50 Easy Ways to Lose Weight Naturally
Sometimes the simplest remedies really are the best: Here’s how to lose weight by eating apples, dancing in the kitchen, and getting some morning sun.
Don’t clear the table
Don’t tell your mom, but we’re giving you official permission to make a mess. As you eat, leave the candy wrappers, fruit peels, nut shells, chicken bones, and other scraps on the table. Seeing it is a visual reminder of exactly how much you’ve eaten and can provide a simple reminder to stop eating when you’re full, according to research done by the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.
Curtail your cocktails
Happy hour isn’t so happy when you consider the toll it takes on your waistline, says Fiola Sowemimo, MD, board-certified in internal and bariatric medicine. Booze is one of the biggest factors in weight gain, especially if you’re drinking alcohol combined with sugary mixers, like margaritas or a rum-and-Coke. “One of the top tips I give to my patients looking to lose weight is to avoid excess alcohol,” she says. Here’s what to order at the bar if you want to lose weight.
Ditch the mood lighting
Low lighting may be ideal for a romantic dinner, but you’re going to want to turn the lights up if you’re watching your waistline, according to a study published in the Journal of Marketing Research. Diners who ate in well-lit dining areas were 16 to 24 percent more likely to order healthy fare, the researchers found. Find out the 13 things experts won’t tell you about weight loss.
Clean out your medicine cabinet
First, it probably needs to be cleaned out anyhow. (Like the baby ibuprofen you got for your baby … who’s now 12.) Second, some meds for common conditions, like high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression, can make you gain weight or make it harder to lose excess weight, Dr. Sowemimo says. Talk to your doctor about switching to weight-neutral or weight-negative alternatives, she adds.
Follow an eating schedule
What you eat is only half the equation. “Regardless of which diet you choose, when you eat is important too,” Dr. Sowemimo says. Starving all day is a recipe for bingeing later, she adds. Instead, eat small, healthy meals and snacks at regular times throughout the day to curb cravings. Also, make sure you know the 15 worst weight-loss tips doctors need you to stop following.
Snack on yogurt
The bacteria in your gut influence your entire body, including your weight. Give the good bugs some backup by filling up on probiotic-rich foods, like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods. Yogurt makes you gag? Another option is to take a probiotic supplement every day, says Chanté Wiegand, ND, director of education at The Synergy Company. “Certain healthy bacteria in the gut predispose you to a faster metabolism,” she says.
Stop charging your phone in your bedroom
Resist the urge to wind down before bedtime by scrolling through Facebook on your phone. Not only do you not want to dream of your ex’s fabulous vacation (and why are you still following him anyhow?), but the blue light from your phone, tablet, or TV screen is messing up your circadian rhythm; this will, of course, make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night is one of the easiest ways to lose weight, according to several studies.
Add a veggie to every meal
Vegetables are great for your health and they can help you lose weight. How? It’s all in the fiber. “Add a fibrous vegetable to every meal and snack,” says Jared Koch, certified health coach and nutritionist, founder of CleanPlates.com. “It adds more nutrients, and it keeps you fuller so you eat less.”
Put yourself in time-out
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Parents are very familiar with using time-out as a punishment for small children, but putting yourself in time-out can be a reward for adults. Take two minutes out of your busy day to meditate. You can use an app or just go with your own breathing. “Meditation and stress-relief exercises help to regulate cortisol, a hormone known to cause weight gain,” Koch says. Try these mini meditations to relieve stress and anxiety.
Skip foods marketed as “sugar free”
Ordering a diet soda or eating a cookie sweetened with Splenda may seem like a good nutrition compromise, but artificial sweeteners aren’t doing you any favors in the weight department. In fact, they can even cause weight gain, according to research published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. The artificial chemicals interfere with important enzymes and hormones in your body, leading to increased waist size, they report.
Bring back afternoon tea time
Ever notice how it’s only at very specific times your willpower crumbles? For most of us, temptation time hits late afternoon and before bed—the two times when we’re likely most tired and stressed. Head off a snack-tastrophe by eating a mid-afternoon mini-meal that contains healthy fats and protein to fill you up, says Suzanne Fisher, a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist. “Ghrelin [a hormone that increases appetite] will increase during periods of hunger, so a mid-afternoon snack can prevent overeating later in the day,” she explains. Try these 30 healthy snacks to help you satisfy your cravings and STILL lose weight.
Start the day with hot water and lemon
Lots of people love to jump-start their day with a warm beverage, but if you’re looking to lose weight, try a cup of hot water with a squeeze of lemon, says Lacey Lehman, co-founder of Sacred Paths Yoga. “It boosts metabolism and aids in digestion,” she says. Find out the 12 things that happen when you drink lemon water every day.
