Do you want to burn some fat & lose some weight this year? We put together an exhaustive list of 25 ways to help you get the body you want. Some tips involve diet, others fitness, some just lifestyle. Print this out and put it on your refrigerator or keep it at your desk to keep you motivated and remind you of all the ways you can work toward your goal!
Check out these 25 tips to help you burn fat and lose weight:
1. HIIT exercises
High Intensity Interval Training involves all out intense levels of fitness for a short period of time, followed by a short rest. The idea is that your body has to enter anaerobic threshold during your periods of work, thereby working harder and burning more calories with minimal recovery. Try a 2:1 ratio, with 40 seconds of work and 20 seconds of recovery. Repeat 8-10 times and feel the burn!
2. Healthy fats
Fats insulate our body, keep our digestive tract lubricated and properly functioning and help us feel satiated. Not to mention, they are great for having healthy skin, nails and hair. Adding regular doses of healthy fat to your diet keep you feeling full and prevent you from overeating.
3. Up your fiber intake
Just like healthy fats, fiber helps you feel full and slows down your digestion time so you aren’t hungry soon after eating and reaching for a snack. It also helps to clean out your digestive tract and eliminate any lingering foods which may lead you to produce toxins and upset your digestive tract.
4. Get enough sleep
Our body’s main time for recovery is during sleep. This is when our muscles and tissues have a chance to reset and be repaired from the day’s work, and also when our digestive system gets a break. Good sleep is important for making sure we run efficiently, burning calories as we are supposed to be, and not storing them. Also, this is a period of fasting, an important part of setting up a balanced health routine that allows fat loss amidst healthy choices.
5. Don’t starve yourself
You may think that the key to losing fat is cutting calories, but the truth is, that when you starve yourself, your body thinks that it is indeed starving. This starvation mode causes your body to hold on to fat with the assumption that it needs to store it for your impending starvation. Of course, that’s not the truth, so do yourself (and your body) a favour, and eat meals regularly to prevent your system from entering into this mode!
6. Mix up your exercise
Your body is efficient, and when you do the same exercise over and over again, it becomes efficient at doing it, and no longer needs to burn as many calories or work as hard to yield results. This of course means you are improving and getting fitter, but it also doesn’t help your bottom line of burning more fat. Mix it up, keep things challenging and always have your body guessing what is next!
7. Cut out the bad carbs
The cycle of highs and lows experienced by your pancreas and insulin secretion in reaction to sugars and refined carbohydrates can be a key player in preventing you from losing weight. Not only do these refined carbohydrates cause the spicke and crash of your blood sugar, but they provide minimal nutritional value and will leave you hungry and always craving bad foods. Instead, replace them with their lower sugar, whole grain counterparts and you will be more satisfied and gain more nutritional value because of it!
8. Cut down on alcohol
Alcohol is liquid calories, and liquid toxins, that our body doesn’t process well and inevitably just gets stored as fat when consumed in excess. Limit your weekly alcohol content, and when you do indulge, make it a lower calorie option not one that is loaded with sugar and artificial colours.
9. Make healthy baking substitutions
Sub coconut oil for butter, replace white flour with whole grain flour and eliminate some of the oil in favour of applesauce. Often, there are small changes you can make in baking which will yield big results in terms of the calories you will save and the health benefits you will gain!
10. Do fasted workouts
These are hugely based on personal preference, and there is much debate on their effectiveness, but speaking from personal experience, I would totally recommend a fasted workout option. The idea is that when you wake up and workout right away, your body will burn stored fat as your fuel, not the last thing you ate. This obviously isn’t good if you are doing a particularly long or intense workout, but if you are going for a run, going to the gym to do some cardio or going to a yoga class, this may be the perfect thing!
11. Go for a run
Want a quick and cheap way to burn calories? Go for a run (check out my beginners guide to running!) Just put on some running clothes, lace up your shoes and head out the door. Running for 30 minutes at a reasonable pace will burn between 250 and 300 calories for a 120 pound person. The result is a good workout that increases your heart rate, and a nice dose of fresh air!
12. Start the day with lemon water
Lemon water is a great way to gently wake up your digestive system and cleanse out any toxins from the night before and can go a long way in promoting good digestive health. When your digestive system is working efficiently, this means your food is processed and absorbed properly and you don’t hold onto any excess fat or water.
