Are You Ready?

There's no shortage of advice out there on how to lose weight. But if you've tried out very many of the fad diets, miracle pills or countless other things propped up out there to help, then you no doubt realize that where you get your advice - and who is paying the advisor - matters a lot.

With that in mind, I decided it was high time someone wrote up a definitive list of ways that anyone can get themselves on the right track to lose weight and feel great. Not one item per page with thirty blinking banner advertisements, either - but an honest to goodness list that you can actually get some use out of!

So without any further introduction, here are 200 ways to lose weight fast:

 

#1 - Write down what you eat, every time you eat, before you sit down

It may sound dull and troublesome, but taking the time to really think about what you're about to eat before you eat it, will also help you to eat more purposefully and better evaluate your meals - rather than just impulsively digging in.

#2 - Find helpful excuses to be active

Doing yard work like cutting grass or raking leaves? Be a good Samaritan and do your neighbor’s yard while you’re at it. Unless your neighbor is a complete prude (or your yardwork leaves a lot to be desired), this has the added benefit of getting you free kudo points in your neighborhood.

#3 - Avoid pre-packaged foods

When cooking, go for whole, preferrably organic foods wherever possible and avoid pre-prepared or packaged items. Typically pre-packaged items will contain a lot of ingredients that you don't want or need, plus there are more nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables.

#4 - Start doing burpees

Burpees are an incredible and dynamic exercise that uses virtually every muscle group in your body. It's also a lot harder to do than it looks. An ideal plan for incorporating burpees into your exercise routine is to nail out a modest but increasingly longer set of them each day.

#5 - Don't get caught up in the hype

Remember, there is no magic pill to rid you of the excess pudge. You cannot shortcut this. It has never happened before and it's not going to happen any time soon - so don’t let TV commercials tempt you otherwise.

#6 - Don’t skip out on strength training

Improved muscle tone helps you burn more calories faster, and gives your body a healthier look regardless of your weight. Being healthy and looking healthy is, after all, what it's really all about.

#7 - Limit your time in front of the television

Get a DVR and reduce your TV time by skipping commercials and only watching the shows you record. Studies have shown that excess time spent sitting in front of the television can actually correlate with shorter lifespans - and it's also taking away from your available exercise time and tempting you to snack.

#8 - Get plenty of calcium

Eating foods high in calcium like yogurt can improve your body’s ability to lose weight. As it turns out, calcium stored in fat cells plays a crucial role in how that fat is processed and stored in the body – the more calcium in the fat cell, the more fat that cell will burn.

#9 - Wear comfortable shoes during the day

If you’re on your feet a lot, or must wear dress shoes for your job, don’t just grit your teeth and bear the pain – when your feet hurt at the end of the day, you’re not going to want to get off the couch and live an active lifestyle.

#10 - Find activities to occupy yourself productively

Take on home improvement tasks or other hobbies that require activity, rather than spending your free time on the couch. This is another win-win approach, as it will help you burn fat, all while improving your lifestyle.

#11 - Add 10% when counting your calories each day

Yes, it’s a mind trick – and yes, you KNOW it is a mind trick – but that doesn’t make it stop working.

#12 - Skip the car-wash and scrub down your car in the driveway instead

If you haven’t washed a car in a good long time, this will prove to be an eye-opening workout for your arms, legs and core. Especially if you drive a large car…. And extra especially if it’s caked with bugs and road tar.

#13 – Read Food Labels

There are plenty of foods out there labeled “organic” or “diet” or “natural” that have no business being a part of your diet plan.

#14 - Find a local rock climbing wall and go weekly

If you ever wanted a wake-up call to realize how out of shape you are, climbing walls are really good at it. By the same token – it provides a challenge that you will eagerly look forward to every week.

#15 - Never eat past dinner time

You really do sleep better on an empty stomach. And sleep is tremendously important – research has shown that people who get fewer hours (or lower quality) of sleep are more likely to be overweight or obese. It doesn’t help your stress levels, either.

#16 - Keep fresh fruits and shelled nuts handy

If you’re going to snack on something, make sure that the “something” you have available for snacking on is healthy. Fruits and nuts are great sources of natural sugars and fats that will take the edge off without leaving their mark on your waistline.

#17 - Eat lots of fiber

The reasons to eat fiber are numerous. To start with, a high-fiber diet normalizes your digestive “regularity.” This is good, because for most people the ideal rate of restroom usage is at least twice per day – and for most people, that’s at least once more than reality. Additionally, fiber helps lower cholesterol levels, maintain bowel health, and control blood sugar levels. High fiber foods take longer to eat, make you feel full quicker, and generally decrease the caloric density of your food.

#18 - Increase your speed when walking – but watch your form

Walking is more complicated than we give it credit for. Shorter strides use your quads, calves and hamstrings more, while longer strides also affect your hips and lower back. Just be careful not to “over-stride” as it puts more stress on your back, knees and shins, and could result in injury. The best approach to get more out of your walk is to increase your pace without significantly increasing your stride.

#19 - Avoid zero-calorie foods

Did you know that food can be labelled “zero calories” without actually containing no calories? The regulations for labelling a product as calorie free require that it contain no more than 5 calories per serving. Given that servings are often only a portion of a container (8oz of cola, anyone?), it still adds up. Not to mention the increasing knowledge of the fact that artificial sweeteners can be just as bad for your body as regular sugar.

#20 - If you don’t eat lentils, now is the time to start

Lentils are part of the legume family, just like beans, peanuts, peas and more. Unlike most dried beans however, lentils are easier and quicker to prepare. They contain lots of fiber and other nutrients that help your body process food more efficiently, and their mild flavor makes them a great base for a variety of seasonings. If all that weren’t enough – they’re cheap.

#21 - Do interval training

Interval training isn’t too complicated – an example would be a brisk walk around your neighborhood. If you break into a jog or run, then slow to a walk to recover at alternating blocks or cross streets, you are officially interval training. The benefits include a higher rate of calorie burn for the time spent, and increased stamina and endurance.

#22 - Eat mashed cauliflower

It’s not as crazy as it sounds – mashed cauliflower with its’ mild flavor and pleasing texture makes a great substitute for mashed potatoes. The benefits are far more noticeable – pound for pound, cauliflower has less than a quarter of the calories found in potatoes.

#23 - Start drinking tea

Tea is becoming increasingly noted in health and weight loss circles, and for good reason. Most unsweetened tea varieties provide a mix of health benefits and virtually no negatives. Green tea in particular contains antioxidants known to improve heart health, brain health, and help burn fat more efficiently. It has even been shown to help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases later in life.

#24 – Exercise Your Core

Doing focused core exercises – like push-ups – improves your posture, reduces your risk of injuries, and can alleviate back pain. Core strength is also of vital importance when doing other forms of exercise, and has a direct impact on how healthy you look – regardless of your weight.

