When it comes to burning off those final 10 pounds, all you need to do is make a few key changes—alterations to your lifestyle so small you’ll barely notice. Master these 10 easily-implementable techniques and you’ll be rocking your dream body in no time. And for more ways to torch calories and transform your waistline, adopt the 20 Weight-Loss Techniques Successful Dieters Share.
Choose the side salad.
Cut back 100 calories per day, the thinking goes, and you’ll lose 10 pounds over the course of a year. And the easiest way to do that is with a simple side dish swap. A salad with all the trimmings—two cups of leafy greens, a cup-and-a-half of crisp veggies (like tomatoes or cucumbers), and two tablespoons of light dressing—amounts to a little over 100 calories. A medium order of fries has about 350.
So, if you’re a habitual fry-eater, swap fries for a salad on just three meals each week and you’ll slash 750 calories from your weekly diet—or about 100 per day. And for more help, consult these 50 Genius Weight-Loss Motivation Tricks.
Cut out soda—for good.
It’s also time to give up soda. Every 12-ounce soda contains 150 calories. So removing one per day from your diet will save you 1,050 weekly calories. And if you think that drinking calorie-free diet options are safe when it comes to weight-loss, think again: According to a study in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, people who regularly drink diet soda actually end up gaining weight.
For a good substitute, drink iced tea—but don’t reach for the Lipton or Arizona just yet. That stuff is just as caloric as soda. Instead, if you brew your own iced tea (and don’t add any extra sweeteners), each twelve-ounce glass will amount to a scant three calories. And for more ways to shed pounds, try out any of the 6 Quickest Ways to Lose Weight.
Master the 80-20 rule.
It takes your brain about 20 minutes to “catch up” to your stomach—to realize that, hey, you’re full. Because of this, it’s incredibly easy to eat more calories than you need. A good way to stop doing this is to eat 80 percent of what you’d normally eat and then stop. 20 minutes later, reassess: Are you still hungry? If so, keep eating. But chances are, you won’t be, and you’ll have just reduced your calorie intake by 20 percent. If you’re on a 2,500-calorie diet, that’s 500 calories just like that.
Get your nightly seven hours.
Skipping out on sleep bolsters your belly twofold. For one thing, if you’re sleep-deprived, chances are, you’re going to eat more. According to a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who get five-and-a-half hours or less each night eat 300 more calories the following day than people who get seven hours or more. And for another thing, sleep deprivation causes your cortisol levels to increase. Cortisol, if you didn’t know, is the hormone that your body uses to store fat. (You do the math.) If you need some help catching a few extra Zs, be sure to check out the 11 Doctor-Approved Secrets For Falling Asleep Faster Every Night.
Lift, lift, lift.
Let’s do some math. Every pound of muscle you have burns about 6 calories an hour. So if you add just five pounds of muscle to your frame, you’re burning an additional 700 calories a day just by doing nothing. And gaining muscle doesn’t have to be an arduous slog. You’ll be good to go once you master the 10 Easiest Ways to Build Muscle Quickly.
HIIT the gym.
If lifting’s not your thing, you could always try high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. Instead of lengthier, steady-as-she-goes workouts, HIIT is all start-stop-start-stop. For instance, maybe you sprint for two minutes and walk for one minute—and then repeat a few times. The goal is to push yourself toward exerting 80 to 90 percent of your energy without giving your body time to fully recover.
This method gets your heart rate up, kicks your metabolism into overdrive, and torches calories like nothing else—and, according to one study in the Journal of Obesity, is more effective at reducing “abdominal body fat than other types of exercise.” And to prepare for once you melt the fat off your belly, be sure to show off your newfound six-pack by doing The Single Greatest Flat-Abs Exercise You’re Not Doing.
If it’s winter, go skiing.
Two hours of skiing burns 984 calories. That’s more than a six-mile run! Considering a typical day of skiing lasts from about six to eight hours, you can incinerate thousands of calories and have a blast at the same time. So if it’s cold outside, consider taking a few runs—even if it hasn’t snowed in a while. These days, nearly every ski resort in the world is equipped with snowmaking equipment, so you have no excuse not to hit the slopes. And remember, if you can’t do crazy exercise, you can still keep your metabolism humming simply by moving around me. In fact, it’s The Single Best Way to Boost Your Metabolism Every Day.
Start drinking your coffee black.
Think about your morning coffee. Do you drink it with cream and sugar? If so, that’s a 100-calorie beverage. But by taking it black, your daily dose of caffeine is only 5 calories. Sure, it’s bitter, but there’s an easy fix to that: Just add cinnamon. Not only is it delicious, but, per a recent study in Diabetes Care, a mere half a teaspoon of the stuff each day can keep your blood sugar and LDL cholesterol (that’s the “bad” kind) levels in check.
Turn up the heat.
According to research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, folks who consume capsaicin—that’s the stuff in chili peppers that brings on the spiciness—ate 200 fewer calories during the following meal. What’s more, some experts say that spicy foods can speed up your metabolism, leading to more weight loss, though others assert there’s not enough evidence to support that. In any case, adding a dash of Sriracha to your next meal can’t hurt—unless you seriously can’t handle spice.
Did you know that sex counts as a bona fide workout? Seriously! According to research out of the University of Montreal, you burn anywhere from 70 to 100 calories per “sex session.” In other words, having sex more frequently can directly lead to you having a better body. Curious about how long those “sessions” run? About 25 minutes, start to finish, including foreplay. And if that’s longer than you expected, don’t worry, just check out the 15 Easy Ways to Make Sex Last (Much) Longer.
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