily recipes and food news in your inbox!
Keep At It: Science Says You'll Grow to Enjoy Healthy Foods
Don't like the taste of lima beans? Hang with us. In a study at Boston University, researchers fed overweight people meals that included high amounts of pulses like beans and lentils. After six weeks, participants who previously said they didn't eat beans rated the bean meals higher in flavor than they did before the experiment. This suggests, the researchers say, that adding healthful foods that you don't like to your diet over time will make them more enjoyable. Another study, this one at the University of Buffalo, found that regular exposure to foods changes the proteins in saliva that affect taste, making them more pleasing.
Eat Wet Snacks
Choosing foods that are low in calories but high in volume (or bulk) and water will help you fill up, stay satisfied, and lose weight, according to Barbara Rolls, PhD, who created a diet called Volumetrics. Rolls believes that people sense fullness not because of the number of calories of fat, protein, or carbohydrates they consume, but rather because of the amount of foods they eat. Give the theory a try: Snack on high-water content foods like celery, cucumber, watermelon, lettuce, and grapefruit. Eat broth-based soups instead of dense creamy ones. And choose high-fiber foods like whole grains, beans, and legumes.
Remember the Last Supper
Think about what you had last night for dinner or this afternoon for lunch. It may help you lose weight. An analysis of attentive eating studies published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that when people remember their last meal as being satisfying and filling, they tend to eat less during their next meal. So, grab your phone and take a selfie with your supper, that is, if you enjoyed it.
Make Your Own Lunch
Brown-bagging your lunch instead of hitting a fast-food joint takes just a minute or two, but can save you a lot of calories. John's Hopkins researchers found that home cooks save an average of 200 calories every week compared to those who eat out more frequently. Figure your home-made lunch will likely weigh in at more than 200 calories less than the typical 500+ calorie restaurant lunch. A 200-calorie daily savings could add up to 20 pounds of weight loss in a year.
Have a Mushroom Burger, But Hold the Burger
If you substituted low-energy-density foods like portobello or white button mushrooms for high-energy-density foods such as a hamburger just once a week, you'd save more than 20,000 calories over the course of a year without changing anything else about your diet, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center. Try grilled portobello "burgers," mushroom lasagna, and Sloppy Joes.
Spice Your Oatmeal
Cinnamon has been shown to boost thermogenesis and metabolism, according to a study in the journal Metabolism. So go ahead and sprinkle ground cinnamon on your morning oatmeal. Or add a few shakes of the spice to the ground coffee in your French press before adding water. It's no wonder it's one of our best spices for fat loss.
Cut Back on Coffee Add-Ins
Drink your coffee black. Weaning yourself from cream and sugar every morning can help you to lose about 14 pounds in a year. For more, check out these 7 Things You Should Never Add to Your Coffee
Call Yourself 'Lefty' …or 'Righty,' Depending
Give your brain time to catch up to your mouth. Studies show that people who eat faster tend to consume more calories overall. So, just slow it down.
One way to do that is to hold your fork or spoon in your non-dominant hand. Just remember to bring plenty of napkins. And talk while you eat, just not with your mouth full. Talking to a dining partner during a meal automatically forces you to eat more slowly.
Pick the Right Popcorn
Popcorn is a belly-filling whole grain, but some like those buttery theater popcorns can contain more than 15 grams of saturated fat and 300 calories or more. Choose a bag of 94% fat-free microwave popcorn and save yourself about 150 calories.
Swap Fruit Juice for the Actual Fruit
Simply replace a glass of apple juice with a whole apple. People who substituted a piece of fruit for fruit juice with their lunch reduced their daily calorie intake by up to 20%, according to a study in the International Journal of Obesity.
Boost Your Sauce
Chop two handfuls of fresh or frozen spinach and add to any tomato-based pasta sauce for an extra hit of belly-filling fiber, plus extra nutrients like folate, niacin, vitamin E, and calcium. Consider this one of the easy ways to add fiber to your diet!
Understand How Eating Sugary Stuff Makes You Hungrier
Reviewing a little biology lesson before you pick up a donut or other sugary treat may help you avoid the "brain trick" that'll make you want seconds and thirds.
See, sugary foods activate a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens, the center for reward that triggers cravings. When you eat a food high in sugars, your pancreas responds by producing extra insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. Insulin triggers fat cells to take excessive amounts of glucose and other calorie-rich substances out of the bloodstream and store them. Your brain takes notice of this reduction in calories and gets worried. Your brain has high glucose needs, so it sends out a hunger alarm and you crave a quick sugar/energy fix as a result.
By understanding how eating sugars encourages you to eat more sugars, you can teach yourself to cut back on sweets. You'll soon notice that when you limit added sugars, your cravings for sweets and fast-burning carbohydrates like baked goods will be reduced.
Eat a Salad with Your Loved Ones
One study found that when one partner starts a weight-loss program (either dieting or exercising) the act influences his or her spouse to adopt healthier lifestyle practices, too.
