Weight Loss: My Top Ten Ways to Drop Pounds in a Hurry
1. Green Tea. I know you've heard of this one before, and with good reason. It's a well-known metabolism booster. I would never recommend using over-the-counter weight loss supplements. They may get you results in the beginning, but eventually they can throw your body out or whack and mess with things like your thyroid or metabolism. Anything that naturally boosts metabolism is going to give you more steady energy and help you burn more calories even when you're sitting on your tush. Here are ten more natural ways to boost metabolism. Whenever I'm trying to drop weight I have one cup of hot tea every evening without fail. The sweetness from fruit-infused green tea also gives me just enough flavor to help me curb my sugar cravings. It also gives me a reason to slow down and relax, which helps me sleep better at night and helps keep my stress levels in check - both of which aid in weight loss and general health. Plus, it's a way to get nutrients and antioxidants into my body with virtually no calories. I am totally in love with green tea.
Pictured above: Menu red teapot
2. Lean Protein with Every Meal. The key word being "lean". It doesn't take a genius to figure out that stuffing one's face with pounds of fatty bacon will not lead to weight loss, though pairing healthy carbs with protein and healthy fats help slow the digestive process and keeps insulin levels in check. To be honest, I've never lost weight quicker than when I went Paleo, eating nothing but lean protein, fruits and veggies, and healthy fats. Though I always go back to bread. I just can't give it up. By pairing it with lean protein, I eat less bread, and stay fuller much longer. I'm a huge fan of fresh seafood for weight loss; most shellfish and white fish are very low in calories and very high in protein. It's so easy to toss it in the oven with veggies for a quick, healthy dinner.
Pictured above: Grill Fish With Flavor Grilled Tilapia With Couscous and Avocado via womenshealthmag.com
3. Fall off the Horse and Get Back On. After I had children and gained a significant amount of weight for the first time in my life, my biggest hindrance to losing the weight was an endless cycle of bad choices. I'd set unrealistic goals then give in to temptation and feel so horrible that one bad night would turn into a whole weekend of terrible food choices. Come Monday, I'd feel so lethargic and discouraged that I found it extremely hard to stick with my workouts. And skipping workouts led to more unhealthy high-caloric foods. Weight loss is essentially a matter of numbers - fewer calories in and more calories burned. A vicious cycle of less activity and more calories leads to a constant excess of calories and weight gain. I find that whenever I'm active, it's so much easier to avoid fatty and high-calorie foods, because I'm always thinking about how much activity it'll take to make up for those calories. Most of the time it's just not worth it.
4. Cut Out Just One Bad Thing. Like I said above, I can't give up bread. I simply won't do it! I won't cut out chocolate either. Instead of trying to foolishly deprive myself of everything all at once, I pick one thing that I can handle going without for at least a few months - like meat. I'm sure that may not work for everyone, but think about something you could handle cutting out, maybe soda. Even if it's just for a month, it can help you drop a few extra pounds, which will help you stay motivated and keep your momentum with exercise. Soda was one of my "bad things" to cut out over ten years ago. I ended up going years without it and not missing it one bit. I have some now, often once a week with my treat-day pizza or fried goodies. What do you think you could give up?
5. Surround Myself with Motivation. One of the best and easiest weight loss tips I ever read was to surround myself with visual reminders, like weight loss magazines, to help boost motivation. I tried it, and it really worked. Keeping my weights and health magazines within sight served as constant reminders to make healthy food choices and to stay active every day. On days when I was tired and felt like skipping my workout, just one peek at the healthy and happy model on the cover of SHAPE or Women's Health gave me the extra little push I needed. If you need a little extra boost, surround yourself with motivating people - commit to healthy goals with a partner or friend or sign up for an online program with tips and reminders. I love to use Tone It Up or laurenconrad.com for fitness challenges.
6. Dress the Part. This may sound silly, but one of my biggest hindrances to working is changing into workout clothes. Hey, it's hard work squeezing into skinny jeans and putting on my riding boots. When I'm already tired, the last thing I want to do is change clothes and shoes. Maybe I'm just lazy. I plan my workouts in the morning or on days when I'm working from home so I can lay out my workout outfit the night before. Even if I'm going to type for a few hours before my workout, I get in my full work out gear, including my shoes. It's so much easier for me to be active at any moment and stay motivated to squeeze in a quick work out if I'm already totally dressed for it. Even if you don't work from home and absolutely have to change, ditch the old gym shorts and wrinkle tee. Invest in a few nice yoga tights and racerback tanks. If you feel good in what you're wearing, you're much more likely to enjoy your workouts and more likely to stay motivated.
Pictured above: Pure Good cropped legging // Victoria's Secret The Player by Victoria’s Secret Cami Sport Bra
7. Prevent and Treat Muscle Aches. It's easy to feel all gung-ho in the beginning. I get my new work out gear, and I'm all pumped up. Then I work out a few times, and I feel like I can barely move. It's important to take a day off to let muscles recover. Stretch regularly and take warm baths to ease muscle aches. I love to schedule in yoga for a few of my weekly workouts. I still get the workout, but every move stretches and relaxes me as well.
8. Weigh In Once a Week and Keep Score. While I don't think it's healthy to obsess over the numbers on the scale, it's really helps me stay on track if I know I'm going to be hitting the scale each week. It's also a huge motivator if I can visually track my progress each week. If I have a specific weight loss goal, I like to keep a chart, and I keep it in plain sight as a daily reminder. It isn't meant to be a negative thing to make me feel bad, but rather it's a positive reminder of what I've accomplished.
Pictured above: BalanceFrom High Accuracy Digital Bathroom Scale
9. Have a Goal to Visualize. Visualizing is an extremely powerful tool the most successful people love to use, because it works! For losing weight, you could have a goal like running a certain amount of miles, completing a marathon, or buying a fancy new outfit for a special occasion. Photo shoots and events are huge sources of motivation for me. If I visualize myself in a little dress, it's a lot easier to step away from the pizza and go for something healthy instead.
10. Schedule Workouts & Meals. This is another one you've probably heard, also with good reason. If you're as busy as I am, if you don't pencil something in, it probably doesn't get done. It's also a good way to cut out mindless snacking; I don't just plan my healthy meals, I also plan in my little indulgences. That helps me stay on track and gives me a treat to look forward to so I don't feel deprived. To keep my workouts from getting boring, I add in new moves each week. I love to use the tear-out workout guides in the fitness magazines. When I'm really in a pinch for time, I love to use the 10 minute workout videos by POPSUGAR Fitness or Tone it Up.
Pictured above: Fitspo dumbells
My biggest tip for getting fit would be to know yourself and what really works for you. What motivates you? What hinders you? Why do you want to lose weight? What do you hope to gain by losing weight? What will keep you motivated when you're sore, and tired, and seriously craving junk food? These are all very important questions to answer before you set out on your goal to losing weight. Once you've answered those questions, it's important to think specific with attainable and measurable goals. To stay motivated, surround yourself with reminders of what you're working towards and what you accomplish along the way. Best of luck to us all!