Say the words “weight loss”, and people instantly think of hitting the gym or eating meager meals of rice cakes and tofu. But if you use some sneaky tricks, you can lose weight without feeling like you’ve made major lifestyle changes. You won’t even realize you’ve been working out or dieting if you make use of these seven handy tips.

1. Standing Crunches

Simply tightening and releasing your abdominal muscles more frequently will result in a stronger core (and maybe even some lost inches around your midsection). You will want to flex your core muscles, hold your abdominal muscles in that position for a count of five, and then release.

The trick is to work these “standing crunch” moments into your day at semi-regular intervals. You might try getting in the habit of doing them every time you walk thru a doorway, while waiting for the elevator, or while standing in front of the stove making dinner. If you remind yourself in these circumstances to always do a standing crunch, eventually you’ll get to the point where you do them unconsciously.

2. Take More Steps

Yes, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Obviously. But there are plenty of other ways to work a few extra steps into your day. For example, try running more errands on foot, or take the time to walk up and down every aisle at the grocery store (you’ll take more steps and likely remember more items that you needed to pick up). You could even write a letter instead of an email, and walk to your nearest post office dropbox to mail it.

3. Wear Those Stupid Shoes

I really, really, REALLY hate those hideous “tone-up” shoes that look like you’re walking on rockers. But thankfully, shoe companies have started to make shoes that tone your lower half, without looking like a crime against fashion. Just by wearing these shoes, you can burn more calories without making a single change in your daily routine. While you won’t find “tone-ups” in fancy dress varieties, there are plenty of sandals and sneakers that offer these health benefits.

4. Eat More

By eating smart, you can trick yourself into feeling full before you even sit down to eat. It comes down to knowing how to best manipulate your own body chemistry.

“Ten minutes before each meal, eat some healthy fat (around 70 calories or fewer): a handful of nuts, a few slices of avocado, or a spoonful of peanut butter, for example. That helps activate ghrelin, a hormone that lets you know you’re full,” says Dr. Michael Roizin.

5. Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of fluids is important year-round, whether during the heat of summer or the height of winter cold season. If you drink more water, you’ll see an improvement in your skin and overall health. But more importantly, you’ll also find that you are less hungry and you will be satisfied with smaller portions. When you feel like snacking, have a glass of water first. After ten minutes, see if you are still feeling peckish.

6. Get Inspired by the Ballet

You don’t have to be Baryshnikov to get moving and burn calories like a dancer. Take some time that you’d usually spend sitting to do a plié. First, make a “V” with your feet. While keeping your heels planted on the ground, bend your knees slowly, and then slowly return to your former position, without jerking or straining. You can also rise up on your toes.

Try to do these knee bends and stretches while on the phone, while standing in line at the deli, or during the commercial breaks of your favorite TV show. You’ll gain flexibility, and burn off a few extra calories at the same time.

7. Find a Secret Weapon

Do some research and find a “super food” that will kick your diet or weight loss plan into high gear. It doesn’t have to be anything unpleasant or hard to find, but the simple act of introducing a new food (or an old favorite) into your diet will add excitement to meals and make you feel like you’ve got a secret weapon at your disposal.

Examples of “secret weapon” foods may include:

Chia seeds: Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, these tiny seeds are able to absorb 12 times their weight in water, so adding a sprinkle of them to your morning granola will help you to stay hydrated for a longer period of time (a fact that makes them very popular with runners). A side benefit of this hydration is that you will likely feel fuller for longer.

Soups: According to the experts at Women’s Health magazine, “Research from Pennsylvania State University found that dieters who ate soup two times per day were more successful in losing weight and maintained, on average, a total weight loss of 16 pounds after 1 year. Chunky, broth-based soups, such as chicken and vegetable, are most filling.”

Eggs: One University of Washington study found that people who consumed a diet that consisted of 30 percent protein ate 441 fewer calories per day than those who ate a diet that consisted of only 15 percent protein. Eggs are most often thought of as a breakfast food, but eggs can add extra protein to dishes like ramen and salads as well.

Conclusion

With what amounts to over-the-top fidgeting, you can really make a difference in terms of calories burned and muscles engaged per day. With these sneaky tricks at your disposal, you can eat less, move more, and not feel like you’ve made much of an effort at all.

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