There are plenty of reasons why it's harder than ever to lose weight. But there are two sides to every story—and these truths outweigh the excuses.
Yeah, yeah, we know, we know. Seamless is beckoning, your co-worker may be seducing you with links to double chocolate caramel pecan pies that electrify cravings you didn't even know you had, and supermarket aisles can feel like landmines for company's sugar spills. And real talk: Sometimes you're just so darn busy that the drive-thru feels like your only option.
But it's not as hard as you think to lose weight as rapidly and effectively! Turns out, it's more of a cinch in 2016 to drop the weight than it was several years ago. Don't believe us? Read on and be dazzled. For the other side of the coin, check out the 20 Reasons It's Harder Than Ever to Lose Weight.
We Now Have Healthy Meal Kit Services
Whether you feel like cooking plant-based meals from scratch with Mark Bittman's Purple Carrot or heating up a health conscious meal with Veestro, there's no shortage of tantalizing options that make nutritious (and tasty!) meals a snap. There's a best meal delivery option for every type of eater, with Blue Apron and Plated helping pave the way.
Bike Sharing Programs Are Sweeping the Country
"Bike riding is a significant calorie-burner, and when combined with walking and public transportation, who needs a car?" asks Mary Hartley, RD, a consulting nutritionist from Providence, Rhode Island. "Bike sharing programs allow riders to pick up a bicycle at a self-serve bike station and return it to any other bike station located within the system's service area for a point-to-point trip. To date, more than 50 U.S. cities and college towns offering bike-share programs." So grab your helmet and get pedaling!
You Can Lose Weight in Style
Resort-style, that is. From hiking at luxe boot camps to indulging in massages and spa treatments, fat camps have gotten a serious makeover. Whether you want to melt away the calories practicing yoga on an island retreat or just spend a few days working one-on-one with a coach on an anti-stress, weight management routine, choices abound in this rapidly growing class of travel. Just be sure to bring all those good health habits home.
Chain Restaurants Have to Tell You the Scoop
"New government regulations mandate that food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations must provide calorie and nutrition information for standard menu items," shares Lisa Hayim, registered dietitian and founder of The WellNecessities."Knowing what [your food is] made up of in terms of calories, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and sugars may actually alter your decision to get that double mocha Frappuccino with whip."
"Fat Tax" is Gaining Traction
It may not be mainstream yet (and it's still pretty controversial), but even just the fact the government is discussing implementing taxes on candy, junk food, and soda helps to raise awareness and build consciousness in the collective public about what we're chomping on and guzzling down. In 2014, Berkeley, California even successfully passed a soda tax, becoming the first of its kind in the United States. For every popular diet and regular soda—ranked!—check out these 70 Worst Drinks That Give You a "Soda Belly"!
Being Plant-based is Trendy
"There are more plant-based options than ever, and it's now considered 'trendy' for food delivery services and restaurants to feature vegetarian, vegan, and otherwise veggie-filled items on their menus," comments Kayleen St. John, RD at Natural Gourmet Institute, a health-supportive cooking school in New York City. "What does this means for dieters? They can feel good about not only receiving loads of nutrients from meals, but also naturally-occurring fiber and water in these foods, which is a winning combination to help people feel satiated with fewer calories." Not a veggie-vore? No problem. Learn these plant-based weight loss secrets omnivores need to know.
There Are More Farmers' Markets Than Ever Before
Farmers' markets are becoming more prevalent and accessible around the United States. "In fact, according to the USDA, there has been a 76 percent increase since 2008," says Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, a plant-based dietitian and author of The Vegiterranean Diet and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition. Grab your (reusable) bag and check one out this weekend.
Salad Places Are in Vogue
Grabbing lunch mid-day used to be a 'whatever you can get your hands on' type of thing. Now, cool places like Sweetgreen and Dig Inn are popping up, which serve local and seasonal vegetables. "The vibe is cool, the people are edgy, and the salads are delicious," says Hayim. "Essentially, being part of the 'Sweet Green' tribe means you're 'the the know.' And, if you're in enough, you may even be able to join one of their yearly music festivals 'The Sweet Life.'" And while we're at it, this year will totally be the year we stop scarfing down lunch at our desk. Right? Right!
Healthy Fats Are Hip
Healthy fats are getting some overdue love, finally! "In the past, people slashed fat from all sources, and never felt satisfied since fat contributes to mouth satisfaction and feelings of fullness," offer The Nutrition Twins, Lyssie Lakatos, RDN, CDN, CFT and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RDN, CDN, CFT, and authors of The Nutrition Twins' Veggie Cure. "Now that plant-based fats from foods like avocados, nuts, and seeds are encouraged, people feel satisfied and they no longer feel deprived—so it makes weight loss much easier!" Start with these 8 best fats for weight loss!
