1. Work out while watching your favorite telenovela. 1
One of my all-time favorite tricks to making working out a bit more fun and affordable is to work out at home while watching my favorite TV shows. And I'm not the only one who thinks this is a great, easy strategy to lose weight.
"Keep some free weights by the TV or simply do crunches or lunges during your favorite show," Melissa Joy Dobbins, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said to Women's Health.
2. Keep an eye out for ready-to-eat snacks when shopping. 2
"Convenience food doesn't have to mean junk food," Dobbins told Women's Health. She suggested buying prepackaged foods that are still fairly healthy, such as whole or precut fruit and vegetables, hard-boiled eggs and yogurt. My personal favorite are the 100 calorie almond bags that I find in packs of 7 in the grocery store. I throw them into my purse and have a perfectly packaged snack for whenever I get ravenous at work.
3. Drink water before a meal and learn to chew slower. Yes, really! 3
It may be old advice, but it is tried-and-true, which is why I say it over and over again: Drink a glass of water before any meal, and you are sure to eat less.
"This simple action is not only hydrating, but also may help you take in fewer calories during the meal," Marisa Moore, RD, LD, MBA, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said to Women's Health.
5. Never, ever grocery shop while hungry--and always stick to the list. 5
Although you might already know what a bad idea it is to go grocery shopping while hungry (I can tell you that from my last experience when I did this and ended up with over $100 worth of snacks I didn't need), another good way to keep costs down and make sure you're buying all the things that will actually HELP your weight loss is to stick to your list. Don't just wander the aisles aimlessly, because you will surely end up buying something that's not good for you, said Joy Dubost, RD, PhD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, to Women's Health.
6. Keep popcorn on hand for those nighttime snack cravings. 6
According to research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, those who snack on popcorn get 250% more whole grains and about 22% more fiber than those who don't eat this fabulously low-cal snack. Basically, this means that popcorn can keep you full longer and you'll be satisfied when snacking on the delicious popped kernels. I always keep popcorn on hand and, instead of butter, season it with my favorite smoked Spanish paprika to give it a unique kick that doesn't add any extra calories.
7. Lay your gym clothes out the night before a morning workout. 7
Exercise is important to weight loss, keeping those pounds off and especially for general health. You probably already know this, but still struggle to get yourself to the gym (just as I do). A good trick to use is to lay our what you're going to wear the next morning while getting read for bed. This way, once you wake up, you'll basically be ready to go. You can even try wearing gym-style clothes to the office.
"Clothes today are more exercise-friendly than ever before," Dobbins said. "Look for stretchy, flattering clothes that can double for work and workout. Or if your exercise of choice is walking, you don't need any special clothes—just really good shoes!"
8. Sneak in 10 minutes of exercise throughout the day, every day. 8
"If you can't exercise all in one sitting at least try to break it up into intervals, such as three 10-minute segments," Dubost said to Women's Health.
This one's by far my favorite way to get plenty of exercise throughout the day--without actually doing much. I usually try to break it up by doing a bit in the morning, an exercise-friendly break at lunch and then a bit more after work. The easiest way to incorporate even more fitness into your day is to climb stairs, instead of taking the elevator, when going up to the office. This may not work if you work on the 25th floor but it's not as bad as it sounds when you're on the 5th floor.
9. Make sure you're getting a full night's sleep EVERY night. 9
It might feel as if you're being lazier than usual if you get 8 hours of sleep every night, but the truth is that this is an excellent way to promote weight loss. Not only are there plenty of studies that suggest sleep deprivation causes increased levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin, a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also determined that a lack of sleep can actually slow the rate at which calories are burned. So if you want to burn the optimal amount of calories during the day (just by going about your daily life), make sure you get some shut-eye!
11. Brush your teeth shortly after dinner to avoid late-night snacking. 11
This will prevent you from eating more food. Think about it. Who wants to dirty freshly brushed teeth?
12. Turn the thermostat down in your house (and don't be afraid of the cold). 12
I personally hate the cold, but it seems like a good way to easily lose some extra pounds. According to British researchers, there's a direct link between rising indoor temperatures and increased obesity rates in the U.S. and the U.K. Their study, published in Obesity Reviews, explained that when the body is cold, it produces brown fat, which burns energy to create heat and is different from white fat, which is basically a stockpile of calories. Researchers explained that when people wear light clothing while in a 60 degree Fahrenheit room, they go from burning 100 to burning 200 calories per day (which can result in losing 10-20 lbs. per year!). Just make sure you don't wrap yourself up in too many blankets, because this will completely negate the effect.
13. Don't be afraid of wearing too-tight jeans and a belt to work. 13
Here's a fun reason to totally embrace casual Friday at work: A study from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse found that people who wear jeans to work take 491 more steps than those who are in business clothing. Plus, if you wear your jeans with your belt, you get an automatic reminder of when you're maybe indulging a bit too much. I find it really easy to stop eating one my belt begins to feel tight--and I save unnecessary calories to boot.
14. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere. 14
Just as you should always drink a big glass of water before sitting down to eat, you should also keep yourself well hydrated throughout the day. One of the biggest things I learned when losing weight is that many Americans have a defective hunger/thirst marker in their brains, which causes us to think that we're hungry when we are actually thirsty. So, in order to combat those hunger cravings, I make sure that I am well-hydrated at all times. This helps me to know whether I am actually hungry or my body is just craving water. By carrying around a water bottle, I give myself the opportunity to drink water and wait 20 minutes before I decide whether a snack is appropriate or not.
15. Always throw in an extra vegetable (or two) into your cooking. 15
Another trick to losing weight is to always, no matter what recipe you're making, throw in an extra vegetable or two. Here's how it works for me: When I first started to lose weight, I didn't love vegetables. It took me a long time to embrace broccoli, mushrooms and the like. So I started to experiment by making some of my favorite recipes but also throwing in a bit of that other vegetable. Now I do this constantly, from my favorite enchiladas recipe to macaroni and cheese. It helps to add fiber, which also allows me to fill up and stay full longer--and thus avoiding extra calories. If you're not sure what vegetables to add, buy a variety of them from the frozen foods section and start experimenting!