ALL of the barbecues, ice-creams and glasses of Pimms over the summer won’t help when it comes to losing weight.
Most of us have tried diets in a bid to blitz fat – few of us have loved them, and almost all of us have given up.
And on top of this, diets can be boring, monotonous and quite frankly unsustainable – making us feel as though our ideal weight can never be achieved.
But rather than embarking on yet another tedious diet plan, we’ve compiled ten simple ways to shed any excess weight without cutting out your favourite treats – and yes that includes things like beer, curries and chocolate!
1. Drink chocolate milk
Good news for chocoholics, as studies have shown that drinking chocolate milk after a workout can actually help to speed up your recovery and blitz body fat.
Results of a study by Indiana University found that athletes who drank chocolate milk were not as tired in their second intense workout, compared to participants who took on board a sports drink – meaning they can burn more calories.
Another study from researchers at the University of Texas backed up these findings as it revealed that athletes who were given chocolate milk in their study had faster race times compared to athletes who drank sports drinks.
Chocolate milk is thought to be a good recovery drink as it contains protein, calcium and antioxidants.
2. Get vocal
If you want to get fitter, then it might be about time you started to shout about it.
One fitness program, IntenSati works on this principle, encouraging participants in their classes to get vocal and recite positive affirmations and phrases such as “I am strong” and “I can do this”, while performing exercises such as interval training, dance, martial arts and yoga.
IntenSati claims to train the mind, body and spirit and concept behind the technique is that shouting words of encouragement helps to motivate the individual and change their mentality towards training.
The vocal addition to the classes is also used as a way to distract participants from any tiredness or pain they may be feeling from the workout.
3. Eat more often
You may think that skipping meals will help keep you slim and burn fat, but eating more frequently is in fact more beneficial.
Weight loss is all about burning off more calories than you consume, making it tempting to skip meals and reduce calorie intake, but this however can have the opposite effect.
While eating too much food can cause you to gain weight, eating too little can also make it surprisingly difficult to shed those pounds.
That’s because your body’s natural instinct is to protect itself. So it will automatically go into starvation mode if not given enough fuel, causing the metabolism to slow down and the body to hoard fat and calories.
Rather than skipping meals or lowering your calorie intake too drastically, opt for regular small and healthy meals alongside regular exercise.
It is advised to consume around five or six smaller meals throughout the day, keeping your metabolism burning those calories, instead of slowing it down which skipping meals can do.
4. Swap cocktails for beer
The myth of the beer belly may have finally been laid to rest – as it has been found that beer can actually help people lose weigh when drunk in moderation.
The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) have said that a third of men and women wrongly believe that beer has more calories than other alcoholic drinks including wine and alcopops.
However, swapping wine for beer for just one week could save as many calories as a half-hour jog.
Professor Charlie Bamforth, a brewing expert, said: ”For years beer has been blighted by a reputation for being more fattening than other alcoholic drinks when in reality the exact opposite is true.
”The major source of calories in any alcoholic drink is the alcohol itself, and because beer is the drinks category with the lowest average alcohol content it is also lowest in calories.”
That’s not to say you should sink countless pints on a night out – but a bit of what you fancy won’t hurt in moderation.
5. Sip on iced water
A simple yet effective trick is to add ice to the water bottle you use during your workouts.
One study found obese female participants exercised for a longer duration when they held a cooling device, in comparison to those who didn’t.
The research proposed that the women holding something cold could exercise for a longer duration because their internal temperature was slower to increase.
The women didn’t hold as much heat and as a result were able to continue with their workout.
Freeze your water bottle before or add some ice cubes to try to increase the amount of time you can exercise for.
6. Get more sleep
Sleep is crucial when it comes to weight loss because it’s only when you’re totally at rest that your body can repair.
That’s when your muscles grow and recover – which is integral for changing your body composition and bringing down that body fat percentage.
A 2010 study by the University of Chicago found that when those on a diet got a full night’s sleep, more than half the weight they lost was fat.
When they cut back on sleep, not only did this reduce the amount of fat loss to only one quarter, but they also reported feeling hungrier.
Without adequate rest, your satiation and hunger hormones, leptin and ghrelin, will be out of kilter. This can encourage cravings, in particular for sweet foods.
Last year, scientists found that people who get between seven and nine hours most night also have fewer hunger pangs.
7. Have a cuppa
A recent study found that consuming caffeine before a workout before a workout can help you burn more fat during your training.
This is because caffeine can increase your metabolism and black coffee before exercise can make the body burn fat as an energy source, as oppose to glycogen.
Another study also revealed that those who consumed caffeine before their workout reported less muscle pain than those who didn’t take any on board. This quick fitness tip could help you workout for longer and at a higher intensity.
Alongside all of this, caffeine can also help improve your focus so that you can really make the most of your workouts.
8. Spice things up
It might not be the first thing you think of eating to speed up weight-loss, but spicy foods have been found to increase our metabolism and stimulate the body’s ability to burn fat – and yes that includes curry!
Registered dietitian Helen Bond previously told The Sun that the hotter chillies are, the more capsaicin they contain. So you could interpret that as the hotter your curry, the more fat-burning potential.
She said: “In a review of twenty studies, when capsaicin (the stuff that gives chillis their heat) was included in the diet, an extra 50 calories were burned each day – which over time may help to induce weight loss and prevent weight gain as part of a calorie controlled diet.
“Other small studies show other spices such as mustard and ginger, may help burn calories or improve satiety (feelings of fullness) so we eat less.
“All good news for adding spices to our foods, ditching the salt pot and encouraging all-around healthier eating habits.”
Obviously, we’re not suggesting you should go out and grab a takeaway as they tend to be packed with fat and salt.
Make your own and pack it out with healthy spices so that you’re really benefiting from the anti-inflammatory properties.
9. Chill out
The hamster wheel of life – work, eat, sleep, repeat – can leave many feeling stressed but a hectic lifestyle could also lead to you piling on excess weight too.
The stress hormone, cortisol aside, stress actually makes it way harder for you to say “no” to booze and biscuits.
Scientists from UNSW have been working out why it’s so hard to ignore unhealthy foods.
They found that feeling stressed, tired or overworked makes it almost impossible to ignore cues that signal something rewarding – like unhealthy food.
If you are experiencing stress, then you need to remove yourself from situations where you’re likely to be tempted to give in to your weakness.
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10. Stop snacking
Although it is important to make sure your body is not completely deficient of energy before bed, as you continue to burn calories whilst you sleep, consuming unhealthy calorie-rich food before bed can halter weight-loss as unused calories are subsequently stored as fat.
Studies have shown that a third of women consume nearly half their calories during or after dinner, resulting in a substantial amount of unused calories.
The average person should aim to consume around 200 calories, guilt free, after dinner, but eating large amounts of food before bed will not only add to your the amount of fat stored, but can also slow the digestive system encouraging weight gain.