For some reason, people treat changing calendars as an event that marks the beginning of a new lifestyle, usually one that includes a focus on health. Sure enough, the two most popular resolutions are “losing weight" and “staying fit and healthy.” It’s pretty much a given that come January 1, gyms will be slammed and salad bars will be crammed.
But what about the folks who aren’t ready to dive into something extremely demanding, like CrossFit five days a week or a seriously restrictive diet plan? Are there less-challenging, yet still effective ways to lose weight? Absolutely!
Nix the sodas and fruit juices
Here’s something to think about: if you currently drink two servings of soda or juice a day, and you simply stopped drinking it right now, opting instead for healthier alternatives like sparkling water or just plain water, you’d easily be able to eliminate 300+ calories from your day and shed almost 1lb a week without any additional exercise.
Simplify your coffee
Since coffee contains caffeine, it can stimulate fat burn and weight loss. Unfortunately, coffee loses all of its weight-loss potential when you cram it with unhealthy additives like super-sweet syrups and sugars. End result: a once-healthy black coffee becomes a fattening sugarbomb. So here’s a simple solution for coffee-lovers who also want to lose weight: start taking your coffee black, and if you really can't stand the bitterness, go for a naturally low-calorie sweetener, like stevia. Bottom line, by going au natural with your coffee, you’ll tighten up your waistline.
Reduce your carbs three days per week
Not all carbs are the devil, but eating a diet high in refined carbs (think white rice, pasta, cereal, bread) can cause elevated blood sugar and insulin. End result: eating a diet high in refined carbs can make you fat and sick -- and it can make it harder to lose weight.
That's why I’m a fan of adopting a low-carb lifestyle at least three days a week, because this style of eating is a very easy and effective way to balance blood sugar and insulin levels, thus leading to quicker and long-term weight loss. If you're worried about being hungry all the time, there's actually evidence that reducing your carbs can, counterintuitively enough, reduce your appetite.
Walk 10,000 steps a day
One of the biggest reasons Americans are so overweight is because we sit too much. When it comes to “effortless exercise,” I’ve found from personal and professional experience that walking is an amazing workout and one of the easiest ways to burn mega calories and melt some serious body fat. If a 150lb person took enough time each day to reach 10,000 steps, she’d be able to easily burn an extra 500+ calories a day, which can mean a pound of weight loss per week -- all without breaking a sweat!
Make one meal a green smoothie
Green smoothies are one of my favorite easy-to-make “fit foods.” I could go on and on about the greatness of green smoothies, but suffice to say that by simply making one meal a day a green smoothie, you can shed some serious pounds. All it takes is throwing fruits and vegetables you like into a blender with some juice or water (water is preferable, but do what you have to when you're starting out), and you'll have a healthy meal ready to go in less than 10 minutes.
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Dr. Phoenyx Austin, M.D. is a certified sports medicine specialist and the creator of women’s FitBeauty products for healthy hair and body. Find Dr. Phoenyx on her website and YouTube channel, where she shares her passion for all things fitness, natural beauty, black coffee, and green smoothies (though not at the same time).