Easy ways to shed those unwanted pounds and keep them off for good. Losing weight can seem overwhelming—you have to figure out how to eat healthily and fuel your body properly, plan an exercise regimen that works for you, get plenty of sleep, and ultimately make hundreds of choices each day that will either bring you closer to your goal or throw you completely off track. Here are some of the easiest, most effective tricks to help you shed those unwanted pounds and slim down for good.
1. Toss Out The Top
Making your sandwich with two slices of bread is so last year. Aid your slim down efforts by opting for whole-grain bread over white and preparing your sandwich “open-faced” style—the fancy name for kicking the top piece of bread to the curb. Doing so keeps about 70 to 120 calories off your plate. If losing some bread leaves your tummy rumbling, beef up your meal by munching on a cup of baby carrots or sugar snap peas.
2. Buy A Fruit Bowl
You know that hitting the recommended five to nine daily servings of fruits and veggies can make it easier to slim down, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accomplish. A simple way to make it happen? Buy a fruit bowl. You’re more likely to grab fruits and veggies over less-healthy options if they’re ready to eat and in plain sight. Katie Cavuto MS, RD, the dietitian for the Philadelphia Phillies and Flyers, suggests keeping washed and prepared veggies like cucumbers, peppers, sugar snap peas, and carrots in the front of the fridge so they aren’t overlooked.
3. Eat Mindfully
We know you love binge-watching your favorite reality series, but it’s important to enjoy your meals sitting at your kitchen table—not in front of the television. Why? Carolyn Brown, MS, RD, of Foodtrainers, told us that in addition to commercials of unhealthy food and drinks increasing our cravings, TV is so distracting that it makes it harder to realize when we’re actually satiated.
4. Switch To Green Tea
Green tea is packed with compounds called catechins, belly-fat crusaders that blast belly fat by revving the metabolism, increasing the release of fat from fat cells, and then speeding up the liver’s fat burning capacity. In an American Physiological Society study, participants who combined a daily habit of 4-5 cups of green boosted their exercise endurance by up to 24 percent, revving weight loss.
5. Get Smaller Plates
The bigger your plate, the bigger your meal, Brown reminds us. How so? While smaller plates make food servings appear significantly larger, larger plates make food appear smaller—which can lead to overeating. In one study, campers who were given larger bowls served themselves and consumed 16 percent more cereal than those given smaller bowls. Swapping dinner for salad plates will help you eat more reasonable portions, which can help the pounds fly off your frame!
6. Never Do A Sit-Up
A squat may look like a leg exercise, but did you know you are also working your core muscles when done properly?” Compound exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, work muscle groups while challenging the core—giving you the rock hard abs you dream of. Traditional sit-ups are very damaging to the discs in your spine.
7. Blend A Plant-Based Smoothie
Protein-enriched drinks lend you a monster dose of belly-busting nutrition in a simple yet delicious snack. But most commercial drinks are filled with unpronounceable chemicals that can upset our gut health and cause inflammation and bloat. Not to mention, the high doses of whey used to boost protein levels can amplify the belly-bloating effect.
8. Repetition Is Key
“Repetition builds rhythm. Be boring. Most successful losers have just a couple of go-to breakfasts or snacks,” says registered dietitian Lauren Slayton. “Make an effort to pinpoint these for yourself. ‘Hmm, I’m starving what should I have?’ doesn’t often end well. You can change the rotation every few weeks, but pre-set meals or workouts on certain days will help tremendously.”
9. Beware Of Health Halos
Do you consider products from specialty supermarkets to be healthier than those from other grocery stores? Or do you think that dishes from organic restaurants are all waistline-friendly? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you could be derailing your weight loss efforts. When people guess the number of calories in a sandwich coming from a “healthy” restaurant, they estimate that it has, on average, 35 percent fewer calories than they do when it comes from an “unhealthy” restaurant, according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research.
10. Eat The Yolk
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee dropped their longstanding recommendation that we should limit dietary cholesterol. Decades of research have shown that it has little effect on blood cholesterol levels, and the government’s outdated recommendations have done little more than send scrambled messages about the pros and cons of eating eggs and shrimp. So go ahead and scramble up an omelet—with the yolk.