100 Ultimate Weight-Loss Tips for Summer 2019
Your one-stop guide for feeling your best.
Approximately 45 million Americans embark on a diet every year, according to the Boston Medical Center. Unfortunately, not many of those plans stick. One analysis of research published in the journal American Psychologist in 2007 suggests that the vast majority of people who try to diet will ultimately fail, eventually regaining the weight they've lost—if not more—when they ditch whatever restrictive plan they've been attempting to adhere to.
Losing weight and successfully keeping it off requires a holistic approach, not some pre-packaged program that's as unpleasant to follow as it is easy to give up on. After all, expensive bottles of juice and pain-inducing fitness programs can only be maintained for so long.
Thankfully, summer is the perfect time to start meeting your goals. In fact, with ideal temperatures turning every outdoor space into a DIY gym and fresh produce aplenty, it might just be the season for making weight loss moves. Keep reading to discover 100 weight loss tips that will help you perfect your physique this summer.
Eat more frequently.
Think skipping meals is the key to a slimmer body? Think again. Research published in 2012 in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association revealed that eating more frequently—specifically eating three meals and two snacks in a 24-hour period—is positively associated with weight loss and weight maintenance.
Buy blue plates.
If slimming down is at the top of your to-do list, you may want to invest in some new flatware. Eating off plates in colors that contrast with your food can actually help you eat less, according to a 2012 study published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Researchers found that individuals who ate foods similar in color to the plate they were eating on—like pasta with tomato sauce on a red plate—ate 30 percent more than those whose food contrasted with the dish they were eating it from. And since there aren't many blue foods out there, blue plates are a great place to start your weight loss journey!
Wear outfits that make you feel good about yourself.
The next time you're feeling unmotivated to go to your spin class, try putting on one of your favorite pairs of workout leggings. According to one 2012 study published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, the clothing we wear is significantly tied to what we do in those clothes, so a great workout outfit may actually help motivate you to hit the gym.
Invest in smaller dishes.
If you want to win big in terms of weight loss, then go small when it comes to your plates. One 2016 review published in the Journal of Consumer Research found that doubling the size of a person's plate when they were serving themselves food was associated with them serving themselves 41 percent more food.
Swap popsicles for frozen red grapes.
Popsicles may be a summer staple, but they're loaded with sugar and other ingredients that threaten to derail your diet. So, instead of those refined sugar-laden treats, enjoy some frozen red grapes instead. Not only will they help satisfy your sweet tooth, but they're filled with resveratrol (that's the beneficial antioxidant found in red wine), which has been shown to reduce weight gain associated with a high-fat diet.
Sip some green tea.
Start your morning with a cup of unsweetened green tea and you might just find yourself meeting your weight loss goals in record time. Research published in 2009 in the International Journal of Obesity found that the combination of caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate—an antioxidant abundant in tea—had a positive influence on both weight loss and weight maintenance.
Start your day with coffee.
If you're trying to lose weight, you'd be well-advised not to eliminate this common morning pick-me-up from your diet. According to 2010 research published in Food Science and Biotechnology, caffeine stimulates the nervous system, which can send direct signals to fat cells telling them to break down fat. Just make sure you're skipping the added sugar, which can quickly turn a healthy habit into one that causes you to pack on the pounds.
Swear while you work out.
When you can't stand to do one more rep or minute on the treadmill, tell the gym how you really feel with some well-chosen profanity. That's right: Cursing might just help you get healthier. In one 2018 study published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise, swearing increased an athlete's power and strength during a workout.
Eat carbs later in the day.
While many people assume that eating carbs close to bedtime is a bad thing, research suggests the opposite may be true. According to a 2014 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, eating carbohydrates at night can actually help reduce your appetite, so don't be afraid to grab that box of crackers before bed!
Eat at the same time every day.
If you want to lose weight fast, then one of the easiest things you can do is make a meal schedule for yourself and stick with it. "When people stick to a meal pattern, they rarely overeat," explains Julie Upton, MS, RD, co-founder of Appetite for Health. "Stick to eating three meals a day and two snacks. Don't graze all day and don't skip meals."
