Losing weight can feel like a losing battle. For every day you manage to stick to your meal plan, there are another three where everything seems to fall off the rails. If you’re stuck in a rut and the needle is barely budging on the scale, don’t give up just yet. We’ve compiled a list of weight loss hacks, tricks and habits that could help you finally shed those stubborn kilos.
1. Sleep It Off
Carving flab off your midsection isn’t just about reps at the gym. In fact, you might torch bonus kilos by getting on your back and doing nothing. A study conducted by the University of Chicago found that guys who slept four hours or less every night were far more likely to crave high-calorie foods than those who snagged 8 to 10 hours of shuteye.
2. Slooooowww Down
If you’re wolfing down every meal in record time, you could be doing serious damage to your weight loss goals. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who eat at a slow or moderate speed felt satiated for up to an hour after their meal—regardless of portion size.
Weight Loss Hack: You can start by practising mindful eating, i.e., slowly chewing your mouthfuls and swallowing before taking another stab at your dish. You can also try putting down your knife and fork between morsels to hit a steady pace.
3. Revamp Your Breakfast
What you consume during your AM hours will set the tone for the remainder of your day. So, if you’re chowing down on hunks of bread or fried potatoes, you’ll struggle to stand up to your cravings at your next meals. A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that those who swapped out calorie-dense bagels for eggs in the morning felt more satiated throughout the day. Put that research on your menu by tagging in healthy fats and lean proteins instead of your usual fare.
4. Set Your Sights
Look at this statement: I “can’t” eat this right now because I’m on a diet. The word “can’t” will make you feel like you’re not in control as if some greater power is barring you from grabbing a slice of cheesecake. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that people who swapped the word “can’t” for “don’t” were far more likely to achieve their health and fitness goals.
It’s not that you can’t have that cheesecake, it’s that you—because you’re in the driver’s seat—have decided you don’t want it. This shift from a denial to self-control is subtle but is a powerful way to put a positive spin on your lifestyle choices.
5. Eat More Fibre
If you’re not getting enough fibre, chances are you’ll struggle to feel full even after gorging on a Gatsby with the works. Introducing plant-based carbs into your diet could help you nix cravings as high-fibre foods can help you feel satiated. Good options include fruit and vegetables, beans, pulses, whole-grain cereals, seeds and nuts.
6. Hit the Fast Lane
Intermittent fasting is all the rage—and for good reason. Narrowing down your eating times to a narrow window every day will minimise your opportunities to binge without having to calculate every calorie you’re consuming. Multiple studies have found that this diet can help you lose weight.
Let’s look at a few common variants of intermittent fasting:
- The 5:2 Diet: You’ll be fasting for two of every seven days, limiting your calorie intake on fasting days to between 500 to 600 calories.
- The 16/8 Method: Try fasting for 16 hours of the day, restricting your eating times to an 8-hour timeframe. Research on this method found that participants tended to consume fewer calories than those sticking to a normal meal schedule.
- Alternate Day Fasting: With this method, you’ll be fasting every second day; eating as usual on your “off” days. On fasting days, you’ll be aiming to consume around 30% of your body’s typical calorie requirements.
7. Hit the Brakes on Your Stress Levels
Studies have found that managing your stress could help you lose weight. That’s because stress triggers the release of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline which, while they will initially decrease your appetite, can ramp up your cravings if they linger in your bloodstream.
In one study, children and adolescents were put on an eight-week stress intervention programme to see how it might impact their body mass index. The result? Participants were able to achieve significant weight loss over the 56-day course.
While stress is hard to avoid, there are many techniques you can use to help reduce anxious feelings. For instance, yoga and mediation have been shown to bust stress, while even spending 20 minutes outdoors could give you immediate relief.
8. Skip the Cooldrinks…
If you’re trying to lose weight, sugary drinks are your enemy—and that doesn’t just apply to those fizzy servings dispensed by your favourite takeaway spot. Fruit juices, energy drinks, milkshakes, you name it, there are multiple variations of this liquid kryptonite that will wreak havoc with your weight loss goals. One study found that for every daily serving of a sugar-laced beverage, children were 60% more at risk of obesity.
9. …Drink Water Instead
A few glasses of water can light the fuse for your metabolism, ramping up your fat-burn within minutes. Research found that people who knocked back two full glasses of room temperature water within quick succession were able to accelerate their metabolic rate by up to 30 percent within just 30 minutes.
10. And Start Your Day With Coffee
Your morning cuppa isn’t just an energy boost, it could also be dynamite for your metabolism. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sipping on your favourite java could spike your metabolic rate by as much as 11%. However, some studies have found that this sudden spark is less effective for people who are obese, with the leanest individuals snagging the biggest boost.
11. Get Specific
If your goal is just to “lose weight”, you might struggle to find the motivation to stay on course. That’s because we’re better at chasing a finish line we can visualise. So, instead of a series of catch-all ambitions, try this weight loss hack. How much do you want to lose? Why? What are the benefits? With a clear goal in sight, you’ll always know what you’re working towards, steeling your resolve for when unhealthy snacks or craft beers are within arm’s reach.
12. Break Out Smaller Plates
Just downsizing your crockery could be the ultimate weight loss hack. Studies have found that those who scoffed food off small plates tended to consume fewer calories.
13. Take a Vitamin D Supplement
Your Vitamin levels might have a huge impact on your ability to lose weight. A study conducted by the University of Minnesota found that those who started a weight-loss programme with higher levels of vitamin D managed to shed more kilos than those with insufficient levels of this vital mineral. However, very few foods contain doses of this vitamin so it may be wise to grab a supplement next time you’re at Clicks.