You know the drill when it comes to losing weight: take in fewer calories, burn more calories. But you also know that most diets and quick weight-loss plans don’t work as promised. If you’re trying to drop a few pounds fast, these trusted expert tips will make it easy for you to lose the weight quickly.
1. Write down what you eat for one week and you will lose weight.
Studies found that people who keep food diaries wind up eating about 15 percent less food than those who don’t. Watch out for weekends: A University of North Carolina study found people tend to consume an extra 115 calories per weekend day, primarily from alcohol and fat. (Though good news: You can work out only on weekends and still lose weight.) Then cut out or down calories from spreads, dressings, sauces, condiments, drinks, and snacks; they could make the difference between weight gain and loss. Don’t miss these other tricks for stopping weekend weight gain.
2. Add 10 percent to the amount of daily calories you think you’re eating
If you think you’re consuming 1,700 calories a day and don’t understand why you’re not losing weight, add another 170 calories to your guesstimate. Chances are, the new number is more accurate. Adjust your eating habits accordingly. For instance, your cup of coffee might have more calories than you thought.
3. Get an online weight loss buddy to lose more weight
A University of Vermont study found that online weight-loss buddies help you keep the weight off. The researchers followed volunteers for 18 months. Those assigned to an Internet-based weight maintenance program sustained their weight loss better than those who met face-to-face in a support group. You and your weight loss buddy can share tips like these ways to lose weight without exercise.
4. Get a weight-loss mantra
You’ve heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? If you keep focusing on things you can’t do, like resisting junk food or getting out the door for a daily walk, chances are you won’t do them. Instead (whether you believe it or not) repeat positive thoughts to yourself. “I can lose weight.” “I will get out for my walk today.” “I know I can resist the pastry cart after dinner.” Repeat these phrases and before too long, they will become true for you. Try these other daily mantras that can help you reach your goals.
5. After breakfast, stick to water
At breakfast, go ahead and drink orange juice. But throughout the rest of the day, focus on water instead of juice or soda. The average American consumes an extra 245 calories a day from soft drinks. That’s nearly 90,000 calories a year—or 25 pounds! And research shows that despite the calories, sugary drinks don’t trigger a sense of fullness the way that food does. Find out how to tell if you drink too many of your calories.
6. Eat three fewer bites of your meal
…or one less treat a day, or one less glass of orange juice. Doing any of these can save you about 100 calories a day, and that alone is enough to prevent you from gaining the two pounds most people mindlessly pack on each year. Check out these other weight loss tricks that don’t require diet or exercise.
7. Watch one less hour of TV
A study of 76 undergraduate students found the more they watched television, the more often they ate and the more they ate overall. Sacrifice one program (there’s probably one you don’t really want to watch anyway) and go for a walk instead—in even just 15 minutes, you’ll reap these amazing benefits of walking. And during your favorite shows, get off the couch and try these exercises you can do while watching TV.
8. Wash something thoroughly once a week
Whether that’s a floor, a couple of windows, the shower stall, bathroom tile, your car, or one of these everyday items no one cleans enough, a 150-pound person will burn about four calories for every minute spent cleaning. Scrub for 30 minutes and you could work off approximately 120 calories, the same number in a half-cup of vanilla frozen yogurt. If you do treat yourself with fro yo, stick with these nutritionist-approved toppings.
9. Wait until your stomach rumbles before you reach for food
It’s stunning how often we eat out of boredom, nervousness, habit, or frustration—so often, in fact, that many of us have actually forgotten what physical hunger feels like. (Don’t miss these other common reasons you can’t stop eating.) If you’re hankering for a specific food, it’s probably a craving, not hunger. If you’d eat anything you could get your hands on, chances are you’re truly hungry. Learn how to recognize these feelings mistaken for hunger, then find ways other than eating to express love, tame stress, and relieve boredom. But talk to your doctor if you think you’re always hungry for a medical reason.
