By Harley Pasternak M.SC&The Editors of Eat This, Not That!
If you’re famous or financially well off, you can basically buy yourself a better body—at least that’s what a lot of people assume.
But that’s only half-true; anyone can make their weight loss dreams a reality so long as they’re armed with the right information—and I’m going to give it to you. Fit celebs like Megan Fox, Halle Berry, Jennifer Hudson, Jimmy Fallon and Adam Levine have all enlisted my help to lose weight and stay fit. So if you’ve ever flipped through a beachbody feature and wished you could have abs like the celebs printed on the pages, you’ve come to the right place.
Here, along with the editors of Eat This, Not That!, I reveal exactly how to sculpt the best version of yourself by following simple—yet extremely effective—celeb-endorsed strategies. Commit to a handful of my go-to tips to start losing weight and getting a flat stomach—stat!
(And for even more fat-zapping tricks check out these 30 Skinny Secrets from the World's Sexiest Women!)
1. Bring Sneakers to Work
If you want to lose weight, the first step is, well, taking more steps. To burn more calories throughout the day, make your social engagements more active (group spin class, anyone?!) and ask your colleagues if they’d like to take your meetings “on the road.” Not only are walking meetings great exercise, studies suggest they lead to more creative thinking, too!
2. Eat More Almonds
Almonds make for a great on-the-go snack. Their combination of hunger-fighting protein and filling fiber will stave off hunger for hours! Plus, they're perfect to throw in your backpack or purse or car. For optimal weight loss results, eat your daily serving before you hit the gym. Almonds, rich in the amino acid L-arginine, can actually help you burn more fat and carbs during workouts, a study printed in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found—that’s why Eat This, Not That! named them one of the 6 Best Nuts For Weight Loss.
3. Fear Fat-Free
If you think the promise of a fat-free dessert sounds too good to be true, you’re right. When manufacturers take the fat out of cookies and sweets, they typically load them up with sugar, which is one of the worst nutrients for total health and weight loss. Plus, when something is labeled as a healthier pick, people typically wind up eating even more, which is bad news for your waistline. If you want to indulge in a dessert, go for the real deal and cut yourself off after one sensible-sized serving.
And speaking of fat, be sure to check out these 20 Best Full-Fat Foods for Weight Loss.
4. Cancel Your Gym Membership
Want bulging biceps on a budget? Skip the gym membership and invest in a pair of dumbbells. Free weights and your own body weight are all you need to challenge every major muscle group in your body. For some exercise inspiration, check out this Zero Belly Full Body Workout.
5. Put on Your Detective Gear
It's soured, spoiled and riddled with bacteria. It’s basically moldy milk. And it’s proof that a little bad can do the body a whole lotta good. In fact, there’s a growing body of research to suggest a daily serving (at least!) of fermented dairy like yogurt can do wonders for weight loss. But not all yogurts are created equal. Some are packed with more than a day’s worth of sugar. When you’re shopping for tubs of the stuff at the store, stick to an unflavored variety (I like Siggi's) or one of ETNT's Best Greek Yogurts for Weight Loss.
6. Cook Wild Salmon
Don’t let salmon’s relatively high calorie and fat content fool you; studies suggest the oily fish may be one of the best for weight loss. (In fact, it makes our list of the fatty foods that will help you lose weight.) A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that eating three 5-ounce servings of salmon per week for four weeks as part of a low-calorie diet resulted in approximately 2.2 pounds more weight lost than following an equal-calorie diet that didn't include fish. Wild salmon is leaner than farmed, which is pumped up on fishmeal; and it’s also proven to be significantly lower in cancer-linked PCBs. So go wild—literally!
Unplug from technology for an hour a day and spend that time reading a real book (yes, they still exist), doing yoga, taking a walk, meditating—whatever relaxes you and makes you happy! The constant attention-grabbing chirping that our phones, tablets and computers make has an impact on our stress levels, sleep, and perspective. And since stress and sleep both play a role in health and weight loss, powering down can help you stay trim, too.
Another natural way to combat stress? Sip on one of these 6 Teas that Combat Stress.
8. Hone in On Two Key Nutrients
A big part of losing weight is keeping your blood-sugar levels stable so you don’t overeat. To keep hunger at bay, eat three meals and two snacks a day (all of these 25 Best High Protein Snacks in America are healthy picks). And to help you stay fuller longer, make sure that every time you eat, you’re consuming a combination of fiber (one of the most satiating nutrients out there) and protein.
9. Aim for an Apple a Day
This crisp, refreshing fruit is among the most super of superfoods: They boast the powerful antioxidant quercetin and vitamins C and B-6, which keep your cholesterol levels low and slash your risk for heart disease. But thanks to their high fiber count, an apple a day can do more than keep the doctor away—it can help you trim down, too.