#25 - Skip the elevator

Climbing a single flight of stairs can burn an average of 1 calorie per step, depending on your weight. Stair climbing is thus a surprisingly powerful way to burn a lot of calories, very fast. At CFS, stair climbing exercises are one of the major tools we use on a regular basis to burn fat and build endurance fast.

#26 - Wear more clothes when you exercise

Boxers will often work out strenuously while buried in heavy clothes, causing their bodies to sweat out tremendous amounts of water weight. This is done to qualify for weight classes, and is NOT your goal, as losing weight in this method has absolutely no lasting benefits and can take a serious toll on your body. However – making sure you are WARM when working out increases your muscles’ ability to work efficiently. This not only helps you burn more calories, but also reduces your risk of injury. So throw on a jacket before you go for your morning run on a cold day.

#27 - Substitute nonfat greek yogurt for sour cream or mayonnaise

Ounce for ounce, greek yogurt contains a third of the calories found in sour cream – while still containing the same amount of calcium, and five times as much protein. The comparison against mayonnaise is far more pronounced – try less than 10% of the calories, 7 times the potassium and 11 times as much calcium!

#28 - Make weight loss friends online

It’s dangerous to go alone – take a friend! There’s a reason in 12 step programs you have a “sponsor”… The same can apply to weight loss – having someone to talk to when you need it most can make all the difference, and there are plenty of growing communities online specifically for those trying to lose weight. You might even find yourself meeting up with some of these new friends in your own city.

#29 - Watch your stress levels

When you are stressed, your body releases a cocktail of hormones and chemicals including adrenaline and cortisol, and increases your blood pressure. This is designed to prioritize and fuel specific systems of your body needed for a “fight or flight” response. Staying in this mode for an extended period of time however, causes your body to build up a tolerance. Further, your immune and digestive systems are suppressed, and cannot function properly. Research has shown that people who are under frequent stress, are more at risk for heart disease, stroke, obesity and mental illness.

#30 – Get your head right

You’ve heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? If you keep focusing on things you don’t believe you can do, you will ultimately prove yourself right. It’s the mind-over-matter equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Take a positive mindset, and stay on target!

#31 - Eat more peppers

Believe it or not, peppers are a better source of Vitamin C than oranges! Additionally, red pepper can help you feel full longer after meals – and chili peppers are known to boost your metabolism.

#32 - See your doctor

This is important before starting any diet or exercise regimen anyway. Always make sure to consult your doctor and ensure that your intended diet or exercise plan does not pose any significant risks. As a bonus, what you learn about your current state of health may prove highly motivational.

#33 - After breakfast, stick to water

Our bodies are roughly 75% water. Pure water is a genuine zero-calorie beverage, and is one of the only things you can eat or drink that can boast absolutely no harmful ingredients! More to the point, staying hydrated is vital to properly digesting food, good muscle efficiency, maintaining energy and more.

#34 - Don’t over-do it

Jumping into the deep end right out of the gate at the gym – that is, pushing yourself too hard – can cause discouragement, frustration and physical injuries. It can also lead you to over-indulge afterwards, and thereby negate all of your progress.

#35 - Be a gentleman

Are you taking a member of the fairer sex out on a date? Get in the habit of opening all the doors for her. It’s more activity for you, and contrary to cultural stigma a little chivalry is NEVER unappreciated.

#36 - Pump up your peanut butter

Make no mistake, all natural peanut butter is good for you – but it could be better. If you have trouble fitting vegetables into your diet, this is one trick that will help – try adding carrot or yam puree into the mix. The result is peanut butter with reduced calories and increased vitamins and nutrients. And you’ll barely notice the difference.

#37 - Always eat in your kitchen or dining room

We are creatures of habit, and we all have “triggers” for our behaviors. For example, if you regularly eat snack foods in front of the television, then every time you watch TV you’re going to feel hungry for snack foods. Break these triggers by designating a place in your house where you eat. Don’t eat anywhere else – and don’t hang out there unless you’re planning to eat. You’ll be surprised how many cravings vanish as you reset your environmental triggers.

#38 - Invest in workout clothes you're proud of

Old sweatpants and t-shirts are perfect attire for marathons. Netflix marathons, that is. If getting serious about exercise is on your agenda, you'll feel infinitely better doing it in flattering clothes – especially ones designed to wick moisture and breathe easily.

#39 - Take small but deliberate steps

Even small changes can make big differences in the long run. Eating three fewer bites of your meal, for example – or replacing one beverage each day with a glass of water. You may think it’s inconsequential, but those little things add up.

#40 - Watch one less hour of TV

Everything you spend your time doing each day is an investment into SOMETHING. Sitting still, doing nothing, is in investment into your waistline. Choose where you invest your time more wisely.

#41 - Opt for balsamic vinegar instead of creamy ranch salad dressing

It doesn’t take a lot to zest up a salad – but choosing the right dressing can still make a huge difference. Ranch dressing for example, contains over 5 times more calories per ounce than balsamic vinegar. In a single tablespoon of each, that translates into 14 calories – versus 73!

#42 - Eat pistachios

While nuts of all kinds are typically high in calories – and therefore should be eaten in moderation – pistachios are a great choice due to their high fiber content (making them more filling) and the fact that you’ve got to actually crack them open before individually consuming them. Research has shown that of study participants who consumed either 240 calories in pistachios or 220 calories in pretzels per week, the pistachio group averaged more weight lost over all.

#43 - Wash something thoroughly once a week

This is another multiple win – despite our intense dislike for scrubbing and cleaning, everyone feels better after they’ve done so. Overhauling a bathroom, kitchen or other household area not only helps you burn off calories, but gives you an immediately gratifying reward for your efforts.

#44 – Berry your sweet snacks

If you have a sweet tooth, keep berries, plums, dried fruits or natural juices handy instead of the cupcakes, cookies and candies that got you in this mess to begin with. It may take some time to get used to, but you’ll be amazed when one day without even thinking, you skip past a plate of cookies at a party and go for the grapes instead.

#45 - Wait until your stomach rumbles before you reach for food

Stomach growls are the result of digestion in action. Your stomach is designed to process a portion of food at a time before passing it on to the small intestine. Throwing new food in there before the old has left will cause your stomach undue work and stress as it starts the whole process over again without first purging what is ready to move on.

#46 - Don’t starve yourself

Just as it’s important not to eat non-stop all day, it’s also vital that you DO EAT. Your metabolism reacts directly to your food intake – it’s a survival trait. When times are good, you burn calories as fast as possible – and during leaner seasons, your body will go into “low power” mode, burning a few calories as possible to conserve them. If you decide to skip lunch, your body will notice you haven’t eaten, and work harder to absorb more from the food already in your system. Meanwhile your metabolism will slow, so as to hold you over longer on those nutrients. Ultimately you might have just as well eaten that skipped meal.

