If you’re not satisfied with the number you see when you step on the scale, it’s time to take action — especially if you’ve surpassed 170 pounds, an above-average weight for a woman. But make sure you’re calculating your body mass index before you start making any major lifestyle changes; taller individuals could be perfectly healthy at 170 pounds, while the same number could classify others as overweight. A BMI between 25 and 30 will give you the green light to tackle your weight loss goals with these doable daily hacks.
For those of you who have already been at it for awhile with little to no results, don’t give up yet! Take a look at the 20 Ways To Overcome A Weight Loss Plateau.
Turn To Tea
Pour your way to progress by brewing mugs of green tea whenever you get a chance. Since it’s full of EGCG, a metabolism-boosting antioxidant, a daily dose of this drink will have you slimming down in no time. Researchers from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences found sharp reductions in the body weight of mice as well as improvements in their health when they consumed decaffeinated green tea and got regular exercise, even on a high-fat diet. So squeeze in one of the 5 Best Teas For Weight Loss and a little cardio every day for some serious results.
Eat A Bigger Breakfast
Yes, you read that right. It’s possible that even if you’ve never skipped a morning meal, you haven’t been eating enough of it. According to a study in the Journal of Nutrition, people below age 60 who consumed most of their calories early in the day were associated with a lower BMI. So keep your waist from widening by binging for breakfast and tapering off your calorie intake by the end of the day.
Heat Things Up…
Don’t be afraid to spice things up in the kitchen — and in the bedroom! Not only will incorporating peppers into your diet keep you reaching for that water bottle and properly hydrated, but they contain capsaicin, a metabolism-boosting chemical that burns fat. And getting busy in the bedroom can help you lose weight as well, thanks to the oxytocin hormone that is released during sex. A study by Canada’s York University and the Center for Addiction and Mental Health found that its release decreased food cravings.
…Then Chill Out
Shiver your way to your success! Sleeping in colder temperatures can make your brown fat more effective, which burns through your belly fat to warm you up. In a study in Diabetes, spending the night in 66-degree temps led to almost double brown fat volumes in participants. That’s one easy way to say bye to bloat and hello to a slimmer stomach.
Decrease Your Dish Size
Eating less can be as easy as purchasing petite plates. Lisa Hayim, registered dietitian and founder of The WellNecessities, claims that a small change like this can effectively decrease your calorie intake. “When your plate is clear, you can then re-evaluate our hunger levels mindfully before deciding if you need to dive in for seconds,” she says. That could be the difference between feeling comfortably full or suffocating in suddenly too-tight jeans.
Go Out With A Guy
This one isn’t just for the ladies. Although women do order items with 15 percent fewer calories when dining with dudes, according to a study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, men follow this trend as well when they eat with other men, ordering 22 percent fewer calories. So next time you’re tempted to indulge in a cheat meal, round up a group of guy friends for dinner.
Skip the Soda
We’ve told you once and we’ll tell you again: cool it with the cola. Cans of soda, whether they’re diet or regular, are full of added sugars and sweeteners that wreak havoc on your body. According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, these diet-derailing drinks increase cell aging just as much as smoking does. Quit cold turkey and buy healthy seltzers and sparkling waters instead.
Work The Right Way
You don’t need to have a gym membership or easy trail access to start burning extra calories — although those things do help. It’s possible to whittle them away while you’re at work with a couple quick fixes. Simply stand when you could sit or take the stairs when you could ride the elevator. It’s that easy.
Powder Up Before You Power Down
If you’ve been fasting before bed, switch things up and give this trick a try. Make a protein shake at night instead of first thing in the morning and let your body work to digest it while you sleep. Men who snacked on 30 grams of whey or casein protein before hitting the hay had a higher metabolic rate when they woke up compared to those who didn’t eat anything at all, according to research done by Florida State University.
Whether you’re addicted to almonds or partial to pistachios, bumping up your intake of either nut can help push your BMI down. Almonds are rich in L-arginine, an amino acid that burns more fat and carbs when exercising, according to a study in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. And when researchers from the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition fed 220-calorie pretzels and 240-calorie pistachios to participants, it was the nut group that showed a BMI reduction in just four weeks.
Leave Fast Food In The Past
Although you might be able to dig up some healthy options at fast food chains, cooking in your own kitchen is always going to be your best bet. It’s better to grill chicken on your own than to dip mystery nuggets into ranch dressing, just as it’s better to scramble your eggs than to order a greasy egg sandwich. If you’re crunched for time and can’t resist, at the very least make some smart swaps based on this Survival Guide For 20 Fast Food Joints.
