If you’re looking for inspiration to get back in shape (or in shape, period), we’ve got exactly what you need. Here we rounded up how to lose body fat—not just water weight—with 50 healthy tips.
1. If you not seeing results from your cardio regimen, switch to interval training. Sprint for 30 seconds, and then recover by walking or jogging for a following 30 seconds and repeat for the duration of your workout. Or, follow this guide.
2. Follow the 80/20 rule and eat clean 80% of the time, while allowing a bit of indulgence for the remaining 20%. By clean, we mean whole foods with no processed flour, sugar, or additives.
3. Keep a food journal to monitor absent-minded eating. A 2008 study found that tracking your eating habits can actually double your weight loss! Rather than pulling out a pen and paper, try free apps like SparkPeople Diet and Food Tracker or LoseIt so you can update your entries on the go.
5. Limit your carb intake by choosing protein and vegetables over bread, rice, pasta, and other grains. Evidence suggests that cutting down starchy foods and carbs can help you lose weight quickly, and can also reduce your risk of heart disease.
6. Take the stairs whenever possible instead of using an elevator. You’ve heard it before, but simple changes like this are a great way to get incidental exercise, and burn calories without planning a workout.
7. Pack your own healthy lunch and snacks to avoid unhealthy takeaway temptation. Sure, sometimes it’s hard enough to find time to eat lunch, let alone pre-prepare it, but that’s why we came up with 13 healthy lunch ideas that are realistic for busy people.
8. Serve meals on smaller, salad-sized plates or small bowls to help control your portion size.
9. Drink a glass of water before each meal to feel fuller and to avoid overeating. While water doesn’t have a magical fat-burning property, nutrition experts say keeping hydrated can stop overeating, as many people confuse thirst with hunger.
10. Slice crunchy vegetables and fruit into large chunks–this will force you to spend longer chewing, slow down your eating, and allow your brain to recognize when your body is full.
11. Keep snacks to around 100 calories to avoid over eating. We enlisted fitness guru and celebrity trainer David Kirsch to offer up 10 ridiculously easy-to-grab healthy snacks that clock in at 100 calories or less.
12. Eat an apple, because it will help curb your appetite and keep your feeling full for up to two hours. The soluble fiber found in apples (pectin) actually reduces the amount of sugar and calories you absorb after a meal, making apples one of the best snacks for dieters. Pectin also stops blood sugar from spiking, which helps to avoid that “crash” that can often leave you desperately craving sugary food.
13. Swap pasta for shredded zucchini, squash, carrot to decrease the starchy food in your diet.
14. Brush your teeth every time you finish a meal to discourage snacking. Nothing tastes good mixed with toothpaste.
15. Get enough protein, like grilled chicken, nuts, and fish. Several studies, including a recent one published in the Journal of the American Medical Association show that missing out on high protein foods can cause overeating and lead to weight gain. Plus, if you’re exercising to lose weight (which you should be!), protein is important for your muscles to repair after a big workout.
16. When you eat out, ask the waiter not to bring any bread to your table. One large bread roll with butter could be up to 100 calories, which you probably don’t need to be eating in addition to a full meal.
17. When you’re thirsty, sip water with lemon or iced greed tea rather than sugary soda drinks or milky coffee concoctions.
18. Researchers analyzed 19 studies on weight gain and found a relationship between skipping breakfast and piling on the pounds, so remember to eat within an hour of waking up to kick-start your metabolism.
19. Get a standing desk. Even a couple of hours spent standing rather than sitting can boost your metabolism.
20. Eat spicy foods, like hot peppers, which increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation by increasing the metabolism.
21. Snack on calorie negative foods, like celery, which actually require more energy to digest than they contain.
22. Grapefruit is a great metabolism booster and an amazing source of vitamin C and vitamin A, both of which have been proven to help clear up your complexion and reduce the dark circles around tired eyes. Eat up!
23. Ditch empty liquid calories like those found in milky lattes, sugary fruit drinks, and sodas that don’t fill you up.
24. Eat a breakfast that’s between 300 to 400 calories and full or protein to keep you feeling full (and not reaching for snacks) all morning. Stuck for ideas? Try making a frittata using only egg whites, or follow one of these recipe ideas.
25. Try a high intensity workout that uses your own body weight as resistance.
26. If you’re not eating protein with just about every meal, you’re missing out on a golden opportunity to lose fat. An article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition during 2006 argued that the current recommended daily intake for protein, 0.36 grams per pound of body weight, is way less than any woman undergoing strength training actually needs.
