There may be thousands of weight loss tips, out there but let’s get real: There’s only a handful of hacks that you’ll realistically be able to implement and commit to long enough to see the results you want. To help you lose 10 pounds and get the flat stomach of your dreams, we’ve gathered 25 of the easiest—and most effective—diet, fitness and healthy lifestyle tips of all time.
None of them will overhaul your life (which makes them easy to commit to), yet all of them are proven to help you lose a fair amount of weight in a year. If you commit to one tip from each category, we can guarantee you’ll be down 10 pounds 12 months from today. And the best part is: Once these healthy habitsbecome second nature, they’ll help you maintain your trimmer figure for a lifetime.
SWAPS & DIET TWEAKS TO LOSE 10 POUNDS
1. SWAP SODA FOR TEA
This one’s for all of you soda lovers out there: According to new research in Kelly Choi’s The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse, every time you choose green tea (one of the very best weight loss teas over a can of Coke, you save 140 calories. And there’s more good news: Green tea is packed with metabolism-enhancing antioxidants called catechins, so sipping the brew can amp up your calorie burn. In fact, one British Journal of Nutrition study found that men who drank a mixture of caffeine and green tea burn about 180 additional calories in a 24-hour period than those who don’t sip the stuff. No wonder test panelists on The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse lost 10 pounds in one week!
2. DOWN TWO GLASSES
Before sitting down to eat, down 17 ounces of water. Doing so will curb your appetite and lower the odds that you’ll overeat. Research participants in a British study who followed this routine lost an average of 2.87 pounds in 90 days. That translates to 11.5 pounds in a year. If you can’t stand the taste of plain water, whip up a batch of detox water filled with flavorful, fresh fruit and herbs.
3. SWAP FRIES FOR A SALAD
If you love fast food we have good news: You can still eat your favorite burgers and nuggets and lose weight—so long as you switch out the fries for a side salad. Don’t believe this hack can make a major difference? Consider this: A side salad with low-fat Italian dressing from McDonald’s has 70 calories while the calories in a small order of Ronald’s fries complete with a packet of ketchup has 240. If you eat fast food twice a week, this simple swap will save you 17,680 calories, or 5 pounds, a year! Obviously, the calorie saving varies depending on the fast food joint, but so long as you go light on the dressing, you can be sure you’re saving at least 100 calories each time you dine.
4. EAT DARK CHOCOLATE
Suffer from sweet tooth syndrome? Instead of noshing on cookies or a king-sized candy bar, quiet your sugar cravings with a small piece of dark chocolate. We like Nibmor Extreme Dark Chocolate with Cacao Nibs because it has a mere 160 calories per serving and is made with just five ingredients—a rare find in the candy aisle. A dark chocolate square may not seem quite as satisfying as your favorite choice the first few times, but after awhile you won’t even miss the sweeter snacks. And bonus: Dark chocolate contains pure cocoa butter, a source of digestion-slowing stearic acid, so it can help you eat less, accelerating your weight loss wins! If a Twix bar is your weekday vending machine splurge, switching to Nibmor’s lower cal sweet could help you drop nearly 7 pounds in a year!
5. CHASE YOUR COCKTAILS
Every dieter knows that booze is a major source of calories, but not everyone is willing to become a teetotaler (fun fact: that’s someone who doesn’t drink) to fit into their skinny jeans—we totally get it. Instead of ditching the booze altogether, commit to drinking drink two glasses of water between each alcoholic beverage. It’ll slow down your drinking and prevent you from heading mindlessly to the late-night pizza joint. Average four drinks per night when you go out? You’ll likely cut that in number in half—and save a minimum of 300 calories—by sticking to our suggestion. If you booze twice a week, you could easily slash 9 pounds from your frame in 12 months flat. Looking for more ways to sip yourself skinny? Then check out these delicious smoothies for weight loss!
6. ORDER AN APPETIZER
According to recent stats, Americans dine out between four and five times a week—which is bad news for your belly. Not only are portions and calorie counts substantially larger at restaurants compared to home cooked meals, even seemingly healthy dishes are laden with excess fat, salt, and calories. Instead of vowing to order a healthier meal every time you dine out (which can be near impossible), commit to ordering a broth-based soup as an appetizer. People who eat soup as a “preload,” consume an average 20 percent fewer calories over the course of a meal, research shows. What’s that mean for you? The average meal from a sit-down restaurant contains a whopping 1,128 calories, according to a University of Toronto report, so you’d stand to save about 226 calories every time you ate out. And if you shave 226 calories from your plate just four times a week, you could easily drop 14 pounds this year—without making any other change to your routine.