Stop Fearing Fat
All fats are not created equal. Yes, you should always shy away from the saturated stuff and totally avoid trans fats, but there are plenty of full-fat options that can actually benefit you. Heavy cream in a cup of black coffee, for example, keeps your blood sugar stable, according to Cassie Bjork, RD, LD. “Other creamer options, like whole, skim, and even coconut milk, can stimulate the production of your hormone insulin, which promotes weight gain and a host of inflammatory reactions,” she says. Embrace whole milk as well, which can keep you satiated longer than the fat-free cartons will.
Pay Attention to Protein
Not too much and not too little — trying to reach that perfect portion of protein is a fine line to walk. So instead of missing out on its calorie-burning benefits or eating so much it gets stored as fat, hit this sweet spot recommended by Jim White, RD, ACSM, and owner of Jim White Fitness Nutrition Studios. According to his fave formula, you should consume 1.2 – 1.7 grams of protein a day per kilogram of body weight, so calculate your ideal amount and get to grocery shopping.
Give In To Garlic
Whether you’re adding it to your pasta sauce or cooking it into potatoes, you probably need more garlic in your life. It’s far from just an anti-inflammatory bulb; according to a study in Nutrition Research and Practice, it helps lower BMI. So if you’ve got the chance, go for the garlic.
Even if you’re about to eat a solo breakfast at the kitchen table, it might be a good idea to get dressed — and not just in comfy sweatpants. Clinical psychologist Katie Rickel advises weight watchers to keep their goals front and center by heading to the closet before heading to the kitchen. This simple reminder that you care about your appearance can help you eat in a way that expresses self-love.
Stop The Stress
Working in a stressful environment isn’t just bad for your mental health, but for your physical well-being as well. According to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology, people with high levels of job-related stress are 26 percent more likely to be inactive when they leave the office. This means turning on the TV, napping on the couch, and other sedentary behaviors that could lead to weight gain.
Get Supplement Savvy
Vitamins and antioxidants are naturally found in some of the foods we eat, but if you’re not taking advantage of the fresh produce at your local grocery store and stocking up on fruits and veggies, you may be missing out on the important ones. Vitamin D, for example, regulates hunger and a study in Nutrition Journal linked it to a 7 percent fat decrease; a study in the Journal of Nutrition found that a higher magnesium intake was associated with lower levels of insulin, a marker related to weight gain. Lucky for you, supplements are available to ensure that a deficiency in either area can be fixed just by popping a pill.
Commit To Cardio
Put down the weights and pick up those running shoes. When Duke researchers had overweight or sedentary participants follow an exercise routine for eight months, the cardio group fared better and lost four pounds. The resistance training group gained two, but while those pounds showed up as muscle mass, this increase in strength didn’t lead to any significant decreases in fat. Sounds like it’s treadmill time!
Dial Back The Drinks…
Or better yet, abstain from alcohol altogether. Just think of all the calories you’ll be cutting; when 14 New Scientist staff members attempted this for only five weeks, and their body weight decreased by 2 percent on average. Cheers to that!
This exercise doesn’t allow any room for excuses since you don’t have to be at the gym to drop into a squat. Carolyn Barnes, mastermind of The cLean Momma Plan, recommends incorporating them into your daily activities. You can knock squats out anytime, anywhere, but her favorite is in the kitchen while doing dishes.
Prep For Progress
If that scale isn’t budging, you might need to spend more time in the kitchen, not the gym. According to a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, those who spend more than an hour a day on meal prep tend to have better dietary habits. Specifically, they eat at least 8 servings of fruits and 13 of veggies every week.
Look At Labels
You can never judge a book by its cover, and you’re not supposed to judge food by its package either. Just because something says it’s “organic” or looks wholesome doesn’t mean it wants what’s best for you. The lemon chicken and arugula salad from Trader Joe’s, for example, has almost half your recommended daily dose of sodium, which you would never guess without looking at the label. Remember to check nutrition facts at restaurants as well. The Cobb Salad at Chick-Fil-A is packing over 50 grams of fat!
Use The Buddy System
Don’t do it alone. Consistently going to the gym and eating clean is hard, but it could hurt a little less if you had a partner to go through it with you. And that’s not because misery loves company, but because buddying up is a fun way to stay accountable. According to Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., “Social support has been shown to help people stay on track with healthy lifestyle behaviors. You can encourage and motivate each other.”
Hit The Snooze Button
University of Colorado researchers found that those watching their weight ate 6 percent fewer calories when they got enough sleep, which the National Sleep Foundation defines as seven to eight hours for most adults. So stop feeling guilty about going horizontal and get some shut-eye. And when you wake up, get a move on these 15 Ways To Lose Weight Before Breakfast.