Opt for walking whenever possible.
Want to boost your weight loss? Start by leaving the car at home. Research published in 2012 in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine shows a significant link between commuting by car and increased weight gain, even among those who are otherwise physically active. So, if a distance is short enough for you to walk and you're physically able to do so, go by foot whenever possible.
Shorten your eating windows.
If you're forcing yourself to eat breakfast when you're not hungry or you find yourself grabbing dinner when bed sounds like a more appealing option, you may be doing yourself a disservice. According to 2014 research published in the journal Cell Metabolism, time-restricted eating is associated with a reduced risk of obesity, with or without calorie restriction. Even better, it's also associated with a reduced risk of metabolic disease, even when you take a break from it on weekends.
Ditch the diet soda.
Even though diet soda is typically non-caloric, it can still have a serious effect on your weight and overall health. Research published in 2015 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that diet soda consumption is associated with increased waist circumference and abdominal fat.
Make more time for meditation.
A little more om in your daily routine could mean a lot less weight on your body over time. In one 2017 study, researchers at McGill University found that mindful meditation helped people lose weight and keep it off over time. This is likely due to the fact that mindfulness can contribute to healthier, more present mealtimes and can help lower stress levels that contribute to impulsive eating.
Add ginger to your meals.
A little ginger in your meal plan could result in some major weight loss. That's because, according to 2010 research published in the Annual Review of Nutrition, ginger has an effect against both insulin resistance and obesity. However, not all forms of ginger are created equal (we're looking at you, ginger snaps), so make sure you're using it in its whole, unprocessed form whenever possible.
Eat more chocolate. (Seriously.)
Good news, chocoholics: Your occasional indulgence might just be the key to staying slim. According to 2012 research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, individuals who regularly consume chocolate are thinner than those who abstain. If you want to feel good on the inside and the outside, stick to dark chocolate and you'll enjoy a boost of inflammation-fighting antioxidants, too.
Put on some mood lighting during dinner.
Make every meal a bit more romantic and healthier with some low lighting. One 2012 study conducted at Cornell University found that lower lighting reduced the total number of calories consumed by 18 percent.
Lighten up on the salt.
While salt may not be calorically dense, it can still have a significant effect on your weight loss—or lack thereof. In fact, one oft-referenced 2006 study published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases found a strong correlation between salt and rising obesity rates.
Not only that, but the same study found that when subjects reduced their salt intake by 30 to 35 percent over a 30-year period, their mortality risk due to stroke and coronary heart disease decreased by 75 to 80 percent.
Eat more avocado.
All jokes about avocado toast and millennials aside, eating some avocado on a regular basis is actually a pretty great decision, especially in terms of your weight loss. In one study published in 2017 in the Internal Medicine Review, avocado intake was associated with better overall dietary quality, lower BMI, and lower waist circumference.
Prioritize quality, not quantity.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, it's time to start focusing on how nutritious the food you're eating is rather than trying to whittle your portions down as much as possible. In fact, in one 2018 study published in JAMA, individuals who prioritized eating more vegetables while reducing their intake of processed food lost substantial weight, even when they weren't counting calories.
Increase your water intake.
Sipping some water throughout the day is one of the easiest ways to shave off some excess weight. A review of research published in 2016 in Frontiers in Nutrition confirmed that increased water intake is positively associated with weight loss—so before you grab a snack, make sure you're not mistaking that thirst cue for a hunger pang.
Stop sleeping in.
While getting inadequate sleep can certainly derail your weight loss success, so too can sleeping in until noon. Research published in the journal Obesity in 2011 found that late sleepers added 248 calories to their daily meal plan as compared to early risers, despite the fact that they were awake for a shorter amount of time. Worse yet, they ate double the amount of fast food and fewer vegetables than those who got up early.
Look at pictures of food before you eat.
Before you succumb to your cravings, you might want to scroll through some food photos on Instagram. Research published in 2014 in the Journal of Consumer Psychology reveals that people enjoy food less after looking at pictures of a similar meal. So if you're trying to reduce your cravings, facing them in photo form might just be your best bet for maintaining your willpower.
