Celery sticks and extreme dieting? Unnecessary. Solid research shows that a few everyday habits (and less exercise!) could be the key to losing weight easily. By Sunny Sea Gold, REDBOOK.
Lose 8 pounds by refusing to skip meals.
Researchers at Seattle's Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center spent a full year following a group of 123 women who were trying to lose weight. One of their happiest discoveries: Going hungry does nothing for you. People who reported skipping meals lost nearly eight pounds less than women who ate regularly. "It may be that they became too hungry by their next meal and overdid it," says lead study author Anne McTiernan, M.D. Another theory: Habitual meal-skippers might also be the same sort of people who spend less time planning and preparing meals.
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Lose 5 pounds by packing your lunch.
More props for brown-baggers: In the Seattle study, women who brought lunch from home lost five pounds more than those who ate out once a week or more. Restaurant meals tend to have more fat and calories, and portions are often larger than those you'd serve yourself, McTiernan says: "If it looks like you can feed a family of four with your plate, you probably could!"
Lose a pound by weighing yourself regularly.
If you use the scale as a tool (i.e., don't obsess!), knowing your weight could help you manage it. Data from the National Weight Control Registry, which follows thousands of people trying to stick to their weight loss, found that folks who stepped up once a day stayed a pound slimmer than those who weighed themselves less than weekly. Why? The earlier you notice upticks, the faster and easier it is to correct course.
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Lose 6 pounds by writing down what you eat.
A food-diary app could get you back into your skinny jeans. McTiernan and her colleagues found that women who kept consistent food journals lost about six pounds more than those who didn't. "It's all about accountability," she says. We often underestimate the calories we're taking in; jotting foods down makes denial harder.
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Lose 8 pounds by sweating less.
In a new study, Danish researchers asked a group of overweight men to exercise for half an hour a day, and another to spend twice as long. After three months, the half-hour exercisers lost eight pounds--two more than the others. Scientists speculate that 30 minutes is just enough time to burn calories and rev metabolism without getting either too hungry or too exhausted to stay active after.
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