Have a Watery Chaser
If you are drinking alcohol at a party, have a tall glass of ice water in between beers, wines, or cocktails to slash the number of calories you'll consume from the alcoholic beverages by half while also combating the dehydrating effects of the booze.
No time to sneak in a run or a half-hour walk? That's OK. Do this instead: Run up to the second floor of your home or find a set of stairs and sprint up them. Walk down carefully. Repeat for 60 seconds without resting. It's a great way to elevate your heart rate, strengthen your legs and glutes, burn calories, and bring energizing oxygen to your brain. Do it throughout the day, every time you pass the stairs.
Make Like a Farmer
Maybe it's because they are constantly moving, carrying heavy pails of whatever, chasing runaway pigs, climbing tractors and such, but typically, farmers are in solid shape. For a quick farm-hand's workout, grab a gallon jug of water in each hand (or buckets of gravel) and walk. It's called the Farmer's Carry exercise, and it's a terrific total body burn. With the weights in each hand, stand with your back straight and shoulders pulled back (don't hunch over) and walk around your yard for as long as you can. Put the jugs or buckets down, rest, and repeat for up to four sets.
Snack on Roasted Chickpeas
A handful of roasted chickpeas is a 10-second fix for belly grumbles that might otherwise encourage you to visit a box of donuts.
A study in the journal Obesity determined that people who ate a single serving a day of chickpeas reported feeling 31% fuller than their beanless counterparts. Keep chickpeas them on hand for hunger emergencies by making them this tasty way at home: Heat 1 1/2 tsp. of olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup of rinsed, drained, and dried chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans). Cook for about 5 minutes, tossing frequently.
Next, toss with 1/2 tsp of curry powder and a pinch of paprika and sea salt. Double the recipe if want more. A serving delivers a hunger-satisfying 6 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein.
Step on a Scale, Then Turn on the Faucet
H₂O is the secret formula for weight loss, says Beachbody Super Trainer Autumn Calabrese, author of the new book Lose Weight Like Crazy Even if You Have a Crazy Life! "Your body is up to 60% water. If it's not properly hydrated, it can't function at optimum levels and stay trim. You should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. That means if you weight 200 pounds, you should be drinking a minimum of 100 ounces of water daily," Calabrese says.
Skip the Greasy Pizza Meat
A Margherita pizza can be just as satisfying as that Meat Lover's pie. And it'll save you a lot of calories. How many exactly? Nix the pepperoni and you'll save 30 calories per slice. Likewise, doing without bacon, Italian sausage, or ground beef saves 43, 44, and 44 calories, respectively.
Sop Up the Oil
Speaking of your pizza slice, eliminate a few more calories by sopping up puddles of oil on top with a paper towel.
Set the Alarm
Sleeping in can make it difficult to get rid of belly fat. Solution: Set your alarm for 7 a.m. According to one study, people who woke up around 10:45 a.m. consumed 248 more calories a day, ate half as many fruits and vegetables, and ate twice the amount of fast food than people who rose earlier in the morning.
Start Your Day with Pushups
Morning exercise sets your body thermostat (your "calorie furnace") to run hotter for the rest of the day, says Jordan D. Metzl, MD, a sports medicine specialist at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC and author of The Exercise Cure. Most forms of exercise will have this effect, but few moves do it better than the pushup, which hits nearly every major muscle group. The more muscle you work and build, the greater the metabolic turbocharge.
Jump Rope for 60 Seconds
Walking 10,000 steps each day can help you burn thousands of extra calories each week. Plus, health experts say that number of steps daily rewards you with cardiovascular health benefits, on top of the potential weight loss. If you pick up a jump rope, just 60 seconds of jumping (depending on the speed of your feet) can translate into 130 to 200 really quick steps.
Make a Fist
That's the size of a healthy serving of vegetables. Now "think 'two fistfuls of veggies' by 2 p.m.," suggests nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein, RD, author of You Can Drop It! How I Lost 1oo Pounds Enjoying Carbs, Cocktails & Chocolate—and You Can Too! "Use that hint to remind yourself to fill up on vegetables first. It will drastically improve your sense of food control and eating behaviors in the afternoon and later at night. You'll end up eating less of the high-calorie foods and be able to lose weight easier."
Have a Hot Dog with Sauerkraut, Hold the Dog
Eat more cabbagy foods like sauerkraut, 'slaw, and kimchi; they are a good source of probiotics that support digestive health. A recent review of 25 studies found that taking probiotics reduced body weight and body mass, with the greatest reduction occurring in overweight subjects.
Write When You Bite
A recent study at the University of Vermont suggests that writing down everything you eat can help you lose weight and consume a healthier diet. During a 24-week weight-control program, researchers found that study subjects who used an online program to record their daily food intake three times a day lost at least 10% of their baseline weight while people who did not log their food or did so only about once a day lost less weight.