Sleep in a cooler room.
Dropping a few pounds during bikini season might be as easy as keeping your bedroom cooler. In one 2014 study published in the journal Diabetes, setting the thermostat to 66 degrees for 10 hours a night increased study participants' metabolic activity by 10 percent in just one month.
Get some natural light.
Now that it's summertime, you'll want to take advantage of all that natural sunlight. One 2017 study published in Scientific Reports found that fat cells exposed to light stored less fat than those kept in the dark. However, just because a little light is good for you doesn't mean you can't overdo it: More than 15 minutes a day without sunblock can increase your risk for skin cancer, so be careful!
Bypass the beer.
Beer is a weight loss nightmare. As Eric the Trainer, a physique expert and host of Celebrity Sweat, jokes, "a six-pack could be killing your six pack." In fact, one 2014 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that the association between alcohol consumption and weight gain was strongest among men, who are more likely to favor beer (which is high in cholesterol and carbs).
Spice up your food with chili peppers.
Want a slimmer body? Then start bringing the heat in the kitchen. Research published in 2013 in the journal PLoS One reveals that capsaicin—the component in chili peppers that gives them that trademark heat—increases a person's ability to burn fat. Better yet, people tend to eat smaller portions of spicy food than they would a milder dish, so adding peppers to your meals may also help you cut back on portion sizes.
Go to bed earlier.
Sorry, night owls: Going to bed earlier might just be a better bet when you're trying to lose weight. Research published in 2013 by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that later bedtimes—and the associated sleep loss—may increase a person's risk of weight gain in the long run. Luckily, it only takes a few days to reset your body's internal clock—and when you start seeing those pounds melt off, you'll realize it was well worth it.
Eat an apple before each meal.
An apple day keeps the doctor and pounds away, according to one oft-referenced 2003 study published in the journal Nutrition. Researchers actually found that consuming an apple three times a day is associated with greater weight loss. For maximum impact, eat a red apple and you'll get a boost of belly-fat-blasting resveratrol, too.
And keep the apple peel intact.
Leaving the peel on your apple may actually boost your weight loss even more. According to research published in 2012 in PLoS One, the ursolic acid found in apple peels may increase your stores of fat-torching brown fat and muscle. So that apple peel can help you lose weight and combat some of the deleterious effects of a high-fat diet.
Say some affirmations.
Instead of beating yourself up over past weight loss failures, try saying some affirmations to get yourself going. Research published in 2016 in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology shows that self-affirmation is significantly associated with positive behavioral changes. So don't be afraid to stand in front of the mirror and remind yourself of what an amazing job you're going to do.
Fill up on fibrous foods.
If you're trying to rid yourself of those extra pounds, adding filling, fiber-rich foods to your diet—like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains—will help you achieve your goal a whole lot faster than depriving yourself. According to 2015 research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, increasing your fiber intake results in more weight loss than a low-fiber diet—and all it takes is 30 grams of per day.
Add some MCT oil to your morning coffee.
A little fat in your morning brew can go a long way when it comes to shedding the fat from your body, particularly if you opt for a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil. One 2010 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that MCT oil supplementation yielded greater weight loss than olive oil, so go ahead and add some to your coffee or smoothie to maximize your fat-burning abilities.
Add whey protein to your meal plan.
Losing weight doesn't have to mean spending hours in the kitchen prepping food. In fact, a whey protein shake might just be what you need to slim down. Research published in 2014 in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that subbing in whey protein for a more carbohydrate-rich meal helped study subjects lose more weight than those who stuck to carb-heavy snacks.
Start every meal with a glass of water.
Reach for your water glass before you reach for your fork. In one 2015 study published in the journal Obesity, subjects who drank two glasses of water prior to meals lost 2.87 pounds more than those who dug right in.
Get your house in order.
If you want to clean up your eating habits, then you should start by cleaning up your house. One 2013 study published in Psychological Science found that organized spaces promoted healthier food choices, so there's no time like the present to get your spring cleaning started.
Eat dessert for breakfast.
