This article was written by Nicole McDermott and repurposed with permission from Greatist.
Losing weight is no easy task, and doing it the healthy way can be even harder. But instead of drastically changing your lifestyle with unsustainable habits, try making small tweak to your everyday routine. Weve rounded up some of our favorite weight-loss tips to get you started.
1. Get the Blues
Were talking about blue dishware. The color blue can act as an appetite suppressant because it has the least appealing contrast to most food. Research says to avoid plates that match the food served on them (like white plates and fettuccini Alfredo), because there is less of a contrast, which may prompt us to eat more. A small but potentially useful trick!
2. Eat Snacks
Skipping out on snack time wont necessarily lead to weight loss since low-calorie consumption can actually slow metabolism. Eating less than three times a day may benefit those who are obese, but research shows skipping meals throughout the day and eating one large meal at night can lead to some undesirable outcomes (like delayed insulin response), which may increase the risk of diabetes. Instead of forgoing breakfast or lunch, stick to a few meals a day with healthy snacks in between.
3. Peruse the Perimeter
Next time you need groceries, circle the perimeter of the store before going in. The edges of grocery stores generally house fresh produce, meat, and fish, while the inner aisles hold more pre-packaged, processed foods. Browsing the perimeter can help control how many unwanted additives are in the grocery basket.
4. Stock the Fridge
Make an effort to fill the fridge with healthy produce and proteins (from perusing the perimeter!). Keep lots of fresh fruit and veggies on-hand. And for when the fruit basket goes barren, make sure the freezer is stocked with frozen veggie mixes or berries (grab the bags full of just veggies, not the ones with butter-laden sauces). You may be less apt to order out when youve got the makings of a healthy dinner right at home.
5. Eat in the A.M.
Skipping breakfast in order to save your appetite for dinner probably isnt a safety shield for late-night noshing. While theres still debate on how important breakfast really is, not eating until the afternoon may lead to bingeing later on. Make sure to stick a reasonably sized breakfast with plenty of protein.
6. Get Busy in the Kitchen
We promise cooking doesn’t take long! Restaurants often use larger plates than the ones we have at home, and studies show that increased portion sizes result in increased energy intake, even if theres a doggy bag involved. Why not start by making these healthy meals in just 12 minutes or less (quesadillas, stir-fry, and burgers, oh my!).
7. Prioritize the Pantry
If youve got some favorite not-so-great items youd like to save as a treat, tuck them in the back of the pantry with healthier items – like whole-grain pasta, rice, beans, and nuts – up front. We know that just because the cans of tuna and a bag of lentils are right in front doesnt mean youll forget the brownie mix altogether, but itll help keep the brownie mix out of sight, out of mind. Just seeing or smelling food can stimulate cravings and increase hunger (especially true for junk food).
8. Cut Back on Liquid Calories
Milk and cookies, orange juice and French toast, wine and cheese – some foods seemingly require a liquid counterpart. But its easy to pour on the pounds by chugging soda, juice, alcohol, and even milk on the regular. Sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with increased body fat and blood pressure, so lay off of them as much as possible.
9. Banish the Booze
Youve likely heard the phrase drink in moderation. The point is, alcohol houses a lot of sneaky calories, and it has the ability to inhibit eating decisions (mmm, greasy pizza) later on in the night. Even after youve sobered up, alcohol can have negative impacts on strength and may leave you lagging in the weight room days later.
10. Sip Green Tea
Drinking green tea is one of the most common tips for shedding a few pounds, and for good reason: Green tea is known for its ability to metabolize fat. And in combination with resistance training, green tea increases the potential for fat loss. Add a squeeze of lemon for a little flavor and to amp up antioxidant affects.
11. Stay Positive
Many of us demonize certain foods and even punish ourselves for certain indulgences. Instead, positive messages like I can control my eating or Im proud that I ate responsibly today can reframe our relationship with food. Research shows that positive expectations are also associated with weight loss.
Emotional eating – essentially eating to make ourselves feel better (often when were sad or anxious) – can interfere with weight-loss goals. But meditation – using techniques like muscle relaxation and achieving self-focus – can help binge eaters become aware of how they turn to food to deal with emotions. Check out these 10 ways to meditate.
13. Sleep Smart
Sleep loss is linked to changes in appetite and the metabolism of glucose. Take a look at our guide to sleep positions to optimize those hours spent tucked under the sheets. And try other solutions for extra Zzs, like turning off electronics in the bedroom and avoiding large meals late at night.
14. Jot It Down
If using fancy apps seems too daunting, research suggests theres still merit to the old pen and paper. Monitoring our food intake with a food diary can help you lose or maintain weight. In fact, people who stick to food diaries are more likely to lose weight than those who dont. Recording each bite helps us be aware of not only the foods we eat, but when and how much we eat them.
15. Choose Free Weights
Step off the leg-press, and start squatting with a pair of dumbbells. Working out with free weights can activate muscles more effectively, which helps torch calories.
A lot of stress can trigger increased eating and cravings, especially for sugary carbohydrates. If pressure at work or a family burden has got you feeling overwhelmed, try out one of these ways to reduce stress before pawing at that donut.
17. Pump Up the Jam
Pack your playlist with upbeat tunes. Research shows music that has 180 beats per minute – like, say, "Hey Ya" by OutKast – will naturally prompt a quicker pace. Plus, music serves as a distraction, which can help take attention off a grueling gym session.
18. Chew Slowly
Eating slowly may not fit into a busy workday, but it pays to pace your chewing: The quicker we eat, the less time the body has to register fullness. So slow down, and take a second to savor.
19. Pack the Protein
Protein can help promote a healthy weight because high-protein diets are associated with greater satiety. Its also important for healthy muscle growth. Animal sources arent the only option – try alternatives like quinoa, tempeh, and lentils.
Click HERE to see 48 more ways to lose weight from Greatist!