#47 - Photograph your food

Studies have shown that keeping a photo journal of your meals can help you keep your eating habits in better perspective. Try flipping back through a week that you particularly fell off the wagon. That ice cream looked so good at the time. Now, firmly attached to your belly, not so much?

#48 – Remember why you’re doing it

Take an unflattering ‘before’ photo and put it on your bathroom mirror. Every day you’ll be reminded of the reason you’re making all this effort in the first place. As you progress, you’ll also find the comparison encouraging. It’s a great idea to take a photo every two weeks and line them up so you can really see your progression.

#49 - Substitute ground turkey for ground beef in recipes

Ground turkey is typically lower in saturated fat than ground beef – though this depends a great deal on the variety of meat chosen. When making turkey burgers, try adding finely shredded onion, carrots and zucchini to add more moisture and score bonus healthy points.

#50 - Eat your biggest meal of the day after working out

First off, eating within 2 hours after a workout assists your body in recovering from whatever you’ve put it through – so it’s often a good idea to get in your biggest workouts just before eating. This is not an excuse to binge – but rather a strategy for better digestion. Secondly, your body has to burn energy to digest food – and research has shown that it requires MORE energy to digest food after a workout than before. In summary, you replenish yourself and simultaneously burn more calories.

#51 - Try to be conscious of your breathing

Ever wondered where the fat goes that you burn off working out? The better portion of it is converted into CO2 – you literally exhale a tiny bit of that troublesome pudge with every breath. Deep, full breaths also help your body cleanse toxins and work more efficiently – even when you’re sitting still – and breathing properly can even help with stress.

#52 - Add kale to your salads and sandwiches

Feel like kale is played out? Sure, it’s all over the place, everyone either loves or hates it. But Kale is still full of nutrients that help your body burn calories more efficiently – so try it, if you haven’t already.

#53 - Find ways to have fun while you exercise.

Make friends – a little friendly competition never hurts. Find ways to help people while performing exercise – perhaps your neighbors are moving; give them a hand. Be creative. The world is your gym. And the fact is, your body was designed to get all the activity it needs simply from day to day life. It’s far more rewarding if that activity serves to benefit others somehow.

#54 - Be your own worst enemy

Ever played a driving video game that let you race against your own best lap with a "ghost car"? The same technique can make a big difference in your fitness routine, too! Always try to outdo yourself by at least 1 rep in your exercise routine. Yesterday’s best isn’t good enough today. You can do better. And today’s best will be unacceptable tomorrow!

#55 - Start parking in the back of the lot

We’ve all see the guy with the flashy car who takes up two (or sometimes four) parking spots way back in the back of the lot to make sure nobody dares ding the side of his car. He walks all that way because of his car – why can’t we walk all that way because it’s good for our bodies? They’re worth infinitely more than a car.

#56 - Pay less attention to the scale and more to the mirror and measuring tape

Remember – your goal is not just to lose fat, but to build muscle. Muscle is denser than fat, thus it weighs more for its size. So judge your progress more in the mirror than on the scale.

#57 - Floss daily

Periodontal disease (gum disease) has been shown to contribute to weight gain. The health of your teeth and gums therefore will not only determine how good you feel about smiling in public, but also how difficult it is to lose weight.

#58 - Plan ahead when eating out

Most of the better restaurants out there provide servings that are a good bit larger than you need. Rather than stuffing yourself and scooping the scraps into a doggie bag, have half of your order packaged “to go” up front before the food ever arrives at your table. Good for your diet, good for your wallet, and good for tomorrow’s lunch!

#59 - Make sure you’re getting enough sunshine

Not getting enough vitamin D is bigger deal than you might think. Insufficient vitamin D has been linked to increased incidence of cancer, heart disease and (to a lesser degree) obesity. Getting enough time in the sun ultimately helps your energy levels and decreases stress. Altogether it’s a winning formula when you’re trying to shed unwanted pounds.

#60 - When interval training, target distances versus times

Doing that run / walk / run / walk routine for very long will wear you out. As your stamina runs out, your pace will slow, and running 60 seconds isn’t going to get you nearly as far. A trick to overcoming this is to focus on distances instead of times. By making sure you run a full block on each interval, for example, you negate any speed problems due to fatigue.

#61 - Target varying calorie intakes per day

Your body is very good at adapting to its environment. To keep your metabolism on edge, a good strategy is to vary your caloric intake by a couple hundred calories every couple of days. Just as varying your workout routine (commonly known as “muscle confusion”) keeps your body in perpetual growth mode, varying your calories keeps your metabolism flexible.

#62 - Maintain good posture

Think good posture won’t do anything? Try sitting straight up. Stay that way. For 5 minutes… Feel tired? It takes effort to maintain good posture. The advantages include better breathing, more energy, and a better reflection in the mirror each morning!

#63 - Never eat food out of the package it came in.

You really shouldn’t be taking food with you out of the kitchen in the first place – but if you’re going to snack, take out a reasonable portion and put the rest away before you dig in. Even the healthiest snacks can become a problem if you eat the WHOLE bag, box or carton.

#64 - Feeling hungry? Sniff a banana.

It’s not a joke – several scents have been shown to help suppress hunger – including green apples, garlic, fennel, bananas, grapefruit, peppermint and extra-virgin olive oil.

#65 - Surround yourself with the color blue at meal time

Another of those “too weird to make up” tips, looking at blue while you eat will lower your appetite. The reason is actually very simple – very few foods in the natural world are blue! Before a food can be tasted, smelled or even touched, we have to see it and decide it looks like food. Blue things simply do not look like food. This goes doubly if you ever tasted Play-Doh as a child.

#66 - Take care of your body

Pay attention to injuries, and be careful when trying out new exercises. Injuries like pulled muscles and shin splints can put a serious damper on your workout routine – and your spirits.

#67 - Take a bicycle on short trips instead of driving

Many places you’re inclined to go are too far to walk, but not too far to bike. Depending on how many of these places there are where you live, switching to a good bicycle can make a huge difference in your fitness routine. And once you get the hang of riding a bike (if like many adults, you’ve actually forgotten since childhood), you’ll be surprised how much fun it is too.

#68 - Remember the 80 / 20 rule

As long as 80% of your daily calories come from wholesome, healthy food, the remaining 20% can include a favorite indulgence. This will help you stay on track, and simultaneously keep things interesting.

#69 - Watch yourself eat.

Put some mirrors on the wall around the dinner table. Studies have shown that watching yourself eat cut the amount subjects would actually eat by nearly a third.

#70 - Get (or borrow) a dog and walk/run with him/her nightly

This one doesn’t need much explaining – dogs love to run, and having one eagerly waiting on you will motivate you to run too. Sometimes a dog can be the best fitness buddy you could have.

