10 Tips That Can Help You To Start Losing Weight Today
Restrictive diets don’t work for many people. They’re often not sustainable because they limit your favorite foods or cut them out altogether. But you don’t have to be on a “diet” to lose weight or get healthy. Small changes can already make a big difference. This post will provide you with 10 strategies that can help start losing weight today.
#1 Increase Your NEAT
Non-exercise related activities thermogenesis (NEAT) can be an impactful metabolism booster. All activities that are not part of an exercise routine are classified as NEAT. Examples of NEAT including standing, walking up and down the stairs, carrying groceries, or running after your kids.
Even minimal movement can improve your metabolism. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has found that fidgeting can increase energy expenditure by more than 50%.
What can you do today? Make an effort to get up every hour for 3 – 10 minutes, and move around: clean up your desk, run the stairs up and down, chase after you kids (or pets). The biggest obstacle here is that we FORGET to move. Setting a timer that reminds you to take a movement break can help to avoid that. Apart from that, you can use a fitness tracker that records your steps.
#2 Eat More Protein
Research has shown that eating protein can decrease the secretion of ghrelin, which is the hormone that makes you hungry. Apart from that, protein also increases thermogenesis, i.e., your metabolism. Last but not least, your body needs protein to build and preserve lean body mass, i.e., muscles. The more lean body mass you have, the higher your metabolism. That’s why sufficient protein intake combined with strength training is one of the most effective strategies for sustainable weight loss.
The recommended protein intake is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. However, recent recommendations suggest that your daily protein intake can be as high as to 35% of your total calorie consumption.*
Good sources of protein include:
Fish, Eggs, Meat, Beans, Legumes, Greek Yogurt
What can you do today? Start your meal with vegetables and protein. If you’re still hungry, you can have some complex carbs such as wholegrain rice, whole-wheat bread, or whole-wheat pasta.
#3 Make Hydration a Priority
Drinking water can support weight loss. According to research, the consumption of 500 ml of water burns around 23 kcal. Given the fact that 100 grams of chocolate contain more than 500 kcal, the effect is relatively small. However, it can lead to a weight loss of approximately 2 pounds per year if your exercise and eating habits stay stable during that time. Water can also make you feel full and thus reduce your overall calorie intake.
Recommendations for daily water intake vary but try to aim for at least 2 liters (0.5 gallons) of water every day.
What can you do today? Prepare 4 – 6 small (500 ml) water bottles and place them on your desk, in your car, in your gym bag, or your kitchen. Drink one of them every 2 – 4 hours.
#4 Take Cold Showers
Taking a cold shower can also increase thermogenesis. The core temperature of your body is somewhere around 98.6 degrees. A cold shower will decrease your body’s temperature, which will trigger it to produce heat to bring the temperature back to normal levels.
What can you do today? Take a 30-second cold shower and then increase the duration by 10 seconds every day until you reach 2 to 5 minutes.
Cold showers also stimulate your nervous system, which will make you feel alert and energized.
#5 Drink Coffee and Tea
Caffeine-rich beverages such as tea and coffee can help you to increase your metabolism. A study published in the American Journal of Nutrition showed that the consumption of 100 mg caffeine increased the resting metabolic rate by 3–4% over the next 150 min.
The effect was even higher when the participants of the study consumed 100 mg of caffeine every 2 hours over 12 hours and resulted in an increased energy expenditure of 79–150 calories.
Coffee also helps to increase exercise performance. Drinking a cup of black coffee 30 – 60 minutes before a workout can, therefore, increase the number of calories and fat you burn during an exercise session.
What can you do today? Have a cup of black coffee or espresso and go for a short walk to boost your metabolism.
#6 Give Yourself a Break
Your body can only burn fat when your insulin levels are low. Constant snacking will keep your insulin levels high and make it hard to get into that fat burning zone. Every time you eat your body secrets insulin. Even if you just eat a sugar-free candy.
That’s why it’s crucial to wait 4–5 hours between meals. The longer you extend the time between meals, the more fat you burn. If you want to take it to the next level, you can also try intermittent fasting, i.e. stop eating for 12 – 24 hours.
What can you do today? Use a timer and make sure to fast at least 4 hours between your meals.
#7 Eat More Fiber
Fiber is the part of carbohydrates that cannot be broken down into sugar molecules by your digestive enzymes, which means that it just passes through the intestinal tract. When you eat fiber, it bulks up in your stomach and can thus help to regulate your appetite. Research has shown that increased fiber intake leads to decreased calorie consumption and weight loss. Eating fiber-rich foods can also help to stabilize your blood sugar, which is crucial for weight loss.
Good sources of fiber include:
Beans, Oats, Rye, Fruits, Vegetables, Nuts, Almonds.
What can you do today? Fill up with fiber-rich food at the beginning of each meal.
#8 Add Resistance Training to Your Exercise Routine
Resistance training is defined as exercises that cause the muscles to contract against an external resistance. To create that external resistance, you can use dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, or your bodyweight.
Resistance training doesn’t only burn energy during the workout but also after. The reason for that is the nature of the recovery process. When you overload a muscle, you cause micro-tears within the muscle fiber. During the recovery process, the body requires energy (aka calories) to repair these tears. Some people also call this the ‘after-burn effect’ of strength training.
What can you do today? Choose 2 – 3 bodyweight exercises such as squats, planks or push-ups and do them as a circuit performing each exercise for 30 – 60 seconds.
#9 Use a Food Journal
You might eat to suppress feelings or to procrastinate tasks. A good way to avoid this is to look for the reasons behind your snacking habits and to try to replace them with healthy habits instead. For example, if you use food to calm down, find another healthy activity you can do instead (a stretch, a short walk, etc.).
To increase your awareness about foods or feelings that trigger over-eating, record your food intake for a week. This will also allow you to understand how much you REALLY eat. You might be surprised how many calories you actually consume be mindless snacking.
What can you do today? Write down when and what you eat and also record the feelings before AND after you’re finished your meals.
#10 Take a Hot Bath
While hot baths can’t make up for regular exercise and a healthy diet, they might complement your weight loss efforts. Recent research published in the Journal of Applied Physiology has shown that soaking in hot water can accelerate metabolism and thus aid weight loss.
Another study from Loughborough University found that soaking in hot water for 60 minutes (not recommend!) can burn around 140 calories.
Apart from that, taking baths is a powerful stress release. Click HERE to learn more about the health benefits of hot baths.
What can you do today? Take a hot bath, add some drops of essential oil, and relax.
*A word of warning: if you are suffering from any (chronic) health condition, please consult your health care provider before making changes to your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking hot baths.
In good health,