When it comes to fitness, one of the most popular topics is losing weight. It’s no surprise that there’s literally hundreds of diets out there claiming to shred pounds, burn body fat, and give you that body you’ve always wanted.
The hard part about fitness is that there’s so many studies – especially conflicting ones – regarding burning fat. Not only that, given the personality of fitness people, everyone thinks they’re always right with their advice.
Therefore, I wanted to write this post of 17 tricks to lose weight that you probably didn’t know. My goal with this list is to provide basic, simple techniques that you probably never thought of. Every one of these is backed by science, as I included a reference/link for more information.
1. Focus on Diet FIRST, Fitness SECOND
Everyone eats. Yes, this is obvious, but everyone eats – however, not everyone works out. If you’re looking to lose some pounds, the best place to start is altering your diet. I’ll give you a few tips of how to do this later on, but the best place to start is truly focusing on your diet. It’s been found in studies that when you try doing too many things at once you’re more likely to quit, as oppose to making small changes. This philosophy not only works for fitness, but other areas of life. Setting small goals and small challenges is a common motivaition strategy implemented by huge companies such as Toyota. For more information, check out The Kaizen Way by Robert Maurer Ph.D.
2. Be Ultra Specific
It’s been found in numerous studies that the more specific the goal the harder you work towards it. Yes, you want to “lose weight,” but by how much? 20 Pounds? 26 Pounds? 53 Pounds? Being ultra specific can really put you in the right mindset, as explained further by the book S.M.A.R.T. Goals by S.J. Scott.
3. Brush Your Teeth More
Ever have Orange Juice after brushing your teeth? Yea, it’s the worst feeling in the world. While there are chemical reasons why that taste is so bad, it brings up an important psychological phenomena: When you brush your teeth you’re essentially saying to your body you’re not going to eat for an extended period of time. Especially at night, this is a great trick to really tell your body it’s time to stop eating. Suggested by numerous Dentists, such as James Beckerman M.D., this can be a great tool to not only lose weight but improve your dental health.
4. Listen to Upbeat Music while Working Out
Here’s an interesting fact: It was found by British researchers that when people listened to music they worked out harder. Not only that, when the music was sped up (only by 10% so they wouldn’t notice), they actually worked out harder than before. Music has a profound effect on fitness, and the mind in general, so listen to upbeat music to burn more calories in your workout. If you need upbeat electronic tracks, you can download my electronic music for free or check out this YouTube Channel with EDM Workout Music.
5. Drink More Water
I did an experiment where I drank a gallon of water a day for 40 days. No joke, it completely changed my life. My health improved, I had more energy, my skin got better, and more. It’s been found that drinking water actually burns more calories, drinking water before a meal helps you lose more weight (same study I referenced before), and more. Drink as much water as you can!
6. Take Cold Showers
Now you may immediately say no to this, but I absolutely love cold showers. As explained by Tim Ferriss in his book the Four Hour Body, there are numerous benefits to cold showers, one of the biggest ones being weight loss. Although cold showers may be tough to start at first, once you get into a rhythm I promise that you’ll actually look forward to them.
7. Drink Smarter
It’s common sense that if you want to lose weight, stop drinking alcohol completely. For most people, however, this is a lot easier said than done. So I’ll give you a few quick tips to drink smarter.
First off, avoid beer completely. If you have to drink, have wine or clear liquor. Second, the healthiest alcoholic drink you can have is the NorCal Margarita, so stick with that as much as possible. Third, if you’re having tons of mixed drinks, calories rack up not only from alcohol but the mixers – so stay with club soda as much as possible. Lastly, have lime or balsamic vinegar before drinking (or while drinking), as they both help with the gigantic insulin spike from alcohol and the horrible food (you’ll probably) have after. If you want more information, check out my post of The 9 Healthiest Ways to Drink Alcohol.
8. Have More Protein
Protein is not only amazing for building muscle but it also helps you burn fat. Protein keeps you more full as well, so it will keep you from snacking mindlessly while going about your day. One of the best way to get protein in is by powdered Whey Protein, as your body absorbs it quickly – thus kicking in the benefits right away.
