Burn Off the Weight
Shed four pounds in four weeks by exercising away 500 extra calories a day. That may sound like a lot, but 30 minutes of interval walking combined with everyday activities will get you there, says Denise Austin, author of Side Effect: Skinny and a mom of two daughters. "Alternate between intense and light pacing while on a walk outside, a treadmill or an elliptical machine," Austin says. Go to familycircle.com/intervalworkout to check out her plan for torching 300 calories. Then try our 30-minute add-ons (or full workouts), below.
- Exercise early. If you can't work out during the crazed a.m. rush, try to do it at lunch. "The longer you delay exercise, the more apathetic you may feel about doing it at all," says Ruth Field, author of Get Off Your Ass and Run! Plus your workout raises feel-good endorphins, which will lead to smart food and activity choices all day.
- Watch complex carbs. Many complex carbs (like bread and pasta) trigger your appetite, making you want to eat more. Instead, for lunch and dinner, stick to lean proteins and greens. "You can drop one to three pounds a week this way," says The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper, author of Jumpstart to Skinny.
- Embrace your queen bee. She's that nagging voice in your head telling you to put down that piece of cake. "Start amplifying her," Field says. "She's your number-one ally in the quest for a slimmer, fitter you."
- Lay off the booze. Drinking messes with your metabolism and alters your judgment. Plus alcohol adds about 150 calories for every 6-ounce glass of red wine, and more than 600 if you enjoy the entire bottle over the weekend—yikes!
30-minute add-ons: Half an hour of interval walking plus 30 minutes of two of these activities torches 500 calories.
- Play Frisbee: 114 calories
- Walk the dog: 114 calories
- Work in the garden: 152 calories
One-hit wonders: Blast 500 calories in a single workout.
- Moderate biking: 50 minutes
- Elliptical training: 45 minutes
Give Your Metabolism a Boost
- Go pink, red and white. Grapefruit contains a substance called nootkatone that may increase the amount of energy your liver uses. In a 2006 study, people who ate half a grapefruit or drank a glass of the juice before every meal lost more than three pounds in 12 weeks.
- Have breakfast. "Eating within three hours of waking up stokes your metabolic fire," says Lyssa Weiss, R.D., author of the forthcoming The Skinny Jeans Diet. Include protein and fiber, like an egg-white omelet with spinach. Up to 30% of the calories in protein are used to break it down.
- Take an a.m. walk. Hoofing it at moderate intensity before breakfast will make your body burn up to 50% more fat per minute, says Fredrik Paulun, author of 50 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism. Just be sure to hydrate with a full glass of water before hitting the road.
- Adjust the temperature. Drink ice-cold water or unsweetened iced tea throughout the day. It lowers your temperature, forcing your body to burn fuel (i.e., calories) to warm up. One study showed that drinking 6 cups of cold water can raise resting metabolism by about 50 calories daily.
Originally published in the August 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine.
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