Sick of eating your fruit plain? Smear some peanut butter on some slices for a hit of protein or whip up one of these 10 Apple Recipes for Weight Loss.
10. Beware of “Healthy” Breakfast Impostors
Just because it doesn’t have a cartoon character on the box, doesn't mean it’s a good-for-you cereal. In fact, many healthy looking cereals are just sugar bombs in disguise. Steer clear of things like Crackin’ Oat Bran (22 grams of sugar/cup) and Raisin Bran (19 grams of sugar/cup) and stick with one of these 11 Best Brand Name Cereals for Weight Loss.
11. Aim for 10,000
Instead of saving all your activity for the 45 minutes you're at the gym, sneak in steps all day long. Invest in a pedometer or a Fitbit and try to hit at least 10,000 steps a day. This way, if you miss a workout, you’ll know you’ve already fit in some movement, and it won’t throw your progress totally off track.
For more ways to boost your activity levels and lose weight, check out these 19 Ways to Burn 100 Calories without a Gym/
12. Just Do One
A busy schedule isn’t a reason to skip out on your workouts. In fact, slacking off could slow your slim-down progress. Thankfully, fitting in fitness doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Trade in your exhaustive, hour-long five-times-a-week sessions for one daily resistance exercise (like a bicep curl, squat, lunge or shoulder press). Spending as little as five minutes executing one daily resistance exercise is all it takes to build and maintain muscle, reduce fat, and protect our bones.
13. Choose Bottled Smoothies Carefully
Pre-packaged fruit smoothies are often advertised as healthy sips. But in reality, many of them are just sugar and calorie bombs in disguise. What’s worse: Thanks to stealthy packaging tricks, most people have zero idea what they’re in for. Because a bottle often contains two servings, the nutritional breakdown is twice as bad is it seems at first glance. Plus, compared to fresh-made drinks, most of them fall short on nutrition. The bottom line: You’re better off making a smoothie yourself at home—these 20 Amazing Smoothie Recipes are all slimming options.
14. Eat More Lentils
This vegetarian protein has been shown to reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol, promote fat metabolism and boost satiety. It’s also a source of resistant starch, a slow-digesting fiber that triggers the release of acetate—a molecule in the gut that tells the brain when to stop eating, making it a must-eat for anyone trying to lose weight.
15. Pick up Some Skyr
What’s “skyr”? It’s the traditional yogurt of Iceland, made by incubating milk with live active cultures, then skimming away the watery whey that floats to the top, leaving the yogurt creamier than other varieties. Siggi’s 4% milkfat varieties deliver 10 grams of protein for a mere 8 grams of sugar, making their ratio among the healthiest on the market.
16. Get 7 Hours
Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep a night. Slacking on shut-eye depletes our energy levels and wreaks havoc on our hormones in such a way that causes us to eat more. Over time, this can contribute to significant weight gain. In fact, losing as little as 30 minutes of sleep can up your risk of obesity by 17 percent, according to recent findings.
And to make your time between the sheets all the more productive check out these 20 Surprising Ways to Lose Weight In You Sleep.
Most people know that they need to drink water during their workouts to stay hydrated, but many people overlook the importance of sipping water throughout the way. Thirst can often be mistaken for hunger, so regularly drinking water can keep excess calories off of your plate— and, more importantly, out of your mouth.
Sick of plain ol’ H20? Add some flavor to your water sans calories with these 50 Best Detox Waters for Fat Burning and Weight Loss/
18. Forgo Granola Bars
A lot of “healthy” snack bars on supermarket shelves are really no better than candy bars. If you need to eat on the run, look for a bar with less than 10 grams of sugar and a solid hit of protein and fiber. We’re big fans of Cascadian Farm Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola Bars (190 calories, 9 g sugar, 3 g fiber, 4 g protein).
19. Get Your Morning Buzz On
Silence your iPhone alarm, hit the shower and then make your way over to the blender. Buzzing up a healthy, homemade smoothie for breakfast is a great way to stay full and focused through the morning hours. To make my go-to blend, combine fresh or frozen berries, a small handful of almonds with some strained yogurt for protein (I like the skyr and Greek varieties). Add some almond milk to get the blender moving, and voila!
Speaking of healthy breakfasts, find out What Slim People Eat for Breakfast, here!
Harley Pasternak is a celebrity trainer and nutritionist. He’s trained many celebrities including Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Megan Fox, Robert Downey Jr., Robert Pattinson, Jessica Simpson, Ke$ha, Hilary Duff and Rashida Jones.