Bust out a few yoga stretches in the break room
Think you can’t do yoga because you’re not a 20-year-old limber blonde who looks good in a bodysuit? Forget the stereotypes; yoga is for every body, Lehman says. “Relaxation exercises can help curb emotional eating,” she explains. “Yoga, mediation, and relaxation practices reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol released into the body, which can be helpful for losing weight, especially abdominal fat.” These are the 10 signs your body (and mind) are craving yoga.
Set the table with salad plates
A simple solution to the portion problem is to use smaller dishes. Eating off of 8-inch salad plates instead of 10-inch (or larger) dinner plates, and using small bowls instead of large soup bowls can help you feel like you’re still getting a full plate’s worth of food but with far fewer calories, according to Cornell’s Food Lab. You won’t even miss the extra bites! Here are 10 more kitchen tools that help with help loss.
Skip the soda tax… on your waistline
Giving up sweetened beverages like juice, soda, and even “healthy” sports drinks is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lose weight, says Holly Rilinger, a Nike Master Trainer and author of Lifted: 28 Days to Strengthen Your Body, Focus Your Mind, and Elevate Your Spirit. “Don’t drink calories; drink water,” she says. “Save your calorie-packed drinks for when you really want them—like at a party or celebration.” These are the 9 sneaky signs you’re drinking too many calories.
Dance in the kitchen
“If you want to lose weight you have to move,” Rilinger says. She recommends blocking out 30 minutes a day for physical activity. But it doesn’t have to be killer to be effective. Taking an after-dinner walk with your spouse while you catch up on the day or playing ball with your kids counts. Check out these 19 tips weight-loss coaches won’t tell you for free.
Make your perfume eau de chocolate-chip cookie
Vanilla, one of the key smells in homemade cookies, may be a key to effortless weight loss, according to a study done by St George’s hospital in London. People who wore a vanilla-scented patch reported fewer cravings, especially those for desserts and sweets. Try dabbing a little vanilla on your wrists.
The two magic weight-loss words
Most people start out their weight-loss goals with “I should…” (eat better, exercise, lose 10 pounds, stop binge-watching cake decorating shows), but if you want to achieve your goals you need to focus on the positive, Rilinger says. Swap out “I should…” for “I want to…” and see how different that one little change feels.
Hold your fork in your “wrong” hand
Want to be more mindful of what you eat so you don’t miss your satiety signals and overeat? Slow down, says a study done by Cornell University. A simple way to put a speed bump between you and your plate is to hold your fork with your non-dominant hand. Chopsticks could also help slow things down. Find out the healthy diet plan nutritionists use to lose weight.
Brush your teeth after dinner
Minty fresh breath is an easy way to prevent after-dinner snacking (not to mention have better oral hygiene), says Susan Bowerman, registered dietitian and director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife. “Once your mouth is clean, it’s a signal to stop eating, and most people tell me it works like a charm,” she says.
Take a hike, pal
Simply being outside in green spaces is linked to weight loss, according to research done by the American Diabetes Association. Sure, you’re more likely to move if you’re on a hike or at a park, but being outside also boosts your mood and reduces stress, two known factors that impede weight loss. Good news: The vast majority of Americans already live within walking distance of some type of park, so go get yours.
Snap a pic of your brunch
We’re not promoting an Instagram obsession, but finding a way to document what you’re eating every day can help you lose weight, Bowerman says. Whether it’s snapping a quick pic on your phone, logging it in an app, or jotting your meal down in a diary, the action helps you be conscious of what you’ve eaten, helping you to naturally regulate your intake.
Got a craving? Ask yourself this one question first
Cravings can feel intense in the moment, but you can short-circuit those extra calories by asking yourself one simple question, Bowerman says. Ask, “Am I hungry?” People eat for lots of reasons besides physical hunger, so it’s important to understand why you’re really eating and if the food can really fill that need. Find out how real women lost weight on the Whole30—and kept it off.
Get the (early) early bird special
Taking your lunch break earlier in the day can help you lose weight, according to a study published in Obesity. They found that participants who ate their lunch early in the day lost 25 percent more weight than those who dined after 3 p.m, even when they ate the same foods and the same amount of calories. Why? Waiting to eat until you’re starving may trigger cravings for junk food at night, the researchers speculated.
Lift some heavy stuff
Lifting weights doesn’t have to mean spandex and an expensive gym membership; all it takes to build some fat-blasting muscle is to lift some weight, says Caroline Apovian, MD, Director of the Nutrition and Weight Management Center at the Boston Medical Center, professor at the Boston University School of Medicine and vice-president of The Obesity Society. “Strength training will help maintain a healthy body and metabolism, especially approaching, during, and after middle age,” she says. “The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.” Aim for two strength training sessions per week.
