Feel like you could use a bit of a jump start on losing body fat? If you’re ready to take action but not quite sure where to begin, I’ve got seven changes you can make to your lifestyle today that can help you immediately get the ball rolling in the right direction.
The Challenge with Losing Body Fat
It’s tough. For many people, attempting a complete overhaul of a diet and fitness plan, while trying to manage an increasingly busy schedule, often backfires because it’s usually too much to handle all at once. It’s generally easier to grab a meal here or there as your schedule permits and continue powering through the day.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do right now that will instantly help boost your metabolism and kick your goal of losing body fat into high gear. Remember, by making small changes today, you can gradually start seeing the results you’re looking for. Losing body fat doesn’t have to be overwhelming if you take the right approach. For some, it will be a long journey to achieve the body of their dreams. But for everyone, you’ve got to start somewhere…
Drink More Water
First, if you not only want to promote losing body fat but also feel better in general, you need to manage your hydration. Failing to drink enough water is a HUGE reason why many people don’t see the results they’re looking for when it comes to losing body fat. Even slight dehydration can decrease your resting metabolic rate and increase your appetite. These are two factors that work strongly against you losing body fat successfully.
Additionally, when your body is dehydrated you’re more likely to retain water as your body automatically stores any water it gets. This defense mechanism of your body can actually cause you look and feel more fat, as well as add extra pounds to the scale. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but the more water you drink the less you’ll weigh. If your body knows you’ll be keeping it hydrated, it’ll be less likely to store excess fluids.
Start making a conscious effort to drink at least 8-10 12-ounce glasses of water per day, if not more. I recommend that everyone consume a gallon of water over the course of a day. Everyday. If you keep a water bottle with you at all times you may find this number much easier to reach.
Walk During the Work Day
Next, it’s time to get moving. Rather than sitting at your desk and working for hours on end, make it a point to get up and walk around for a few minutes every 60 minutes or so.
I used to violate this rule all the time when working at past jobs. I would literally sit at my desk and work nonstop for hours and hours. Pretty much the only time I got up from my desk was to grab my lunch from the office refrigerator, take it back to my desk and continue working while I ate. I’m sure the company’s upper management absolutely loved this die-hard approach to business and the affects of my “productivity” to their bottom line, but I felt horrible at the end of the day. And I definitely wasn’t losing body fat with this habit.
I would repeat this work cycle day-after-day. Week-after-week. And year-after-year. Turns out this constant sitting and staring at a computer screen was probably shaving valuable years off my life. Since then, I’ve learned to set a timer to remind me to get up and move around a bit. At least run in place or stretch or something. Anything. The human body wasn’t built to sit for extended periods of time. The fact that I started drinking tons of water also prompted me to get up a lot more often, as I needed to walk to the water cooler for a refill. Of course I was visiting the restroom more often, too.
As you make the effort to get away from your desk more to help promote losing body fat, try going over to talk to a coworker in person rather than emailing them. Or simply go out for a 15-minute walk during your lunch break. If you work in a tall building, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Are you on the 30th floor? Then obviously don’t take all 30 flights of stairs. Start off with two flights, and get on the elevator on the 3rd floor for the rest of the way. The following week, trying going three flights, and so on… You get the idea. Make it a challenge for yourself. Set goals like this to help you start losing body fat.
All these steps and change in movement will add up, and translate to additional physical activity incorporated into your day. Consider purchasing yourself a pedometer to wear so that you can really see just how much you’re moving. There are even mobile apps that function as pedometers. Give ’em a try.
Get Out During the Evening
If your daily M.O. is to come home after a busy workday, crash-land on the couch, and start power-watching all of your DVR’d TV shows, this habit might have to change as well if you want to start losing body fat. Aside from sleeping, sitting and watching TV is probably the lowest calorie burning activity you could be doing. So while catching up on last week’s Shark Tank (my personal favorite) might seem like a great end to another busy workday, it won’t be doing your waistline any favors.