Instead, they suggest active women get between 0.54 and one gram per pound of body weight. If you want to lose weight, Women’s Health suggests using your goal weight rather than your current weight as a guide when calculating the required protein intake.
27. Replace regular potatoes with sweet potatoes to swap starch and carbs for vitamins and nutrients. Here are a bunch of tasty recipes that use sweet potatoes perfectly.
28. Remember that fiber is incredibly important for weight loss and nutrient absorption, so make sure you’re getting 30 to 50 grams of the good stuff every single day.
29.Blueberries have been shown to help get rid of belly fat, so much away on the tasty fruit at snack times or breakfast.
30. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, because nothing induces over eating and skipped workouts than feeling tired!
31. Use a free fitness app like My Fitness Pal to check how healthy your meal choices are, and to track your food intake verses the amount of exercise you’re doing.
32. Set healthy and realistic weight loss goals and write them down on paper. The relationship between goal setting, committing said objectives to paper, and achieving success has been well documented.
33. Bookmark online cardio workout videos you can do at home for those nights or mornings when it’s too cold, hot, or rainy for a run outdoors.
34. Plan workouts with a friend who will hold you accountable to your exercise commitments.
35. Add garlic to your meals: Apart from being damn delicious, it’s a fat-burning, metabolism-boosting food that helps balance blood sugar levels, which in turn reduces energy highs and slumps that are associated with over-eating.
36. Too busy to commit to a gym class? Buy an eBook program, like Kayla Itsines’ 12 week program that you can follow at home at burn fat in your living room.
37. Try sipping on sugar water or extra-light olive oil–seriously! The Shangri-La Diet was pioneered by Seth Roberts, PhD, a professor of psychology, and claims you can lose weight by drinking one to three tablespoons of sugar water and/or one to two tablespoons of extra-light (not virgin) olive oil twice daily in between your normal meals. Apparently this diet suppresses your appetite while lowering your body’s “set point” (the weight at which it naturally wants to settle).
38. Laugh! “It burns up to 50 calories if you laugh for 10 to 15 minutes per day,” Adelino Da Costa, owner of Punch Fitness Center in New York City told NBC News.
39. Where possible–and affordable–you should opt for organic food. Canadian researchers report that dieters who have the most organochlorines (a pollutant found in pesticides that is stored in your fat cells) find it harder to lose pounds.
These dieters experience an abnormally large dip in metabolism when they lose weight, which could mean that the pesticides are actually interfering with the energy-burning process.
40. When you’re too swamped to exercise properly, at least take a short 10 minute walk, or get up for regular intervals to walk around your office.
One study looked at people who sit for hours on end, and found that those who took regular breaks to stand up, stretch, of stroll down corridors, had smaller waists than those who continued to sit all day.
41. Stop eating processed junk food–it may sound obvious, but too many people crush their weight loss progression by snacking on sugary and salty snacks.
42. Stop eating lunch at your desk, and instead be more mindful about your meals by sitting at a table and avoiding distractions. You’d be surprised at just how effective mindful eating is at reducing overeating and lowering your BMI.
By simply thinking about what you’re eating, as you’re eating it, you’re more tuned to your body’s “I’m full” cues and can start to think rationally about any desires to eat out of boredom.
43. Drinking coffee can help you to lose weight, but be sure to watch the milk and sugar additions. Caffeine has been shown to increase the rate at which you burn calories, upping your metabolism dramatically in the hours after you drain your morning mug.
45. Complete your simple household chores, like vacuuming, dusting, and making your bed, to burn calories without even realizing it.
46. Instead of sitting down to take a phone call, walk and talk so that you can burn calories while mindlessly pacing a room or strolling the streets.
47. Drink green tea to boost your metabolism. Simply sipping away on a few cups each day can help you burn fat faster and lose weight, and there are numerous clinical studies to prove it.
48. Rid your kitchen and office space of junk food–if it’s not there, you can’t eat it!
49. Sit up straight at work and while watching TV, forcing your body to use muscles and exert energy to support itself.
50. If you don’t want to completely cut out alcohol, switch from sugary cocktails packed with empty calories to healthier alcoholic drinks, like vodka and club soda with a dash of fresh lime, or a glass of Brut Champagne.