#71 - Find a pool and start swimming regularly

In terms of a core body workout, swimming is second to none. Water is 12 times denser than air – meaning that passing through water is a far more powerful and effective means of cardio exercise than anything you can do on land. Swimming will also help you focus on breathing more efficiently.

#72 - Take 5 minute “timeouts” to exercise throughout the day

It doesn’t have to be a knock down drag out exercise session – simply doing some pull-ups on a door jam, push-ups on the living room floor, or curling a milk jug is reasonable activity. This can also help if you’re kicking a difficult addiction. When I first quit smoking, I was known to go outside and quite literally sprint all the way around the office building.

#73 - Snack on strawberries

Research has shown that strawberries aren’t just delicious – they actually boost your metabolism and suppress appetite. Strawberries are also an excellent source of Vitamins C and E, which when combined can cut your chances of Alzheimer’s disease later in life by up to 50%.

#74 - Track calories online

Remember the days when counting calories meant carrying around a pad and pencil everywhere you went? Now with mobile apps and web tools you can skip the pencils and the math. Some mobile apps will even scan barcodes at the grocery store for you.

#75 - Quit smoking

It may sound counterintuitive, but quitting smoking can actually help you lose weight – if you handle it right. Channel those stir-crazy craving feelings into exercise, and you’ll discover that it makes you feel better. Soon you’ll be addicted to running instead of puffing.

#76 - Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night

Getting inadequate sleep at night not only decreases your body’s ability to lose weight, it also triggers the production of hormones that make you hungry. That’s right – you’re losing on both ends of the equation if you don’t get a good night’s rest.

#77 - Take a casual 30 minute walk each day with a spouse or friend

Walking is one of the easiest ways to add more activity to your lifestyle. It takes little effort, and virtually no thought at all. This makes walking an excellent activity to share with a friend or family member. Not only do you both get in more exercise and accountability, but it also provides an excellent backdrop to talk about what’s going on in your life. And that, in most cases, can help reduce stress.

#78 - Wear a fitness tracker or pedometer

There are more fitness wearables out there than you can shake a stick at. And while none of them is completely accurate, they can provide a great source of accountability. Write down your stats at the end of each day. As long as your stats improve every day from the day prior, you’ll know you’re on the right track.

#79 - Load your iPod with upbeat music

Research shows that music with 180 beats per minute will naturally help you increase your workout pace. And getting lost in a good playlist can take your mind off the work you’re doing.

#80 - Eliminate fried foods from your diet

While there are certainly healthy ways to incorporate some fried foods into your weight loss plan, it should be the exception rather than the rule. On the whole, you’ll find that switching to baked or grilled foods in place of fried foods is a simple lifestyle change that will make a difference.

#81 - Take 20 on seconds

Next time you’re sitting down for dinner with family or friends, wait a full 20 minutes after finishing your first plate before going for seconds. Typically we eat faster than our bodies can react and send the signal that we’ve had enough. If you can hold out for 20 minutes, chances are you won’t be nearly so ravenous for more as you thought you were.

#82 - Keep temptations at bay when dining out

There’s nothing more tempting when you’re waiting for your entrée to arrive than a bowl of bread smack dab in front of you. Ask your server to hold the bread sticks, chips or other pre-entre appetizers and you’ll avoid having to deal with the temptation. Not to mention watching your skinny friend munch on the temptation!

#83 - Start doing Pilates

If you’re not familiar with pilates, it is an exercise that uses slow, intentional movements to tone and strengthen muscles throughout your body. This not only makes you look more toned and fit, but naturally improves your posture – and increasing your muscle tone means you can burn more calories as you pursue other exercises.

#84 - Eat 5 or 6 very small meals each day

Want to really get your metabolism running in high gear? Switch from three average meals per day to 5 small ones. Make sure you space them out far enough that each meal has time move past your stomach – eating non-stop will prove detrimental, rather than beneficial – but keeping food coming at more regular intervals teaches your body not to concern itself with storing extra energy in the form of fat.

#85 - Rent some motivation

A big part of your battle is staying motivated – so once per week or so, motivate yourself with an inspirational movie or TV show. Rocky is a great example, but you’ll find there are dozens of great films that will inspire you to better yourself once you start hunting.

#86 - DIY Yogurt Pops

Mix some berries or diced fruit into yogurt and freeze it in popsicle molds. You might just forget your ice cream cravings altogether!

#87 - Find your average weight

Weighing yourself is tricky business. A myriad of things can affect your weight any given day, so hitting the scales every morning should be a “checking in” moment rather than a nervously awaited event. Every time you weigh in, write it down in a journal. Then add the past 6 days’ weights, and divide by 7. The result is your average weight for the past week, and this is a number you can take some pride in.

#88 - Wear clothes that fit

Wearing clothes that are way too tight doesn’t make you look thinner. It does quite the opposite, in fact, and wearing overly-tight clothes can decrease circulation, impair proper digestion, and much more. Instead of trying to squeeze into the smallest thing you can, find clothes that fit comfortably. You’ll be surprised how much more exercise you can do, how much easier you can breathe, and how much better you feel.

#89 - Mix cardio and weight exercises

Rather than focusing on just cardio for a workout session, and then strength training for another, mix them up! The most effective workouts are the ones that challenge your muscles AND your stamina.

#90 - Substitute spaghetti squash for pasta

By volume, spaghetti squash contains roughly one fifth the calories of regular spaghetti – and one quarter the carbohydrates. It also has more vitamins and nutrients your body needs, including beta carotene. In exchange, you can make surprisingly delicious pasta dishes without settling for a child-sized serving.

#91 - Use the 2-4-5 rule

For every 2 hours you spend sitting, standing or otherwise at rest, make sure you walk for at least 5 minutes – bare minimum. Your goal should be to walk at least 45 minutes out of every day – all at once or a little at a time, you’ll still burn calories and lose weight.

#92 - Don’t focus on just one area of your body

Don’t aim for just one set of muscles. Building an effective exercise regimen that way is impossible, and unhealthy. If you’re trying to burn fat off your midsection, arm exercises are just as important as abs. Only by building a balanced and over-all healthy physique will you effectively burn off excess fat.

#93 - Eat more broccoli

Broccoli is unique. Ounce for ounce, there is no other vegetable readily available that will provide as many helpful vitamins and nutrients at a cost of so few calories as broccoli. Cram as much of it into your diet as you can. In addition to being a low calorie food, broccoli also contains specific nutrients known to reduce your risks of cancer and mental illness.

#94 - Don’t buy any food that lists sugar, fructose, or corn syrup in the top 4 ingredients

Food manufacturers list ingredients in order of amount from greatest to least. If your chosen food has a form of sugar in any of the top 4 spots, keep shopping. It’s a simple rule that will change your perspective on what foods are actually healthy to eat – and fast.

