The last thing you want to do is add more to your daily “to-do” list. I get it, you’re busy. But you know what? So are all of us and seriously, that’s just an excuse. So, let’s learn from some of the women among us who used to be fat and ultra busy, juggling a full-time career and 5 kinds, but have managed to still make time for habits that prime them for a slimmer and healthier body. To all of you, here’s a starting point to a weight loss manifest – feel free to add to it— the 9 simple ways to slim down your figure, starting today.
1. Drink lots of cold water.
German researchers found that drinking 6 cups of cold water a day (that’s 48 ounces) can raise resting metabolism by about 50 calories daily—enough to shed 5 pounds in a year, with essentially zero additional effort. The increase may come from the work it takes to heat the water to body temperature.
If you are not convinced, a recent research by the University of Utah found that women who are frequently dehydrated lose 2 percent less calories than their hydrated counterparts.
2. Go to bed earlier.
Draw your blinds. Put your mobile phone on silent. Turn off the television. Get at least 8 hours of undisrupted sleep. A study in Finland looked at sets of identical twins and discovered that in each set of siblings, the twin who slept less than 8 hours a day was under more stress and had more visceral fat.
3. Stop eating crap.
When you want to burn fat from your midsection it’s so important to first look at what you’re eating. Before anything else, decrease the amount of sugar, alcohol and processed, starchy foods in your diet. Then replace these foods with high-protein foods and healthy fats like avocado and coconut oil. Not only will this strategy boost satiety, which aids weight loss, it will also help the body burn fat.
4. Eat organic whenever you can.
Canadian researchers report that dieters with the most organochlorines (pollutants from pesticides, which are stored in fat cells) experience a greater-than-normal dip in metabolism as they lose weight – as toxins from pesticides interfere with energy-burning process. In other words, pesticides make it harder to lose pounds.
Of course, it’s not always easy to find—or afford—organic produce. But in general, conventionally grown items that you peel—avocado, grapefruit, bananas—are fine. But choose organic when buying celery, peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, sweet bell peppers, spinach, kale and collard greens, cherries, potatoes, and imported grapes; they tend to have the highest levels of pesticides.
5. Get up and stand.
Whether you sit or stand at work may play as big a role in your waistline as your fitness routine. Missouri University researchers discovered that inactivity (4 hours or more) causes a near shut- down of an enzyme that controls fat and cholesterol metabolism. To keep this enzyme active and increase your fat-burning, break up long periods of downtime by standing up—for example, while talking on the phone.
6. Say yes to spicy.
It turns out that capsaicin, the compound that gives chilli peppers their heat, can also fire up your metabolism. Eating about 1 tablespoon of chopped peppers (red or green) boosts your sympathetic nervous system (responsible for your fight-or-flight response), according to a study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology. The result: a temporary metabolism spike of about 23 percent. Stock up on chile peppers to add to salsas, and keep a jar of red-pepper flakes on hand for topping pizzas, pastas, and stir-fries.
7. Eat breakfast.
Eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism so it’s no accident that those who skip this meal are 41⁄2 times as likely to be obese. The heartier your first meal is, the better. In one study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology, volunteers who got 22 to 55 percent of their total calories at breakfast gained only 1.7 pounds on average over 4 years. While those who got zero to 11 percent gained nearly 3 pounds.
8. Drink coffee or tea.
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, so your daily java jolts can rev your metabolism by 5 to 8 percent—burning about 98 to 174 calories a day. A cup of brewed tea can raise your metabolism by 12 percent, according to one Japanese study. Researchers believe antioxidants called catechins in tea provide the boost.
9. Train with weights.
Resistance training helps with fat loss in a number of ways. Weight training itself burns calories. Studies also show that, unlike aerobic exercise, weight training increases the calories you burn at rest for up to 39 hours after your workout. Plus, the more muscle your body has, the more calories you burn each day.
Even if your goal is solely to lose body fat, you need to train with weights. This will help prevent any of the weight you lose from being muscle. Were that to happen, your metabolism would slow, stalling your fat-loss efforts and turning you into a skinny-fat person. And yes, even someone with anorexia can have a high body fat percentage.
10. H.I.I.T. up your workout.
No matter what you have read recently, high intensity interval training (HIIT) works. This means alternating a brief period of high-intensity exercise with brief rest periods. The result of this type of workout: better results in less time.
One of my favorite interval methods is jumping rope. You may need to practice a bit on this one. After a brief warmup, I’ll jump rope as fast as I can for 10-20 seconds, followed by a half a minute at a slower cadence.
Always warm up before intervals, by the way. If you’re not in the best shape, start with cardio of low or moderate intensity.