Losing weight doesn't have to mean skipping dessert. However, you might want to eat it earlier in the day. In 2012, researchers at Tel Aviv University found that obese, non-diabetic study subjects who ate dessert as part of a 600-calorie breakfast lost more weight and kept it off in the long term when compared to a group eating a 300-calorie, low-carbohydrate breakfast.
Break up with white carbs.
If you're trying to slim down, that white bread should be the first item on your veto list. Research published in 2010 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that people with increased intakes of refined grains are significantly more likely to have excess belly fat than those who favor more fiber-rich grain-based products.
Identify your motivation.
When you're slogging through another seemingly-endless workout, it can be hard to remember why you started in the first place. The good news? Research published in 2012 in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity reveals that addressing the factors that contribute to or hinder motivation can help keep you on track toward reaching your goals in the long run.
Reduce your total carb count.
While you don't have to jump on the keto diet bandwagon, lowering your total carb count could go a long way in terms of your weight loss. A 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that low-carb diets were effective at reducing both total body mass and insulin resistance among obese study subjects over a 12-month period.
Sip on some apple cider vinegar.
A shot of apple cider vinegar in the morning might be the key to getting the body you've always wanted. The results of one 2009 study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry reveal that consuming acetic acid—a major component in vinegar—reduces weight, waist circumference, and visceral fat.
Stop buying pre-prepared foods.
Put down the Lean Cuisine. While many ready-made meals are marketed as nutritious alternatives to home cooking, research published in 2015 in the British Journal of Nutrition reveals that consumption of such meals is linked to increased rates of obesity and an increased risk of excess belly fat.
Always eat breakfast.
"The first (and most important) meal of the day sets up a pattern of eating that values health and energizes you for all your fun in the sun," says Eric. And on days when you plan to hit the gym, breakfast can be especially beneficial. Per one 2018 study published in the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, eating breakfast before a workout prompts the body to burn carbohydrates and digest food more quickly afterward.
Add some yogurt to your meal plan.
Not sure what to eat for breakfast? Yogurt is always a delicious and healthy option. In one revealing 2005 study published in the International Journal of Obesity, subjects who added yogurt to their meal plan lost significantly more weight and inches off their waist than those who abstained.
And don't forget about eggs!
Start your day off right with a delicious veggie-packed omelet. In one 2009 study published in the International Journal of Obesity, individuals who ate eggs for breakfast lost more weight than those who ate a bagel with a similar number of calories. Plus, despite their reputation for being bad for your cholesterol, research now suggests that most healthy people can safely eat up to three eggs a day without risking their health.
Make wine your drink of choice.
While slamming cocktails is certainly no recipe for weight loss, the occasional glass of wine might be. In fact, one 2010 study published in JAMA reveals that healthy women who drank wine in moderate amounts were at lower risk of becoming overweight than those who abstained from booze altogether.
Snack on some grapefruit.
Try eating a zesty grapefruit in lieu of your usual go-to breakfast pastry a few times a week. In one 2006 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, study subjects who added grapefruit, grapefruit juice, or a grapefruit supplement in pill form to their diet lost significantly more weight and reduced their insulin resistance when compared to a group given a placebo.
Enjoy full-fat dairy products.
While it may seem counterintuitive, ditching low-fat dairy in favor of the full-fat stuff may actually help you lose weight. In fact, 2013 research published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care showed that individuals who regularly ate full-fat dairy products had a lower risk of developing harmful belly fat than those who opted for low-fat dairy instead.
Snack on some strawberries.
Who says that sweet snacks are off-limits when you're trying to shed some pounds? The right ones, like strawberries, may actually improve your weight loss efforts. In fact, not only are strawberries an excellent source of antioxidant pigment resveratrol, which has been shown to mitigate some of the effects of a high-fat diet, they may also help you get more active. In one 2017 study published in the journal Nutrients, strawberries specifically reduced pain and inflammation in obese adults with osteoarthritis in their knees.
Cut up some watermelon.
Watermelon is a wonderfully sweet summer fruit that's as trimming as it is tasty. That's because the food is "90 percent water and low in calories" and "will fill you up without the negative consequences," says Jamie Hickey, a certified personal trainer and nutritionist.
