“Eat less, exercise more.” While these wise words incorporate the most universally successful diet plan, there are several things you can do without hitting the gym to help your body fuel more efficiently. Here are four tips that will help you reach your weight goal:
CATCH MORE ZZZ’S – Giving your body a full night’s rest is one of the best ways to shed weight. A recent study showed that when participants slept for only four hours consumed an extra 300 calories compared with when they slept a full eight hours! Sleep deprivation also curbs self-control. Plan ahead and wind down your night in time to provide adequate sleep. Its benefits go far beyond losing weight.
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE – The human body is mostly water, which is incentive enough to be sure you’re getting the minimum eight glasses a day, but did you know water can help your diet? Drinking water helps to keep you feeling full, meaning less snacking. Downing ice water has the added benefit of boosting your metabolism, burning calories in the process of warming the water. A pre-workout hydration session will help your body release muscle-building hormones – and more muscle means a higher basal metabolic rate. If too much water bores you, look for healthy ways to change it up. A number of companies make flavored waters that are packed with helpful vitamins. Green tea has the added benefit of antioxidants and a metabolism boost that can add up to an extra 400 calories or more per week!
WATCH PORTIONS – Being a conscious eater is a good habit to develop, regardless of dieting. It takes the body 20 minutes after eating to recognize it’s full. By knowing what a serving size should be and sticking to it, you’ll be able to avoid that overfull feeling and give your body the right amount of fuel. Remember, you can always come back for more food if you’re still hungry later. When eating out, where meals are regularly double or triple the size of what your body actually needs, it may be wise to ask for half your order to be boxed up to go – it’s a great way to curb mindless eating AND stretch your delicious dish for two meals.
GET FIT WITH FRIENDS – Take positive peer pressure to the next level by checking in with friends or relatives who are also fitness minded. That healthy support system can help you make wiser lifestyle choices, from choosing more active entertainment options to skipping calorie-laden lunches or happy hours. If IRL (“in real life”) relationships won’t cut it, there are a number of free fitness forums online that provide nutrition information along with peer encouragement, from cyclist Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong to MyFitnessPal, which recently reported a combined weight loss of 20 million pounds among its membership – simply by counting calories, exercising, and comparing notes.