FitnessRx for Women presents 50 simple ideas that will place you among the small percentage of women who lose weight successfully and keep it off. Combining a few of these simple techniques will make weight loss easier than you thought possible. The secret of losing weight is not a magic pill or radical techniques that shock your body. Rather, it’s a combination of small, painless changes that help you eat less food and burn more calories. The weight-loss solution is easier than you think.
By themselves, none are miracle cures for losing fat or building a fitness model body. Taken together, they are powerful tools that will help you lose weight and keep it off for the rest of your life.
Reduce Food Intake
1. Cut out high-sugar soft drinks. Substitute tap water; after a while, you won’t crave sugary sodas and might decrease caloric intake enough that you will lose a pound every two weeks without dieting.
2. Chew your food. Eating slowly and chewing food thoroughly promotes fullness and prevents overeating.
3. Choose fruit instead of high-calorie snacks. Fruit is sweet, but high in water and less calorie-dense than cakes and cookies.
4. Serve more vegetables during lunch and dinner. Vegetables are filling, low in calories and contain vital vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting antioxidants.
5. Drink a high-fiber, high-protein shake two times per day. Mix nonfat milk, 20 grams of protein powder and 5 grams of fiber supplement (or eat two pieces of high-fiber wheat toast). This will decrease food intake and promote weight loss.
6. Choose fruit instead of fruit juice. Fruit juice concentrates calories, while fruit is higher in fiber and prevents hunger longer.
7. Don’t drink too much alcohol. Some alcohol is healthy, but excessive amounts promote obesity. When drinking wine, order by the glass rather than by the bottle.
8. Drink nonfat milk instead of whole or reduced-fat milk. Nonfat milk increases calcium intake and might promote weight loss.
9. Eat more fiber. High-fiber diets decrease appetite, reduce fat absorption and lower blood cholesterol. Good sources of fiber include vegetables, nuts, whole-grain cereals and breads, fiber supplements, brown rice and whole-grain pasta.
10. Don’t be a human garbage disposal. Many families tell kids to eat everything on their plates. Take smaller portions and don’t feel you must eat every scrap of food served to you.
11. Include nuts in your diet. Higher nut consumption is linked to less body fat.
12. Leave the cheese off your cheeseburger. Cheese adds 100 calories or more to your meal. Skipping the cheese allows you to have your burger and eat it, too.
13. Substitute a liquid or prepackaged diet meal for dinner two times a week. Well-controlled studies found that diet meals promote weight loss and prevent weight gain.
14. Prepare meals at home instead of dining at restaurants. Large servings at restaurants promote overeating and consumption of high-calorie, fatty foods. Eat 90 percent of your meals at home.
15. Drink coffee black. A cup of coffee contains about 2 calories, while a Starbucks Whipped Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha contains nearly 600. Skipping those daily lattes and cappuccinos will help you lose fat quickly.
16. Avoiding eating in large groups. Office parties and large get-togethers are fun, but fattening. People eat less food when meeting with one or two friends instead.
17. Eat like the French. Portions at French restaurants are small and expensive. Restaurants often attract customers by serving super-sized portions. Ask for a half order or smaller portions.
Burn Fat While You’re Out and About
19. Enter a charity walk-a-thon. Many charities make money by getting people to sign up as sponsors in walk-a-thons and fun runs. These events help charities and make you look better in a bikini.
20. Explore a new city on foot. Next time you are on vacation or business in a strange city, take a long walk and explore. You will lose weight and learn about your destination up close and personal.
21. Do errands by bike or on foot. You are not chained to your car. Buy a grocery cart and walk to the store. Carts are small, so you won’t buy as much food and will increase fitness at the same time.
22. Take the dog for a walk. Fat people usually own fat dogs. Do your dog and yourself a favor and go for a walk together.
23. Hit softballs at the batting cage. Hitting balls is a great way to get ready for springtime softball games and is a terrific total-body exercise.
24. Hit a bucket of balls at the golf course. Many people think golf is a wimpy sport. Hit a couple of hundred balls at the driving range and see how you feel the next day. This is a great way to burn calories and improve your game.
25. Buy a pedometer. Accurate pedometers, such as those made by Omron, Yamax, and New-Lifestyles, record the number of steps you take each day. Try to add at least 2,000 extra steps each day and build up from there.
26. Do aerobics 30 to 90 minutes a day. Women who walk only 30 minutes, five times per week will lose an average of 5 pounds in six to 12 months— without dieting, watching what they eat or exercising intensely.