7. SWAP FLAVORED FOR PLAIN
Sure, your favorite blueberry crumble yogurt tastes great, but you’re fooling yourself if you think it’s a health food. Chobani’s take on the flavor made with 0 percent milk fat packs 130 calories and 15 grams of sugar—more than 50 percent of the day’s recommended intake. To lose weight—without sacrificing flavor—opt for a plain Greek yogurt topped with a handful of berries. It will run you about 100 calories and nix all of the added sugar. Make this change every day for a year and you’ll stand to lose about 3 pounds!
8. BROWN BAG IT
9. CREATE A SNACK STASH
Bad diet decisions happen when you’re hungry and unprepared. You may not realize it but those bags of chips from the mall vending machine and those free danishes from the office break room that you grab in a pinch really add up. To stay on track all day long, load your car, purse and desk with raw nuts, non-perishable fruits like bananas, apples and pears and other healthy high-protein snacks. If you have access to a refrigerator, stash away a container of Greek yogurt and some hard boiled eggs. Grabbing an apple and a hard boiled egg instead of your daily “emergency” pastry could save you up to 160 calories a day, which is just shy of 17 pounds a year, saved.
10. DITCH THE CHEESE
On average, a slice of cheese—whether it be atop a sandwich, salad, omelet or burger—has about 70 calories. Eliminate it from just three meals a week to keep 10,920 calories and keep 3 pounds off of your frame over the course of the year. You may miss your Colby Jack and turkey wrap at first, but if you load up your bread with veggies and a thin swipe of hummus or guac, you won’t miss it in the long haul—promise!
11. MIND YOUR MEALS
While we’re all for standing more throughout the day, when it comes to eating, it’s best to grab a seat. Research indicates that people who stand while eating gobble down 30 percent more during their next meal than those who sit! Scientists speculate that when we eat on our feet, we don’t consider it a “real meal” and subconsciously eat later in the day. If you currently consume a 450 calorie dinner, you could easily bring that number down to 360 just by making time for sit-down lunch. That translates to 9 pounds lost over a course of a year.
MINI LIFESTYLE MAKEOVERS TO LOSE 10 POUNDS
These small tweaks to your daily routine can help you shed weight more quickly than you ever imagined! Give them all a read and then decide which one is most do-able for you.
12. TURN IN EARLY
In an Endocrine Society study of more than 500 participants, researchers found that losing a mere 30 minutes of shut-eye increased the risk of obesity by 17 percent! An additional study found that sleep-deprived people consume about 300 more calories a day than their well-rested counterparts. Yikes! Hit the sheets a half hour early to help tame the waist-expanding fire—doing so just twice a week could easily save you 9 pounds a year.
13. MAKE DE-STRESSING A PRIORITY
You already know that stressing out is bad for your health, but did you know that pulling your hair out also wreaks havoc on your metabolism? One Ohio State University study found that in the 24 hours following a stressful event, women burn 104 fewer calories than more chillaxed ladies in the seven hours following eating the high-fat meal—a difference that could result in weight gain of almost 11 pounds in one year. Find effective ways to keep your cool to help those excess pounds stay off of your frame. Text a friend, hit the gym, go for a walk, take a bath, or sip tea.
14. HEAD TO THE STAIRS
If riding an elevator is part of your daily office routine, head to the stairwell. Spending just 10 minutes a day going up and down the stairs burns about 80 calories, which translates to 400 calories a week and 6 pounds a year! But the good news doesn’t stop there: Harvard research indicates that regularly taking the stairs can decrease the mortality rate by up to 32 percent.
15. SWEAT THROUGH COMMERCIALS
For every hour of TV you watch, you’ll see about 14 minutes and 15 seconds of commercials, according to global information and measurement company Nielsen. Instead of using that time to check out another channel or worse, refill the chip bowl, stand up and do some jumping jacks. Spending 14 minutes a day jumping around blasts away 71 calories—which translates to a 7-pound weight loss over the course of a year.
16. STICK TO THE ONE MILE RULE
Want to lose weight and save cash on gas all in one shot? Vow to leave the car at home and walk to any errands that are less than one mile away. If you live away from the center of town the vow to drive to a location where you can run several errands by foot. Adding just 40 minutes of walking to your routine each week could help you lose about 3 pounds a year.
