1. Reduce your diet variety
Research published in the journal Obesity suggests that eating less types of food, not more, might be the key to fat loss. The food questionnaires of more than 2,000 members of the National Weight Control Registry were examined in this study, and it was determined that those who experienced successful fat loss - maintaining a reduction of 30 pounds or more for over six years - ate the lowest variety of foods across the four food groups.
Don't think that you have to resign to a "bland" diet — choose a few of your favorite clean recipes and cycle them throughout your weekly meal plan.
2. Give in to peer pressure
You know that working out with your friends is motivating, but have you ever wondered why? The answer may lie in the reward centers of your brain. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that subjects who won the lottery in front of their peers showed higher brain activity than those who won while alone. Those who won in a social setting were also found to take more risks during later lotteries.
Apply it: If you are faced with doing a solo treadmill run or heading outside with a group of pals, opt for the social support: you may end up pushing yourself harder than you would if you were sans friends.
3. Rest up.
Overdoing it when it comes to strength training can exhaust your body and prevent it from becoming stronger and more efficient. Keep in mind that your muscles actually repair and fortify themselves during your recovery periods (not just between exercises, but in the days in between workouts, as well). The same goes for cardio: too much, and you'll leave your body weakened and unable to be a proficient fat-burning machine. And even though one of the symptoms of overtraining can be weight loss, it's not the right kind. Your body will tap into your muscles for fuel, which will leave you without that metabolism-boosting lean mass you worked so hard to build.
Apply it: Always leave at least 48 hours between workouts for a single muscle group, and aim for three to four cardio sessions per week - try two shorter interval workouts and two longer, less-intense sessions.
4. Eat more!
Just as too much exercise can hamper your results, too little food will do the same. In another piece of research from Obesity, scientists cut the calories of female test mice by a mere five percent for three to four weeks. At the end of the study, these mice had a larger amount of body fat and less lean mass than their regular-diet peers, their resting metabolic rate had dropped, and they gorged themselves once the experiment was through!
Apply it: There's no need to go hungry! Opt for clean, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and lean proteins to fuel your fat-loss plan. Try our delicious Clean Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe that provides just that!