You know the drill when it comes to losing weight: take in fewer calories, burn more calories.
But you also know that most diets and quick weight-loss plans don’t work as promised. If you’re trying to drop a few pounds fast, these expert tips will make it easy for you to lose the weight quickly.
DON’T BLOW OFF BREAKFAST
Studies show that eating breakfast plays a part in successful weight loss —almost 80 percent of people who successfully keep weight off chow down on this meal, according to a study published in Obesity Research. “Your metabolism slows as you sleep, and the process of digesting food revs it up again,” explains Heller. Aim for a 300- to 400-calorie breakfast, such as a high-fiber cereal (another metabolism booster) with skim milk and fruit.
EAT MORE BANANAS
They’re full of potassium, which revs up your metabolism by regulating your body’s water balance, says vitamin expert Susan Lark, M.D., author of The Lark Letter. If you’re dehydrated, you’ll burn fewer calories. Make sure you’re getting at least 2,000 mg: a banana has 450 mg, a cup of milk has 370 mg and an orange has 250 mg.
GET ENOUGH Z’S
Yeah, Gosling may be on Letterman, but it’s way more important for your waistline to head to bed. A study at the University of Chicago Medical Center found that people who got only four hours of sleep had much more difficulty processing carbs. The culprit? Increased levels of insulin and the stress hormone cortisol. “When you’re exhausted, your body lacks the energy to do its normal day-to-day functions, which includes burning calories efficiently,” says Talbott. So the best way to make sure your metabolism runs smoothly is to get six to eight hours of shut – eye each night.
Break out the lemon wedges: Regular fish eaters tend to have lower levels of the hormone leptin—good because high levels of leptin have been linked to low metabolism and obesity, says Louis Aronne, M.D., an obesity specialist at the New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center. Try to consume three to four servings of a fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna or mackerel, each week.
Want to keep your favorite meals from going straight to your hips (thighs, belly)? Wash them down with water, not wine. Alcohol slows your metabolism by depressing the central nervous system. A British study found that when alcohol was added to a high-fat, high-calorie meal, less dietary fat was burned off and more was stored as body fat.
ORDER WATER — AND ASK FOR A REFILL
A new German study found that when you about two glasses of water within a certain time frame, your metabolic rate shoots up by about 30 percent. Using these results, they estimate that by increasing your current water intake by 1.5 liters a day, a person would burn an extra 17,400 calories a year, resulting in about a five-pound weight loss.
Stress may contribute to abdominal fat, according to several studies, including a recent one at the University of California, San Francisco. “When you’re stressed, hormones like cortisol stimulate your appetite, slow your metabolism down and encourage fat storage inside your abdomen,” explains Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., director of the Nutrition Clinic at the University of Utah. So what’s a frazzled girl to do? “Find an activity that reduces stress for you, whether it’s listening to soothing music or taking yoga, and do it daily,” advises Talbott.
SNACK AWAY DURING THE DAY
Grazing is a surprisingly good idea because it helps you avoid metabolic slowdown. “Your body will be tricked into thinking it’s constantly eating, so it will never slow your metabolism down,” explains Bauer. Aim for five small meals (200 to 500 calories) a day rather than three large ones. Also, try not to go more than four hours without eating — if you eat breakfast at 7 am, for example, have a snack at 10 am, lunch at noon, another snack at 3 pm and dinner at 7 pm.
LOAD UP ON CITRUS FRUITS
The vitamin C found in these fruits can increase your metabolism and help you burn fat faster and more efficiently, says Tanya Zuckerbrot, a New York City-based registered dietitian and creator of the F-Factor Diet. Freshen your diet by eating oranges, tangerines, or grapefruit for a snack, using lemons or limes to flavor your water, or adding any of them to a salad.
PACE WHILE YOU’RE ON THE PHONE
People who are constantly in motion—crossing and uncrossing their legs, stretching and pacing—burn more calories. When researchers at the Mayo Clinic asked subjects to eat an additional 1,000 calories a day for eight weeks, they found that only the non-fidgeters stored the calories as fat.
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