8 More Habits of Naturally Thin People

A handful of additional ways to burn calories every day -- effortlessly.

Small steps really do add up! You’ll be surprised at how easily you can make these 8 moves part of your day:

1. Make the pizza. Cooking dinner burns more than twice as many calories as dialing the phone and flipping through a magazine for 20 or 30 minutes as you wait for the chow mein to come. And the food’s often better, too. Prep and cook dinner at least one night a week, and preferably five or six nights!

2. Pack a ready-to-go bag. Active moments can appear at a moment’s notice. Meetings get canceled. Kids run late. Clients are stuck in traffic. Instead of sitting and stewing, strap on your sneaks and take a stroll. Keep a bag packed with sneakers, socks, baby wipes, and a small towel stashed in your car.

3. Turn ad time into active time. Do chores during the commercial breaks in your favorite TV show or shows. Popping up to do laundry, empty wastebaskets, gather dirty dishes, or wipe countertops can add up to 14 to 24 minutes of activity during an hour-long show, and you’ll save hundreds of calories by not snacking instead.

4. Think on your feet. Stand up whenever you need to write a list or jot down notes. It guarantees that you’ll get off your seat and stretch your legs a few times a day.

5. Chow down only when you’re hungry. Americans eat for all sorts of reasons besides hunger, especially from boredom, loneliness, stress or fear, a foreign concept in other cultures. “You can’t make food the solution to every issue in your life and expect to be thin,” says David L. Katz, M.D., a professor of public health and medicine at Yale University School of Medicine. “If you eat from boredom, find a hobby. If you eat to relieve stress, learn meditation or yoga.”

6. Make simple changes. Try some of these quick ideas — each one saves 50 calories!

  • Order small fries instead of large fries.
  • Use 1 tablespoon less salad dressing.
  • Use one less pat of margarine
  • Substitute 4 ounces ground turkey for 4 ounces ground beef.
    Have 1 ounce of pretzels instead of 1 ounce of potato chips.
    Substitute 1 tablespoon jam for 1 tablespoon butter.

7. Entertain your mouth. Sometimes all it takes to halt the snacking is a piece of gum, a slow-to-dissolve piece of candy, a toothpick, even an olive pit. While society looks down on overt mouth habits in public, if you can be subtle, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with an hour-long engagement with a piece of sugarless gum, particularly if it keeps you from snacking.

8. Sleep better. It sounds like quackery, but you really can encourage weight loss by sleeping. Research into sleep and hormone function finds that your metabolism rises and you burn calories more efficiently when you’re well rested.

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