Sneaky ways to slim down
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
By Linda Mooney , Prevention's former beauty editor.
All you need is a minute to start shedding pounds! Here are dozens of successful strategies to cut calories and burn fat that take 60 seconds or less. With about 1,000 waking minutes in everyday, you'll find plenty of opportunities to slip these weigh loss tips into your routine and watch the scale go down. If you've already begun your weight loss, these can maximize your efforts and speed results.
1. Mix a juice spritzer. Combine your favorite juice (half of your usual amount) with plain or sparkling water. You can cut up to 85 calories per glass--and lose 5 pounds or more a year.
2. Pick up the cordless. Burn calories while you talk: Do the laundry (68 calories), set the table (85 calories), or water plants (102 calories). (Values based on a 150-pound person and half an hour of activity.)
3. Pop a piece of gum. Researchers recently discovered that chewing sugar-free gum all day increases your metabolic rate by about 20 percent. That could burn off more than 10 pounds a year.
4. Pay cash for treats. Anytime someone offers you goodies--and you accept--put $1.00 aside. Then give the money to your kids. When you literally pay for treats, you're more likely to say "No thanks."
5. Study the wrapper. At a quick glance, that candy bar appears to contain 220 calories. But a closer look may reveal that it (or a bottle of juice, bag of crackers, or bag of nuts) provides two or more servings--which more than doubles those calories.
6. Sip green tea before you walk. The caffeine frees fatty acids so that you burn fat more easily. And the polyphenols (antioxidant compounds) in green tea appear to work with caffeine to increase calorie burn. (If you have high blood pressure, skip this tip.)
7. Ditch diet shakes. The cut calories are only temporary; you just eat more later.
8. Pack a lunch. Dining out more than five times a week may make you eat more--nearly 300 calories a day--than if you dine out less frequently.
9. Dip your bread. Use olive oil in place of butter. It's healthier and may also help you eat less. In a recent study, dippers ate a total of 52 fewer calories on average than those who used butter.
10. Sprinkle flax on your cereal. High-fiber, ground flaxseed can help curb your appetite and eliminate calories. Add it to yogurt or muffin and bread mixes. Available in health food stores.
11. Dress with this:
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp horseradish Mix together
It makes for a tasty salad dressing with only 20 calories and 1.5 grams of fat.
12. Schedule a blood test. About 1 in every 12 women (most of whom don't know it) has an under active thyroid, which can slow down her metabolism.
13. Supersize your H2O. Buy the big bottle when it comes to good-for-you stuff such as water: You'll drink more.
14. Trick your tastebuds. Sucking on a menthol/eucalyptus cough drop can stop cravings instantly.
15. Spice up your meals. Adding hot chile pepper (or capsaicin) to food may help you stop eating sooner.
16. Pour a white cocktail. Like water, low-fat milk's volume fills your stomach, but it also contains carbohydrates--so you eat less.
17. Chunk your salad. Chop carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, zucchini, or other veggies instead of shredding or slicing. It takes more effort to munch bigger pieces; you'll do more chewing and eat less during the main course.
18. Call a friend. Fill loneliness with talk--not cookies. 19. Log your food. Writing down what you eat can help you cut calories and stay in control because you're more accountable. No need to record it perfectly or review what you wrote: The benefit is in the writing itself.
20. Fidget. You can burn up to 700 calories a day! 21. Retire the remotes. You could easily burn 200 extra calories a day if you stop using the TV/VCR remote, garage door opener, electric can opener, riding mower, car, and other laborsaving devices.
22. Spray--don't drizzle. Use an olive oil sprayer such as MISTO to add flavor to salads, chicken, fish, or pasta--without all the calories. A 2-second spray evenly distributes about 1/2 teaspoon of oil, compared to the 2 or 3 teaspoons you might get when pouring. That'll save you up to 100 calories per use. Available in department stores. 23. Buy small. The bigger the package, the more you're likely to eat--up to 44 percent more, according to one study.
24. Break into a jog. If you already jog, speed up to a sprint. These brief intervals allow you to cover more distance, burn fat and calories--without lengthening your workout. The increased impact will also help make your bones stronger.
25. Measure before cooking. It's easy to overeat pasta, but not if you cook the right amount at the start. For a perfect portion, keep a quarter near your spaghetti. Its diameter is exactly the size of the 2-ounce stack (about 200 calories) that you should serve per person. Or buy a dry-pasta measurer sold in gourmet cooking stores.
26. Rent a spooky movie. You're less likely to eat when you're fearful--but more likely when you're angry or happy.
27. Reflect on your choices. Looking at yourself in a mirror while eating may help you consume 22 to 32 percent less.
28. Drop and do 10. Before you pry open that tub of ice cream, do 10 situps or pushups. Doing something physical can put you back in touch with your body--and your goals.
29. Take a whiff. When you really want those fresh-baked cookies, try this: Indulge in the smell for 30 seconds. Then place a small piece on the tip of your tongue for another 30 seconds. Savoring the smell and taste can help you stop at just one cookie.
30. Have chunky soup. People who ate soup containing large vegetable pieces reported feeling fuller and ate 20 percent less during lunch than those who had a pureed soup made of the same ingredients.
31. Blot the fat. You can dab off about a teaspoon of oil--or 40 calories and 4.5 grams of fat--from two slices of pizza.
32. Skip "light" foods. The weight of food--not just the fat and calories--is what fills you up. Eat less and still feel satisfied with low-calorie heavyweights such as oranges, strawberries, grapefruit, cantaloupe, cooked spinach, collard greens, and broccoli.
33. Order fish. Varieties rich in omega-3 fatty acids--tuna, mackerel, cod, and salmon--may help you drop pounds by improving fat metabolism. Overweight people who ate a reduced-calorie diet that included fish every day lost about 20 percent more weight than those on a fish-free diet.
34. Post inspiration. To keep yourself on track, place quotes in strategic spots where you might need some motivation: on the fridge, TV, dashboard, or computer. Some suggestions: "You've come too far to take orders from a cookie." "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels."
35. Drink, drink, drink. Dehydration can slow your metabolism by 3 percent. At a weight of 150 pounds, that would be about 45 fewer calories burned a day--which could mean 5 extra pounds a year.