Make a bedtime and stick to it
“I refer to sleep as the third pillar of weight loss,” Dr. Apovian says. “Receiving fewer than seven to nine hours of sleep per night ramps up the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreases the satiety hormone leptin.” Sleep deprivation also torpedoes your impulse control, making it less likely that you will stick to healthy food choices and portion sizes the following day, she adds. This is just one of the 50 things your doctor wishes you knew about losing weight.
Clean your kitchen
People who eat in messy kitchens eat twice as many snacks as those who had cleaned up their space, according to a study published in Environment and Behavior. And the effect was even worse for people who reported being under a lot of stress. When you’re having a hard day, doing chores may be the last things you feel like doing, but if you’re trying to lose weight it may be worth it to suck it up and grab a sponge.
Ward off cravings with a tasty protein smoothie
Protein is the most satiating of the macronutrients, meaning that it will keep you feeling full longer than either fats or carbohydrates, Dr. Apovian says. If you want to drop pounds you’ve got to eat more protein while cutting calories. Her favorite way: a delicious protein smoothie. You can add spinach, yogurt, berries, milk, or a host of other healthy options. Or try these 15 weight-loss smoothies that will help you slim down.
Set the thermostat to chilly
Central heating may be one factor in the obesity epidemic, according to a study published in the journal Cell. It turns out that regular exposure to mildly cold weather can help you lose weight. Chilly air may increase your metabolism by forcing your body to work harder to cope with the changing conditions.
Just say no to treats at the office
Doughnuts at the meeting, a coworker’s birthday cake, a holiday potluck—food is a big part of office culture, and it can be hard to resist the treats, especially when they’re free. They’re not really free, however, you pay the price with your waistline instead of your wallet, says Renée Jones, counselor and author of What’s Really Eating You?: Overcome the Triggers of Comfort Eating. “Instead of deprivation, I see it as a way to take care of myself,” she says. “By saying no to sugar- or carb-laden foods, I am guarding my body and nutritional needs.” On the flip side, this is exactly what to eat to lose weight.
Legumes: Fun to say, even better to eat
Eat more beans, lose more weight, says a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. People who ate just three-quarters of a cup of beans, peas, chickpeas, or lentils a day lost half a pound a week without changing their diet or exercise habits. Chalk it up to the power combo of protein and fiber that can keep you full for hours.
Give yourself a cheat day
Knowing that you only have to wait a few days to indulge can make it easier to pass on a treat in the moment, Jones says. “You may be standing in the pantry staring down the chocolate chips on any given Wednesday. but if you tell yourself ‘I have sugar only on Sundays,’ it limits the sugar and calories and staves off a binge,” she says. These are the 15 signs your weight gain is part of a bigger health problem.
Have a good cry
Emotional eating is a thing that happens, but when you manage your emotions properly, rather than stuffing them down with food, not only will you save a whole bunch of calories but you’ll feel a lot better, Jones says. “Figure out what’s really eating you and deal with that rather than depending on sugar to soothe your soul,” she explains. “When you face your stuff, you no longer need to stuff your face.”
Step on the scale every Sunday
Weighing yourself every day can be, well, disheartening, especially if your mood is tied to the scale readout. But if you never weight yourself, your weight is likely to creep up over time. Fortunately, a recent study from Cornell found there is a happy medium. People who weighed themselves at a set time each week not only didn’t gain weight but even lost a few pounds without making any other changes to their diets. They say that seeing the number can make you more mindful of what you eat throughout the week. Don’t miss these 50 ways to lose weight without exercise.
Stand up (yes, now)
Sitting can take a real toll on your health and your weight, but this is one risk factor that’s easily remedied—simply stand up more, says Kristen Battistelli, nutritionist, wellness coach, and CEO of Discernible Tastes, LLC. Consider investing in a standing desk or an active sitting chair and look for little opportunities in your day to stand up and move around, she says. Every little bit of movement helps!
Multitask the pounds away
Counting your steps? A simple way to get your number higher (and your pounds lower) is to multitask while you walk, Battistelli says. Invite a friend and catch up, try a walking tour around a city, put on a movie in front of the treadmill, or load an audiobook or podcast on your phone and hit the pavement. These are the 10 things you need to know about water weight.
The one miracle belly fat secret doctors won’t tell you… is an apple
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Fruits, in general, are high in fiber and nutrients, and eating a few servings every day can help you lose weight, according to a study done by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Researchers found that people who ate at least one apple a day lost more weight than those who skipped fruit. Steal these 12 diet secrets from people who’ve maintained their weight loss.
