Do you think you are not losing weight despite perspiring buckets of sweat at the gym? You nearly butcher yourself with that gym equipment, but the weight just doesn’t seem to go away. Is that so?
If yes, let me tell you a secret.
You aren’t looking in the right place.
Ah yes, exercise is important. But there is something else that contributes to nearly 80% of your weight loss. And that is…
… the food you intake, and the habits you make (or break). If these aren’t in place, you can spend a million years in the gym and still have your stomach flab jiggling up and down.
But no worries – we have it covered. In this post, we talk of 57 simple (yet super-effective) ways that can help you in your weight loss journey. These ways, let me tell you, can add more years to your life, and more life to your years.
1. Start Your Day With A Big Breakfast
Probably every person you have met in your lifetime would have told you this. Because it’s true.
If you skip breakfast, you are more likely to be tempted to eat junk during the rest of the day. But the results would be opposite with a big breakfast. Also, a heavy breakfast lowers ghrelin, the hunger hormone – and hence you would eat less afterward.
2. And End Your Breakfast With Dessert
I can see you jumping already. And no, I am not kidding. You can end your breakfast with a cookie or a small piece of cake or some chocolate. Doing so results in fewer cravings during the day.
Because if you already had had sugar, why would you want it again?
3. Make Fiber Your Friend
There is no way we wouldn’t have heard of this before. But how many of us follow it? As per the American Heart Association, losing weight is as easy as including fiber in your diet.
30 grams of fiber a day keeps those stubborn kilos away.
4. Water (Or Tea Or Coffee) Are Your Friends Too
But, stay away from anything that is not any of these three. Like sodas are juices, for example. They contain close to 18 teaspoons of sugar and over 240 calories per serving. And have ZERO nutritional value.
5. And Veggies (Frozen) Are Your Best Friends
They come packed with nutrients. Fresh vegetables are undoubtedly the best. But frozen veggies are almost as good. The upside of freezing vegetables is most of their nutrients are locked within and aren’t lost.
The advantage here is purely psychological. But it works. Having a stash of vegetables inside your refrigerator reduces your chances of ordering a pizza (or a burger, whatever).
6. Stay Away From Meat (At Least Once In A While)
I know this is harder than squeezing toothpaste back into its tube. But it’s worth it. No, I am not asking you to chuck out meat totally. But you can probably slim down your meals by replacing some meat with plant protein?
Black beans give you 15 grams of protein per serving. Mushrooms can replace ground beef in most recipes. See? We have options.
7. Embrace The Goodness Of Dairy
From what we know, dairy products offer calcium and vitamin D – both of which help build muscle. But from what most of us don’t know, they also contain the hormone calcitriol that instructs your body to burn more body fat.
8. Pump Up Your Protein
Men and women need 56 grams and 46 grams of protein a day, respectively. Achieving this also helps you keep your weight in check. This is because your body takes more time to digest protein, and hence you feel full for longer periods of time.
But don’t overdo it, as excess protein gets stored as fat.
9. Black Coffee
The forgotten comrade, if you ask me. But it works.
According to studies, a morning cup of black coffee can enhance your metabolism for 3 hours. This indirectly can help in fat burning.
But again, don’t overdo it. As per experts, 3 cups a day is the max you can hit.
10. Limit Your Wine Intake
Oh yes, wine does have health benefits. But consuming too much of it can negate the benefits. A serving of wine has 125 calories. And most of the fishbowl shaped glasses today easily contain three servings – which is almost like a small meal.
11. Pistachios, My Friend, Pistachios
Any food that needs to be peeled or shelled can force you to slow down your eating. And coming to that, pistachios are somewhere at the top. About 30 grams of pistachios offers 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. And just 159 calories.
12. Reduce Other Booze-Related Calories
Beer. Cocktails. Or spirits. Whatever, they contain up to 125 calories. And if you overindulge, you are dumping more calories right into your system.
Also, here’s the interesting thing – research says that alcohol can make your brains more sensitive to the smell of food, prompting you to eat more.
13. MUFAs All The Way
Or monounsaturated fatty acids.
Which wise man told you fat is bad? Not all fat is bad, by the way. Fats like MUFAs help you lose weight. Foods like nuts, olive oil or even steamed vegetables contain MUFAs. You can include these in your diet.