Eat spuds sparingly.
Think only refined carbohydrates have an effect on your weight? Think again. Research published in 2010 in the journal ARYA Atherosclerosis suggests that even regular consumption of potatoes is correlated with obesity.
However, that doesn't mean that every potato is created equal. The occasional fiber-rich baked sweet potato or side of potato wedges is unlikely to derail your diet in the same way an oversized order of salty, greasy French fries would. So just be careful about how you order your spuds.
Keep tempting foods out of sight.
One of the quickest ways to kick off your weight loss journey is also one of the easiest: by putting tempting foods away. Research conducted at Cornell University in 2015 found that individuals who kept fruit on their kitchen counters had lower BMIs overall, and individuals of an average weight were less likely than their obese counterparts to keep snack foods, like pastries, on the kitchen counter.
Clench your muscles to avoid temptation.
The next time you're trying hard to turn down that tempting piece of chocolate in pursuit of a slimmer body, just clench your muscles. According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Consumer Research, clenching a muscle has a pronounced effect on a person's willpower and makes it easier to look temptation in the face and say, "Not today."
Add some cloves to your cooking.
Add some spicy flavor to your food—and slim down—with a few cloves. In addition to making food more flavorful, the aforementioned research published in 2010 in the Annual Review of Nutrition suggests that cloves are effective at reducing bodily inflammation and an individual's risk of obesity.
Eat in front of a mirror.
Looking for a dining companion who supports your weight loss? Try looking into a mirror. In fact, research published in 2016 in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research found that individuals who ate a piece of cake in front of the mirror found its flavor less appealing than those who ate it in a more typical dining environment.
Add a slice of lemon to your H2O.
Drinking an adequate amount of water every day is vital to weight loss efforts, especially in the summertime. However, it can prove difficult to down some 80 ounces of H2O on a daily basis. That's where lemons come in. Not only do they give water a pleasantly tangy flavor, but "all that extra vitamin C from the lemons will help to boost your immunity, clean up free radicals, and even protect your memory as you age," says Lisa Richards, a certified nutritionist and creator of the Candida diet.
Prepare more meals at home.
Want a mealtime solution that's as good for your waistline as it is for your wallet? Try prepping your food at home. Research published in 2014 in Public Health Nutrition reveals that regularly eating meals prepared at home is associated with a lower total caloric intake as well as lower sugar consumption.
Scale back your meat intake.
While adding more protein to your diet can help you lose some weight, making your meals too meat-heavy may have the opposite effect. In one study presented in 2016 at the International Conference on Nutrition and Food Sciences, meat consumption was significantly linked to the rise in obesity rates. Instead, try getting some of your protein from healthier, plant-based sources like nuts and legumes, and opt for leaner cuts of meat to satisfy your cravings.
Ditch the trans fats.
Calories from trans fats may be slowing your weight loss efforts down, even if you're not overeating. And while the Food & Drug Administration's (FDA) ban on trans fats went into effect in June of 2018, products manufactured before that date can still be distributed until January 2020, which means that some foods still contain them.
Those foods include some brands of vegetable shortening, microwavable popcorn, margarine and vegetable oils, non-dairy coffee creamers, bakery products, and fried food, according to Healthline.
Lay off the sauce—the barbecue sauce, that is.
With so many barbecues featuring juicy burgers and radiant racks of ribs, it can prove difficult to stick to a strict meal plan in the summertime. However, you don't have to deprive yourself completely of your favorite seasonal meats in order to lose weight. Rather, all you have to do is "think differently about how you fire up the grill," says Micah Siva, RD, a registered dietitian, trained chef, and founder of NutritionXKitchen.
So how can you enjoy a BBQ without derailing your diet? "Rethink sweet sauces and opt for fresh herbs, citrus zest, and spices for delicious and low-calorie flavoring," suggests Siva. "Try using plant-based proteins in place of, or in addition to, your barbecued meats. Choose fresh vegetable side dishes, and whole grain buns if you're serving up burgers."
Bring on the black pepper.
