Home, Slim, Home: 10 Ways to Make Weight Loss Easier at Home
More Healthy Home Improvements
Cool Your Jets
Just as cold temps help melt flab, so, too, can a chilly shower. "Cold temperatures activate brown fat, a type of fat that burns calories instead of storing them," Dr. Isaacs says. Of course, polar bear plunges can't replace exercise, "but exposure to cold can bring about a small bump in metabolism that adds up to weight loss in the long run." Only about 1 percent of our body fat is made up of brown fat, most of it found in the neck and upper chest. Letting cool water run over this area while scrubbing up -- or better yet, blasting it with cold water for a minute -- may be the most effective way to stimulate this natural calorie blaster.Come Clean
Clutter can increase frustration (where is that other sock?) and compromise relaxation (you sit down to a nice meal only to sit on your sock). So it's no surprise that women who described their digs with words such as overflowing and messy had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, according to research from the University of California, Los Angeles. The less obvious consequence: "Because ab flab contains more cortisol receptors, your body responds to chronic stress by storing fat around your waist," explains Caroline Cederquist, MD, the medical director of Cederquist Medical Wellness Center in Naples, Florida. Fortunately, you don't need to keep things spotless to lose that spare tire. Start by tackling one highly visible area, like the top of your dresser, says Linda Rothschild, the chief executive organizer for Cross It Off Your List in New York City.Do Yourself a Solid
If you love to bake but have a hard time controlling yourself around cookies, scoop the dough into an ice cube tray, freeze it, and pop the cubes into a freezer bag. Then, the next time a craving comes on, stick one in the toaster oven, suggests Heather Bauer, RD, the author of Bread Is the Devil. "The freezer keeps cookies out of sight, and baking them individually forces you to practice portion control," she says. Another way to slow your roll: Instead of whipping up an entire pan of brownies or a loaf of banana bread, mix up a microwaveable mug cake for one (search mug cake on Pinterest for recipes).Weight Here
You won't find this tip on your favorite interior-design blog: Stash two lightweight dumbbells next to your remote control. "They serve as a visual cue to squeeze in a few extra minutes of activity," Braganza says. Use them to crank out full-body exercises, like squats plus biceps curls or lunges plus shoulder presses, during commercial breaks and you'll torch about 100 calories in the course of an hour-long episode. By paying attention to your form instead of the TV, you'll also be less tempted to raid the pantry: Research published in Health Psychology found that people who watched ads for junk food were likelier to snack.Serve Yourself Right
The right plates can help you cut portions painlessly. Research shows that you pile more food on large dishes, so downsize from dinner plates to salad plates. Another study, from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, showed that serving white food on white plates prompted people to help themselves to 30 percent more. To avoid these results at home, follow the lead of study author Brian Wansink, PhD, a FITNESS advisory board member, and invest in a few brightly colored dishes. Use them to serve rice and pasta, reserving your whites for chocolate cake and ice cream.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, June 2013.
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