Limit Your Calorie Intake
Losing weight boils down to simple math. To lose one pound weekly, burn or cut out 3, 500 calories in the course of seven days. That breaks down to 500 calories per day. It's difficult to cut out that many by dieting alone, especially for someone who loves to eat. The most effective approach is this combo: each day, cut out 250 calories from your diet and burn 250 through exercise. Choose to either cut out one 250-calorie item such as a serving of ice cream, or omit a few small things that add up to 250 calories a day.
Check out this calorie calculator to figure out how many calories to consume each day, based on your current weight and your weight-loss goal. Don't dip below 1, 200 calories to prevent going into starvation mode, which makes your body hold on to weight.
Get Up and Out—No Matter What
Even when you're swamped, stay active with a 10-minute break to rev up your body. Taking a walk at lunchtime is a proactive way to promote weight loss. Bonus: You'll also get some sunshine.
Stop Skipping Evening Workouts
At the end of a hard day, it's easy to find an excuse to skip the gym or your run. To stay committed, tell yourself that an evening workout is not optional. And honestly, who couldn't use an extra boost of endorphins after a tough meeting? If it's too dark to head outside to exercise, these at-home workouts will do the trick.
Focus on Intense Cardio
Doing difficult 45-minute cardio sessions a few times a week can boost your metabolism. Better yet, a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise showed that each intense cardio sessions can elevate your metabolism even after you stop sweating, burning additional calories post-workout. Some intense cardio workouts to try: running, indoor cycling, or interval training (like this pyramid treadmill workout).
Just because you're going on vacation doesn't mean you have to halt your exercise routine. Travel smart by packing a few workout-related items that don't take up too much space, like these five fitness accessories.
Stop With the Scale
It may be tempting to step on a scale whenever you see one, but if it's making you feel bad, then give it a break. Keep in mind that the number is not going to change overnight. Allow yourself weekly weigh-ins, but remember that your weight isn't always the most accurate measure of success. You could be building fat-burning muscle, which could push the number up.
Aside from keeping you hydrated, regular water consumption may aid with weight loss, according to recent studies. Drinking water before a meal ensures you're hydrated (and being dehydrated can make you think you're hungry, causing you to eat more). What's more, eating foods that contain a lot of water (like fruits and veggies) will fill you up faster so you end up eating less. A small study found that drinking cool water might even speed up metabolism and discourage cravings for sugary drinks like soda and juice. Now that's a reason to stay hydrated!
Eat Your Veggies
Eating five to seven servings of fruits and veggies a day is important for everyone, but dieters who go heavy on the produce are more likely to lose and keep the weight off. Fruits and veggies are low-calorie and often loaded with filling fiber. So make one of these 51 vegetable-focused recipes for your next meal.
Eating early in the day can help your body burn more calories. Read on for more tips on how to boost your metabolism.
Shorten Your Workouts—But Make Them Count
Short, intense cardio workouts can be just as effective as longer ones, which means you reap the calorie-burning rewards. Start with one of these 10-minute workout videos.
Enjoy the Food You Eat
One of the worst things you can do when you're trying to lose weight is eat too little. Instead of depriving yourself, enjoy small indulgences or schedule a cheat day—and don't obsess over it. After all, eating high-calorie foods every once in a while won't wreck a healthy diet. In fact, allowing yourself to indulge on occasion can help you develop a healthy relationship with food that may help you from bingeing later.
Play the Calorie Game Correctly
Losing weight is about simple math; don't fool yourself into thinking that a workout is a free pass to splurge. This mindset could lead you to eat more calories than you burn, which will result in weight gain instead of weight loss.
Stop Eating Junk Food
It may seem obvious, but junk food is your weight-loss enemy. Worse yet, eating foods full of sugar and fat will make you feel irritable and sluggish. To get all the junk out of your system, consider doing a two-week elimination diet by cutting out gluten, refined sugars, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. From high energy levels to glowing skin, here are five reasons why an elimination diet can work for you.
Eat Tons of Blueberries
Blueberries aren't just full of antioxidants. They may play a role in reducing belly fat, too. Blueberries are loaded with anthocyanin, which alters the activity of genes found in human fat cells and makes it more difficult to put on weight. So go ahead and try one of these healthful blueberry recipes.
With your fruit, that is! Stone fruits like nectarines, plums, peaches, and cherries contain natural substances that ward off obesity. Pretty cool, right? Added bonus: They also protect against diabetes and act as an anti-inflammatory. Dietician Cynthia Sass recommends eating the fruit on its own in a raw, natural state.
Keep It Fresh
Maybe you don't eat a ton of junk food, but there are still some seemingly healthy —but highly processed—foods out there. Get as close to nature as you can and eat a diet filled with all-natural whole foods. They'll help you maintain energy levels, promote healthy sleeping habits, and provide ample fuel for all of your workouts.
Stick to Your New Habits Even After You Lose Weight
You used to devour a big bag of potato chips with your lunch, but when you decided to lose weight, you replaced it with a side salad. Now that the weight is off, don't go back to your chips habit. Losing weight is a lifestyle change, not something you do until you reach your goal. Once you go back to old eating habits, the weight will creep back on. Give yourself room for indulgences, but make sure it's all in moderation.
Push Your Body
If you don't feel like trying something new in your exercise regimen, there are still ways to step up your current routine. Adding an extra few minutes to a workout, sprinting at the end of a run, or choosing heavier weights may make all the difference.
Eat Fiber in the Morning
One key to losing weight is eating foods that keep you full. The strategy can help you ward off hunger pains and temptation. To start your day off right, make sure your breakfast includes at least eight grams of fiber. Try these 10 high-fiber cereals or these breakfast meals that contain at least 10 grams of fiber.
Live an Overall Active Life
Physical activity, be it training for a half marathon or hitting the gym, is important for losing weight—but scheduled sweat sessions aren't enough. Take the stairs, walk your dog, vacuum vigorously, bike to dinner, and garden. All these things will help burn calories and keep you in an active frame of mind.