#95 - Skip rope at least 10 minutes per day

Challenge yourself to jump rope for a minimum of 10 minutes per day. It’s not the same game you remember from childhood – skipping rope is harder than it looks, and will provide plenty of motivation to improve when you realize how long 10 minutes really is. You may have to split it up into sessions – jumping rope can be a VERY intense cardio workout, and obviously your goal is to get healthier – not die trying.

#96 - Put down the fork

That wasn’t sarcasm – if you deliberately place your fork or spoon onto the table between every bite of food, you will find that your eating slows to a healthy rate and you ultimately eat less per meal.

#97 - Throw out your “fat” clothes for good

As you graduate to smaller clothes, get rid of the larger items you don’t need anymore. This is a good way of mentally “saying good-bye” to the fat – and if you find yourself falling off the wagon, you’ll always have to consider the fact that you’ll have nothing to wear.

#98 - Eat more beans

Beans naturally contain quite a lot of fiber. This makes them very filling to eat, leaving you feeling full longer and keeping your digestive system running smoothly. Beans also offer quite a lot of food possibilities you might not have thought of. Making smoothies? Add some beans – you’ll never notice the difference, and still reap all the great rewards.

#99 - If you’re not familiar with quinoa, get that way

Quinoa is a great source of vitamins and especially protein, that will make you feel more satisfied, longer after eating. It is also naturally gluten free and cholesterol free.

#100 - Don’t buy any snack foods during grocery trips

Laziness can be a two-edged sword – so use it strategically to your advantage! If you have to make a special trip to the store to get something particularly unhealthy to cram your face with, chances are you’ll resort to eating something a lot better for you that’s already in the fridge. Carrots start looking mighty good when there’s not a potato chip in the whole house.

#101 – Go for dark chocolate vs. milk chocolate

Chocolate isn’t evil by itself – it’s all the added sugar that really tips the scales on America’s favorite flavor. Research shows that dark chocolate can actually be beneficial to your health, reversing the metabolic effects of stress and slowing the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream. Further, eating a small amount of dark chocolate 20 minutes prior to a meal can cut your appetite by as much as 50%.

#102 - Watch what you eat after a workout

We’ve all come in after a particularly grueling bit of exercise and buried ourselves in a binge eating session with the thought, “I’ve earned this!” … Alas, you can often end up eating more calories than you burned in the first place. While it is good practice to schedule your largest meals directly after your most intense workout sessions, it is equally important that you don't go overboard and negate your progress.

#103 - Discover hummus

Hummus is delicious, nutritious, and an excellent replacement for creamy dips or salad dressings on sandwiches. Studies have also found that on average, people who eat hummus measure 8% smaller around the mid-section than those who don’t. This is likely due to a combination of factors – but the high protein and fiber content is definitely among those.

#104 - Enroll at a weight loss retreat

You thought we’d never get to this one? Of all the weight loss tips you’ll read here, spending a couple of weeks at a live-in fitness camp can be one of the most powerful – because it naturally contains many of the rest by itself. When you need to make a complete 180 and set out on a better path, there is no substitute for spending a few weeks away from all of your triggers and in the care of skilled professionals. Diet? Check. Exercise? Check. Motivation? Check. Fun? Check. We take the guesswork out of it and help you build healthy new habits, worry-free.

#105 - Unleash yourself from mere numbers

Instead of setting distance goals when running, simply go until you can’t anymore. Use that burn in your legs to tell you when you’ve done enough. You are your own real opponent – so go for the win!

#106 - Fast for one day per week

If you’re worried about keeping your metabolism running full tilt, this may seem counter-intuitive – but fasting has been part of religious and cultural traditions for a long time, and not without good reason. The goal of fasting for a day is not specifically to lose weight – but rather clear and focus your mind. And a sharp, focused mind will help you significantly as you march forward in your personal battle of the bulge.

#107 - Stop skipping breakfast

While recent studies have shown that skipping breakfast MAY contribute to losing weight, getting in shape involves a lot more than simply NOT eating. A healthy breakfast will get your day started right and power all of the activities you need to incorporate as a part of your daily plan. As the most important meal of the day, skipping breakfast often just results in getting less done.

#108 - Don’t focus TOO much on your diet

The more you think about eating (or NOT eating), the more you will want to eat. Focus on other things like work, or exercise. Find things to keep yourself occupied. Boredom is a common reason people over-eat, and this holds especially true for those trying to eat less.

#109 - Close the kitchen for 12 hours

From 7pm until 7am, any food beyond a light, healthy snack is off limits. This gives your digestive system time to deal with your last meal of the day before you go to sleep, thus improving sleep quality, which in turn improves your weight loss capability.

#110 - Go for a walk before dinner

You need to walk for at least 45 minutes per day – and doing so before dinner will not only provide a calorie-burning activity, but also decrease your appetite.

#111 - Chew minty gum after meals

Minty fresh flavored gum sends signals to your brain that you’re finished eating. Similarly, brushing after every meal can play a similar role.

#112 - Make one social outing this week an active one

If you’re planning to get together with friends, incorporate activities that will burn calories. Bowling for example, can burn a good number of calories and provide a passive level of weight and strength exercise while also allowing for a rich social experience.

#113 - Buy a pedometer, and aim for an extra 1,000 steps a day

Looking to start out simple? Pedometers are incredibly cheap, and can provide a level of accountability. Just figure out your average daily step count, then aim 1,000 steps higher.

#114 - Put less food out and you’ll take less in

Covering the dinner table with entrées is like challenging yourself; “I have all this food to eat!” Instead, make (or at least serve) smaller meals that challenge you to take your time and really enjoy the food, rather than treating it like a hot dog competition.

#115 - Trade sliced bread for pita pockets

Pitas are delicious, whole grain, and lower in starches and empty carbs than typical sliced bread. Typically a sandwich made from sliced bread will require twice as much bread volume as one stuffed into a pita pocket – and it’s far more satisfying than flour tortillas.

#116 - Enjoy foods rich in healthy fats

There are plenty of healthy sources of dietary fat out there, such as nuts and olives. Both of these examples are filled with nutrients important to help your body work at peak efficiency, and simultaneously help you feel more satisfied between meals.

#117 - Eat 90 percent of your meals at home

Even if you consider yourself a true chef, it’s almost guaranteed that you will eat healthier at home than at a restaurant – to say nothing of the fare you’ll score at McDonalds. Simply making the conscious choice to eat 9 times at home for every once you eat out will have a tremendous impact on your weight loss efforts.

#118 - Identify and deal with triggers

Triggers are settings or situations that motivate you to binge or over-eat. Once you identify them, you can either avoid them or be aware of them and find ways to cope. Over time, triggers will diminish because your responses and habits have changed.

