The season of corn mazes, dorky couple costumes, and haunted houses is officially around the corner. But those fun festivities aren’t the only perks of fall: It’s also a great time to kick things into high gear and work toward your goal of dropping the number on the scale.
As nice as it was lounging around during the summer—and drinking one too many sugar-rimmed margaritas—the new season is full of opportunities to shed some pounds. And yes: all while even enjoying the occasional deep-fried apple cider donut, because c’mon—what are 50 great weight-loss tricks without a few treats along the way, too?
Go Bananas For Apples
During the fall, you have your choice of whatever kind of apple your heart desires—and you can go pick ‘em yourself at an orchard anytime you want. It turns out your love of the fruit can set you up for weight-loss success, too. In a study published in the journal Nutrition, researchers found eating three apples a day could help you shed some pounds due to all the healthy, filling fiber they contain.
Take Advantage of the Weather and Run Outside
Now that summer is coming to an end and the sticky, humid weather is being replaced by cool fall days, take advantage of some outdoor workouts. Instead of running on the treadmill at the gym, lace up your sneakers and hit the pavement outside. You have a while before snow makes an appearance, so stay motivated by the nice, warm sunshine while you still can.
Eat More Probiotics
You might love topping your veggie dogs with sauerkraut in the summer. Just be sure to keep eating fermented foods in the fall, too. A 2015 study published in the journal Obesity found those who ate probiotics on the daily were better able to keep off extra weight than those who didn’t. Need some good cold-weather suggestions? Add some kimchi to your soups and stir-fries, or, instead of having wings, make some protein-packed BBQ tempeh.
Drink More Water
In the summer, you’re always hot and your body is basically begging for water. In the fall, though, you might not feel the same need to stay hydrated—but be sure to keep chugging that H2O. Even though it’s a small task, studies show it could play a big role in weight-loss, helping you feel full and eat less calories throughout the day. Especially considering your body is often just thirsty when you think you’re hungry.
When you get scared, the fight-or-flight response your body goes through burns calories—so take advantage of scary movies and haunted houses come fall. Not only are they fun—who doesn’t love a fifth (or sixth) watch of Night of the Living Dead on cold, windy night?—but you could also get some body-benefiting perks in the weight-loss department. And if you need some help feeling horrified, check out the 40 Best Horror Movies for Totally Freaking Yourself Out.
Get Some Support
Fall is the perfect time to make a new fitness friend. By helping each other stay accountable and keep up with those daily workouts even when the weather is cold, you could both see some progress. In a 2016 study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, those who had support from a friend were able to keep the pounds off better than those who tried to stay consistent on their own.
Make Some Roasted Nuts
What’s better than cozying up with some roasted nuts come fall? The snack is packed with body-boosting vitamins and nutrients—and a 2017 study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found they can help you lose weight, too. After keeping tabs on more than 373,000 men and women for five years, researchers found those who ate a higher intake of nuts gained less weight than those who didn’t, making the high-fat food a perfect choice in moderation for anyone who wants to shed some pounds.
Resist the Urge to Make Baked Goods
Whether it’s apple pie or pumpkin cheesecake, there are so, so many delicious fall goodies. Don’t have them around your home, though—instead, just eat them on occasion as a treat. One 2011 study published in the International Journal of Obesity found even the sight and smell of food can make your cravings get out of control, so keeping desserts out of your home will help you fight off the temptation—and help you lose weight.
It’s tempting to jump right up after one serving of food to go for a second. In order to lose weight, it’s best to give your body a few minutes to decide if it’s actually hungry for more, though—at least according to a study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, which found eating at a moderate pace makes it easier to tell when you’re full.
Stop Eating Lunch at Your Desk
Yeah, yeah—it’s tempting to devour your lunch while you’re trying to finish up some work on your computer at the office. The problem is eating while you’re distracted is only causing more problems in the end. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, this bad habit can cause you to put on the pounds: you basically don’t even realize what’s going into your mouth when you’re multitasking, and you sure don’t feel full and satisfied after you’re done. Instead, take a well-deserved lunch break and come back to your work when you’re finished.