When you're throwing together your spice rub for your juicy steak, make sure to include a hefty serving of black pepper. The same 2010 study published in the Annual Review of Nutrition found that black pepper had both inflammation- and obesity-fighting properties. Plus, the spice adds flavor without adding too many calories!
Eat your meals more slowly and more deliberately.
Your waistline will greatly benefit if you try to slow down your meals a bit. Research published in 2018 in BMJ Open reveals that slower eating is significantly associated with reduced BMI and waist circumference.
Pick up some nuts at the grocery store.
Nuts may be high in fat, but that doesn't mean you should abandon them when you want to lose weight. One 2014 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that, despite being a relatively high-calorie food, long-term nut consumption is actually associated with a reduced risk of both obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Add some spinach extract to your smoothies.
Take a page out of Popeye's book and add some spinach to your routine to see rapid weight loss results. One 2014 study published in the journal Appetite concluded that supplementation with spinach leaf extract over a period of 90 days caused weight loss, lowered study subjects' cholesterol, and reduced their desire for sugary and fatty foods.
Take your lunch break a little bit earlier.
Digging into your midday meal an hour or two earlier could yield serious results for your waistline. According to 2013 research published in the International Journal of Obesity, study subjects who ate lunch on the early side lost more weight and shed the pounds faster than those who ate their midday meal after 3:00 p.m.
Infuse your lattes with turmeric.
If there's one thing that you should incorporate more into your meals, it's turmeric. Looking again at 2010's Annual Review of Nutrition report, it turns out that this spice has both anti-inflammatory and obesity-fighting properties. So don't be shy about sprinkling some in your smoothie, latte, or using it to add some flavor to your favorite dish.
Put on some soft music while you eat.
Working on ditching those last 10 pounds? Try putting on some soft music while you eat. In addition to soft lighting, researchers at Cornell University discovered that listening to calm music can lead to reduced caloric intake, so opt for some classical tunes instead of bouncy pop at dinner time.
Learn to accept your negative feelings.
As unpleasant as it may be to admit, sometimes you're just not going to be happy during your weight loss journey. However, instead of trying to suppress those feelings, it's better to accept them and move on. Research published in 2012 in the journal Eating Behaviors shows that accepting frustration can lead to greater success when trying to avoid certain trigger foods.
Increase your vitamin C intake.
Orange you glad we didn't tell you that you had to give up your favorite fruit to lose weight? On the contrary, opting for this vitamin C-rich citrus might just be the key to a slimmer body. Highly-cited research published in 2007 in the Journal of Nutrition reveals that increased vitamin C intake is related to decreased BMI and waist circumference. So go ahead and add some fresh fruit to your mealtime routine.
Stop snacking after dinner.
Start your weight loss journey by closing your kitchen for the night as soon as dinner's done. Research published in 2017 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that eating later at night is more closely associated with a higher body fat composition. If you want to nip this issue in the bud, set a specific time after which you stop eating for the day—preferably at least a few hours before you go to bed—and stick to it.
Work out before eating if you can.
While some gym devotees claim that getting in a pre-workout snack is key to their success, research suggests that the opposite is true. According to a 2017 study published in the American Journal of Physiology, eating before a workout may actually make it more difficult to lose body fat. So, whenever possible, get in your time at the gym on an empty stomach; you'll watch those pounds disappear faster than you thought possible.
Do some HIIT.
Patience doesn't always pay off when it comes to weight loss. In fact, doing shorter, more intense workouts—like HIIT (high intensity interval training)—is actually more effective at shedding fat. Plus, shorter and harder workouts increase insulin sensitivity and improve overall cardiovascular fitness, according to a 2011 review of research published in the Journal of Obesity.
And add weight training to your routine.
While many people assume that weight training will make them look bulky, adding some weights to your routine is actually a great way to slim down and boost your metabolism in one fell swoop. In fact, a 2017 study published in the journal Obesity found that obese adults who combined weight lifting and resistance training lost less lean muscle mass than those who combined weight lifting and aerobic training. Over time, this combination may increase a person's cardiovascular fitness while helping them maintain a more desirable (read: leaner-looking) body composition.
