Making small, specific goals is key to losing weight long-term — but now can you get motivated now?
1 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 (e.g. eggs, beans, unsweetened greek yogurt, nuts or nut butters) and fiber (veggies, fruit or 100% whole-grains). Starting your day with a blood-sugar-stabilizing blend of nutrients will help you slim down without sacrifice.
2 Prioritize real, whole foods
Make sure that everything you’re eating is whole — as in nothing processed or packaged. Since salt is a preservative, these are the foods that are highest in sodium — something to keep in mind when planning your meals. Plan on making sure that all items you choose are fresh: that means filling up on fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein.
3 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.
4 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. You can have up to 400mg — about a Venti Starbucks coffee — daily.
Not much of a coffee drinker? Tea is also a natural diuretic, and types of herbal tea such as dandelion or fennel root can also lend a hand. In fact: When a recent study compared the metabolic effect of green tea (in extract) with that of a placebo, researchers found that the green-tea drinkers burned about 70 additional calories in a 24-hour period.
5 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. If you consume one of each of those beverages during the day, you’ll have taken in at least 800 extra calories by nighttime — and you’ll still be hungry. (Incidentally, alcohol may suppress the metabolism of fat, making it tougher for you to burn those calories.)
6 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. Use your free weights to perform simple biceps curls or triceps pulls right in your home or office. Do these exercises three to four times per week, and you’ll soon see a rapid improvement in your physique.
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. What’s more, eating hot peppers may help slow you down as you eat, since you’re less likely to wolfed ow that spicy plate o’spaghetti (and stay more mindful of when you’re full). Some great ones (with additional benefits): Ginger, turmeric, black pepper, oregano and jalapenos, all of which are flavor top-trends for 2017!
8 Go to bed
As funny as it sounds, sleep deprivation may make you fat — and not just because you’re susceptible to cases of the late-night munchies (although there’s that too). There’s tons of research that demonstrates getting less than the desired amount — about 7 hours — of sleep per night can slow down your metabolism. Plus, when you’re awake for longer, you’re naturally more likely to nosh (you’ll physically feel hungrier!) So don’t skimp on your ZZZs, and you’ll be rewarded with an extra edge when it comes to shedding pounds quickly.
9 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. It’ll help you stay accountable for what you’ve eaten. Plus, you can easily identify some other areas of your daily eats that could use a little improvement when it’s written out in front of you.
10 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. What that means for you: You’re less likely to go back for seconds or thirds. Plus, it’ll help you relax post meal so you won’t be tempted by stress-induced grazing that can rack up calories, quickly.