1. Break The Fast-Food Habit
Cut fast food out of your life. It’s actually not that much more work—and it’s even cheaper—to just buy a rotisserie chicken at the market, a bag of tortillas, a can of beans, some lettuce and tomatoes, some broccoli, some olive oil and vinegar, and salsa. Right there, you have two nights’ meals: chicken, salad, and broccoli one night; chicken tacos and beans the next. You can even use the leftover chicken carcass to make chicken soup. You don’t, though, really even need to know much about cooking in order to break the fast-food habit. (Cut up some carrots and celery instead of steaming broccoli, and you won’t even need to use your stove on night one.)
2. Put A Positive Spin On Things
When most golfers take a bad shot, they typically curse at themselves and, say, “That was the worst shot,” or, “I suck at golf,” then they move onto the next shot. That just reinforces negativity. What you want to do instead is reinforce positivity. Every time you take a shot you say, in your head, “great shot,” “good shot,” or “needs work.” Just a simple assessment of how you did. Then, before you move to the next hole, you take a practice swing and say to yourself, “great shot.” What you’re doing by rating your shot, then taking another stroke and saying “great shot” to yourself is training the pathways in your brain. You’re erasing the bad shot from your consciousness. When the last thing you hear is “great shot,” it seeps into your brain, setting the stage for actually making a great shot the next time around. One day, it occurred to me that this technique could help with weight loss. Step on the scale and look at the number. Then say to yourself, “great week,” “good week,” or “needs work.” Then step off the scale, look at it, and say, “great week.” The last thing your brain hears is going to be overwhelmingly positive. Here are reasons your scale might be lying.
3. Find Hidden Sugar
I’m not saying that you should never eat foods that contain sugar, but once you reduce the amount you eat, you’ll crave it less. Grab a notebook and go on a sugar scavenger hunt through your refrigerator and pantry to see how much sweetness is lurking. There may be the obvious things, i.e., cookies, ice cream, certain cereals, and so on (though I hope you’ve got all those obvious sweets out of the house by now). Look for less obvious sugary foods, things like ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressings, Chinese sauces, pasta sauces, fruit yogurt, energy drinks, and even seemingly healthy things like dried fruit. Check labels for dead-giveaway ingredients: honey, brown sugar, turbinado, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, other syrups, raw sugar, agave and glucose (including other sweeteners ending in “ose”). People on a low-sugar diet swear by these tips.
4. Do Cardio Intervals
Intervals—pushing your pace up, then slowing down to recover so you can speed up again—help you burn more fat in less time. In 2008, researchers at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, had a group of women ride stationary bikes at intervals of 8 seconds sprinting and 12 seconds slow riding for 20 minutes (60 repeats in all). The researchers then compared them to a second group of women who rode for 40 minutes straight at the same speed only to find that, at the end of 15 weeks, the interval trainers lost more weight and more body fat than the steady riders. The only question is, Why would you not do intervals?!
5. Be A Stand-Up Guy (or Gal)
Even if you exercise for an hour or more a day, according to new research, it doesn’t cancel out the bad effects of sitting the rest of the day. I was working out hard in the morning, then sitting at my desk all day. Had to change that. Standing more won’t necessarily help you lose weight, but it will, by all accounts, help extend your life. Now, as soon as I get an email, I delete it, get up, walk to the person’s office, then stand while talking to them. I stand when I talk on the phone. When there’s a crowded room, I let others take the chairs and stand up instead. At my kids’ school, they now break every 15 minutes to stand up and shake out their bodies. Set your watch or phone to remind you to do the same. And next time someone offers you a seat, say "no, thanks."