Invite a friend to join you at the gym.
Want to make your time at the gym more enjoyable and lose more weight? All it takes is teaming up with a friend. In one 2015 study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, researchers at the University of Aberdeen discovered that working out with a new exercise partner increased the amount of exercise people engaged in.
However, this doesn't mean you have to enlist a drill sergeant to bark orders at you to get results. On the contrary, the researchers found that having an emotionally supportive workout partner further increased the amount of exercise study subjects got.
Invest in some personal training sessions.
Want to improve your outcome at the gym? Try treating yourself to some personal training sessions. Research published in 2003 in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine discovered that personal training both motivated study subjects and improved their exercise performance. Though personal training appears to be out of most people's budgets, many gyms will offer discounted group sessions or even free training with a new membership, so don't be afraid to inquire.
Buy some at-home equipment.
If making it to the gym on a daily basis feels next-to-impossible given your packed schedule, there is hope yet. Investing in a mini stair-stepper, under-desk elliptical, or foldable treadmill can help you reach your weight loss goals, even on those days when hitting the gym just isn't in the cards.
Hop in the pool.
Not a fan of running? No problem. In the summertime, swimming laps is a great way to get your heart rate up without hitting the pavement. As cardiologist Luiza Petre, MD, explains: "Swimming is an amazing total body workout that can burn 400-500 calories per hour."
Get the right amount of sleep.
Shaving off those extra pounds might be as simple as sleeping your way to slim. In fact, according to one large 2006 study of more than 68,000 women published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, subjects who regularly slept five hours or less gained more than 2.5 pounds more than those who slept at least seven hours a night. However, that doesn't mean you should spend all day in bed since oversleeping is associated with an increased risk of obesity.
Get your partner to join you in your efforts.
Research published in 2018 in the journal PLoS One found that while couples largely have healthier habits than their single counterparts, they still tend to gain weight together. Fortunately, since couples tend to mimic one another's behavior—for better or for worse—getting your significant other on your team when it comes to weight loss can help you make some serious changes.
Turn off the TV.
As it turns out, our predilection for binge-watching has some seriously dangerous effects on our health. In one 2015 study published in the journal Nutrition, researchers determined that spending more than two hours a day watching television was significantly linked with increased consumption of fats and sugars (in addition to lower amounts of fruits and vegetables).
And when you do watch TV, skip the commercials.
A surprising ally in the battle of the bulge? Your DVR. Research conducted in 2013 at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital The Neuro found a strong connection between food advertising and increased appetite. So when you're trying to harness your willpower, skip the ads.
Quit chewing gum.
If you think that chewing gum is helping you fend off your food cravings, think again. Contrary to popular belief, research published in 2013 in the journal Eating Behaviors revealed that chewing gum doesn't decrease hunger, but rather makes people less likely to eat healthy foods like fruit and may even have a deleterious effect on overall diet quality.
Boost your vitamin D intake.
Whether you're getting it via the sun or via supplements, a little vitamin D goes a long way when it comes to losing weight. Research published in 2014 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that overweight individuals with inadequate vitamin D levels in their blood who adequately increased their vitamin D levels lost more weight and more body fat than those who dieted or exercised alone.
Catch some early morning rays.
Not a naturally early riser? Well, if you're looking to lose weight, you might want to become one. In 2014, research published in PLoS One found a link between exposure to early morning sunlight and lower BMI, so maybe the early bird really does get the weight loss worm.
Surround yourself with like-minded people.
When you're eager to get healthy and slim down, it pays to be around people who already consider their health a priority. One oft-referenced study published in 2007 in The New England Journal of Medicine shows that obesity tends to spread among social groups—so if you're trying to slim down, spend time with your friends who are also eager to do the same.
Add yoga to your routine.
Yoga may not be the biggest calorie-torcher out there, but that doesn't mean that you should discount it as a means of losing weight. In fact, according to 2016 research published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, yoga can actually promote healthier eating behaviors in addition to increasing muscle tone and improving cardiovascular health.
Write down your goals.
