If you’re feeling like a stuffed sausage in your favorite pair of pants it may be time to come to terms that dropping some pounds is in your future. And while hearing the words “diet” or “exercise” probably sound like nails on a chalkboard, here are a few insider moves you can make to hack your way to a leaner bod.
1. Timing your meals may help you shed pounds
Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center (NORC) found that sticking to a timed meal schedule can help you move the scale, according to NBC News. Eating earlier in the day, perhaps between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., may help you ultimately burn more fat during rest periods.
Next: Stop obsessing over the scale.
2. Weigh yourself only once a week
While it’s tempting to hop on the scale every day, weighing yourself daily can bum you out, especially if you don’t see any action, according to My Fitness Pal. You can still effectively track weight loss by stepping on the scale on the same day and time each week.
Next: Celebrate Taco Tuesday.
3. Cheat on your diet
Researchers from University of Tasmania’s School of Health Sciences found that strict dieters who took cheat days from their diet lost more weight than those who continuously maintained a restricted diet, ABC News reports. Study participants who took cheat days also didn’t gain as much weight back after the study wrapped.
Tips to make this strategy work include eating healthy about 90% of the time and being reasonable about your “cheat.” Eat a bowl of ice cream, rather than an entire pint, according to Shape.
Next: Don’t beat yourself up if you go too far with your cheat.
4. Don’t give up if you fall off the wagon for more than one day
So you ate a sleeve of cookies followed by a bag of chips. And an entire cake. You probably think its time to give up on healthy eating and just let sleeping dogs lie, right? Rather than throw in the towel, give yourself a break because not all is lost, according to Fit Watch. Get back on the horse and continue eating healthy.
Instead of wallowing, you should boost your water intake, consume high fiber foods going forward, and white-knuckle your way through any cravings to get back on track. You can do this!
Next: Set up your kitchen for success.
5. Don’t keep junk food at home
Stock your pantry and fridge with healthy food so you aren’t tempted to break your healthy eating streak, according to Shape. Boost your chances of eating healthy foods by keeping diced fruits and veggies in an attractive container or bowl for easy access. If your fam loves junk, tell them they too will need to go on a healthy eating kick, especially if you find temptation too hard to resist.
Next: Slow and steady wins the race.
6. Have patience with your journey
Although you probably can’t wait to lose a lot of weight, expect to drop up to two pounds per week if you are losing weight in a healthy manner, Self reports. While you may want to try a fad diet to make the pounds drop faster, rapid weight loss is hard to sustain. You can also set small, realistic goals to help you track progress too.
Next: Buddy up for better weight loss results.
7. Lose weight with a friend
One way to make the journey a little less lonely, and maybe a lot more fun is to partner with a pal and lose weight together, My Fitness Pal suggests. You can swap recipes, be gym buddies, and celebrate successes. Weight loss buddies can also hold each other accountable if one person falls off the wagon.
Next: One of your best weight loss tools is being unconscious.
8. Sleep can help you drop the pounds
Getting at least seven hours of sleep each night helps control your hunger and may even help you lose fat, according to Shape. Those who got less than seven hours of shut-eye were hungrier and experienced an insulin imbalance, which can ultimately lead to weight gain.
What’s the path to a good night of sleep? Stick to a schedule, avoid going to bed hungry or overstuffed, darken the room, and exercise daily, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Next: Eat before you grocery shop.
9. Don’t grocery shop hangry
You are more likely to purchase unhealthy food if you grocery shop while hungry (and possibly irritable), especially if you haven’t eaten for an entire afternoon, Reuters reports. Also, hitting the store without a list can also sway you from your healthy eating pattern too. Your best defense is to consume healthy food before you shop in order to stay on track, researchers from Cornell University found.
Next: Track your food.
10. Keep a food diary so you know what you are eating and drinking
Tracking everything you consume may allow you to lose twice as much weight, according to a study by Kaiser Permanente. Not only does tracking increase your awareness of what you eat and drink, it makes you more accountable, and helps you monitor your progress, Runtastic notes.
Next: This next tip is so simple, yet so vital.
11. Skip fad diets
Any claim that asserts you can lose weight fast may actually prevent you from achieving sustainable healthy weight loss, according to FitDay. Fad diets can also mess with your metabolism, which could ultimately make weight loss more challenging. Examples of fad diets include the raw food diet, the blood type diet, and (no joke) the werewolf diet.
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12. Gimmick weight loss products probably don’t work
A quick online search for weight loss products will likely produce a list of items that promise quick weight loss with little to no effort. Some gimmick teas include laxatives that promote a number of trips to the bathroom, but no impact on sustainable weight loss, Mic reports. Recent weight loss scam products include teas, pills, diet patches, weight loss jewelry, body wraps, and slim suits, according to Fraud Guides.
Next: Abs are made in the kitchen and not at the gym.
13. Spend more time on your diet over the gym
Like it or not, eating less over working out will produce more weight loss, according to The New York Times. Why? You end up eating far more calories than you can burn through exercise, which debunks the notion you can simply “burn off” the four glasses of wine you drank the night before. In fact, experts claim 80% of weight loss comes from diet and only 20% from working out, according to Women’s Health Magazine.
Next: Eat less but still stay active.
14. But workout to stay healthy
Even though food plays a major role in weight loss, exercise supports long-term health. Benefits include reverse bone loss, boosted brain function, increased intellect and even reverse damage from alcohol use. Hate working out? Consider doing something you enjoy like dancing, walking with friends or even cleaning the house.
Next: Give yourself less time to eat.
Next: If you’ve tried everything and the scale still won’t budge…
15. Visit a doctor if your best efforts aren’t paying off
Sometimes the reason you aren’t losing weight is tied to a medical reason such as an underactive thyroid, Cushing’s syndrome, or insulin resistance, according to WebMD. Stress and depression could also be derailing your efforts, as well as hormonal changes in women.
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