17. DRESS DOWN
Forget the suit and tie, leave the heels at home and if your office culture allows, make every day casual Friday. A study by The American Council on Exercisesuggests casual clothing, as opposed to conventional business attire, can increase physical activity levels in our daily routines. Participants in the study took an additional 491 steps and burned 25 more calories on days they wore denim than when wearing traditional suit wear. That may sound trivial, but the calories add up! Researchers say keeping it casual just once a week could slash 6,250 calories over the course of the year—enough to offset the average annual weight gain (0.4 to 1.8 pounds) experienced by most Americans.
18. LEAVE BEHIND A BITE
Some experts estimate that leaving just one bite behind at each meal could save you about 75 calories a day. That adds up to nearly an 8-pound weight loss in one year!
19. MAKE A STANDING DATE
…with a friend, spouse or yourself—it doesn’t matter, just so long as each week you have one active outing on your calendar. Go for a weekend hike (354 calories/hour), go shopping with a friend (160 calories/hour) or check out a new boot camp class (600 calories/hour)—just have fun and MOVE! Adding just one fun physical activity to your weekly routine can help you shed between 4 and 9 pounds from your frame in just a year!
FITNESS TURBOCHARGERS TO LOSE 10 POUNDS
Already hitting the gym on the reg? Great! Now get more bang for your calorie-burning buck by adding one of these fitness turbochargers to your routine.
20. RUN TO THE GYM
Getting to the gym for yoga twice a week is an awesome way to stay stress-free and lose 10 pounds, or more! But running to your class can take your calorie burn—and weight loss—to the next level. While a 150-pound woman burns about 134 calories in 45-minute yoga class, running twenty minutes to get there will incinerate an additional 300 calories. The result: You’ll find yourself 9 pounds lighter in just 12 months! And after your workout, don’t forget to refuel with one of these delicious, muscle-building protein shakes.
21. ADD SOME SPRINTS
To accelerate your weight loss, accelerate your speed. Interspersing short, all-out sprints with brief periods of rest is the most effective form of cardio for fat loss. Try a 2-to-1 “work-to-rest” ratio, meaning, sprint two times longer than you rest. So if you run a 1-minute sprint, then walk for 2-minutes and then repeat the pattern until you hit the 30-minute mark. A 150-pound person using this approach to cardio will burn off 60 more calories than running at a steady pace. Add two sprint days to your weekly fitness regimen and you could lose 2 pounds in a year.
22. BUMP THE BEATS
Jamming out to music while you exercise could increase your endurance—and subsequent calorie burn— by up to 15 percent, say Brunel Universityresearchers. How? Researchers hypothesize that music wards off fatigue and makes fitness buffs feel like they can do anything they put their mind to. But not just any beats will do. Look for music that’s 120 and 140 beats per minute to maximize the results, Elle King’s “Ex’s & Oh’s” and “You Make Me” by Avicii both fit the bill. For more bumpin’ beats that will boost your calorie burn, check out one of Spotify’s 140+ BPM playlists. The results of this simple—and totally fun—change to your workouts will vary based on your routine of choice. However, if you typically use a stationary bike for 30 minutes three times a week, you could burn an additional 3,791 calories a year. That’s just over a pound lost in just 12 months—with next to zero effort.
23. MOVE YOUR ARMS
If you’re already using the elliptical at the gym, yay, go you! But if you want to make the most of your half-hour trot on the machine make sure you’re using the moving handles to pump your arms. This extra motion can increase the calorie burn by up to 30 percent, which translates to 40 calories in a half-hour. Say you use the machine four times a week; that’s an easy 2-pounds of fat, gone—poof!—in just a year!
24. HEAD OUTSIDE
Not only is running outdoors more entertaining than staring out the gym window, trading your favorite treadmill for an outdoor trail can amp up your rapid weight loss efforts. Exercisers work off 10 percent more calories when they walk or run outside than they do on a treadmill, moving at the exact same speed, a Shape article states. If you walk for 60 minutes five times a week on the treadmill, simply taking your routine outdoors could help you lose 2 pounds in 12 months.
25. UP THE INCLINE
If you prefer running inside on a treadmill to swatting bugs out of your eyes outdoors, that’s totally fair. But if you want to get the most of your workout then increase the incline from 0 to 1 percent. Cranking up the grade will incinerate 420 calories in 30 minutes while doing the same workout on a flat surface will burn just 388. Over a course of a year making this simple change three times a week could help you lose 1.4-pounds of flab!