14. Be Wary Of Added Sugar
Sugar is not just those tiny crystals. It can be in other forms too. Such as the extra sauce you have. Or condiments. Or the white bread. What you can do is pay attention to the food labels – the ingredients are usually listed with the densest ones at the top. So if sugar is at the top, it doesn’t deserve a place in your kitchen.
15. Canned Tuna Is A Wonder
An 85-gram serving of canned tuna offers 25 grams of protein for just 157 calories. You can add this to your snack or salad and keep full until your next meal.
16. Spinach Is A Double-Wonder
Magnesium regulates over 300 functions in your body. And spinach and other dark leafy vegetables are replete with this mineral. Optimum levels of magnesium can also lower blood sugar and insulin levels, which can play a role in weight gain.
17. Fish Works Great Too
The omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon, herring, tuna, and mackerel etc. can boost your body’s fat-burning power. These fats also reduce inflammation and balance blood sugar levels, thereby regulating metabolism.
18. A Soup-er Meal
This is for obvious reasons. One, soups are healthy. And two, since you have them before a meal, they fill up your tummy considerably, and you end up eating less. A broth-based soup filled with vegetables can work like magic.
19. Protein And Fruit – An Amazing Pair
Fruits are great. But if you want to make them greater, pair them with a little bit of protein. You can have skim milk along with your apple. Or half an avocado with some cottage cheese. These combinations pack a powerful punch of fiber and protein, and you might as well feel like a superhuman.
20. Replace White Bread With Wheat
In fact, you can replace all refined grains with whole grains. This is because whole grains help you keep your weight down. You can include foods like wheat germ, dark bread, brown rice, and popcorn in your diet.
21. Don’t Shun The Gluten
Wait. Hold on. Gluten ain’t bad. Unless otherwise you are diagnosed with celiac disease, there is no reason you should chuck gluten from your diet. Getting rid of wheat, barley, or rye may not necessarily aid weight loss.
22. The Many Avatars Of Sugar
Sugar is a deceiver. The greatest con artist in the world of foods. A food label not mentioning sugar in no ways means that it is absent. Sugar has various other names – invert sugar, molasses, brown rice syrup, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup. Beware of these names as well.
23. Processed Foods Are Unreliable
Sure it is easy to bank upon frozen dinner and packaged foods for a quick meal, but ‘easy’ is not what we are looking for here, are we? In fact, studies show that we burn close to 50% more calories when we metabolize whole foods.
So whole foods are the ones to go for. And packaged foods? Uh-uh.
24. Spice Ain’t Bad. Not Always.
Chilli peppers contain a compound called capsaicin that speeds up your metabolism. This can also be one of the contributors to weight loss. Spice up your meal a little. It is worth it.
25. Packaged Snacks Are Unreliable, Too
Snacks that come in a box or a bag should not be getting into your system – one who remembers this rule will live long. Oh yes, you can indulge once in a while. And whenever you do so, measure out a serving instead of snacking right from the pack.
Because when it is in a pack, you are 100% more likely to consume 50% more of the snack. And it ain’t good my friend, it ain’t good.
26. Make Exercise Fun
Considering exercise to be a chore is a sure-shot way to quitting. None of us like boring things, right? So why do you want to keep your workouts boring? Change the equipment you workout with every alternate day. Or plug in your earphones and listen to a different kind of music each day.
Whatever. But do something.
27. Exercise In The Mornings
Please, let’s not say we can’t get up early in the mornings. If we skip that late-night TV show, we probably can. Working out in the morning helps you burn more calories through the day. It also results in a spike in your metabolism. All of these promote healthy weight loss and weight maintenance.
28. Hip-Hip HIIT!
Its a myth that one needs to spend hours in the gym to melt down kilos. HIIT (or high-intensity interval training) alternates bursts of high-intensity exercise with brief rest periods. This style of exercise, as per research, effectively burns more fat.
29. Plan A Pre-Dinner Workout
This stops you from snacking on stuff before dinner. As, if you starve post your evening aerobics class (if you are going for one), you are more likely to binge on snacks before you have dinner. Instead, plan your aerobics class (or whatever it is you attend) right before dinner – so that you can straight away head for your evening meal once you are back.
