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It’s not as if you aren’t trying when it comes to nudging the scale. But every time you lose a little, you lose your weight-loss mojo and fall off the wagon. But if you can get creative in little ways, you can do it — and stick to it — faster than you think.
1. Push Yourself A Little. Swap your stale steady-state cardio routine for high-intensity interval training. Rev up your metabolism and boost your fat burn with one of these four sweat-inducing workouts.
2. Make sleep a priority. If you are in your 20s or 30s, you tend to sacrifice sleep to care for others, according to a University of Michigan study. Shut down distractions in your bedroom (like your laptop, television and cell phone) and try to get to bed earlier. Even two to three minutes of quiet meditation can make all the difference.
3. Get out from behind your desk. If you hit the gym during your lunch break, you’ll not only get your rear in gear and lose more fat, you’ll also be more productive at the office than those who don’t break a sweat, Swedish research shows. Create a walking or running club and meet people from various departments.
4. Watch your stress levels. The link between high stress levels and weight gain makes it even more important to keep an eye on your daily stress. Practice stress-relieving techniques, such as deep breathing, yoga or meditation.
5. Stay positive. Replace negative thoughts (“My thighs are so big!”) with positive thoughts about what your body can do (“I can run a sub-eight minute mile!”). In a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, women who boosted their body image lost about three times more weight than those who didn’t.
6. Think orange (the color, that is). Pack your diet with carotenoid-rich foods like sweet potatoes and carrots, and you’ll drop those inches, plus give your skin a healthy, natural glow, according to research from the U.K.
7. Get your vitamin D from salmon, low-fat milk, eggs, shrimp and cod to help preserve fat-burning muscle. You need 600 IU per day — a difficult amount to get through food alone — so talk to your doctor about a supplement.
8. Use olive oil instead of butter, top salads with avocado instead of cheese and order salmon instead of steak. Replacing saturated fats with healthy fats in your diet for at least two years reduces your risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke by 14 percent, a study in The Cochrane Library reports.
9. Swap white rice for brown rice. Downing a bowl of high-fiber brown rice at least once a week may reduce your risk of colon polyps — growths that could become cancerous — by 40 percent, according to research from Loma Linda University.
10. When dining out, ditch the salad fork and use the bigger one. Digging in with a larger fork leads people to eat less than they would when using a smaller fork, suggests a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
11. Skip instant oatmeal packages. You’ll avoid excess salt, sugar and artificial flavoring, and instead, add protein, calcium, vitamin D, riboflavin, potassium, vitamin A, fiber and niacin, explains Bethany Thayer, RD.
12. Baking? Replace half the vegetable oil with puréed pumpkin or applesauce. For every half cup of oil you replace, you save about 900 calories.
13. If you want to lose fat and build a tighter tush, do your squats and lunges first. You see the best results in the muscles you train early in your workout because you’re able to hammer out the most reps and perform them with stellar form, compared to when your body is fatigued later on, suggests a study in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine.
14. Drink three to six cups of green tea every day. Catechins and caffeine make this popular drink a natural fat burner. Ramp up your morning with a green tea breakfast shake! Try our recipe here.
15. Chew more. People who chewed their food 40 times before swallowing took in nearly 12 percent fewer calories than those who chewed their food 15 times, according to a study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
16. Savor your food. If you scarf down your food, you’ll tend to put on the pounds, especially if you’re middle-aged, suggests research from New Zealand.
17. Stop by an ATM and pay with cash. If you use plastic when paying for your groceries, you’ll be likely to spend up to $30 more on average, including $6 more on junk food, according to the Journal of Consumer Research.