9. When Doing Cardio, Do HIIT
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training, and it’s been shown to burn a tremendous amount of calories. Here’s the idea: If you run a mile a day, inevitably your body is going to get better at running a mile. Overtime, your body has to work less and less to run a mile, which means your burning less calories every time. The best way to get a solid workout every time is to do something different every time because your body can never adapt.
It was found by Japanese researchers that doing 13 minutes of HIIT burned more calories than people who just did 40 minutes of regular cardio. Not only will you lose more weight, but you’ll increase your time efficiency by having to workout less.
10. Lift Weights (Especially for Girls)
Here’s an interesting fact: Sweating a lot doesn’t mean you’re necessarily burning a lot of calories. However, with a lot of people, they think they burn more calories with cardio than lifting weights because they sweat more during cardio.
Especially for girls, lifting weights will not only burn a lot of calories, it will give you that “toned” look. Too many girls think that by lifting weights they will “get jacked.” This couldn’t be farther from the truth – it takes a tremendous amount of time to get big muscularly, even more time for girls.
11. Eat More Vegetables
Although everyone knows vegetables are healthy for you, I still think they are extremely underrated. It was found by Harvard Researchers that eating more vegetables helped you lose weight – no surprise there. Not only will vegetables help you with burning calories, they are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Stick with dark, leafy greens such as Spinach, Watercress, Collared Greens, and more. Here’s a Pro Tip: Liquify the vegetables. You can get a blender for less than $30 on Amazon, and that’s really all you need. The bioavailability of vegetables is increased in liquid form – meaning you absorb more of the nutrients than had you ate it in solid form.
12. Do Full Body Workouts
The problem with a lot of people doing cardio to lose weight is they usually focus on one body part. They stay on the bike, or treadmill, and just do that one movement for their entire workout. By doing full body exercises, you’ll be targeting more muscle groups – meaning you’ll burn more calories and fat in a shorter period of time. Watch the video above for 5 amazing body weight exercises that you can do anywhere, anytime.
13. Grab a Smaller Plate
While there are a lot of conflicting studies about this, Cornell’s Meta-Analysis of 50+ studies have shown that grabbing a smaller plate does help with portion size. What they found, as an interesting side note, is that you’re more more likely to eat – regardless of plate size – when someone else fills up the plate for you. To be safe, when you’re out at a restaurant or establishment, don’t be afraid to as for a half-portion or less on your plate when going up for refills.
14. Weigh Yourself Daily
It was found in a 2 year study by Cornell that Weighing Yourself Daily helped lose weight and keep it off. Now it may be a bit disheartening if you’re not happy with the number you see on the scale, but remember that it’s only temporary. Not only that, but when you see that number getting lower and lower, it will give you small wins/celebrations (like I mentioned in tip #1). You can get a scale on Amazon for $20, making it extremely easy to keep track of everything.
15. Workout in the Morning
While there are numerous studies debating the best time of the day to workout, one principal is important: Working out is more important than not working out. And it’s been found by numerous studies that working out in the morning is easier for people to manage and burns more fat and calories. Not only will you burn more calories because you’ll be in a fasted state (workout before breakfast), but once you get in a routine it will become a great way to start your day. If you need help with motivation, check out my post on 15 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Workout.
16. Have Tea
Tea is one of the best drinks you can have, specifically Green Tea, Yerba Mate or Pu-erh Tea. Not only does the caffeine speed up your metabolism but there are numerous health benefits to drinking tea. In addition, by drinking tea, you’re inevitably avoiding other drinks (ex. Tea instead of Orange Juice), creating an even greater effect for weight loss.
I’ve talked about having a WHY numerous times on this blog, and I had to mention it here again for this post. Above any of these techniques, what’s your main reason for losing weight? If you don’t have one, or if your reason isn’t strong enough, it’s almost inevitable that you won’t lose all that weight – or when you do, you’ll put it back on (which is VERY common). Losing weight can be a tricky goal, but by having a strong vision of what you want to look like and your reasons for doing so will keep you going no matter what.