30. Get A Workout Pal
A workout pal would make your time easy, after all. Because we all hit the snooze button and sleep off. But a workout pal keeps us motivated – to get our body out of bed and into the gym.
31. Be Careful About Your Calorie Burn
A rigorous workout is fine, as far as you have control over what you eat after that. An intense workout doesn’t mean it is okay to binge on that big smoothie post workout. In fact, doing so cancels out half of your efforts in the gym.
32. Workout Outdoors
If possible. Because sweating outdoors helps you stay engaged better in the activity. It also boosts your energy and contributes to better overall well-being.
33. Set Up A Home Gym
Just in case you end up feeling you are too busy to go to the gym on any given day, a home gym works just fine. It doesn’t have to be superbly sophisticated, though. A simple gym with a few inexpensive pieces of equipment would do quite well.
34. Music Matters
If you have the habit of listening to music while working out, that is. And if you don’t, you might start. Because listening to the tunes distracts you from fatigue and helps you workout more. In the process, you would also burn more fat.
35. Go For The Weights
Lifting weights doesn’t make you look awkward or bulk you up. In fact, studies have shown that 30 minutes of strength training twice a week for 4 months can increase resting metabolism by 100 calories a day.
But again, don’t overdo it. Maintain a balance.
36. Buy Groceries With Cash
Credit cards are wicked. One, they make us feel we have a lot of money. And two, they make us spend on things we wouldn’t need in a million years. Best – leave your cards home when you go grocery shopping. Just cash would do. This way, you will know that money is slipping out of your wallet and you will only buy what you really (really) need.
37. Take The Hard Way Even Outside The Gym
Working out in the morning doesn’t give you the right to use the elevator at your office. If you are sedentary the remaining part of the day, it would only decrease the overall calorie burn.
Whether it is inside the gym or outside, always stay active. Always.
38. Maintain A Journal
Yes, this requires a little bit of work. But yes, it is absolutely worth it. You probably wouldn’t grab that slice of pizza if you know you will have to note it down later. Writing down every bite you take, according to research, makes you more accountable and helps cut your calorie intake.
39. Stay Away From Pinterest Or Instagram
Before you brush this point off as downright nonsensical, wait a minute. Let me explain the science. Pinterest and Instagram contain those gorgeous images of desserts, cheeseburgers, and all the other things any food lover would binge on. You look at them – you wreck your diet. Those images would get right into your brain and the next time you are at your meal table, you might just as well say this to yourself – “Why don’t I take just one (it’s never going to be ‘just one’, by the way) bite off that pizza?”
40. Stress Can Mess
It ain’t about the body, but of the mind. Stress can make you feel locked up, and you might grab one cheeseburger for a quick release. And let me tell you, that’s pure disaster. So, keep your stress levels low. How do you do that? Meditate. Develop a positive mental attitude.
41. Ruthlessly Eliminate Distractions
Ruthless means ruthless, and we don’t want any compromises here. Breakfasting while scrolling down your Facebook page or eating lunch while your eyes are glued to the television set can make you add up a million more calories. Why? Because you just don’t know what the heck you are eating. So you might as well end up eating anything of any amount.
42. Try Unconventional
Conventional exercise is great. But try unconventional too! If there is an opportunity to get your body moving, grab it with all your heart. Like mowing the lawn. Or running around the house with your kids. Whatever.
43. Sleep Is Important‘est’
I don’t mind faltering with my grammar for this thing. For Christ’s sake, your body needs rest. You might be the President of your country or the Chief of the United Nations, but you need sleep. We, humans, are not adapted to live without sleep – at least, not yet. So let’s not try doing that, please?
Sleep deprivation causes stress and stress makes you eat more and all of that causes weight gain.
Any more questions?
44. Eat Slow
What are you? A food-eating machine?
The world is not going to end tonight. Even if it does, we can’t do much about it, can we? So, eat slow. Relish every bite. Let the food dance on your taste buds and allow your soul to sink into the culinary delight.
Eating fast causes weight gain. So eat slow. Take a few breaths between bites. Know what you are putting inside your mouth. Because if I don’t know what I am eating, I might as well eat tissues, right?
45. Game On!
This is where your smartphone comes in handy. Let me tell you how. A bored mind craves for food more. But if you can keep your gray matter occupied with your smart phone games, that would be a good distraction.