27. Run with an exercise GPS. These devices are more accurate (and more expensive) than pedometers. Units made by companies such as Polar, Garmin and Omron are very accurate and are great motivators for increasing walking distance and speed. Link the GPS units to Goggle Earth to track your walk or run from space.
28. Be more active at home. Home can be a place where you vegetate, or it can be a fitness paradise. There are literally hundreds of ways to be more active. Throw away the remote, walk up the stairs several times a day, mow the lawn by hand, clip the hedges, get rid of the spiders on the ceiling, move the furniture around.
29. Be more active at work. Workout at work— build your abdominal muscles by tightening them isometrically, take the stairs instead of the elevator, sign up for an exercise class at lunch, and park several blocks from work and walk a few extra blocks. Get up from your chair and stretch at least once every hour.
30. Do calisthenics first thing in the morning and before going to bed at night. Calisthenics are resistive exercises that use bodyweight as resistance. These are excellent for a person who wants to develop muscle strength, but is unwilling to join a health club or devote too much time to the activity. Examples include push-ups, squats, curl-ups, chair dips, crunches and jumping jacks.
31. Work in the garden. Trimming the hedges, pruning roses, planting flowers and mowing the lawn are not Olympic sports, but they do burn calories and get you outside.
32. Exercise in the housework gymnasium. A vacuum cleaner is actually a lunge machine. Use a little creativity and you can turn simple household chores into a weight and aerobics workout. Try wearing a weighted vest while you sweep or mop the floor. Don’t walk up the stairs— run. Jog in place as you wash the dishes. Stretch while putting away the dishes.
33. Active shopping. Go on a window-shopping hike. Walk through the mall and check out every single shop. If you live in a small town, check out each store twice. If you live near the Mall of America, cover the stores in four days.
34. Clean the rain gutters. Climbing ladders and reaching for the rain gutter is great for your legs and gives you a big stretch.
35. Paint the walls. Painting is terrific exercise that will give your house a new look to go along with your new body.
36. Trim the hedge. Go to the hardware store and purchase hand hedge trimmers. This garden chore burns calories and builds chest, shoulder, leg and core muscles.
37. Sweep the walkway. Try interval sweeping. Pick a 10-yard strip of cement and sweep as fast and as hard as you can. Also, try lunge sweeping. Do a lunge every time you sweep the broom— first your left leg, then your right.
39. Tennis. Tennis builds aerobics capacity and muscle tone and is an excellent conditioner, whether you play in a league, hit forehands and backhands with a friend, or volley against the backboard.
40. Volleyball. Play this sport in a gym or on grass or sand. Sand volleyball gets you out in the sun and is a terrific leg burner.
41. Golf. Take a few lessons from a golf pro and you will soon enjoy sunny days on the links. Walk the course and you will burn more than 500 calories.
42. Soccer. Women’s soccer leagues are available for girls as young as 5 and as old as 60. Running up and down the field dribbling a soccer ball is good for fitness and soccer skills.
43. Softball. Almost every town and city in America has women’s and mixed-gender softball leagues. You don’t have to be a pro; opportunities exist for beginners and older adults, as well as more skilled and serious players.
44. Water skiing. All you need is a boat, some sunshine, and a few friends. This is an expensive sport, but even rich folk need several people to observe and ride in the boat, so getting an invitation to go water skiing isn’t that difficult.
45. Windsurfing. This is one of the fastest growing summer sports in the U.S. A basic board and sail is relatively inexpensive. Combine wind and flat water and you can learn this exciting sport in a hurry.
46. Badminton. Contrary to popular belief, badminton is a fast, rigorous sport that requires quickness, skill and agility. Purchase a badminton set at any sporting goods shop. Better yet, find a badminton league through your local recreation department or university.
47. Ultimate Frisbee. This new age game is a cross between soccer, rugby and football. It is played on a football field and involves teams defending and scoring goals with a Frisbee. Teams are usually mixed gendered.
48. Bowling. Give bowling a try if you haven’t played lately. Gone are the days of dingy bowling alleys filled with smoke. Bowling is fun and takes a lot of skill. You won’t burn many calories, but it is better than staying home and watching television.
49. Surfing. Technology has made surfing more accessible to the average woman. Nowadays you don’t even need an ocean; artificial wave parks have sprung up across the country. Go to your nearest surf shop and rent a board first to see if you like the sport.
50. Dancing. Why not have fun, let your hair down, and lose body fat at the same time? Dancing lets you get as much or as little exercise as you want. This is a great activity for mixing exercise with your social life.