Despite what some people try to tell us, weight loss is a difficult process that requires plenty of time and effort, particularly if you want to do it right. In fact, your goal should be to lose fat, not merely weight, as a lot of crash diets will make your body lose plenty of water weight and even catabolize a significant amount of muscle in the process. You actually want to maintain as much lean muscle mass as you can, as the more muscle you have the faster your metabolism will be and the more calories your body will burn just to maintain all the muscle mass.
So, we need to look at slow and steady weight loss tactics, but it doesn’t just boil down to going to the gym and counting your calories, as there are variety of both physiological and psychological factors involved. It is possible to significantly contribute to your overall weight loss in a number of unexpected ways, and get excellent results without getting stuck in a rut and feeling miserable.
The following 15 tips can be effectively utilized to enhance your weight loss efforts, as they help keep you in a calorie deficit without you really giving it much thought, i.e. you don’t have to do much planning or calorie counting, and it simply doesn’t feel like you’re doing any extra work. Commit to a few lifestyle changes outlined below and you will definitely have a much easier time getting rid of those extra pounds.
1. Stand at your desk
Most people think of full-blown exercise when it comes to burning calories, but the mere act of standing up instead of sitting can help you burn an additional 50 calories per hour. Using a standing desk in your home will make you spend an additional 3-4 hours standing up, which means up to 200 extra calories burned daily.
2. Drink a lot more black coffee
Black coffee is great because it has virtually no calories to worry about – don’t add any sugar – so it can be a great substitute for high calorie drinks. It also suppresses your appetite to an extent, and consuming a fair amount of caffeine can make you restless, which causes you to fidget and move around more. This spontaneous light physical activity can help burn some 100 more calories a day.
3. Don’t have any drinks within arm’s reach
Now, you’re already standing more and fidgeting from the energy boost the coffee gives you, but it’s a good idea to add some more movement throughout the day, as it will burn calories and help prevent aches and pains form too much sitting. A simple tactic is to go to the kitchen and pour yourself a glass of water or get a drink form the fridge each time you get thirsty – don’t have extra drinks sitting around on the table near you. You’ll eventually get thirsty and will have to move.
4. Cook all of your meals
We can never be sure what to expect from the food we get in fast food restaurants, and only one thing is certain – they are high in calories and fat. When you cook for yourself you can control what goes into your food, and you can make it to your liking. Forget about boring weight loss recipes, and just focus on adding plenty of vegetables and lean meat to your meals, and throw in a good amount of healthy fats such as olive oil or butter. The extra work spent moving around and preparing the food also means a few more calories burned.
5. Eat more protein
Protein is a key building block of muscle tissue, and you need to eat enough of it to allow the body to keep most of the muscle as you diet down and start burning more calories. However, the old bodybuilding recommendations are not valid, and you can get optimal results with 1.5 to 1.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. Another good thing about protein is that it has a high thermic effect – some of the calories are burned while digesting it – and can make you feel more satiated compared to high fat or high carb meals.
6. Go to bed early
Going to bed earlier has two main purposes:
- It stops you from eating additional snacks at night
- It ensures that you get plenty of sleep
A good night’s sleep will actually help the body function properly, which leads to improved weight loss, compared to losing sleep on a consistent basis.
7. Go dancing
Music has a significant influence on the human psyche, and can help us relax. Not only will dancing to some music when you have a few minutes of alone time help reduce stress, which helps control emotional eating, but it is also the most fun you’ll have while burning a decent amount of calories. Let yourself go and break a sweat listening to a few of your favourite toons each night, as it will make a big difference.
8. Meditate for at least 10 minutes a day
One of the best ways to get stress and anxiety under control is through regular meditation. This is an excellent option for those who don’t really enjoy dancing, although you will be losing out on the calorie-burning benefits. Some ten minutes of meditating per day can help you stay on track with your healthy dietary habits and stay motivated to lose weight.
9. Spend less time at the gym but make each workout count
It sounds a tad bit counterintuitive, but hear me out on this one. A recent study has shown that shorter sprint-type exercises can burn the same amount of calories as a long and drawn out run at slower pace. However, there’s a catch – cutting down on workout time means that you will have to increase the intensity. You may need to use some sort of dietary supplement to help give you the energy to get through a gruelling exercise, preferably something with natural and proven ingredients, but you can also just eat more carbs before the workout and have a cup of strong coffee.
10. Clean your home
While the previous point requires a bit of mental and physical preparation, as it really is hard work, there are lighter physical activities that won’t really seem like exercise, but will still help keep you in shape. Household chores burn a decent amount of calories, are more dynamic than using a stationary bike, and have additional benefits, i.e. your house stays neat and tidy, which in turn helps improve your focus.
11. Drink a couple of glasses of water 10 minutes before a meal
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is important for good health, but studies have also confirmed that old bit of weight loss wisdom – drinking a couple of glasses of water before a meal makes you eat less.
12. Eat like a skinny person
A very peculiar weight loss strategy that has worked for me in the past, and for many others as well, is to mimic the eating patterns of one of your skinny friends. Choose a friend who has physique that is close to where you want to be and try to eat like they eat. Pro tip: never mimic a friend who is more than 20-30 pounds lighter than you, as you’ll risk dropping your calories way too low.
13. Turn off you TV and phone while eating
We all know how easy it is to get carried away and eat a lot while watching TV or scrolling through your Facebook feed, but there have been multiple studies that show a clear connection between distracted eating and gaining weight. By eating in silence and focusing on what you are doing, you’ll be able to eat up to 69% less food than if you were watching TV.
14. Re-stock your fridge and panty with healthy and low-calorie foods and snacks
Here’s a simple fact that will do wonders for your weight loss efforts: you can’t eat high-calorie snacks at random if you don’t have them readily available. It is too much hassle to go to the store just because you have a bit of a craving, and you’ll end up eating much healthier snack alternatives because they happen to be lying around when you got hungry.
15. If you must drink, drink hard liquor
Now, don’t take this as an excuse to go ahead and drink yourself silly, but it is a much better idea to drink hard liquor if you are on a diet. Even those drinking in moderation are looking to get a bit of a buzz, and stronger alcoholic drinks like whiskey, tequila, vodka or rakia will get you there with much less total liquid consumed. Tequila is a particularly good choice, as it has been shown to contain ingredients which can aid weight loss. This means that you can shave a couple of hundred calories off your total intake during party night – just avoid cocktails and drink your liquor straight, and in moderation.