Got a minute? Try a tip! We consulted health and fitness experts, the latest scientific studies and real-life women who are taking off pounds to find 20 quick weight-loss strategies that work. Add one to your routine today and watch the scale go down!
Change your clothes
If you exercise after dinner, put your workout gear on before you get to the gym. You’re less likely to veer off to the couch, says Karen Bridson, a Toronto fitness trainer.
Start with salad
Jennie Wilson of Toronto loads up her plate with a luscious salad before she has her main course, a strategy that’s helped the 29-year-old lose 40 pounds in two years. It packs a double-punch: you meet your veggie quota and take the edge off your hunger with filling fibre before diving into the higher-cal entree.
Work out with a cheerleader
A Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania study found that participants who received frequent positive feedback during exercise worked harder than those who received infrequent encouragement or none at all. Click here to find a fitness buddy in the Chatelaine Fitness & sport forum.
Sip green tea
In a study on mice, Japanese researchers found that green tea extract helps endurance during exercise. You may see a similar effect from drinking four cups (1L) of green tea daily.
Talk on the move
Use a cordless phone at home so you can walk laps and do stairs while you chat. Every step counts!
Identify the emotion
“If you find yourself craving something or wanting to overeat, ask yourself why,” advises Nancy Saunders, a registered dietitian in Ormstown, Que. Take the time to figure out what’s going on – chances are you’ll discover a bag of cookies isn’t what you really need
Arrange individual green grapes on a cookie sheet and pop them into the freezer. After they freeze, put them into a container and leave them in the freezer to munch on the next time you want a quick sweet snack. It’s a favourite trick of Denise Hargrove, a registered dietitian in Kingston, Ont.
Open a can
A ton of fast and tasty recipes call for beans and legumes, which are naturally high fibre, high protein and low fat. Give Quick Lentils with Coriander and Mint a try.
Schedule in fitness
Jennie Wilson sits down and plans out her workouts week by week. “Thinking about workouts ahead of time helps me make them part of my day,” she says. Tight on time this week? Work in a workout with our fast fitness exercise plan.
Do the hand jive
Control portion sizes with this no-fail guide: a serving of meat is about the size of the palm of your hand, and a fist equals about a cup (250 mL) of fruit, vegetables or grains. Your thumb is the size of about one ounce (30 g) of cheese.
Brush your teeth
A Japanese study of nearly 14,000 people learned that slim people brushed their teeth after every meal. The brushing doesn’t burn calories, but it’s a sign that you’re a healthy person. Plus, many people don’t want to eat after they’ve brushed so that they can preserve the clean minty taste!
Fool your eye
When you grate your reduced-fat cheese, use the side of the grater with the smallest holes, suggests Areli Hermanson, a registered dietitian in Victoria, B.C. The pile of cheese will be fluffier, so you’ll use less. For more tricks, check out Eat more, weigh less.
Take the stairs
Research shows that walking two flights of stairs a day for a year can help you shed up to six pounds. Find other great no-gym workouts at the Chatelaine Fitness Centre.
Get your thyroid checked
According to the Thyroid Foundation of Canada, thyroid problems may affect up to eight per cent of Canadian women. Since an underactive thyroid can contribute to weight gain, ask your doctor about this simple blood test.
Freeze and tease
Stash your favourite single-serving size yogurt (crème brûlée and cappuccino flavours are yummy) in the freezer for a decadent frozen treat that’s good for you. Choose low-fat (one per cent or less) and lower-sugar (15 g or less) varieties. Bonus: studies show that milk products may help reduce body fat.
Divide your plate
Fill one-half of your dinner plate with veggies, says Jackie Allen, 25, of Cambridge, Ont. Use one-quarter for rice, pasta or potatoes and use the final quarter for meat or beans. She’s lost 15 pounds with the help of this trick.
Shop the U
Focus your grocery shopping on the perimeter of the store, where the fresh produce, meat and fish are kept. Avoid the processed items in the middle section.
Eat brown instead of white
This means choosing brown rice and whole grain bread and pasta, which are crammed with healthful fibre and nutrients. “To get used to the change, start with a mix,” advises Jenny Okroj, a registered public health nutritionist in Regina. Use one slice of white bread and one of whole grain bread to make a sandwich, or mix different rices together.
Join the club
Slash your fruit juice calories in half by turning it into a spritzer – mix half a serving of juice with an equal amount of club soda. Or, enjoy a frosty club soda on its own with slices of lemon and lime for a zero-cal beverage.
In a restaurant, order sauce and salad dressing on the side. Dip your fork into it, then pick up a bite of your food. “This allows you to enjoy the sauce or dressing, but limits the amount,” says Kathryn Proudfoot, an Edmonton registered dietitian.