Don’t Fall for the Pumpkin Spice Latte
Every fall, Starbucks releases its super-cozy pumpkin spice latte. And shortly after, every coffee shop on the planet seemingly follows suit. The only issue? Drinking it isn’t doing your waistline any favors. At up to 500 calories a pop and loaded with sugar—a Venti contains 64 grams—it might be best to find a another drink to sip on. Or, just save it as a treat—not an everyday thing.
Up Your Pear Intake
Apples are certainly a fall staple, but don’t forget about pears. The fruit—which is officially in season starting in late summer—is just as tasty as a side dish as it is for dessert. And get this: If you don’t want to eat three apples a day, a study published in the journal Nutrition found eating three pears a day has the same weight-loss effects. So why not have a little of both?
Add Weightlifting to Your Routine
Don’t let the boys in the weight room deter you from starting up your own strength-training routine. A 2017 study published in the journal Obesity found that lifting weights is one of the best ways to ditch those extra pounds—especially when compared to just cutting calories or solely sticking to cardio.
Wake Up Earlier
Now you don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn—but waking up earlier can do a lot of good for your weight-loss goals this fall. In a study published in the journal Obesity, researchers found those who got up earlier in the morning tended to make healthier choices during the day—something that can certainly help you shed some pounds. Night owls, on the other hand, had the opposite effect.
De-Stress as Often as You Can
Constantly being stressed isn’t just bad for your well-being. A 2017 study published in the journal Obesity also found all the cortisol your body is producing could contribute to weight gain over time, too. To ensure stress isn’t getting in the way of your goals, take some me-time every day to unwind. Whether it’s working out, meditating, or taking a bubble bath, giving yourself a chance to de-stress could finally help you shed those pounds, once and for all.
Stop Eating Late-Night Snacks
If you love late-night snacks, it’s time to back far, far away from the fridge before bedtime. A small study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that those who ate later on in the day had higher body weights. So avoid taking in all those extra calories past your bedtime to really see some progress.
Save Your Pumpkin Seeds
When you’re carving pumpkins this year, don’t toss out the gooey seeds. By roasting them in the oven for a snack, you can take in plenty of fiber: just one ounce contains a hefty 5 grams alone. And studies show eating a high-fiber diet isn’t just a great way to lose weight, but also fight off heart disease and diabetes.
Get Your Partner Involved
Your cute couples costume for Halloween isn’t the only thing you should team up with your significant other on. Research published in the journal Obesity has shown it’s easier to lose weight when you get your partner involved, too. With that teamwork, one person’s weight-loss typically results in the other person losing weight, too, even if they’re not trying to.
Ditch the Fried Food at Fall Festivals
Just because your schedule is jam-packed with all sorts of fun fall activities—whether it’s harvest festivals or trips to the pumpkin patch—doesn’t give you an automatic excuse to load up on the seasonal treats at every single one. Sure, those apple cider donuts are delicious and you should enjoy them occasionally, but like many concession treats, they’re fried—something the Harvard Medical School says is one of the most common food-preparation techniques that result in weight gain.
Load Up on Cinnamon
Using cinnamon whenever and wherever is an absolute fall must. The spice not only makes things taste amazing, but research published in the journal Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental also found that cinnamaldehyde—the compound that gives it the flavor you know and love—could also help your body burn more fat, resulting in weight loss.
Stop Eating Out
As fun as it is ordering takeout or going to your favorite restaurants multiple times a week, avoid the urge and whip up a healthy meal yourself instead. A study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition found those who cooked more at home not only eat better—meaning: less sugar, less fat, and fewer carbs—but also consume less calories than those who don’t. And that could be huge in helping you lose weight.
Try Some HIIT
If you haven’t added high-intensity interval training into your workout routine yet, it’s time. In a study published in the Journal of Obesity, the popular exercise type was found to help shed fat easier. And the best part? Because HIIT workouts are so intense, they don’t require as much of a time commitment as your standard sweat session. Even 20 minutes will do your body good. And if you need a plan-of-action to get started on, try The Single Greatest HIIT Routine for Your Heart.
Eat a Bigger Breakfast
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and when it comes to your weight, that might be right. In a 2013 study published in the journal Obesity, researchers found women who ate a bigger breakfast than dinner had much more success at losing weight. In fact, they lost twice as much as those who ate big dinners.
