Move over, smoking: obesity has since taken the lead as the leading causes of major cancers.
Obesity ranks as one of the primary factors that lead to the most common causes of death in the United States and the rest of the world, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, certain cancers, and metabolic illnesses such as diabetes.
Two-thirds of American adults are obese or overweight, which is unprecedented. And the lockdowns following the pandemic and the unsteady social post-pandemic order don’t make losing weight the conventional ways any easier.
Well the good news is that there is something you can do to lose weight—and it isn’t as difficult as it may first seem. Sure, eating a well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise isn’t necessarily easy, but it sure is effective. You know what they say: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Everything takes time—but we’ve put it all down to six helpful hacks you can employ right away to kickstart your weight loss regime.
1. Avoid consuming calorie-laden drinks
We’re looking at you, lattes and frappuccinos. These pick-me-uppers are delicious and do in a pinch, but if your idea of a cup of joe is a sugar and calorie-laden latte or frappuccino, just hit the espresso or plain black coffee.
If the first thing you reach for is a soda or an iced tea when your energy reserves start to dwindle, replace it with water or sparkling water with a spritz of lime or lemon. The citrus content will prevent your insulin levels from oscillating wildly—and in doing so, it inhibits your body’s predilection for storing calories as far.
2. Reassess your relationship with booze
There’s never a better time to try to put the brakes and reassess your alcohol consumption than now. Consider taking a few days off the alcohol every week to begin with, and slowly progress from there—if going cold turkey is not an option.
Additionally, if you must drink, consider taking red wine instead of beer, and prefer vodka over other calorie-heavier spirits. Plus, use soda water rather than other carbonated or sweetened drinks as plain soda water has significantly less amounts of calories. It also delivers alcohol to the bloodstream more rapidly, allowing you to get socially lubricated enough without overindulging on the alcohol. Less is more, and that’s a good thing when it comes to booze—if you must.
3. Manage stress accordingly
Stress affects your metabolism when your body is in a state of panic, since the body shuts down its long-term processes. What this means is that the body’s own recovery processes such as muscle building and metabolism are downgraded in priority in response to an acute threat, therefore spending its energy on the sympathetic nervous system that governs the fight-or-flight response.
It is therefore necessary to manage the sources of stress and anxiety in your life in general. However, in situations when you’re in actual stress, what you can do is take a page from the U.S. Marines and perform what is called tactical breathing. Just breathe in for four seconds, hold it in for four seconds, and then release it and exhale for another four seconds to trigger your parasympathetic nervous system and chill you out in no time.
4. Always have a fall-back full-body workout when you can’t go to the gym
You might have already decided to take up weight training, a new sport, or perhaps yoga. Thing is, life sometimes gets in the way of even the best intentions. That’s why for the days that you can’t go (and they do happen), you should have a full-body workout ready to go at any time, anywhere—one that’s foolproof, and can be done without any equipment at all. It can be as simple as doing bodyweight squats for 30 seconds and then resting for 10 seconds, and then doing it again the next five minutes. Ditto for press-ups and lunges, and then you’ve got yourself a 15-20 minute workout you can do from the comfort of anywhere you are. It might not be a lot, and it might not be your usual go-around, but it sure beats a day spent sitting around the house doing nothing.
5. Try your best to reduce your urge to snack
You may not notice it, but those little snacks you take throughout the day actually add up to a lot of calories. Snacking isn’t bad per se, but unhealthy snacking is what will undo your progress faster than you can reach for the next Sour Patch Kid.
One of the most effective ways to control snacking is to consume a protein source at every meal. Doing so will curb the urge to snack unhealthily. Scrambled eggs mixed with a spritz of lime or lemon and a dash of chili or hot sauce will set you up with insulin regulation with the former, and fat burning properties for the latter.
Always prepare a backup snacking plan for those times when your blood sugar might be flagging and your body is begging for some simple calories and sugar. Just keep a reasonable amount of sweets (if that’s what you like) or a can of soda in case you need it—use it sparingly like you would a can of WD-40.
6. Reorganize your kitchen and pantry
Simple yet underrated changes such as reorganizing your pantry and your kitchen so that healthier options take center stage over less healthier ones. You’ll be surprised at how effective just simply keeping your guilty pleasures as far away from you as you possibly can—it’s like keeping a kid from a cookie jar—but it works.