Ah – distractions aren’t so bad after all! So the next time you are in the airport lounge waiting and wondering how to kill your boredom, remember this – the road to weight loss lies in your pocket. (Not the one that has your wallet, by the way).
46. An Apple On Your Desk
Yes. This might sound too simple. But hey, if you have a healthy snack right in front of you staring into your face, you are less likely to walk to the snack counter and hog on the un-hoggables.
Also, apple is rich in fiber. So, it contributes to your weight loss in its own little sweet way.
47. Serve Straight From The Pot
The cooking pot, I mean.
Why bother to transfer the food from the pots or pans into the serving dishes and place them on the dining table and then eat? You can serve straight from the pot, right?
The prospect of getting up and walking to the counter and serving yourself food will discourage you from going for multiple rounds. Studies say following this method can make you eat 20% less.
48. Rearrange Smartly
If you eat from a 10-inch plate, you will eat more. If you eat from a 7-inch plate, you will eat less. Common sense.
So what does common sense tell us? Rearrange your kitchen cabinets in such a way that the smaller plates are the easiest to reach and the bigger ones are stored too high or too low.
49. Cut Down On The Degrees
Especially in the winters. Keeping your house a little chilly can indirectly aid weight loss. Somehow. It has been found out that cold temperatures increase your body’s brown fat by 40%.
And guess what? Brown fat burns calories to help your body stay warm.
50. In Gum, We Trust
Apart from being a super-workout for your jaws, chewing gum can make you eat fewer calories a day. That’s what the research says. It satisfies your cravings and helps you to resist the urge to binge on fattening treats.
Don’t. Overdo. It. And, go for sugar-free gums.
And a point to remember – chewing gum is just one of the many lifestyle changes we can make to help us lose weight. Oh yes, we still have to workout every day and do what is supposed to be done.
51. Set An Activity Alarm
We humans are awesome. We can go for days together parking ourselves in our chairs without actually knowing that we are doing so. And hence, we must be reminded that we need to move.
So, set an activity alarm on your phone or calendar for every 30 minutes. This will remind you to get up and keep moving for a while. And as per research, doing this boosts your metabolism by 13%.
52. Wear A Belt
There’s a theory – the amount of food that gets into your mouth is directly proportional to the expandability of your trousers.
We might find it hard to stop ourselves from overeating. But at least our belt would help. See if you can wear a leather belt or a belted tunic. This will prompt you to slow down and consider how you are feeling after eating.
It acts like your food-monitor, let us say.
53. A Stress-Free Environment Is A Must
Not just a stress-free mind, but a stress-free environment plays a role too. If you have a To-Do list taped to one corner of your table and phone bills scattered around in the other corner, you can rest assured the food ain’t going properly into your mouth.
Keep your environment relaxed. Remove the clutter. Studies show that you are likely to eat 18% less in a stress-free environment.
54. Color Power
Color can be a major influence, especially when it comes to eating habits. Research, again. If the food on your plate and the plate have a low color contrast (like red noodles on a red plate), you are likely to serve yourself 22% more of the food. But if there is a high color contrast (like red noodles on a white plate), you are likely to eat less.
55. Drink Chilled Water Before A Meal
Have a large glass of cold water before you start eating. Not doing so can make you dehydrated, and you would have more sugar cravings. Studies have stated that drinking cold water can increase your metabolic rate by 30%.
If you still feel hungry after drinking water, go ahead and eat.
56. Try An Activity Tracker
Real-time feedback works wonders. It tells you what you have been doing, and what you could be doing. But you can’t take your gym trainer along with you wherever you go, can you?
So, get an activity tracker. It will be worth the investment. It tracks your heart rate or calories burnt. This tells you about your performance and even motivates you to go the extra mile.
57. Keep An Eye On Your Medicine Cabinet
If you aren’t losing weight despite eating right and working out regularly, there is one place you must look at – your medicine cabinet.
Prescription drugs like certain antidepressants and blood pressure or diabetes medicines can cause weight gain as a side effect. If that is the case, your doctor would be the right person to consult.
That’s about it! Stick to these ways and see yourself leading a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life. But keep this one thing in mind – nothing is free. Not even losing weight. These ways only accelerate your way to fitness. But you do have to put in the effort to get fit and healthy.
Tell us how this post has helped you. Do comment in the box below. Cheers!