Over a third of Americans are classified as obese, while two out of three are overweight. That’s right: only a third of our nation’s inhabitants have the recommended BMI for their height and age, so it’s no wonder that weight loss ranks high on many peoples’ list of goals. In fact, “how to lose weight” is one of the top Google searches, which just underscores the struggles many of us face in getting down to a healthy body size.
Unfortunately, our sedentary lifestyles, poor diets, and high-stress levels work against us when it comes to battling the bulge, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to reach your weight-related goals; it just means that you have to work smarter, not harder. These five tips will help you get to the perfect weight without being obsessed with the scale or feeling deprived.
Use Meal Replacement Shakes
Many of us turn to quick meals when we’re rushing to chow down between meetings, but it can be hard to make a healthy choice in these circumstances. Thankfully, meal replacement shakes are an alternative to a candy bar or bag of chips when you’re pressed for time; they are also a good source of dietary fiber and protein, which help you feel fuller for longer so you can avoid the many temptations that surround you every day.
Sneak in Fast but Effective Workouts
When you think of working out, you’re probably imagining that you have to spend an hour and a half at the gym, performing a full-strength training circuit, or running mindlessly on the treadmill while watching a trashy TV show. This can turn you off from working out, but there’s a better solution for those who don’t really like to work out: short but impactful exercises that take less than ten minutes and only need to be done three to five times a week.
The University of Washington provides some amazing suggestions for high-impact exercises, many of which don’t require expensive equipment. Just some jumping jacks, arm curls with a cheap set of weights, or resistant band training can go a long way to hitting your fitness goals.
Get a Cycle Machine or Tiny Elliptical for Under Your Desk
While this one is a bit costlier, it also provides awesome results and can be done while you work. Pop a small cycle machine under your desk and pedal away for hours while you attend meetings or fill out spreadsheets; you can choose a low resistance for longer biking periods or push yourself to the limit for just ten minutes and then be done for the rest of the day. They’re also great to use while you sit on the couch and watch your favorite show.
Many of the smaller elliptical models can be folded up and packed away, meaning you can toss your elliptical in the back seat when heading home from the office and then enjoy more workout time at home.
Drink More Water
It’s amazing how much of a difference good hydration makes to your overall fitness. Some of your weight might actually just be water weight, which is quickly shed when you improve your water intake, and plenty of water helps to hydrate your cells so they’re more effective. You’ll feel clearer, encouraging you to be more active throughout the day because you’re not tired and worn down.
Another reason that water is so important is that a lot of the time, you might mistake hunger for dehydration. Whenever you start to feel peckish, drink a glass of water and see if you still feel hungry in 15 minutes; this can help you stave off the urge to snack throughout the day.
Keep a bottle of water beside your desk and on your bedside table at all times, and set a timer to remind you to drink up on a regular basis. If you’re trying intermittent fasting to shed weight, you can add a few drops of an electrolyte solution to your water so that you can be sure that you’re not developing low sodium levels, which can contribute to a headache and drowsy feeling.
Take it Slow
This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually quite important to avoid pushing your body too hard: sports-related injuries can sideline you for weeks, not months, which can throw your entire weight loss routine off track.
Working with a fitness instructor can help you find exercises that are right for your current activity level and teach you how to work out safely and effectively. Relying on professional advice can make a huge difference in whether you’re successful or not, especially as they can provide much-needed encouragement and support when things get hard.
It’s not always easy to reach your weight loss goals, but there are many ways to get more nutrition and exercise without feeling deprived or overworked. Meal replacement shakes, short exercises, extra water, fitness instructors, and incorporating movement into your day all go a long way toward improving your overall health and helping you achieve your dream body.