13. Drink more water
Drinking water not only helps flush out built up toxins, but makes you feel full and prevents you from overeating. Next time you think you are hungry, down a big glass of water first and then wait and see if your hunger returns. Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you may just need to be rehydrated and then wait for your real hunger to arrive! Check out these 5 awesome detox water recipes!
14. Eliminate sugar/cream from your coffee
This one simple change can save you hundreds of calories over a series of weeks, depending on how many coffees you drink a day. If you can’t go cold turkey, start by simply cutting back on each one, and then gradually reduce your intake down to nothing so you can just enjoy plain, black coffee!
15. Do strength training
Strength training has an added bonus other than being a form of exercise – it causes our muscles to continue to burn calories even after we’re done working out! Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC), is when our muscles attempt to restore the oxygen levels to their normal, pre-exercise state, and in the process, continue to burn calories, because it has to work hard to return to this state. It’s a great way to burn extra calories, and get a good workout!
16. Eat regular meals
Set a regular eating schedule and stick to it, eating every 3-4 hours. This helps prevent your body from reaching a hypoglycemic state, which is when we reach for sugar and carbs, and send our body into the craving cycle! Eating regularly means your bloodsugar stays at a healthy level and never drops too low or spikes too high – the perfect set up for weight loss!
17. Make food substitutions
Sub whole wheat bread in place of white bread and try zucchini noodles instead of plain pasta. Opt for going meatless one night a week, and substitute coconut milk and avocado for the cream in your mousse. There’s lots of food substitutions you can make that will reduce your caloric intake with minimal impact on flavor!
18. Increase your protein
Protein helps to fill you up and also helps food to have a much slower release into the bloodstream than the sugary alternative. When we consume a protein with our meals, we are less likely to have a blood sugar spike, followed by the inevitable crash, which sends us searching for more food to fill our sugar cravings.
19. Integrate movement into your day
Get up from your desk and move every hour, walk up the stairs instead of taking the escalator, and park farther from work in the morning. All of these little changes can help add extra movement into your day and all help to burn extra calories. Better yet, get a step counter and see if you can get 10 000 steps each day!
20. Cut down your portions
Get a smaller plate and cut down on your portion size when you serve yourself. When it comes to snacking, don’t eat anything out of the bag – take out one serving, close the bag up and put it away. Find little things that you can cut out or reduce during the day, and eventually your savings will add up!
21. Be mindful and present when eating
Don’t eat in front of the TV, out of the package, or while on the phone. Instead, serve your dinner on a plate, sit down at the table, void of all distractions, and make eating your meal the only thing you re doing. Put your fork down between bites and chew, and listen to the cues of your body for when you are full or whether you are still hungry.
22. Don’t fall into the health trap
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that something labeled “vegan,” “gluten-free” or “whole grain” is actually healthier for you. Sometimes, these products are higher in sugar or have more processed fillers than their non-labelled counterparts and you don’t come out any better for having eaten them. Instead, get good at reading labels and learn when to say yes and when to stay away!
23. Stop drinking your calories
Eliminate soda, fruit juices, sugary “vitamin” waters and any other beverages other than water, homemade kombucha and carbonated water. The first four are high in sugar and after a couple of glasses, you have consumed your meal in the form of juice and still have dinner sitting in front of you!
24. Pay attention to your hunger
Are you really hungry, or are you just reaching for that food because it is close, or because someone else is having food, or because you are actually dehydrated? A lot of the time, we are not actually hungry, and rather our urge to eat is influenced by something else. Next time, before you take a bite, take a minute to see how you are feeling, and then decide whether you need food, water, or something else.
25. Read the labels
It’s one thing to buy a product that only has 50 calories per serving, but it’s another thing to realize that a serving size is only a tablespoon and you’re 3 tablespoons in. Be aware of serving size and caloric density per serving and adjust your consumption accordingly.
BONUS: Meal Prep
Carve out some time every week to prepare your meals for the week ahead. Having a plan in place and the ingredients on hand to make them, means you are less likely to eat out, or grab an unhealthy option from the cupboard!