Home, Slim, Home: 10 Ways to Make Weight Loss Easier at Home
Tip the Scale
Cut the Lights
Installing a dimmer switch in your kitchen and turning on some Adele is a bright idea: Diners who ate a meal under soft lights with relaxing music in the background consumed 133 fewer calories compared with those who ate in bright, noisy environments, a recent Cornell University study revealed. Calm vibes encourage you to eat more slowly, so your brain has time to register that you're satisfied before you're stuffed. Not handy? No problem. Mike Scott, the resident lighting expert for Lowe's, says even a novice can install a dimmer switch in 15 minutes or less (click on the Ideas & How-Tos tab at lowes.com for a step-by-step video tutorial).Take a Stand
The average woman packs on about a pound a year once she hits 25. Fight Father Time by spending an extra hour a day standing, which burns about 40 calories more an hour than sitting does, says Barry Braun, PhD, a kinesiology professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. What's more, "not activating muscle fibers for a prolonged period of time causes negative changes in the pathways that regulate your metabolism," Braun says. Translation: Standing doesn't just use more energy, it also keeps your metabolism humming. You can purchase a computer stand for about $90, or just park yourself at the kitchen counter as you send e-mails. If standing for an hour straight sounds too drastic, Braun suggests taking a five-minute walking break every 30 minutes.Chill Out
Even if it's been a laze-around-in-your-yoga-pants day, you can still burn more fat for basically no effort by adjusting your thermostat. A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation found that when people were exposed to cold temps for three hours, they burned an additional 250 calories. Your body has to go into overdrive to heat itself up to a cozy 98 degrees, and extra calories are zapped in the process, explains Scott Isaacs, MD, an endocrinologist and the author of Beat Overeating Now! You don't have to walk around shivering to get the benefits, he says; just lower your thermostat by two to three degrees.Get Your Rear in New Gear
"Worn-out clothes can hold you back and even keep you from going to the gym in the first place, while a flattering, comfortable outfit boosts your confidence and energy while you work out," says body image expert Sarah Maria, the author of Love Your Body, Love Your Life. So, do a clean sweep and get rid of anything with stains or stretched-out elastic (the life span of a sports bra, for example, is six months to a year). Then reward yourself with a few purchases that fill the gaps in your workout wardrobe. "A neon sports bra or a moisture-wicking tank may be motivation enough to run an extra mile or bust out a few more reps," says Ramona Braganza, a Los Angeles–based celebrity trainer.Make a Little White Noise
The key to a good night's sleep could be snoozing to the sound of an overhead fan. "It helps you tune out disruptions. If you're in a too-quiet room, any little sound, whether it's the house creaking or your neighbors coming home, will wake you up," says Lisa Shives, MD, the founder of the Linden Center for Sleep and Weight Management in Evanston, Illinois. And when you're tired, you eat more: People who got just five hours of shut-eye a night put on nearly two pounds over a five-day period, according to a new study from the University of Colorado Boulder. If you don't have a fan, invest in a white-noise machine or download an app like White Noise ($2; Android and iTunes) or Relax Melodies (free; Android and iTunes).
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