Sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to stay in shape. Counting calories, planning exercise routines, killing ourselves in the gym for slow progress. The best way to drop poundage is still up for debate. Even if you’d like to commit to healthy eating and regular exercise, it can be difficult putting in the time and building a strategy. It would be much easier if we had fat-burning activities built into our daily lives to keep us fit and motivated. Here are a few cool ways you can cut down the pounds without going too far out of your way
13. Take Regular Selfies
One thing that might boost your results on your fitness journey is taking selfies. It may sound farfetched, but there is research that backs it. According to the research, a full-body shot at least once a week could turn into a loss of nearly 3% of body weight in four months. It may not seem like a whole lot, but every little bit adds up. In fact, if you’re already going hard at the gym, being able to spot those differences in your photos will definitely motivate you, which will then help you to strive harder for your fitness goals.
12. Improve Your Workout
You ever heard the phrase “work smarter, not harder?” Well, that certainly applies to workouts too. A good workout is less about the time you put in and more about how you make use of your time. Are you rolling into the gym and just dying on the treadmill for 45 minutes to an hour? While that will certainly contribute to weight loss, it’s mind-numbing and literally exhausting. Mixing up your workout doesn’t just keep your brain engaged, motivating you to do more. It trains your body to keep the calorie-burning going even when you aren’t working out.
11. Make a Goal-Focused Plan
This point ties in very well with the last one. Having a plan for your workouts can give you the confidence you need to push toward your fitness goals. Keep in mind, however, that having a plan definitely does *not* mean just going in and doing the same thing every day, or even every week. We’re trying to stay away from boredom while keeping the fitness train moving. Decide what you’re going to work on each day of the week, and then pick out exercises that complement that. Planning a different routine every week keeps you focused on the goal.
10. An Apple a Day…
Is apparently good for more than ducking the doctor. Studies show that if you snack on some fruit before shopping, you’ll make better choices in the foods you purchase. Part of getting fit and staying fit is diet. Managing your caloric intake, as well as where your calories come from, will help you lose weight, while a nutritionally rich spread of food will ensure your body remains healthy and strong. The point is, eating fruit before you go for groceries puts you in the right state of mind to make healthy purchases (fruits and vegetables) rather than splurging on junk food.
9. Brain Games
Another popular line of thought is that a workout is ‘all in your head’. While that’s certainly not 100% true, as there is a very real physical component to exercise, the mindset does play a key role in your workout and dieting process. For starters, exercising your mind with games, puzzles and other challenges keeps you younger longer, and interacts with your physical health. Additionally, if you regularly keep your mind preoccupied with such pursuits, it can help you ignore problematic cravings for unhealthy foods, constant desires to snack, and other poor decisions that might otherwise impede your fitness progress.
8. Weighing Yourself
Weighing yourself, much like taking selfies, can also contribute to fitness goals. Regular weighing can give you an accurate picture of where you are on your weight loss journey. If you are cycling through workouts and diet plans, it can also give you an idea of what is working and what isn’t, allowing you to make better choices. Keep in mind, however, that this, much like the ‘taking a selfie’ tip, depends greatly on your frame of mind. Don’t discourage yourself if the number is higher than you’d like. Instead, commit to a strategy to lose the excess weight safely.
7. Take More Walks
For most people, it doesn’t take much to stimulate your metabolism in a positive way. In fact, the minimum level of exercise needed to burn fat is a mere half-hour of light exercise daily. It might seem like a lot, with all of the distractions that can be crammed into a day, but if you have time in the mornings or the evenings, or even during breaks at work, you can eek out that half-hour of strolling here and there, and it will take some inches off the gut. If you’re already working out, it only helps more.Related: Benefits of Walking
6. Enlist Your Friends
Things are more fun when you do them together. Alternatively, misery loves company. Either way, bringing your friends on board can help you all lose a little more weight. Having friends who understand your struggle can keep you committed to working out or sticking to a diet; it can motivate you to work harder in the gym. You can also bounce workout routines, recipes, and other healthy ideas off each other. A little healthy competition might also develop. Working out and time with your friends both boost serotonin levels, allowing you to fight through the pain and make better progress.
Earlier, I mentioned ‘brain games’ as a way to keep away from bad habits like unhealthy snacking. But what if you just can’t get away from that mid-afternoon munchies craving? Well, the good news is, not all snacks are created equal. Portion sizes certainly count, and so does the nutrition of whatever you’re snacking on. Keeping a healthy snack handy when hunger strikes can save your wallet and your waistline. Almonds are a great choice, but as long as you don’t opt for carb or sugar-heavy snacks, a little indulgence here and there probably won’t set you back.
4. Smart Eating in General
When it comes to calories in, there’s a lot more on the plate than just snacks. Meals obviously play a role, and much like other activities, what you eat, and even how you eat it can set you up for success or be your downfall. Smaller plates will allow you to get used to the idea of eating more appropriate portion sizes- you can trick your brain into thinking you’re still eating a lot. Furthermore, the pace at which you eat can help too. Slower eating gives you more time to realize you’re full before you kill your entire plate.Related: 10 Healthy High Fat Foods
3. Sleeping Habits
Sleep health is intertwined with both physical and mental health. As such, healthy sleeping habits can help you get fit and stay fit in a number of ways. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll definitely notice it in the form of energy loss, which means you won’t be giving your all during workouts and may skip them altogether. Furthermore, you’ll be irritable, which you may seek to remedy through binge eating of comfort foods high in sugar, fat, and salt. Chemical imbalances from lack of sleep may exacerbate this. Both of these issues will detour your weight loss goals.
2. A Little Wiggle Room
You may not think that advertising a cheat day is conducive to weight loss, but give it some thought. Strict diets, like strict, repetitive workouts, lead to, boredom, and eventually burn out. What’s worse is that they don’t have any significant advantage over those who indulge in the occasional cheat day. A recent study indicated that among sets of dieters, one with a cheat day and the other with a strict regimen all week, the biggest difference between the two groups was not weight loss, but morale; those with the occasional cheat day were more committed to their diet plan.
1. Believe in Yourself
No, seriously. If you have issues with self-image, steps like the taking selfies and weighing may make you feel frustrated, while taking a cheat day may make you feel guilty. You have to put that out of your head. What’s important is to constantly take steps toward weight loss, if that is your goal, in a way that works for you. Getting angry at yourself about yourself won’t help as much as developing solutions and gunning for them. Better mental and emotional help will help you get to where you want to be physically. All spheres of health connect.
All in all, there are a number of things you can do to get the body you want. When it comes to becoming more fit, it’s important to realize that it’s not just a physical game- it’s a mental one too, from staying positive to devising strategies. Find other ways to blend in healthy and helpful behaviors, and don’t get discouraged if the road of progress is long. Everyone’s genetics are different, so even two similarly sized people following similar programs may have vastly different results. Do your best to be physically and mentally healthy through diet and regular exercise.Related: 20 Foods You Can Eat Without Gaining Weight