Instead of sitting in front of the TV, get moving after dinner. Go for a walk or bike ride, hit the mall for some window shopping, or go out and meet some friends. If you insist on watching your favorite shows, I get it. As an alternative, set up a stationary bike or elliptical machine and ride while you watch. I have friends that do this and they love it. They say it’s a great way to unwind after a stressful day. Not only does it help them with losing body fat, it actually allows them to sleep better and feel better in general. If you don’t have a stationary bike, or elliptical, or even a small stair-stepper, you can usually pick up good, gently-used ones on Craigslist for cheap.
Late-night TV watching often goes hand-in-hand with mindless munching, so try moving more and you’ll be well on your way to quickly losing body fat. As an added benefit, incorporating more physical activity into your day has been known to speed up your metabolism – even while you sleep.
Start Every Meal with Some Veggies
Ready for another quick tip to help you reduce your total calorie intake for the day and accelerate losing body fat? Start every meal with a salad or other vegetable. Veggies are a great way to boost your nutritional intake, while keeping your total daily calorie levels in check. Vegetables add bulk to your meal, reducing the total number of calories you consume during the subsequent meal – all while fostering greater fat burning success.
If you opt for a salad, just make sure to go light on any salad dressing you might consider using, and avoid calorie-dense add-on items such as dried fruit, croutons, bacon bits, and cheese. Instead, focus on making that salad with as many fresh vegetables as possible, and maybe even some fresh fruit. And if you’re going to add dressing, something like balsamic vinaigrette, or plain vinegar and olive oil is definitely the way to go.
Sip Green Tea Throughout the Day
Another way to help increase your water intake is to start drinking green tea daily. Green tea not only helps hydrate you, but it also provides a small dose of caffeine as well, which can give you more energy to keep you active and focused. On top of that, green tea contains polyphenols that can boost your resting metabolic rate. This metabolic boost will help elevate your total daily calorie burn and assist you with losing body fat.
Finally, you’ll also gain great antioxidant support from green tea, which could help lower your risk factor for disease.
Add More Protein to Your Meals
One trick to make your diet more conducive to losing body fat is to simply add more protein to your meals. Rather than focusing on carbohydrates as the main component of your dish, start paying more attention to protein and vegetables. Protein-rich foods will help elevate your metabolic rate, thanks to the calorie cost of digesting them. As an added bonus, protein will help blunt hunger at the same time.
Those who consume more protein on a daily basis tend to maintain lower body fat levels than those who don’t, so it’s definitely one nutrient you should make sure you’re taking in. Personally, I try to consume around 200 grams of protein every day when I’m weight training. Maybe a little less on non-training days.
When it comes to the type of protein, just be sure that you are choosing lower fat, high quality sources such as chicken, turkey, fish, eggs (egg whites in particular), lean grass-fed beef, and high-quality protein supplements like whey and casein.
Keep Ready-to-Eat Whole Foods on Hand
Finally, the last tip to kick start losing body fat is to make sure you always have some ready-to-eat produce or other whole foods handy at home. This means almost any type of fruit, including fresh berries, bananas, apples, oranges, pears, peaches, and so on, along with with veggies, and plain unsalted peanuts or almonds.
In moderation, these are all great options for a quick snack when you feel like you need a little something extra to get you to your next meal. These whole foods contain few calories on average and tons of dietary fiber, which is helpful for losing body fat. Unfortunately, fruit and nuts typically have more calories than vegetables, so you’ll want to be mindful of how much you’re consuming. Weigh your portions, if needed, to ensure you’re staying well below your daily calorie budget. Regardless, these ready-to-eat foods make for a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.
These seven tips for losing body fat should help you jump-start your fat-burning program. They’re all relatively easy to implement, which should allow you to get started right away. Try putting one or more of these these tips into action and you’ll quickly see – and feel – the difference.