They Might as Well Call it Fit-stagram
Sure, the popular photo sharing app can compel you to eat your way to muffin top oblivion—but only if you're not following accounts strategically. Instead of scrolling through a stream of bacon bloody mary's and over-the-top calorie-bombed cakes, use it to your advantage. Google "best healthy bloggers" or "yoga instagram accounts" and get followin'. The 30 Best Avocado Recipes Ever on Instagram can also give you some good inspiration!
There Are Tons of Free Apps and Online Programs to Choose from
MyFitnessPal is one of the biggest and most successful free services out there—because it's kind of amazing. They're helping to lead the charge, with many others innovating as well. "There are so many free online programs where you can easily track what you eat—and your exercise!— and see how many calories you eat versus how many you should be eating for weight loss," say The Nutrition Twins. "They even track recipes and help to track when you dine out at restaurants." So, while in the past you had to guess whether you may have exceeded the amount of food you needed daily to lose weight, now it's easier than ever to know when you've reached your limit.
There's a 5K for That
Or a color fun run. Or a 10K walk. Or a cycle for survival. It used to be that unless you were a marathoner, you probably weren't competing in many racing events. Nowadays, from yoga to swimming, there are countless opportunities to get involved in communal (and friendly!) sporting activities. Bonus: These events benefit a great cause. Visit active.com to find one near you! For more ideas to shed a few layers of fat, check out these 42 Ways to Lose 5 Inches of Belly Fat.
The Hospitality Industry is Catching on
Remember when vacation pretty much meant an excuse to skip the gym for a week? No more. All sorts of hotels are catering more and more to travellers who don't want their gym experience to feel like being locked in their in-laws' basement "treadmill room." From chains like the W Hotel offering beachside yoga to budget-friendly hotels getting gym makeovers, it's almost easier to workout on vacay than it is during the regular grind.
Birthday Parties Don't Always Mean Pizza and Cake
Get sweaty has never been more fun! More people are using birthday parties, bachelorette celebrations, and other social opportunities as an excuse to pump up their endorphins and torch some calories. So why not make your next b-day a group class at your favorite cycling studio or a zumba class? Getting married? Some couples are even choosing to host a group run the night before the big day to blow off some steam and get better acquainted with everyone. Give it a shot—and find out more feel-great ideas with these 30 Ways to Be Happier This Year!
Added Sugar Has Finally Gotten the Bench
Or at least put in its place. "For the first time, the government has put a suggested limit on sugar," says Hayim. "The 2015 nutrition labeling guidelines state that added sugars should be less than 10 percent of your calories per day. For example, if you're eating 2,000 calories a day, that's about 50 grams allotted for added sugar, which can be found in just one Snapple Iced Tea!" We practically did cartwheels down the Eat This, Not That! office halls when this new guideline was announced! It's still a lot of sugar but at least it's a start. Find out 30 Easy Ways to Stop Eating So Much Sugar today!
There's Tinder for Gym Rats
The new app Sweatt makes it easy and fun to connect with others in your local fitness community and to find those with similar fitness interests as your own. (You simply list your two favorite workouts on your profile.) Geared towards folks with a "fit lifestyle and mindset," you may just find your Crossfit-loving, clean-eating soulmate quicker than you could have dreamed!
Waiters Aren't Rude when You Ask for a Menu Swap
Remember the next-level rude attitude you'd get when you asked if those string beans were sautéed in butter or olive oil? "In previous years, going out to eat was a nightmare for anyone trying to keep their diet clean. After years of arguing with waiters and chefs, most have caved," comments Hayim. "Now, you can say things like, 'No butter' or 'Hold the cheese' and they are more likely to respect your dietary requests." For healthy eating when you're at home, though, check out these 40 Healthy Snack Ideas to Keep You Slim.
There's More GMO Awareness
This has been a serious win for People vs. Big Food. "People are catching on and the major brands are listening to the feedback," comments Hayim. "Big brands, like Cheerios, are taking the steps to eliminate GMOs in their food, and chain restaurant Panera Bread is removing all its artificial ingredients from everything by the end of this year." We can't wait for everyone else to follow!
You've Got a Support Group at Your Fingertips
As derailing as social media can be, you can also find 24-hour support when you're trying to lose weight and make healthier choices. "Features [on various platforms] such as groups, meetups, and chats enable mutual encouragement, recipe sharing, and the exchange of advice," notes Hever. Skip the guilt trip of inhaling half a sleeve of cookies and turn to your cheering squad, instead! Better yet, share your tips like these 55 Best-Ever Ways to Boost Your Metabolism!
You Don't Even Need a Gym to Work Out
Got this thing called a smartphone? Then you're good to go. "If your reason for not working out is because it's expensive or a hassle to get to, you're going to have to look for a new excuse," Hayim states. "Home workouts are available from tons of sites and apps." Can't make it to your favorite yoga class? No problem, subscribe to sites like My Yoga Works and work out whenever you want.