#119 - Eat more avocados

Avocados have a fairly high fat content, but three quarters of their caloric fat content comes from Omega 3 fatty acids, which are proven to lower triglyceride levels (reduce risk of heart disease), lower inflammation leading to asthma, protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and even help with depression. Avocados additionally contain significant amounts of Vitamin B5, Vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, potassium and fiber. They are essentially the most delicious multi-vitamin you’ll find in nature.

#120 - Buy new shoes

As a general rule of thumb, if you walk, jog or run 4-5 days per week, a pair of good running shoes should last you about 6 months. But you have to have a good pair first, and most people who aren’t used to exercise don’t have the proper footwear in their closets. Buying a new pair of running shoes doesn’t just feel better – those brightly colored shoes serve as a daily reminder that they are meant to be used.

#121 - Drink responsibly

Alcohol needs to be handled carefully when you’re on the path to losing weight. The most obvious points may of course be the calories and carbohydrates found in alcoholic drinks, but an even bigger factor is how drinking affects your judgment, and your body’s balance of vitamins and nutrients. Hangovers stand testament to the nutrient deficiency that comes from drinking – to say nothing of the foods you’re liable to binge out on as your buzz increases and will power decreases.

#122 - Substitute whole grain wheat bread instead of white

While white bread is typically enriched with vitamins and minerals, whole grain bread provides a more balanced nutritional content and fewer calories typically per slice. Additionally, whole grain bread is more filling and higher in fiber. Personally, I think whole grain breads taste better, too.

#123 - Plan meals ahead

It’s a very simple concept that can make a big difference – if you simply plan your meals ahead of time, so you’ll be less likely to make poor choices when you’re hungry and ready to eat.

#124 - Treat salt the same as sugar

You can crave salt just the same as you crave sugar. Junk food is typically full of salt – cut back, and your body will grow to be able to properly taste smaller, healthier amounts of salt in good food choices. You may even stop craving junk foods, for the most part.

#125 - Take weekly progress photos

Don’t over-analyze them, but do compare them after 1 month, two months, three months, etc. Keeping track of your progress will encourage you to keep moving forward.

#126 - Mind the shroom

Don’t forget about mushrooms when cooking – they’re full of flavor and nutrients and help you feel full faster, and low in everything else you’re trying to avoid.

#127 – Keep your food on your plate

A big part of eating is visual. Seeing a lot of food makes you want to eat a lot of food. Take reasonably sized servings on individual plates rather than spreading out all of the available dishes on the table, and you’ll end up eating less over-all. Especially when you start to get up from the table and remember the 20 minute rule.

#128 - Try whole-wheat pastas

Sometimes spaghetti squash and zucchini just aren’t going to cut it – and whole wheat pasta is a great way to compromise. The rewards include a higher level of fiber and nutrients, and you’ll feel full faster.

#129 - Snack on shelled peanuts

If you must snack on something, dry roasted peanuts in the shells are a great choice – peanuts are naturally good for you in moderation, and the process of cracking the nuts loose from their shells will ensure you don’t go too far overboard.

#130 - Use unsweetened applesauce in place of jams and jellies on toast

One tablespoon of grape jelly contains 50 calories and 13 grams of sugar. One tablespoon of applesauce contains 8 calories and less than 2 grams of sugar. Not convinced? Half a cup of applesauce contains 43% of your daily recommended Vitamin C, along with a host of other vitamins and minerals you’re not going to find in sticky, sugary jams. Protip: Applesauce goes especially well with natural peanut butter!

#131 - Avoid eating with large groups

It’s way too tempting to go back for seconds (and thirds) when you’ve got a buffet of food to choose from and a whole lot of buddies who picked out something that looks much better than what you brought back on your first trip. At a bare minimum, eat a small meal 20-30 minutes before arriving, to put a damper on your appetite.

#132 - Order the smallest portion of everything

If you’re going to eat out, ordering kids’ portions is sometimes the only way to get REAL, diet-friendly servings.

#133 - Share leftovers

After a party or get-together with friends, get all of the junk / party foods away from you as fast as possible by sending it home with your guests. People will appreciate your generosity – but you’ll know it’s better on their hips than yours!

#134 - Water down your juices just a bit

Juice is certainly good for you – but it’s also got a lot of sugars and calories and is very easy to over-indulge on. Water it down a little and you’ll drop some sugar and calories while keeping the flavor.

#135 - Clean up before-hand

Whenever possible, package up and refrigerate leftover food before you sit down to eat – the chances you’ll go back for seconds will be far lower if you have to dig it out, unwrap it, and microwave it first.

#136 - Leave yourself notes

If you tend to start things excitedly and then lose interest over time, one trick to keeping yourself on track is to write down all of the reasons you're doing this - and leave them places you'll see them later. Nobody knows what motivates you more than you do. Be your own coach and stick with it!

#137 - Choose a diverse exercise program

Choosing one activity can be a great way to start – but you’ll want to mix it up as you get more ambitious. Nothing is off limits – today you’ll spend an hour at the gym, but tomorrow you’ll go for a 5 mile run at the local park. The key to enjoying exercise is to find enjoyable ways of exercising – and ultimately a fairly randomized program will produce the best results.

#138 - Plan a cheat meal once per week.

Want to keep from falling off the wagon? Hop off and back on once in awhile. Knowing you’ve got a cheat meal coming up in just another couple days will help keep you motivated to stay on track that little while longer – and the sick feeling you’ll start to get after your body gets used to eating good food most of the time will help you keep perspective on just how bad for you some of your favorite indulgences really are.

#139 - Eat water-rich foods

Some foods are low calorie options because they simply contain a LOT of water. Think that just means watermelon? Try strawberries – 92% water. Grapefruit, Cantaloupe and Peaches are all over 88% water – to say nothing of cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, lettuce and celery – all above the 95% mark.

#140 - Opt for veggies over proteins

If your plate looks too empty, bulk it up with larger portions of vegetables such as carrots and broccoli. The ratio may be different, but you’ll still get all the same tastes you are expecting.

#141 - Drink smoothies for breakfast

There are plenty of reasons to drink smoothies – they’re an easy source for any vitamins or nutrients you want to throw in the blender, they go down quick, and they’re typically pretty tasty. When it comes down to it, a smoothie is your ace in the hole “cheat” to get balanced daily nutrition. They make a great cover for fiber too, if you’re in the habit (or need to be) of taking it.

#142 - Don’t plan on losing more than 1-2lbs per week

Any more weight than that in a week’s time is unrealistic to expect, potentially dangerous to achieve, and will greatly reduce your chances of sticking with it. Weight loss is a journey. Take it one day at a time.

#143 - Eat cereal for breakfast – every day

Provided you’re eating a good, nutritionally balanced cereal, you are getting on average more fiber and less fat than other typical breakfast foods.

#144 - Do the salsa

Opt for salsas instead of sauces when preparing meat or pasta dishes. Salsa can give food that extra kick of flavor, and simultaneously incorporate power foods like peppers and pineapple.

