Created for Greatist by the experts at Healthline. Read more
More gym foe than fan? That’s fine! You can lose weight without hitting the weights or — even worse — doing cardio.
With the new year (and new decade) upon us, you may be looking to shed a few pounds in a flash. Rest assured your resolutions are 100 percent achievable. You just need a few common-sense tips and tricks in your back pocket.
Going all Dyson on your plate is never a good idea. Meals aren’t a race, so slow the heck down. Your brain can’t keep up. Seriously: Eating more slowly has been shown to decrease calorie intake and make people feel full. Talk about a win-win.
So take time to chew. If you’re a habitual speed-eater, counting the number of times you chew each bite can help you get into the habit of pacing your meals.
Cooking isn’t just a great way to impress a date. It can also work wonders on your waistline, not to mention your wallet. In fact, people who eat in more often tend to eat healthier and eat less than those who dine out.
It makes sense: When you’re the one behind the stove, you’re in control of what goes on your plate. You don’t have to be a top chef to whip up something tasty, and you can enjoy a restaurant meal from time to time. Just try to eat more meals at home than you do out.
While weight is more than just a number, the scale doesn’t lie. Daily weigh-ins have been proven to help people lose weight and keep it off.
That being said, don’t fret over daily fluctuations. Hormones, water retention, or eating too much salt can raise the number from time to time.
If you’re going to weigh yourself every day, aim to do it first thing in the morning before you’ve eaten. Consistency is key to accurately tracking your progress.
While it’s fine to snack here and there, it can easily get out of hand. If you’re a serial snacker, try announcing your snacks.
It may sound weird, but telling yourself or someone else you’re going to have a snack will make you stop and consider the number of times you nosh every day and what you’re noshing on.
Portion size isn’t the only size you want to keep an eye on if you’re trying to lose weight. It’s worth noting that over the years, the average dinner plate has increased in size, and so has the average person’s weight.
This isn’t a coincidence. In fact, eating off smaller plates can trick your brain into thinking you’re eating more than you actually are, which can be especially helpful with desserts and less healthy foods.
While some fad diets may have impressive results in the short term, they’re notoriously difficult and sometimes dangerous to maintain. And for what it’s worth, they make the least interesting conversation topics — no one wants to hear about your juice cleanse.
You’re much better off applying simple (and sane) everyday changes to the way you eat for long-term success.
Protein-rich foods aren’t just delicious, they also have a potent effect on keeping the hangries at bay and curbing your overall appetite. That’s partly because protein affects certain key hunger and fullness hormones like GLP-1 and ghrelin.
In short, fiber keeps you feeling full. And for weight loss, one type reigns supreme: viscous fiber. When it comes in contact with water, this magical stuff forms a gel that slows down stomach emptying and gives your body more time to absorb nutrients.
Viscous fiber is found in plant foods only. Try adding some more of this rock-star fiber to your diet with foods like brussels sprouts, oranges, beans, flaxseeds, and asparagus.
Not all bacteria are created equal, especially in your gut. Researchers are just beginning to understand the role of microbiota (gut bacteria) in weight and metabolism function, but some recent research links obesity with an imbalance of certain bacterial strains.
While taking a probiotic is no silver bullet for weight loss, it certainly can’t hurt. Plus, probiotics can boost your overall health and immunity. You can try taking a probiotic supplement or eating fermented foods like yogurt and miso.
The three rules of real estate also apply to losing weight: location, location, location. Keeping unhealthy foods out of sight also keeps them out of your mouth.
In one study, people who lived in households that kept high calorie foods visible were more likely to weigh more than those who lived in homes where only a bowl of fruit was on display. So, clean house and hide your treats!
Adequate sleep is essential to weight loss (and for lots of other reasons!).
Failing to get your beauty rest can do a number on appetite-regulating hormones like leptin and ghrelin. Fluctuations in these hormones can make you hungry and make you crave unhealthy foods — all the more reason to hit snooze.
Finding your bliss can also help you find your goal weight. Like lack of sleep, chronic stress can throw a wrench in your hormonal balance. Plus, many of us tend to cope with stress by eating comfort food that’s probably not the healthiest.
Yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises are all simple and reliable ways to help keep your stress levels in check.
It goes without saying that water should be your beverage of choice even if you’re not trying to lose weight. But water can work wonders on your waistline, especially if you drink some before chowing down.
Research has shown that downing two glasses of water 30 minutes before a meal can reduce hunger and overall calorie intake.
The harsh truth is that portion sizes aren’t what they used to be. They’re MUCH bigger, especially in restaurants.
Putting more on your plate can lead to overeating and weight gain, but that doesn’t mean you have to starve. Just be mindful and serve yourself a bit less than you would normally. You won’t miss the extra calories.
As tempting as it might be to binge-watch your favorite show while going to town on your favorite meal, it’s best to minimize distractions while eating if you’re trying to lose weight.
If you’re not mindful of what’s going into your mouth, you’re much more likely to overeat. One study found that people consumed 10 percent more if they were distracted during their meals.
If you regularly use social media or watch TV while eating, try to go screen-free.
The link between vitamin D and weight loss isn’t crystal clear, but folks in larger bodies tend to have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood. Even more interestingly, people who lose weight tend to experience an increase in vitamin D.
Some research suggests that supplementing with vitamin D can aid weight loss and fat burning. Whether you take a supplement, catch some sun, or eat vitamin D-rich foods, this vitamin comes with the added benefits of stronger bones and increased immunity.
Sugary beverages and soda are nutritionally useless and calorie-dense. These things should be the first thing to go if you’re looking to lose some weight. Try replacing these drinks with water.
Odd as it may seem, some research has found that eating food off red plates can help people eat less. This color bias may be due to the fact that many warning and stop signals are red. Whatever the reason, it’s worth a try, especially when eating less-healthy foods.
Too often we eat with everything but our stomachs. We eat with our eyes and sometimes our emotions. As a result, we don’t always stop when we’re satisfied but rather when we’re borderline exploding.
Practicing mindful eating means staying present at meals and snacks and listening to your body’s internal cues and cravings. The next time you sit down to eat, slow down and really pay attention to how you feel throughout your meal.
Shared family meals have be found to encourage healthy eating habits that influence long-term nutritional health.
That being said, there are all kinds of families, and certain familial situations are anything but healthy. With those variables in mind, eating in good company is always a good idea.
Healthy fats are your friend when you’re trying to lose weight. Unsaturated fats (found in fish, nuts, avocados, and olive oil) and even some saturated fats (like those in butter and coconut) keep you feeling full longer and help you absorb certain vitamins.
That doesn’t mean you should go ham on fats, but you definitely shouldn’t avoid them. The only fats you should really steer clear of, whether you want to lose weight or not, are chemically processed trans fats.
Preparing your meals in advance, at least partially, can help streamline your cooking process and your waistline. Let’s face it: Life and work come at you fast, and you don’t always have the time or energy to shop for and cook a meal from scratch.
Instead, try to get to the grocery store once or twice a week and prepare parts of your meals in advance, like cooking several portions of rice or grilling a few pieces of chicken. That way you can grab, go, and reheat as needed.
While breaking a sweat may be great for your health, you don’t necessarily need to exercise to lose a few pounds. Making simple, sustainable changes to your habits will pave the yellow brick road to success — no membership fee required.