There’s a lot more to losing weight than simply eating better and working out. If you want to dramatically increase your chances for long-term success, you’ll also want to modify the behavior that surrounds your meals and physical activity.
If you’ve plateaued in your weight loss plan, try these simple, expert-approved tricks that boost metabolism and burn fat — no crazy diets or weird workouts required.
1. Sleep 30 Minutes More a Night
That extra half an hour, whether you sleep 5 hours or 8, can refresh you enough that you will make better food choices (in other words, no quick sugar fix for breakfast in search of energy) and won’t feel lethargic and skip the gym.
2. Munch on mineral-rich foods.
Potassium, magnesium and calcium can help to serve as a counter-balance for sodium. Foods that are rich in potassium include leafy greens, most “orange” foods (oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, melon) bananas, tomatoes, and cruciferous veggies — especially cauliflower.
3. Make One Food Sacrifice
Cutting out one indulgence — such as the chips you have with lunch or the chocolate dessert you eat after dinner — can subtract a few hundred calories from your diet, which translates into less flab, says Blum. “Your body won’t even notice their absence.
4. Resist the urge to skip a meal.
Listen up: Skipping meals will not make you lose weight faster. If a hectic day makes a sit-down meal impossible, stash an energy bar or a piece of fruit in your car or tote; stash snacks in your office desk-drawer and make a point of getting up to grab a nosh — anything that will keep you from going hungry!
5. Eat Salmon
It’s packed with nutrients that build muscle tone and give your skin a healthy glow. Some nutritionists claim that consuming a portion (doesn’t matter how it’s cooked) may immediately make your face look a bit more contoured.
6. Take a hike (or a walk!).
Don’t get me wrong — exercising at any time is good for you. But evening activity may be particularly beneficial because many people’s metabolism slows down toward the end of the day. Thirty minutes of aerobic activity before dinner increases your metabolic rate and may keep it elevated for another two or three hours, even after you’ve stopped moving.
7. Pop an Anti-Gas Pill
Take one of these chewable tablets, sold over the counter at drugstores, to relieve bloating in your abdomen and to break up gas bubbles in your digestive tract, leaving you with a flatter tummy.
8. Write it down.
Loads of research demonstrates people who log everything they eat — especially those who log while they’re eating — are more likely to lose weight and keep it off for the long-haul. Start tracking on an app like MyFitnessPal when the pounds start sneaking up on you.
9. Stand Up Straight
Keeping your spine rigid and your shoulders back while sucking in your belly toward your spine gives you a slimmer, more streamlined middle.
10. Eat spicy foods — seriously!
It can actually help you cut back on calories. That’s because the compound capsaicin, a compound found in jalapeno and cayenne peppers, may (slightly) increase your body’s release of stress hormones such as adrenaline, which can speed up your metabolism and your ability to burn calories.
11. Drink Mainly Water
12. Buy a set of 5-pound weights.
It’s a one-time investment you’ll never regret. Here’s why: Strength training builds lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories — at work or at rest — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The more lean muscle you have, the faster you’ll slim down. How do you start strength training? Try some push-ups or a few squats or lunges.
13. Swap Refined Carbs for Veggies
The simple carbs in white rice, spaghetti, and sandwich rolls can wreak havoc on your weight because they’re digested very quickly, leaving you hungry and more likely to overeat later.
14. Skip sugar-y beverages.
Plain and simple: We just don’t feel full by liquid calories in quite the same way as we do real food. Drinking a juice or caramel-y coffee drink, for instance, won’t make you feel full the way eating a bowl of veggie-and-protein packed stir-fry will. So monitor your intake of juice, soda, sweetened coffee and tea drinks and alcoholic beverages.
15. Do Cardio 30 Minutes a Day
Any workout that gets your heart rate up will burn calories. But you’ll use more calories if you pick a cardio routine that engages multiple muscles simultaneously, says Wendy Larkin, personal-training manager at Crunch’s Polk Street gym, in San Francisco.
16. Go for that cup of joe.
Start your day with a cup of coffee. Caffeine is a natural diuretic and an excellent source of antioxidants, which protect your cells from damage.
17. Drink Coffee an Hour Before Working Out
This is the one exception to the stick-to-water-only rule: Just as a coffee run makes your morning at work more productive, a pre-exercise cup of java with a splash of skim milk or black will energize your workout.
18. Know your limits with salt.
When it comes by buying snacks, a “low sodium” product has to be 140mg or less per serving — so if you’re REALLY in a bind, you can follow that guideline for what to put in your card.
19 Have Nightly You-on-Top Sex
Not that you needed an excuse to hook up with your guy every night, but the fact is, this position is a fat blaster. Being on top means you do the rocking, and the more active you are, the more calories you burn — up to 144 for 30 minutes.
20. Build a better breakfast.
All meals are important, but breakfast is what helps you start your day on the right track. The best, heartiest breakfasts are ones that will fill you up, keep you satisfied and stave off cravings later in the day. Aim to eat anywhere between 400 and 500 calories for your morning meal, and make sure you’re including a source of lean protein plus filling fat.
21. Do 36 Push-Ups and Lunges Every Other Day
These gym-class staples will help sculpt muscle, so you’ll sport a more streamlined appearance. Do three sets of 12 of each exercise every other day. “Push-ups target your upper body, while lunges work your butt, hips, and thighs,” says Larkin. Quick tip: Make sure your back and legs remain in a straight line during your push-ups; it’ll improve muscle tone.
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