Turn of the TV two hours before bed
It can feel like you’re unwinding by binge-watching your favorite show in bed, but you’re actually messing with your hormones and sleep, Battistelli says. “Sleep is a huge indicator of overall health and vitality; when it comes to weight loss, I prioritize it over nutrition,” she says. Even just one hour less of shut-eye can ramp up cravings and make you eat more the next day.
Play fetch with Fido
Your pup wants you to live a long, healthy life. (Your cat? We’re not sure.) And owning a pet, especially a dog, can help you do just that by helping you lose weight, according to the American Heart Association. It’s not just the extra exercise from daily dog walks; petting an animal greatly reduces stress and depression, two other known risk factors for weight gain, the researchers added.
Don’t turn a bad moment into a bad day
One of the most common diet saboteurs is thinking that if you screwed up once you might as well go nuts and just start fresh the next day. Don’t fall into this trap, Battistelli says. “If you misstep and have a soda at lunch, just re-calibrate and follow your healthy course of action from that point forward,” she says. If it helps, tell yourself: “Tomorrow starts right now.” Find out the weight-loss motivation that helped 22 people lose weight.
Bring sexy back
Having sex can be a great way to lose weight, and not just because of the extra calories burned. The endorphins released during orgasm have been shown to improve mood, reduce stress, and suppress appetite—all things that can help with weight loss. Not that you needed another reason to get busy.
Indulge in some bubbly (of the H2O variety)
Drinking water is a tried-and-true weight-loss tactic. It reduces cravings, increases energy, fills you up during meals, and helps you stay full longer. But… it’s so boring! “Set yourself up for success by keeping water on hand at all times,” Battistelli says. “If you’re craving bubbles, try switching to unsweetened sparkling waters.” Another idea: Try any of these 10 delicious fruit-infused water recipes.
Make this guilt-free treat
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Craving something cold and sweet on a hot day? Blend some frozen fruit with coconut water and pour into popsicle trays for a healthy, low-calorie, refreshing summer snack, advises Joselynne Boschen, fitness expert and trainer with Lifesum.
Get out of your comfort zone at parties
You go to social events like family reunions, office parties, dinner parties, and summer barbecues to socialize, right? So keep the focus on that and not on the food table says, Ana Goldseker, CNE, Director of Nutrition for Nava Health and Vitality Centers. Open your mouth more to talk than to eat, and you’ll save calories and feel happier afterward.
Take a fashion (footwear) risk
Sneakers with dresses or dress pants is a fashion trend everyone should get in on, Boschen says. “Having comfortable footwear on all the time encourages you to walk more,” she says. “It’s also much easier than having to carry an extra pair of shoes and change into them before walking.” Think you can’t find cute and comfortable shoes? You’ll be amazed at how many choices are out there!
Perfect your posture
“I always ask clients, ‘Would you be standing the same way in a bikini?’ and the answer is usually a resounding ‘no,’” Boschen says. Having good posture isn’t just a technique to look visually slimmer; it also encourages you to work your core by pulling in your stomach and tightening those muscles, she says. Psst… Do you know the real reason why people gain weight as they age?
Take a morning stroll
Even if you’re just walking to your mailbox and back, getting some sunshine early in the morning can help you lose weight, according to a study from Northwestern University. You don’t even have to jog or power walk (although that’s cool too); simply catching some rays is enough to help your waistline. Plus, what better way to wake up than with some fresh air?
Start crushing those candies and farming those chickens
The best way to beat a craving? Distraction! “The average food craving lasts for just 15 minutes, so if you can just distract yourself for that long there’s a good chance the craving will pass and you’ll forget about that food,” says Kelly Morrow Baez, PhD, licensed professional counselor and weight loss coach. Pick something that you can fully immerse yourself in, like a good book, an art project, a puzzle, or even playing a game on your phone.
Listen to your mom and chew your food carefully
How you eat can be just as important as what you eat, and one of the easiest things to control is how fast you chew. “Eating slowly and chewing each bite thoroughly ensures you only eat as much as your body needs,” says Tehzeeb Lalani, clinical nutritionist and proprietor of Scale Beyond Scale. It takes about 20 minutes for the “I’m full” signal to reach your brain. Another trick to feeling full? Eat plenty of the best proteins for weight loss.
Listen to your food
“Sound is the forgotten food sense,” says Ryan Elder, PhD, an assistant professor of marketing at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management and co-author of a study that found that people eat more in noisy spaces. “When you mask the sound of consumption, like when you watch TV while eating, you take away one of those senses, and it may cause you to eat more than you would normally. The effects many not seem huge but over the course of a week, month, or year, it could really add up.” His advice? Turn off the TV, radio, music, and other noise, and focus on the melodic tones of crunching, slurping, and satisfied sighs.
Ready to trim down? Here are 42 fast easy ways to lose weight.