Don’t Lose Too Much Weight Too Fast
When you’re losing weight, you probably want the process to go quickly. The issue is that to keep the weight off over time, you have to go nice and slow and work on developing a sustainable healthy lifestyle instead of a quick fix. In fact, experts recommend aiming for one to two pounds a week and avoiding those fad diets altogether.
Work Out First Thing in the Morning
How many times have you skipped your morning workout and promised yourself you’d do it later, only to be too exhausted to move after you leave the office for the day? Not only does working out in the a.m. make it easier to stick to a routine that will help you lose weight, but a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found exercising for just 45 minutes first-thing leads you to make eat healthier food choices throughout the day.
Don’t Eat by Candlelight
It might be a good idea to eat before you hang out in the relaxing glow of some pumpkin-scented candles or your fireplace this fall. In a study published in the Journal of Marketing Research, researchers found those who eat in dim lighting not only eat less healthily than those in brightly-lit rooms, but they also eat 39 percent more calories. So, maybe eat your dessert in low lighting: The study also found those in dim lights enjoyed their food more, meaning you can reap even more enjoyment from your apple pie.
Stop Watching So Much TV
Sure, sitting down and watching Netflix for hours isn’t doing any good for your physical activity levels. That’s not the only reason it’s keeping you from losing weight, though. A study published in the Journal of Obesity and Weight Management found binge-watchers also had much worse diets than those who spent less time in front of the screen—so much so that 85 percent of the participants only ate fruit and veggies once a day, if that.
Keep a Journal
Nope, not the kind you write about your crushes in—the kind you keep track of what you eat throughout the day in. It might seem annoying to jot down your meals, but a 2012 study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found it played a big role in helping women lose weight.
Don’t Eat in Front of the TV
Eating at your desk is a big no-no, but so is eating in front of the TV at home—even if it’s your favorite show and you’ve been dying to watch it all day long. In one study, researchers found paying more attention to every bite can help you eat when you’re actually full, which aids in weight-loss.
Eat More Plant Protein
While animal protein has been found to increase the risk of heart disease and diabetes, eating plant proteins—like tofu, beans, tempeh, quinoa, and other goodies—can make you feel more satisfied and help keep the weight off over time, says a 2012 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.
Get Your Ginger Fix
There’s an important reason to add ginger into more of your warm and cozy fall meals—and nope, gingerbread cookies don’t count. In a 2017 review published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences that looked at 60 different studies, researchers found the spice has some major benefits, helping protect you against obesity and make sure your weight stays in check. Add it into your soups, or even sip on it in tea-form to reap the benefits.
Load Up on Fiber
One of the easiest ways to ensure you’re not hungry between meals? Eating more fiber. One study found increasing your daily intake can help you keep your weight in check. When you’re feeling good from eating filling beans, lentils, broccoli, and other high-fiber veggies, you’re not going to have the urge to reach for sugar-loaded candy bars as a midday snack.
Put Down the White Bread and Pasta
There’s something about chilly weather that makes everyone want to reach for all the comfort foods—and many of those involve simple carbs, like white bread, rice, pasta, and baked goods made with white flour. Unfortunately, studies show those tasty options will only result in weight-gain. So when you need your fix, reach for whole-wheat options instead.
What better way to combat cold weather than snuggling up in bed with someone you love? Having sex doesn’t just burn calories. A study published in the journal Biological Psychology also found it’s a great way to lower your stress levels—and less cortisol directly correlates to less weight gain.
Eat Off Smaller Plates
Once fall hits, it’s easy to jump into the Thanksgiving mindset and want to pile your plate high with as many cozy foods as possible. According to Cornell University researchers, it’s best to keep your plates nice and small, though—literally. Sizing down your dishes could help you eat less calories and drop unwanted weight.
Don’t Miss Out on Sleep
Feel free to crawl into your warm bed early this fall. A study published in the journal Obesity found those who got more than seven hours of sleep a night lost more weight than those who didn’t get as much—or as good of quality—of sleep.
