Visit any social-driven news media website such as Buzzfeed or Mashable, and you’ll find numerous articles that feature life “hacks.” When used in this context, hacks are easy, quick solutions to problems. When it comes to weight loss, most individuals want the easiest and fastest possible solution. Losing weight through diet and exercise alone often takes months or years, depending on the amount of excess weight you need to lose. Unfortunately, since excess weight can trigger a slew of serious health problems, not everyone has the time and patience to spend years working toward their weight-loss goals.
However, the following eight weight-loss hacks could help you reach your weight-loss goals even sooner!
1. Drink more water
If you’ve grown up drinking sodas, fruit juices, and energy drinks, you might find water too boring. However, water is highly important for weight loss, as it offers a number of health benefits, such as more frequent bowel movements, the lubrication of joints, the flushing out of toxins and wastes, and much more. Drinking more water throughout the day can also reduce hunger and cravings. Toss out all other drinks, and stick to drinking water as much as possible. Adding some lemon, orange slices, or cucumber to your water will add some extra flavor that may motivate you to drink more.
2. Stick a mirror on your refrigerator door
Research shows that those who post mirrors on their refrigerators are less likely to make poor decisions in regards to diet and nutrition, since it reminds them about their weight-loss goals. If you’re prone to snacking or visiting the kitchen regularly out of habit, stick a mirror on the door of your refrigerator.
3. Use smaller plates and glasses
Smaller plates can trick you into eating smaller portion sizes, whereas larger plates can indirectly influence you to fill up and cover the entire plate with food. Pack away your larger plates, and just stick to using small snack plates and thin drinking glasses to lose weight more quickly.
4. Do simple ingredient swaps
Most people groan inwardly when they think about making ingredient swaps, since they think the new ingredients won’t taste as great as the originals. But the majority of food swaps can actually enhance the flavors of meals since you’re usually replacing processed foods that contain chemicals and additives with real, healthy foods. For example, using pureed avocado in place of butter or margarine enhances both the flavor and texture of a meal. Natural peanut butter is healthier and more flavorful than fat-free peanut butter, the latter of which tends to replace healthy fats with artificial additives. You can even use applesauce as a substitute for butter or oil in baked goods.
5. Simplify alcoholic beverages
Cutting out alcohol completely is the best choice for weight loss, but if having a drink is your favorite way to wind down at the end of a long week, make smarter choices that involve fewer calories. For example, swap out a sugary margarita for a glass of red wine, which also contains antioxidants that may be good for your heart.
6. Eat vegetables with every meal
Vegetables can improve nearly any meal, and are filling and packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can improve your overall health and help you lose weight more efficiently. Sneak in at least one vegetable with every meal, preferably more. Add mushrooms and diced peppers to omelettes, add vegetable slices to lunchtime sandwiches, and add vegetables to main courses as a side dish. There are endless creative ways to add vegetables to all your meals. When choosing vegetables, avoid starchy foods such as peas, corn, and potatoes, and instead focus on health-boosting veggies such as broccoli, sweet potatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, and leafy greens.
7. Order dressings and sauces on the side
Ordering salad dressings and sauces on the side will provide you with a better visual as to how much of these extras are actually going on your food. Though the idea may seem unlikely at first, you might actually find yourself holding back on the amount of dressing you end up pouring on your small side salad. If you typically opt for creamy dressings like Ranch, try switching to a light Italian dressing or simply use olive oil, which is a good source of healthy fats.
8. Practice mindful eating
Mindful eating is the act of paying attention to what and how much you’re eating without being distracted. For example, eating in the front of the television is NOT considered mindful eating, since you’re paying attention to what’s happening on-screen versus how much food is going into your belly. Instead of eating on the fly or when you’re busy, take the time to sit down and enjoy your meal to avoid overeating and to improve your nutrition.