#145 - Pay attention to cravings

While some cravings are triggered by our existing habits, other cravings can often be your body’s natural way to get after nutrients it needs. Pay attention to them and find healthy ways to satisfy them.

#146 - Drink your coffee black.

It takes some getting used to, but the amount of sugar usually added to coffee completely negates it’s beneficial properties and antioxidants. And artificial sweetener has been shown to be worse for your body than regular sugar.

#147 - Choose strategic “cheat” foods

Did you know that the calcium found in greek yogurt causes hormonal changes in the body that slows the body’s production of fat cells? Eggs, honey and dark chocolate are also excellent choices if you’re looking for a quick indulgence, as they all promote fat burn.

#148 - Run for 20 minutes during your lunch hour

If you’re like most of working America, you’ve got a little bit of federally mandated time between finishing lunch and actually punching the clock – take advantage of it to make some laps around the building or parking lot. Bonus point if there’s a staircase nearby!

#149 - Cinch up your belt a notch before eating out

It’s been said that French women were known to tie a ribbon around their middle before going out for dinner. The ribbon would feel tight and provide a physical alert to stop eating. You might not feel inclined to gift-wrap yourself before a meal, but a little extra tightness in the belt should do the same trick.

#150 - Get a membership at a trampoline gym

You want an adventurous time getting in shape? Trampoline gyms are a whole new world of fun for all ages! And you don’t have to worry about looking silly – everyone looks silly on a trampoline. It’s completely expected.

#151 - Always eat a snack or small meal before going out

If you’re going to a party or get-together with friends, showing up hungry can be even worse than showing up hungry at the grocery store. And we all know how that works out.

#152 - Enjoy high-calorie treats as the accent, not the centerpiece

If you’re going to have an indulgent morsel, make sure it’s a small part of a legitimate meal – not the main course of an off-the-wagon binge.

#153 - Ruin your appetite

Grab a small snack an hour before dinner to cut the edge and help you eat a smaller portion at mealtime

#154 - Join a Yoga class

Yoga in its most natural forms is not a high intensity exercise to burn calories – a typical yoga session burns about half the calories of walking 3mph – however in the USA we have a way of changing things. Power yoga, the Americanized version, packs a much bigger punch in terms of cardio and calorie burn. Give it a try – you might be surprised.

#155 - Move the couch

Want to really step up your game? Only watch TV from the exercise bike or rowing machine! If you care that much about your TV show, you’ll at least get a great workout while you’re there.

#156 - Change up your exercise routine every 3-4 weeks

Fitness plateaus happen when your body gets itself adjusted to a set exercise routine. Your weight loss progress will slow, and it’ll seem like it’s harder and harder to achieve the same results. Instead of pushing on that wall, change direction! The key to eliminating plateaus from your exercise technique is to never stick with the same technique.

#157 - Eliminate soda pop

Yes, that includes Diet Soda as well. There’s a reason you don’t see any athletes drinking colas or energy drinks on the bench. Soda does more than simply load you up with sugar – the combination of chemicals in regular and diet sodas actually dehydrates you, while adding nothing particularly useful.

#158 - Eat eggs at breakfast time

If you’re trying to keep to a low calorie diet, you’ll feel less hungry if eggs are on the morning menu.

#160 – Don’t spare the hot sauce

If you’ve been paying attention, you already noticed that peppers are a great source of nutrition – but on top of that, hot spicy seasonings are also a great way to flavor food without using excessive salt, cheese or sugars. Additionally, cayenne pepper is a known appetite suppressant.

#161 - Unless you are fasting, never eat less than 1,200 calories any given day

Your metabolism will slow down and your body will work to absorb more nutrients from the food you did eat than it normally would – which essentially nullifies the extra effort.

#162 - Use cooking spray instead of butter or cooking oil

It’s a simple adjustment, and it’ll save you that extra bit of saturated fat with every meal.

#163 - Clean out your pantry

You’re just starting out on your weight loss journey, and two days in, it hits – you’ve absolutely positively GOT to have a Twinkie. So now the question is very simple – do you HAVE Twinkies? Or have you gotten rid of them, knowing this very scenario would play out? The conclusion to this cautionary tale is yours to write.

#164 - Eat oatmeal

Oatmeal is filling, and it stays with you for a long time, helping curb those hunger pangs. It can also be quite delicious with a little fruit mixed in.

#165 - Check out your local farmer’s market

Seasonal, locally grown fruits and vegetables are often far tastier than you’ll find in the store. You’ll also inevitably discover new foods you’ve never tried, as well as learn interesting new recipes from those selling them. On top of everything else, there’s walking involved. Win win.

#166 - Don’t skip the coffee

While too much coffee can obviously be bad, research has shown that a small amount of caffeine in your system will slow glycogen depletion, allowing you work out harder and burn more fat before your reach your physical limits.

#167 - Eat fruit instead of drinking fruit juice

Fruit juice is certainly good for you, but it also goes down a lot faster than fruit, and can quickly add up to a lot of calories. Get it the natural way, and you’ll ultimately consume less.

#168 - Fat rises.

When preparing stews and soups, cook ahead and then refrigerate – excess fat will rise to the top where it can be easily skimmed off before reheating and eating. This also adds soak-time, for even softer, juicier meat and veggies.

#169 - Tempt everyone but you

When buying treats for family or friend get-togethers, purposely omit your favorite sweets or snacks, so you’ll be far less tempted to fall off the wagon. Bonus points if you avoid foods others on diets are especially fond of. Protip: Cilantro. 10% of people think it tastes like soap. If you're one of them, put it in everthing. Temptation? Gone.

#170 - Skim the calories

Drinking whole milk? Switch to 2%. Drinking 2%? Go skim. The change will cut your calories by about 20% at each step.

#171 - Start a sweat savings

It's good to be rewarded. Getting healthy is more rewarding than anything you could receive, but sometimes a little more can help. Start a savings jar and add a dollar every day that you meet your exercise and diet goals without cheating. Whether you use your savings once a week or once a year is up to you, but it adds an extra element of motivation to your daily routine.

#172 - Never, ever, ever go grocery shopping while you’re hungry.

Your mother was right when she told you this. If you don’t want to arrive home buried in twinkies and cheese dip, go after having a good meal first.

#173 - Eat like a food critic

If you’re trying to lose weight, there’s a better than average chance that you enjoy food. That being the case – take your time and enjoy it! Dive into each flavor. Try to absorb the whole experience. Really experience your meal. It takes longer to get really into your food – and that means that be the time you’re full, less food will have gotten into you!

#174 - The Secret Cinnamon Weapon

Wishing for sugar on your fruit or in your hot cereal? Try a bit of cinnamon instead – the substitution will usually give it that “extra something” you need, help you feel more satisfied, and do it all without the empty calories.