Add Healthy Fat Into Your Diet
When you’re trying to lose fat, don’t be afraid of eating it. In a study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, researchers found eating a diet rich in healthy fats—like nuts and olive oil—was associated with more weight-loss than diets that weren’t. So enjoy that creamy avocado toast for breakfast: it’ll do your body good.
Drink Water Before You Eat
One simple way to feel full and satisfied after your meals starts before you actually eat. When you drink water pre-chowing down, you’ll end up eating less. In fact, research out of Virginia Tech found drinking two full glasses of water helped participants lose five pounds more than those who ate the same things but didn’t drink the water beforehand.
Go on a Morning Walk
Getting in some quality physical activity isn’t the only benefit of going on a walk first thing in the morning. Aside from getting your body moving, you’re also getting some mood-boosting vitamin D from the sun on those nice fall days—something a study published in the journal PLoS One found can help keep your weight down. Compared to those who got sun in the afternoon, the morning folks had a significantly lower body mass index (BMI).
Add a Little Heat to Your Food
What better way to warm up in the crisp fall weather than by eating spicy food? The capsaicin in things like hot peppers won’t just heat up your body—a study published in the journal PLoS One also found the chemical compound can help you lose weight, making it easier for you to burn fat.
Take the Stairs
If it’s too chilly to walk outside, get some extra exercise throughout the day by skipping the elevator and instead taking the stairs. It doesn’t seem like it would make a huge difference in losing weight, but one study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found those shorts bursts of intense exercise can better your heart and your waistline. In other words, HIIT at its finest.
Skip the Soda and Juice
Yep, not even your so-called “healthy” fruit juices are helping you reach your weight-loss goals. In a study published in JAMA that involved 50,000 women, researchers found all of that sugar causes you to gain weight and can even increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Ditching them, on the other hand, could help you lose weight and finally get your cravings under control.
Ditch Sugar Completely
The sugar in your beverages isn’t the only problem that could be prohibiting you from losing weight—it’s just a small part of a much bigger problem. A 2013 review published in BMJ had pretty clear findings: the more sugar someone ate, the more weight they gained. So when you have a sweet tooth, find a healthier option to get your fix instead like eating naturally sweet whole fruit.
Start Up a Healthy Food Instagram
Yeah, yeah, all those foodies posting pictures of their meals 24/7 gets old. There is one reason you might want to start snapping shots of your own plates too, though. In a 2017 study from the University of Washington, researchers found the simple act of taking pictures of what you eat can help keep you accountable—and also enable you to get support from others—that can help you drop the pounds.
Chew Some Gum
By popping a piece of gum into your mouth, you could lose weight and get minty-fresh breath. In a 2011 study published in the journal Appetite, researchers found the simple act of chewing it could play a role in both reducing your appetite and helping you control your cravings.
Quit Being So Negative
When you’re on a weight-loss journey, it’s not uncommon to feel down once in a while as you’re trying to change your lifestyle. It’s hard work, after all. Trying your hardest to stay positive throughout the process can really pay off, though: A study published in the journal Health Psychology found those who focused on the positives and kept their spirits up were better able to shed the pounds.
Brew Some Green Tea
For an extra-cozy drink this fall, brew up some green tea. Drinking the beverage has been touted as a way to lose weight for years: Research published in the journal Obesity Reviews found it can help your body metabolize fat, helping you lower that number on the scale overall. Plus, all that extra water you’re taking in will also keep you hydrated.
Watch Your Portion Sizes
No matter how badly you want it to be, a portion of pasta isn’t the entire box. (Sad trombone.) It can be hard getting the right portion sizes of food, but paying closer attention to how much you’re eating can help in the weight-loss department. In a study published in the journal Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, researchers found those who eat portion-controlled meals lost more weight than those who didn’t.
Blast Some Music
Nothing is going to get you more pumped up for your workout than blasting your favorite high-energy playlist. In research published in the journal Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, the participants that listened to fast music during their workouts automatically increased their walking speed along with their tunes. Trying this trick yourself could result in better workouts and more weight loss.
Drink Some Coffee Before Your Workout
By sipping on your favorite brew, you could reap benefits beyond increased energy. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found drinking some coffee before your workouts is a great way to boost your endurance, allowing you to exercise longer and harder than usual.