We took a survey of people who had lost weight asking them to share their best tips to burn fat and keep it off for good.
Here’s what they had to say— check out the surprisingly simple habits that helped them achieve lasting weight loss success without dieting.
We’re obsessed with #14!
1. They love bubbly drinks
Sipping on a seltzer water or a diet soda will make your stomach feel full, helping you curb hunger. This is also a great way to keep your hands busy during social gatherings so you won’t snack on the wrong foods. Bonus trick to burn more fat: bubbly drinks are perfect party decoys; people won’t offer you alcoholic beverages if you have one in hand.
2. They avoid crowds at the grocery store
Wednesdays or evenings after 9:00 pm are the best times to pick up essentials because there are fewer people. You will be able to navigate the store’s maze of temptations much faster, making it less likely that you will pick up something off-program. Doing the self-check line has been shown to reduce impulse buys as well.
3. They turn their back to the buffet
Contrary to what most people think, you can eat right at most buffets and still burn fat. Just fill up your plate with non-starchy vegetables and meats and you will be okay. But here’s the trick: choose a seat where you have your back to the buffet so you aren’t tempted by the view of foods that you shouldn’t be eating.
4. They boss the chef around
If you can’t find something to eat on the menu, it’s okay to ask for what you want. For most any menu item, you can tell the chef to hold the starchy carbs, double the veggies, and put sauces on the side. That means for lunches and dinner, hold the bread and potatoes, double the broccoli. For breakfast, skip the toast or hash browns in favor of sliced tomatoes or cucumbers.
5. They like it hot
Spicy foods contain capsaicin, which has been shown to curb hunger and may even help you burn more fat. Salsa, chili pepper sauce, jalapenos, or even sliced pepperoncinis can amp up the fat-burning effect of your morning meal.
6. They eat their meals out twice
When served a monstrous portion of food at a restaurant, there is no need to feel obligated to eat it all. Divide and conquer your meal this way: eat half and wait at least 10 minutes. That should be enough time for your brain to get the signal from your stomach that you are full. If you are still hungry, go ahead and eat more meats and veggies. Take home the other half for later.
7. They don’t eat with their phone
People who eat while distracted wolf down their food, barely tasting it. This leads to meal amnesia, where you can’t even recall if you ate! So put down your phone, step away from your computer or turn off the TV when you eat. You will enjoy your meal much more– and end up feeling fuller longer.
8. They wrap things up
Sandwich wraps are a fun way to enjoy a hand-held meal– but the starchy flour wrap won’t help you burn fat. Use a lettuce, collard or cabbage leaf as a delicious, crunchy wrap instead. Just trim out the middle rib so it wraps without breaking.
Try wrapping some pre-cooked chicken or beef fajita strips with salsa in lettuce. You can also add a few slices of avocado and even some Chipotle Ranch salad dressing for fun!
9. They drink umami
Are you feeling hungry for no good reason? A warm cup of broth will help calm cravings. Most of us are familiar with the four flavors sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. But broth offers a fifth, more recently discovered flavor called umami, which is richly satisfying to your taste buds.
10. They know when to splurge
If you are at your goal weight, a little splurge here and there might be something you want to do. The problem is that most people eat things like cookies, chocolate or ice cream every day. There’s nothing special about them anymore, eating them all the time means you won’t burn fat. Avoid letting these foods become a daily “treat” and reserve them for more meaningful occasions instead.
11. They crave quality
A curious thing happens when you clean up your diet. You lose your taste for junky foods. Cravings for broccoli or other quality foods that burn fat means that you have truly turned a corner in your weight loss journey.
12. They don’t count
Calories are a unit of heat, as measured in a lab. The thing is, units of heat are not at all related to the complicated chemical reactions that happen in your body. Calories simply do not represent how food might make you fat. Focus instead on foods like meats, eggs, healthy fats and non-starchy veggies. They can be eaten in unlimited amounts and you can lose weight without dieting.
If you aren’t sure which vegetables help you burn fat, here’s a comprehensive list of starchy and non-starchy veggies you can take to the grocery store.
13. They know when to eat
The time of day when food is eaten has more of an effect on your body than you might realize. Research shows that eating late in the evening slows fat loss. An overnight fast in which you keep 12-14 hours between dinner and breakfast the following day will help you burn more fat.
14. They have a thing for coffee or tea
Sipping on a hot beverage between meals is a great way to satisfy random cravings. Caffeinated beverages such as coffee or tea are awesome if you are trying to lose weight. Caffeine offers a double shot of fat loss by decreasing your appetite while increasing your metabolism. Here’s a Pumpkin Spice Delight for you to enjoy!
15. They don’t drink calories
While calories aren’t a good way to measure how solid food might make you fat, a good rule of thumb is to avoid beverages which contain calories. Your body doesn’t register that it has “eaten” anything when you drink liquids with calories. This triggers overeating, and is one of the reasons protein shakes are so bad for you. Ditch the protein shakes, real foods are the key to getting slim and staying slim!
16. They exercise when they feel emotional
Many people turn to food for comfort when under stress. However, emotional eating can trigger weight gain. Instead of turning to food, try taking a 5-10 minute walk. Exercise boosts endorphins which are your natural mood enhancers, giving you a brighter outlook and a healthier way to deal with stress. The habit of doing a 20-minute walk each and every day will keep you on an even keel.
17. They order in to burn fat
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Jan is a 14-year veteran in the fitness industry and has personally coached and trained thousands of people to live fit and healthy lives around the world. 100 pounds ago, she knew exactly what it is like to be obese, sick and unhappy, feeling like there was nothing that could be done about the excess fat she had gained. That is why she couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Personal Trainer Food team today. She has successfully and permanently lost the fat using the principles of this program.