Make a Meal Out of Your Side Dishes
At least once a week, avoid the meaty main course and build a full meal out of side dishes like steamed broccoli, grilled asparagus, brown rice, salads, and fruit. You'll automatically create a healthier main meal richer in nutrients and lower in calories. When you're dining out though, stay away from any of these unhealthiest restaurant side dishes!
Pop the Weight-Loss Pill Called Pistachio
Researchers from the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition divided study participants into two groups, each of which were fed a nearly identical low-calorie diet for 12 weeks. The only difference between the groups was that they were given as an afternoon snack. One group ate 220 calories worth of pretzels while the other ate 240 calories of pistachios. After just four weeks the pistachio snackers reduced their body mass index by a point while the pretzel-eating group stayed the same. Cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the nut-eating group showed improvements, as well.
Save Calories at a Restaurant
It takes just three seconds to make a healthier selection at a restaurant. That's all it takes to peek at the nutrition information. For example, looking over the calorie numbers on the menu at Boston Market, could help you choose the Roasted Turkey Breast with fresh steamed vegetables, garlic dill new potatoes and poultry gravy over the Roasted Turkey Carver sandwich with three-cheese blend, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and mayonnaise on a multigrain roll. The latter sandwich delivers more than double the calories, fat grams, and sodium of the roast turkey platter.
Kelp Me, Rhonda
Japanese researchers have found that the compound fucoxanthin found in brown seaweed helps reduce deep belly fat in lab animals. Whether the same thing will happen in humans has yet to be proven, but there are other reasons to seaweed and eat it. The fiber in kelp slows stomach emptying, helping you to feel fuller longer.
Read Before You Buy
When shopping, make a habit of checking nutrition labels and use this healthy ratio to help quickly find foods that won't jack up your blood sugar and cause cravings.
"Inspect how many grams of fiber the food contains," suggests Muhlstein. "You want to see at least 1 gram of fiber for every 10 grams of total carbohydrates. So if the label shows 30 grams of total carbs, you want at least 3 grams of fiber."
Swallow a No-Calorie Energy Booster
Need an afternoon energy shot? Don't buy a "coffee" drink loaded with sweeteners and fake flavors. Have a crisp club soda with lime. The carbonation and aroma of the fruit will energize you.
Set a Regular Teatime
Drink more brewed tea. It's loaded with health benefits, one of which is metabolizing fat. Make it green tea. A study published in The Journal of Nutrition found that exercisers who sipped four to five cups of green tea each day for two weeks lost more belly fat than gym-goers who did not drink tea. The secret fat burner in green tea is an antioxidant called catechins that stifles the storage of belly fat and speeds weight loss.
Stay in Your Pajamas
You're probably working at home these days due to the pandemic. You're probably working at your computer in your pajamas, shorts and a T-shirt or other highly casual attire because no one can see you. That may be a good thing for your health and weight. A study by The American Council on Exercise suggests casual clothing, as opposed to conventional business attire, can increase physical activity levels in our daily routines. Participants in the study took an additional 491 steps and burned 25 more calories on days they wore denim than when wearing traditional suit wear. Those calories can add up to the tune of more than 6,000 calories over a year's time, enough to offset the average annual weight gain (0.4 to 1.8 pounds) experienced by most Americans.
Keep the Crumbs Off the Keyboard
Eating lunch at your computer is a bad habit. For one, you need the break, and by concentrating on what you're eating you are more likely to consume fewer calories. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people eat while multitasking they consume an average of 288 calories more in one sitting than they would otherwise. Experts explain that a distracted mind while eating can prevent certain satiety cues from instructing your brain that you've had your fill.
ANTS are Automatic Negative Thoughts that trigger anxiety and flood the body with stress hormones that may encourage you to reach for a pint of emotional soothing—in other words chocolate chunk ice cream. Whenever an ANT enters your mind, write it down and forget about it. Later on, review what you wrote and analyze where it came from and think rationally to correct the incorrect negative thinking.
Slice Thin, Eat Less
Trick yourself into feeling more satisfied with fewer calories. Here's how: Grab a sharp knife. Slicing your food thinly and spreading it out on your plate will make your portions seem bigger and more satisfying. In a study at Japan's National Food Research Institute, participants who compared equal amounts of sliced and whole vegetables rated the sliced piles up to 27% larger. For more ways to stay full for longer, check out these 30 Hacks to Feel Full When You're Trying to Lose Weight.
More content from Weight Loss
- – The 4 Best Breakfast Habits for Your Waistline
- – 6 Best High-Protein Foods for Weight Loss, Say Dietitians
- – 4 Ways To Dine Out and Still Lose Weight
- – Our Dietitians Swear By These Healthy Weight Loss Tips
- – The 9 Best Foods That Melt Stubborn Belly Fat
- – 5 Easy Ways To Lose 10 Pounds Before Your Wedding
- – What Eating Cheese Does to Your Waistline
- – Worst Alcoholic Beverages for Weight Loss, Say Dietitians