This is not a diet – or a rigorous exercise program. (Nobody can stick to those for long). Instead, it’s a sample way to make weight loss a natural part of the life you already live. And guess what? It’s fun! You don’t have to give up the foods you love or join a gym. It’s about balancing calories in tiny ways that add up to big benefits. You just adopt some tricks naturally lean people do. Pick the ones you like, stick with them, and you’ll slim down and tone up for good!
Walk-up workout – When your eyes open, sit up slowly without using your hands. With legs straight out, lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your back and hamstrings. Hold; then, using you abs, lower yourself flat. Rest and repeat two more times. Strengthens core. Burns10.
Go for the grains – Sprinkle on a few tablespoons of wheat germ or oat bran into your breakfast. Workup to 3/4 cup of low-sugar whole-grain cereal with at least three grams of fibre per serving, and you’ll pass on that doughnut.Â
Add some protein – The more you eat earlier on, the less you eat as the day wears on, research has shown. So after your cereal, add a hard boiled egg or a part-skim cheese slice to keep you feeling full – and away from that pre-lunch snack.
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Balance booster – While you brush your teeth, alternate standing or one leg as you switch mouth quadrants (every 30 seconds). Balancing develops your core muscles and may even be good for your brain.
Be a ballerina – As your coffee boils, stand sideways, put one hand on the kitchen table, and lift the outside leg straight out in front of you, keeping it extended. With upper body straight, hold for a few seconds and move it to the side; hold and extend it behind you. Do five to ten times on each leg. Tones outer thighs, hip flexors and quadriceps.
Coffee saver – Instead of pouring that 1/3 cup of full-fat milk (a whopping 105 calories!) into your mug, replace it with the same amount of skimmed milk.
Tone in traffic – Use the time spent in traffic jams to develop your buns of steel; squeeze your derriere each time you tap the brake, holding for 10 seconds. Aim for 10 to 15 squeezes a trip.
Casual day payoff – You will blast more calories during the day wearing comfy clothes like jeans or khakis, sport shirts and soft-soled shoes than donning constricting suits, skirts and heels. Why? Because you walk more, a study found. Now you just have to convince the boss.
You know squat!
At your desk chair, pretend you’re going to sit but don’t – stop and come back up without using your arms. Always start squats by lowering your hips, not bending knees forward, and keeping your weight on your heels.
Repeat the motion throughout the day (even at the potty!) for 15 to 20 total. Strengthens quadriceps.
Switch drinks – Your body doesn’t register calories from liquids the same way it does those from foods, so you won’t get those “stop eating” signals to help you compensate for the overload later on. Change from two glasses of regular cola or packaged fruit juice to diet drinks or plain water.
Talk it UP – Every time you grab the phone, stand up and pace around. Heavy people sit on average two and a half hours more per day than thin people, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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Get face time – We use emails so much we’ve forgotton what our co-workers look like. Pick a colleague or two who sits farthest from you and deliver 10 of those daily message in person. And go out of your way; Hit a bathroom or a copier on another floor and take the stairs, of course.
Firm as you file – Pause from your papers with a few wall push-ups. Place hands wide at shoulder height against the wall. Take a couple of steps back so your body is at a slight angle and your weight is on your toes, and do three sets of 10 push-ups. Strengthens chest and triceps.
An Apple (or more) a day – They’re packed with fibre and water, so your stomach will want less. Plus, studies out of US and Brazil have shown that people who eat at least three apples or pears a day lose weight. Try two small apples and two fewer large biscuits.
Try a simple chair workout dips – If your chair has wheels, brace it against something. Facing forward, place palms on the front edge of the seat with knees bent at a right angle. Lower butt towards the floor; raise and repeat for two sets of 10. Tones triceps.
Lifts – Seated in a chair with your back straight and your feet on the floor, squeeze knees together and gently bring them towards your chest. Do two sets of ten. Strengthens abdominals.
Carry some weight – When you’re grocery shopping or running errands, wear a backpack with a 2 or 4 kilo bag of sugar inside to increase resistance and burn more calories. Add purchases to your load as it becomes easier.
Burns 20 (for an hour of errands)
Tweak your treat – Instead of a large cafe latte and a chocolate muffin, get a small latte (ask for skimmed milk) and a small low-fat raisin or carrot muffin.
Pump at the pump – Instead of fuming over petrol prices, think about firming your calves: With one hand on your car, stand on the balls of your feet and slowly rise up and down for as it takes your tank to fill – for a big car that might be 50 raises!
Do the pizza pat – Blot your slice with a napkin to cut anywhere from a teaspoon to a tablespoon of grease-and calories.
Shop till the kilos drop – At the mall, try on at least ten outfits, both pants and shirts. No need to buy!
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