It's easy to lose motivation when you're working out and not seeing immediate progress. But writing down your goals can help you stay the course. In one study conducted at the Dominican University of California in 2015, study subjects who wrote down their goals were significantly more likely to achieve them than those who simply kept them in mind.
Keep a food diary.
Journaling about your food can have a major impact in terms of how much weight you lose in the long run. Research from 2008 by the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research found that subjects who kept a food diary nearly doubled weight loss compared to those who didn't keep track of their meals.
Reach out for help online.
Don't have time to hit up an in-person weight loss meeting? Just go online. One study published in 2016 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology found that online behavioral counseling was effective at helping people slim down and maintain their weight loss over a 12-month period.
Address any underlying issues.
Emotional eating habits aren't going to fix themselves overnight. If you think that your weight loss is being hindered by emotional issues, then it's time to see someone and address those issues head-on.
"The most important part of weight loss is learning positive coping skills for handling the emotions beneath negative eating patterns," says Katie Ziskind, a licensed marriage and family therapist and owner of Wisdom Within Counseling in Connecticut. "If you only focus on food, you will lose weight but gain it back again. Compassionately, think about the emotions underneath the behavior of food choices, such as being angry, hurt, depressed, or even having experienced trauma. Usually, when people have eating issues, it's deeply connected to mood, emotions, and past trauma."
Snap some selfies.
Selfies could be the key to getting the body you've always wanted. According to 2017 research published in the Journal of Interactive Marketing, taking and sharing photos of your progress can help you hit your goals and maintain consistency as you try to lose weight.
Weigh yourself every single day.
While staring down the number on the scale may be scary, doing so on a daily basis can help you lose more weight in the long run. In one 2017 study published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, college-aged female students who weighed themselves daily lost more weight and body fat than those who opted for more sporadic weigh-ins.
Visualize your success.
Visualizing your success can actually help you achieve your goals, especially in terms of weight loss. One highly-cited study published in 1996 in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology found that visualization helped weight lifters increase their muscle activity during a workout, indicating it may be key to getting a more effective burn—and, ultimately, slimming down faster.
Set small, attainable goals.
While it's nice to imagine losing three pounds per week, sometimes swinging for the fences can do more harm than good. Instead, try setting smaller goals, like hitting the gym every day for a month, or ditching that sweetened latte in the morning in favor of an iced coffee with a splash of milk. Having small, realistic goals rather than giant, unattainable ones ensures that you stay motivated and encouraged throughout your weight loss journey.
Increase your probiotic intake.
If you want to get your body in shape, start by improving the health of your gut bacteria. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2014 reveals that while the gut bacteria in obese individuals and thin individuals differ significantly, adding probiotics to a person's regular routine may help them increase their weight loss.
Decrease your stress leaves.
If you're eating well and exercising regularly but still can't lose weight, you might have your stress levels to blame. Per one long-term study published in the journal Obesity in 2017, the stress hormone cortisol was significantly correlated with increased waist circumference and obesity.
While many people assume that the nicotine in cigarettes has a metabolism-boosting effect or at least helps curb appetite, it turns out that the opposite is true. Research presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in 2015 reveals that quitting smoking actually improves metabolic performance.
Work on feeling less guilty.
If you strongly associate certain foods with feelings of guilt, there's no time like the present to try to break that bond. While many believe that feeling guilty makes them more likely to abstain from unhealthier foods, one 2014 study published in the journal Appetite actually found that people who associated foods with guilt had less success losing weight over a three-month period than those who looked at sweets and treats as celebratory foods.
Snack on fresh pears.
An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but a pear will do just fine in a pinch, and that's because they pack a fibrous punch. If you're feeling tempted by unhealthy foods, pregame with a fiber-rich pear and you'll likely be satisfied enough to wait until the craving passes.
Brush your teeth more often.
If you want to signify to your brain that the time for eating has come to an end and make your favorite foods less palatable, busting out your toothbrush and some minty toothpaste might just be your best bet. One 2016 study published in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine found that normal-weight people brushed their teeth after meals more frequently than their obese counterparts. And if you need more motivation to drop those last few pounds, here are 50 Genius Weight-Loss Motivation Tricks.
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