10. Sniff a banana, an apple, or a peppermint when you feel hungry
You might feel silly, but it works. When Alan R. Hirsch, MD, neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, tried this with 3,000 volunteers, he found that the more frequently people sniffed, the less hungry they were and the more weight they lost—an average of 30 pounds each. One theory is that sniffing the food tricks the brain into thinking you’re actually eating it. Use these other tricks to become a more mindful eater.
11. Stare at the color blue
There’s a good reason you won’t see many fast-food restaurants decorated in blue: it functions as an appetite suppressant. So serve up dinner on blue plates, dress in blue while you eat, and cover your table with a blue tablecloth. Conversely, avoid red, yellow, and orange in your dining areas. Studies find they encourage eating. Don’t miss these other kitchen changes to help you eat less without noticing.
12. Eat in front of mirrors and you’ll lose weight
One study found that eating in front of mirrors slashed the amount people ate by nearly one-third. Having to look yourself in the eye reflects back some of your own inner standards and goals, and reminds you of why you’re trying to lose weight in the first place. Try more easy mind tricks that help you lose weight.
13. Spend 10 minutes a day walking up and down stairs
The Centers for Disease Control says that’s all it takes to help you shed as much as 10 pounds a year (assuming you don’t start eating more). Check out these other tricks for squeezing in more steps every day.
14. Walk five minutes for at least every two hours
Stuck at a desk all day? A brisk five-minute walk every two hours will parlay into an extra 20-minute walk by the end of the day, and getting moving is more beneficial than a standing desk. Plus, getting a break will make you less likely to reach for snacks out of antsiness. While you’re up, use this effective stretch for avoiding back pain.
15. You’ll lose weight and fat if you walk 45 minutes a day, not 30
The reason we’re suggesting 45 minutes instead of the typical 30 is that a Duke University study found that while 30 minutes of daily walking is enough to prevent weight gain in most relatively sedentary people, exercise beyond 30 minutes results in weight and fat loss. Burning an additional 300 calories a day with three miles of brisk walking (45 minutes should do it) could help you lose 30 pounds in a year without even changing how much you’re eating. If you ned motivation, try these secrets of women who work out every day.
16. Don’t buy any prepared food
… that lists sugar, fructose, or corn syrup among the first four ingredients on the label. You should be able to find a lower-sugar version of the same type of food. If you can’t, grab a piece of fruit instead, especially if you show signs you’re eating too much sugar. Look for sugar-free varieties of foods such as ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and these other foods with way more sugar than you realize. Also, avoid partially hydrogenated foods, and look for more than two grams of fiber per 100 calories in all grain products. Finally, a short ingredient list means fewer flavor enhancers and empty calories. Sounds impossible, but you can actually learn how to give up sugar without missing it.
17. Put your fork or spoon down between every bite
At the table, sip water frequently. Intersperse your eating with stories for your dining partner of the amusing things that happened during your day. Your brain lags your stomach by about 20 minutes when it comes to satiety (fullness) signals. If you eat slowly enough, your brain will catch up to tell you that you are no longer in need of food. Check out this other trick that helps you eat less.
18. Throw out your “fat” clothes for good
Once you’ve started losing weight, throw out or give away every piece of clothing that doesn’t fit, and fill your closet with a dress that shows off your favorite body part. The idea of having to buy a whole new wardrobe if you gain the weight back will serve as a strong incentive to stay fit.
19. Close the kitchen for 12 hours
After dinner, wash all the dishes, wipe down the counters, turn out the light, and, if necessary, tape closed the cabinets and refrigerator. Late-evening eating significantly increases the overall number of calories you eat, a University of Texas study found. Learning how to stop late-night snacking can save 300 or more calories a day, or 31 pounds a year. Learn more about how eating late at night makes you fat.
20. Walk before dinner and you’ll cut calories AND your appetite
In a study of ten obese women conducted at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, 20 minutes of walking reduced appetite and increased sensations of fullness as effectively as a light meal.
Thanks for reading!