#175 - Cut back on starchy foods like pasta

Starchy foods – especially those lighter in color – have a higher glycemic index rating and cause higher peaks in blood sugar. Generally speaking, all of the excess sugar is great if you need lots of intense energy to expend performing work. When you’re trying to lose weight however – not so much.

#176 - When drinking any beverage besides water, use tall thin glasses rather than short wide ones.

Sound crazy? It’s actually a psychological trick that will help you consume less per sitting.

#177 - Drink 2 glasses of water 20m before a meal

The direct benefit is that numerous studies have shown drinking at least a full glass of water before meals will decrease the average number of calories you consume at each meal. Dehydration – even a little bit – has also been shown to have a significant effect on energy levels. Staying hydrated is simply one of the easiest, most effective ways to keep your body running at peak efficiency.

#178 - Make lunch at home before leaving for work

No matter how good your intentions, you can’t eat a 6” subway veggie delight on flatbread every day – and most fast food places go out of their way to tempt you with something you definitely should NOT be eating. Avoid all the trouble and brown bag it.

#179 - Stop comparing yourself to others

While this doesn't qualify as an action that will trim fat, it is vitally important to the success of your fitness plan. Everyone is different. Your ideal weight is not a mathematical formula written in stone - but rather a point unique to who you area and what you want to do with your life. True, being overweight is unhealthy. But we're not all made to look like supermodels when we GET healthy, either.

#180 - Think outside the gym

Exercise is what our bodies were designed for – don’t limit yours to just the stuff you can find to do in the gym! Don’t pass up opportunities to squeeze a little extra activity into your life anywhere you can find it – especially if that activity can help others. You’ll discover that helping a neighbor move furniture or weeding an elderly relative’s flower bed is more rewarding than a trip to the gym any day of the week.

#181 - Incorporate lean proteins

Making sure to have some form of lean protein in every meal will help you feel more satisfied in between. Plus it’ll help fuel your workout.

#182 - Take dance classes

While the calorie burn rates are as widely varied as the kinds of dance out there, the fact is you can get a great workout while also honing your dance floor skills and having a blast. Dancing is typically a cardio exercise, and the challenge will keep you going long after a dull stint on the treadmill would have lost you.

#183 - Get most of your calories before noon

As a general rule, you want to eat most of your calories around the same time as your body most needs to burn them – particularly after breakfast as you start your day. Further, research has shown that people who eat larger breakfasts as part of their diet plan tend to eat less calories over-all throughout the day. The bottom line is that everyone who told you breakfast should be the biggest meal of the day (and dinner the smallest) were completely right.

#184 - Don’t just break habits, replace them

Nature abhors a vacuum. If you simply try to STOP doing something negative without providing yourself any kind of positive replacement, you’ll fail every time. This is why quitting smokers have better success when they simultaneously take up a workout routine. And why you really should bring a bag of baby carrots with you to the office if you intend on avoiding the snack machine.

#185 - Love tuna? Choose water-packed

Choosing the water-packed variety of canned tuna instead of oil-packed will save you roughly a third of the calories per serving.

#186 - Don’t be afraid of free-weights

Gym equipment is great for focused workouts, but free weights require more balance and discipline, which can ultimately provide a better workout if used properly. They’re also a lot easier to keep in your living room.

#187 - Invest in a good cookbook or recipe app

A little common sense from captain obvious? You’ll be more likely to eat healthy meals at home if you know how to prepare them properly.

#188 - Cut back over time on favorite foods instead of quitting completely

It’s easy to get overly excited and go cold turkey on everything you’re used to eating in favor of bran muffins and rice cakes. It’s another story entirely, sticking to that plan for a week – to say nothing of months. Instead of making rash decisions, remember that getting healthy is a journey, not a destination. Take small but deliberate steps that you can live with.

#189 - Brush your teeth after every meal, especially dinner

Who wants to grab an extra slice of pizza right after brushing their teeth? Nobody. That’s not a random quirk – the minty fresh feeling helps your mind realize you’re finished eating for a while.

#190 - Learn to do plyometrics

Plyometrics is a form of exercise built around quick, sudden movements – including jumping. As such, it can improve your reaction time and muscle tone while simultaneously offering a great cardio workout. That said, if you’ve never done it before be sure to work with a professional trainer getting started, as you can hurt yourself doing plyos incorrectly.

#191 - Get plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega 3’s (from salmon, flax seed, or other sources) will improve your body’s ability to burn fat. If you don’t like the natural sources, there are plenty of supplements out there to choose from – and as an added bonus, eating a diet rich in Omega 3 can cut your risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by up to 75%.

#192 - Budget to save room for dessert

We’ve all been there – that last bite of dinner put us just over the edge of the “full” mark and dangerously close to “food coma time” territory; and then the cake arrived.  Every angle of this situation spells disaster for your weight loss plan. If you want to splurge on a sweet indulgence, at least make sure to hold back enough calories before-hand to stay within your target.

#193 - Always keep some cooked brown rice handy in your fridge

Whatever leftovers you’ve got, chances are they’ll go great with some steamed rice for lunch tomorrow. Brown rice is more nutritious than white, and helps you feel more satisfied as well.

#196 - Snack on dill pickle slices

Dill pickles contain no fat or cholesterol. The typical slice contains only 1 calorie. And usually eating a couple of slices when a snack craving hits will take the edge off without breaking the caloric piggy bank.

#195 - Keep water in arms’ reach

If you want to know for sure you’re properly hydrated, there’s no better way than simply keeping water handy everywhere you go, all the time. Tempted to take a candy from that bowl at the office? Sip some H2O. Considering a trip to vending for a soda? Sip some more. Drinking water all day is a habit you’ll never need to break.

#196 - Opt for more colorful food

It’s just a fact – in general, most brightly colored fruits and veggies are better for you than starchy, bland colored foods. If your plate shows a variety of colors (Skittles don’t count), you’re most likely eating well.

#197 - Take it one step at a time

Some habits are harder to break than others. Pick one to attack full force, and don’t worry if the others slide a bit. They’ll each get their turn.

#198 - Don’t fall for the “low fat” labels on food

Fat has had a bad reputation for a long time now, but increasing research is showing that fat is an important part of a balanced diet and is itself not the primary culprit for weight gains. Calories are the real issue – and those come in all shapes and forms.

#199 - When grocery shopping, circle the perimeter of the store first

Think about it – the outer edges of the store are usually where you’ll find the most fresh, whole, simple foods. All of the dried, saucy and pre-packaged stuff ends up down in the isles. Make your run through the produce, meats and organic sections first – then finish off with what’s left on your list.

#200 - Be deliberate and permanent

Weight loss is not the same as bringing your car to the mechanic. Choosing to live a healthier life is a decision to leave old habits behind for good and build new ones. Make the conscious decision that these changes are permanent lifestyle choices – otherwise you’ll inevitably come full circle and have to start over again.