SPECIAL FROM Grandparents.com
Eat fewer carbs. Reduce portion size. Exercise more. All are solid strategies for shedding unwanted pounds. But sometimes you need a few extra tricks and tips to get the job done. Try these 10 novel ways to drop the weight fast:
1. Reward -- or fine -- yourself.
Pay yourself $1 per workout to be spent on new workout gear or other non-edible treats at the end of the month. At the same time, "fine" yourself $5 for every missed workout and donate it to the charity of your choice, suggests Andrew Herr, president and CEO of Mind + Matter, LLC, a nutrition and human performance company in Arlington, VA.
2. Eat your veggies.
Eat your meal in order of lowest to highest calories: Start with veggies, then move on to lean protein. “By the time you reach those rich, starchy carbs (buttery mashed potatoes, anyone?) you will already be feeling nice and full,” says Deborah Orlick Levy, M.S., R.D., health and nutrition consultant at Carrington Farms, an organic foods company.
3. Have cake for breakfast.
For real: A study from Tel Aviv University in Israel showed that obese patients who ate a breakfast that was high in protein and carbohydrates -- including dessert! -- were better at losing and keeping weight off than people who consumed a low-carb, low-calorie breakfast. Eating carbs and protein at the beginning of the day helps people feel full throughout the day, researchers theorize, and the sweet treat may reduce cravings.
4. Laugh it off.
It may look silly but laughter yoga, which combines self-induced laughter, yogic breathing and relaxation techniques, burns about 1.3 calories a minute. Practice it for 45 minutes a day and you’ll wind up 12 pounds lighter after a year. Go to Laughteryoga.org to connect with one of more than 6,000 clubs worldwide.
5. Get fit with a group.
Working out is more fun with friends and that makes it easier to maintain a fitness routine and lose weight. “Join Meet-up groups for exercise where friends and people that share your interests hold you accountable,” suggests Matty Whitmore, a fitness trainer at Spectrum Athletic Clubs in the Los Angeles area.
6. Just stand up.
“One of my favorite tips is to stand up more during the day,” says Susie Garcia, R.D.N., author of "Psyched to be Skinny: How to Stop Emotional Eating, Enjoy Healthy Weight Loss and Keep it Off for Life." An easy way to do it: Use a headset and take your phone calls while standing up or pacing the floor. “Standing burns more calories than sitting and an extra 100 calories a day burned can result in losing 10 pounds a year,” she says.
7. Put food out of sight -- and mind.
Before even serving dinner, put the leftovers into the refrigerator for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner. “You'll be less likely to eat more if it’s already getting cold and will take away from tomorrow's meal,” Whitmore says.
8. Bet on yourself.
Join a kick-starter campaign at Diet Bet and you could end up both lighter and richer. The goal is to lose four percent of your starting weight in four weeks. At the start, everyone puts money into the pot. After four weeks, those who have hit their four percent goal are winners and split the pot.
9. Use cash at the grocery store.
Research from Binghamton and Cornell universities shows that people who use credit cards buy 40 percent more unhealthy and junk food -- the type most likely to contribute to weight gain -- than people who fork over cash for their purchases. People tend to deliberate before parting with their cash, researchers explain, but are more likely to buy impulsively with credit cards.
10. Go green.
Green tea, that is. Drinking a cup before every meal pays dividends. “We often mistake hunger for thirst, so this is a good way to keep your hunger cues in check,” Levy says. Plus, according to a study from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, green tea raises metabolism and speeds the oxidation of fat, making it the perfect aperitif.