If you’re logging just a few hours of sleep a night, you may actually find yourself gaining weight. Researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center found that subjects who slept just four hours had a harder time processing carbs. "When you're exhausted, your body lacks the energy to do its normal day-to-day functions, which includes burning calories efficiently," says Talbott.
24. Try A Group Fitness Class – Are you competitive? Do you work out harder when other people are around? Group fitness classes are a great way to get motivated, challenge yourself, and meet active people. Try boxing or muay thai, TRX, brazilian jiu jitsu, salsa dancing, parkour, rock climbing, and fitness bootcamps. In bigger cities, you could even try circus classes or train like an American Ninja Warrior. Find a class you like and go to it every week.
Call it what you will: An eating plan, a lifestyle, a diet, a philosophy, but few things garner such heated debate as how to lose weight. The truth is, whether you’re on a low-carb keto program, devoted to the Paleo lifestyle, all in to the Whole 30 or remain committed to low-fat eating, these plans have more in common than you think. What’s more, follow any one of them religiously, and you’ll likely notice results.
Choose Liquid Calories Wisely. Sweetened drinks pile on the calories, but don't reduce hunger like solid foods do. Satisfy your thirst with water, sparkling water with citrus, skim or low-fat milk, or small portions of 100% fruit juice. Try a glass of nutritious and low-calorie vegetable juice to hold you over if you get hungry between meals. Be careful of alcohol calories, which add up quickly. If you tend to drink a glass or two of wine or a cocktail on most days, limiting alcohol to the weekends can be a huge calorie saver.
Few things are more discouraging to someone on a weight-loss plan than the oft-cited statistic that 95% of people who lose weight will regain it within a few years. The difficulty in sticking with a long-term weight-maintenance plan is one of the main reasons that weight-loss programs fail. To uncover clues to successful weight loss, researchers have been collecting information on people who have lost weight and successfully kept it off for many years. This project, known as the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), records what these people did to achieve their goals.
29. Don’t Make Excuses, Just Start Working Out – If you’re tired, don’t think too much about it. Put your headphones on and just start moving. Do a dynamic warm-up to get yourself in the mindset, and start with easier exercise sets. You can keep your workout low-key if you’re tired or stressed, and you can go hard when you’re full of energy. You never regret a workout, but you might regret skipping one.
You might feel silly, but it works. When Alan R. Hirsch, M.D., 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.
Close the Kitchen at Night. Establish a time when you will stop eating so you won't give in to the late-night munchies or mindless snacking while watching television. "Have a cup of tea, suck on a piece of hard candy or enjoy a small bowl of light ice cream or frozen yogurt if you want something sweet after dinner, but then brush your teeth so you will be less likely to eat or drink anything else," suggests Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, WebMD's "Recipe Doctor" and the author of Comfort Food Makeovers.
And for energy balance, it's the number of calories that matters. Weight loss on the Twinkie Diet proves this principle: Last year, Mark Haub at Kansas State University lost 27 pounds eating junk food. And this is pretty good proof of concept, says Yale University’s David Katz, MD, who has written extensively on the futility of the “is a calorie a calorie?” debate.
Meal prepping takes a few hours a week, but it's worth it: By getting your meals ready ahead of time, you won't be so tempted to order your go-to Chinese takeout when you're tired and hungry after work. "When you plan an entire week of dinner in advance, you're way less likely to go off course and indulge in foods that aren't good for you," says Pamela Salzman, a certified holistic health expert and cooking instructor. And since you planned things out, you'll actually get the protein, fruit, and veggies your body needs — and you'll lose weight in the process.
33. Shop The Perimeter Of The Grocery Store – Grocery stores keep all of good stuff on the perimeter.36 It’s here that you’ll find your fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. The aisles are usually filled with highly-palatable processed foods containing a combination of fat, salt, sugar, and a ton of calories. Only venture into these sections when you have your grocery list in hand so you’ll know exactly what you need.
89. Make Active Friends – If the friends you have right now aren’t active, try to meet some people who engage in active hobbies. Join some active Meet Up groups in your area, start or join a running club at your office, or encourage your friends to take up a new hobby with you. Your social environment has a big influence on your personal habits,68 so making friends with active, healthy people could help you stay fit long-term and help you achieve your weight loss goals.69
62. Eliminate Seconds – At a buffet, it’s easy to get tempted by all of the options to overeat. Remember our recommendation to “limit variety”? That applies to when you’re at a buffet as well. To counteract the temptation of buffet variety, take only one plate and don’t go back for seconds. Fill ½ of your plate with veggies, ¼ with protein, and ¼ with a healthy carbohydrate.
28. Do Yard Work Or Housework – This is about increasing your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), which is a fancy way of describing any activity other than sleeping, eating, and working out.32 Mow the lawn, pull weeds, plant in your garden, mop or vacuum the floor, clean the kitchen, organize your bedroom. Increasing your daily movement could have major benefits for your health and body composition. All the little things add up!
If you're on a weight-loss journey, hitting your goal weight might seem like an impossible feat, a number you won't hit until the distant future. But as you start to lose weight, you may notice that it's coming off faster than you anticipated. In fact, as some people go into weight-loss mode, they may not know what their actual goal weight should be or when to stop.
47. Drink Your Coffee Black – Coffee can offer some benefits to weight loss, including an increased metabolic rate and fat oxidation.49 It can also enhance your strength, power, and athletic performance. This is not an excuse to drink coffee all day every day. Nor does this mean you’re doing yourself a favor by drinking sugar-filled coffee beverages that contain a lot of calories. If you drink coffee, drink it black or add just a splash of cream, milk, or nondairy milk.
Dairy products contain varying amounts of lactose (milk sugar), which slows down weight loss. What’s more, part of the protein in milk generates a significant insulin response, which can have the same effect. Consequently, cutting back on dairy products may accelerate weight loss. This applies especially to dairy products typically lacking in fat, such as regular milk and various yogurts, but be careful with full-fat dairy such as cream and cheese all the same. And don’t forget whey protein powder, which is pure milk protein.