Why put off losing weight when you can start now!? As the old saying goes ‘there’s no time like the present!’. You don’t need long, drawn-out diet and exercise plans to see results, and quite honestly, who has the time?
Whether you’re trying to lose weight from common problem areas (bum, belly & thighs), drop a dress-size (or two) in time for a wedding or tone-up for summer, these 20 tips are all you need to know to generate fast and lasting change. What are you waiting for? Get started with these 20 awesome tips to lose weight and get in shape, now!
#1. Rise & Shine!
New research has found that people who had most of their exposure to bright light early in the morning had lower BMI’s than those who got most light exposure later in the day, regardless of how much exercise they did or what they ate.
#2. Think of the Good Times!
Give yourself a motivation boost by thinking back to a happy memory related to exercise. Maybe it was Hula-hooping at school as a kid, dancing at an 80’s disco or winning a netball game. A study in the US found that harnessing these memories can increase the likelihood of exercising.
#3. Crank the Intensity!
Any exercise is good exercise, but to get the best results, try going ‘all out’ instead of ‘slow and steady’. Research has shown that high intensity exercise increases the rate at which your body burns and metabolizes fat both during and after your workout.
Try it with running, cycling swimming or interval training. You’ll finish your workouts quicker, burn more fat and have more free time to do the things you enjoy.
#4. Don’t Worry, be Happy!
Prolonged stress and anxiety aren’t just bad for our heart; they raise cortisol too, which can lead to unwanted weight gain. Clear your mind and make some time for yourself by doing things you enjoy. Get outside, catch a yoga class, draw, and paint – whatever, just breathe! A little bit each day goes a long way.
#5. Pump Some Iron!
Lifting weights can transform your body into a fat burning machine – literally. Don’t worry, you won’t get big and bulky, you’ll simply get a body that burns fat on autopilot. Muscle tissue is metabolically active, so the more you have, the more fat you burn – even while you rest. 1lb of muscle burns ~15-50 calories per day, compared to fat, which averages just 2 calories per day.
Grab some dumbbells (or use your own body-weight) and make strength training a part of your fitness routine. Squats, lunges,On the left you’ll find a 20-30 minute body-weight workout you can do anywhere, anytime. Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps of each super-set (1a, 1b) with 30 seconds rest in between.
#6. Mix It Up!
Remember that great spice of life, variety? Well, rather than sticking to the same routines with religious zeal and berating yourself when you understandably begin to slide, make a game of exercising. List all the activities you love that work up a sweat. Be sure to include things such as rollerblading, salsa classes and gardening, as well as the usual power-walks and cycling. Then stick the list on the fridge and when you’re short for an idea, or wanting to expand your exercise repertoire, just scan the list and do something different.
#7. Get Some Protein!
Protein is your best ally when it comes to burning fat, which is why it makes sense to make the most of this mega macro-nutrient in your diet. Foods naturally high in protein such as fish, lean meat, nuts, eggs and low-fat dairy not only boost your metabolism during the break-down process in the body, they help build and maintain lean muscle tissue, another potent fat-fighter.
#10. Get a Journal!
Try keeping a journal for four days (two weekdays and a full weekend) and record in it everything you do, when you do it and how long it takes. Include things such as housework, travel, diet, even watching TV. It may sound tedious, but the information you glean can be invaluable. It’ll show you the priority you have allocated various activities. For example, how many women would deliberately rate watching TV for 30 minutes as more important than a 30 minute walk after dinner? Food for thought!
When you’re frazzled from a lack of sleep, unhealthy, quick-fix foods which provide a quick ‘hit’ of energy begin to look more appealing. Sleepy people eat more of the wrong thing, and since the body doesn’t function well when sleep deprived, it ends up storing more fat. Make sure you get 6hrs+ each night to boost your immune system, reset your metabolism and wake up refreshed.
#11. Crank Up The Tunes!
Nothing gets you going like listening to your favourite beats. Music can be a great way to boost your motivation to exercise, reduce stress and lift your mood. You know which tunes make you stand tall and feel like you can take on the world, so crank it up!
#9. Think Before You Drink!
Don’t stress, the occasional glass of red isn’t going to do you any harm, but too many can have disastrous consequences. The liquid calories you find in alcohol, soft drinks and artificial ‘fruit’ drinks are nutritionally ‘empty’ – the type that go straight to your hips and belly – so exercise caution.
