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7 of the Best Diet Hacks You’ve Never Heard Of

7 of the Best Diet Hacks You’ve Never Heard Of

It’s no secret that the key to staying fit is eating healthy and getting plenty of regular exercise. While these are surefire ways to help you lose weight, there are also some special, more unknown, diet hacks that could also help you shed a few extra pounds. Go ahead and try them out for yourself if you’re hoping to lose a little weight this year…

1. Eat five or six small meals per day instead of three big meals

It used to be standard to eat three big meals in your day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, research[1] has shown that it’s best to eat five or six smaller meals throughout the day instead if you’re trying to lose weight. Why does this work? Well, it turns out that every time you eat a meal, your body’s metabolism revs up. It starts a new cycle due to the thermic effect of the food you’ve just consumed, so some of the calories you eat get burned just because of the digestion process.

The foods you eat do have an impact on this as well. For example, lean protein triggers a thermic effect of up to 30%,[2] which means you burn 30% of the calories you eat from those lean proteins you’ve consumed. Fatty foods and foods with refined carbohydrates have a low thermic effects, coming in at only 3%.[3] By eating a lot of these foods, it’s going to cause you to see weight gain as a result.

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So, if you want to accelerate your body’s natural rate of calorie burning, you want to eat those five or six smaller meals as opposed to three big meals. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can also help to control cravings and can keep your energy levels high.

2. Eat off a blue plate

This diet hack sounds a little weird, don’t you think? While you may be convinced that the color of your plate doesn’t have an impact on weight loss, studies[4] have shown it can help you eat less. It was found that when a food’s color contrasts with the plate it was served on, people tend to consume fewer calories. The reason a blue plate is suggested is because not that many foods are blue.

Having a plate that contrasts in color compared to your food gives the appearance that you have a larger portion than you actually do. If you don’t believe it, give it a try yourself. The next time you’re preparing dinner at home, put your food on a plate that is a contrasting color from the dinner you’re serving. For example, if you’re having spaghetti with marinara sauce, ditch the red plates and go with another color instead.

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3. Play a game to ward off cravings

We’ve all experienced those afternoon food cravings, whether you’re dying to get your hands on something salty or something sweet. Giving into those cravings isn’t conducive to losing weight. So, when you feel those cravings coming on, you should play a game instead. And yes, we’re giving you permission to break out the video games.

A 2014 study found that visual-based tasks, such as playing games, can actually decrease the feelings of cravings.[5] This means that the next time you’re itching to get your hands on a bag of potato chips, you should reach for your phone instead. Play a game of Angry Birds or Candy Crush to take your mind off of the cravings and minimize the strength it has over you.

4. Put a mirror on your fridge

The last place you’d think to put a mirror is in your kitchen, but it turns out that it could be one diet hack that will help you shed a few extra pounds. Apparently, looking at ourselves before we open up the fridge can help us to lose weight and make better food choices. It’s a powerful reminder of our goal to change our bodies and can easily influence your decision. After all, you don’t want to let yourself down, do you? Hang up a mirror somewhere in your kitchen or on your fridge to stop yourself from giving into unhealthy food temptations.

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5. Count your macros

Counting macros goes beyond just counting calories, which can be a frustrating task for many people. However, if you want to lose weight, it’s a good idea to be aware of exactly what you’re putting into your body. Instead of just counting calories, counting macros encourages you to count the macronutrients within a food (the grams of proteins, carbs, and fats). You have to consider your macros in conjunction with your daily calorie goal and watch the ratios of each.

Macro dieting can help you get better with portion control and show you exactly where they’re coming from. You’ll start to see just how much of an impact the foods you eat have on your body overall as you start to make healthier choices with the foods you eat. Once you start to count macros and customize a plan for your body, you’ll see yourself losing body fat within only one month.

6. Use the “burn or burn” technique

This next diet hack is one that will have you working out on a regular basis without any protesting. It’s called the “burn or burn” technique. Intrigued? Here’s what you need to do… First, you’ll want to pick a workout routine that you’d like to stick to whether that’s hitting the gym or doing a home-based workout. Then, you need to block off time in your schedule for your workout, which is essentially making an appointment with yourself. If you don’t block off the time, you probably aren’t going to commit to the workout.

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Next, find a $100 bill. You could use another denomination bill, but it will need to be an amount that you would hate to lose, such as $50 or $20. You’ll also need to get yourself a lighter and a wall calendar. The next step is to take the $100 bill to the calendar on the day’s date and put the lighter somewhere nearby where you will see it. This gives you a choice every day. You can either burn off the calories during your workout or you can burn your money.

Now, it’s obviously illegal to burn money, but the threat of burning your $100 bill is designed to motivate you to work out. The whole reason this works is because we hate the thought of losing money. That loss is a good motivation to get you to stick to your workout routine and burn off those calories instead of watching your money burn.

7. Eat food high in water content to make you feel fuller faster

Did you know that if you start a meal by eating foods that have a high water content, it helps to promote fullness? It also helps to slow down the digestive process and you’ll be less likely to overeat. Beans, legumes, vegetables, and fruits are just some of the foods that are high in water content. Try starting your next meal by eating one of these so you don’t have to worry about eating too much of the calorie-dense foods on your plate.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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Dan Scalco

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

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