#12. Drink More Water!
We all know we have to keep up our flow of H2O to prevent dehydration, but did you know it also helps fight fat? Not only does it help you feel full and prevent cravings, drinking it cold can boost your metabolic rate (up to 30% for a short time). Just fill up a 1.5L bottle and mark times of the day on it as your visual cue to how much you should be drinking by when. Use sparkling water for an occasional extra fizz and add in things like lemon, lime, green-tea and watermelon for a healthy, fruity-twist.
#13. Make Fruit Your Friend!
It’s true, fruit does contain sugar, but it also contains fibre, water, antioxidants and essential vitamins and minerals. Blueberries are loaded with anthocyanin which alters the activity of fat cells, making it harder to put on weight.
Plus, stone fruits like nectarines, plums, peaches and cherries all contain natural substances that ward off obesity – cool, right? Other awesome low-calorie options include tomato’s, kiwi fruit, melons, grapefruit and papaya. Add them to salads, cereals, smoothies or enjoy them on their own to satisfy your sweet-tooth, regulate your digestive system and keep your appetite in-check.
#14. Cut-back on the Junk!
We’re not suggesting you go cold-turkey here, but limiting your intake of fast/fried/processed foods will go a long way in reshaping your waistline. Calorie-laden foods like cakes, biscuits, chips, muffins, pastries, white bread and sweets, are nutritionally-bankrupt and loaded with things like trans-fat, sugar, salt, refined carbohydrates and unpronounceable preservatives. Irritability, weight gain and fatigue are all signs of eating too much of a ‘bad’ thing. Enjoy them as a treat, not an everyday staple.
#15. Blend It!
If you don’t already own a blender, get one. If you feel like eating right for weight loss is just too time consuming, a blender is the ultimate solution. There’s an endless variety of quick, healthy shakes you can make.
Things like protein powder, berries, oats, yogurt, peanut butter and fruit all work well and deliver all the nutrients your body needs for healthy weight management. Thanks to their thick and creamy texture, smoothies also take up plenty of room in your stomach, helping keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer.
#16. Count Your Calories!
It’s now emerging that eating small, frequent meals does little to fight fat. New research has found that women burned the same amount of calories each day regardless of whether they ate five smaller meals or two larger meals – meaning that it’s the total number of kilojoules you consume daily that counts. What’s your target weight in lbs? Add a zero to that number and that’s (roughly) how many calories you should be eating each day.
#17. Shake It!
I want to preface this first by saying a supplement is just that, a supplement. They’re not magic powders, but they can be super-useful additions, especially if you’re struggling to meet your daily protein quota.
Check the label and look for at least 20g of protein per 30g serve. Fat, carbs and sugar content should be negligible and free from fillers and artificial sweeteners. Whey is a good option as are plant-based vegan options if you’re trying to avoid dairy, gluten and soy.
#18. Believe In Yourself!
You’re almost certainly stronger than you think. Start believing you can pick up heavier weights and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve. The muscle tissue you add by lifting weights will speed up your metabolism, make fat loss easier, and give you a sleek, sexy shape.
#19. Eat Less, Move More!
It really is that simple. To lose one pound weekly, burn or cut out 3,500 calories over the course of seven days. That breaks down to 500 calories per day. It can be tough to cut out that many by dieting alone, especially if you love food.
The most effective approach is this combo: each day, cut out 250 calories from your diet and burn 250 through exercise. Choose to either cut out one 250-calorie item such as a serving of ice cream, or omit a few small things that add up to 250 calories a day.
Remember, exercise, be it training for a marathon or hitting the gym, is important, but it only goes so far. Stay in an active frame of mind by making the most of ‘freebies’ like taking the stairs, walking the dog, vacuuming vigorously and getting out in the garden. You’ll burn more calories without even thinking about it.
#20. Get Back to Basics!
More than 70% of us feel confused when conflicting information gets reported about fat loss, and the confusion has an unhealthy side-effect: it makes us disregard basic, proven dietary and exercise advice. Stop looking for quick-fixes and focus on getting active and eating a variety of fresh, seasonal foods that taste great, are readily available, affordable and, of course, healthy.