Sunny days, al fresco lunches, vacations, lobster rolls. There’s a long list of things to look forward to when summer officially starts in a few weeks. But if you’re one of the many people dreading swimsuit season, don’t order that juice cleanse just yet. Curbing your sweet tooth, sleeping in cooler temps and powering your workouts with HIIT are just some of the small—but effective—changes you can make to see big differences on the scale. For more ways on the best ways to lose weight for summer, check out our list of The 55 Best Ways to Boost Your Metabolism, so you’re really ready once summer rolls around!
Revamp Your Breakfast Routine
Reaching for sugary cereal every morning is packing on pounds with empty calories. Though tasty, most boxed cereals are filled with refined carbs and other processed ingredients that elevate your blood sugar levels and keep you coming back for more. Instead, prep overnight oats and enjoy them in the morning. Unlike sugary cereals, oatmeal is packed with fiber and protein to keep you fuller longer. Layer oats, berries, chia seeds, nuts and Greek yogurt, and you’ve got yourself a high-protein breakfast that’ll keep hunger at bay.
And if oats aren’t your jam, eggs are a great breakfast choice because they’re excellent sources of protein, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and choline, a nutrient with powerful fat-burning properties. In one study from the International Journal of Obesity, people who ate eggs instead of bagels for breakfast had a lower response to ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) and were less hungry three hours later. They also consumed fewer calories over the course of the next day.
Sleep In A Cooler Room
As you already know, sleeping at least seven to nine hours each night is key to maintaining a healthy weight and regulating your metabolism. But it turns out that sleeping in cooler temperatures can help you lose weight, too. Research has shown that snoozing in a colder room can help stimulate the growth of metabolism-revving brown fat. In fact, participants in a study in the journal Diabetes spent a month sleeping in a bedroom with varying temperatures and found that those who slept in 66℉ rooms had nearly doubled their brown fat compared to those who slept in warmer rooms.
Power Up With HIIT
If you’re looking to build muscle and cinch your waistline, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the ultimate fat-burning workout. When you alternate between short periods of intense exercise and recovery as you do in HIIT, it revs up your metabolism so you burn calories hours after the workout. Dr. Alex Tauberg, DC, CSCS, EMR, tells us in 50 Ways to Shrink Your Belly, “HIIT should usually be done on a 2:1 interval, meaning you do an exercise at max effort for one minute and then rest for 30 seconds and repeat.” To ensure you’re getting the most of your HIIT workouts, incorporate ab exercises into your routine. “By performing core workouts using a HIIT plan, you can burn calories and build muscle at the same time,” Dr. Tauberg explains. “This can be a great way to flatten that stomach when you don’t have too much time to work out.”
Work Out in the Heat
Good news for hot yoga fans: Research suggests that working out in the heat can help tame your appetite. According to a study by Loughborough University researchers, men who exercised in a hot environment (86° F) tended to eat less than men who worked out in a neutral (68° F) environment. The study also showed that those who exercised in a cooler setting (50° F) tended to eat more. Overall, athletes in warmer environments consumed 12 percent fewer calories and reported feeling 15 percent less hungry than those who were in colder areas.
Spice Up Your Life
Sugar and salt might not have a place on your plate, but you don’t want to skimp on spice. Capsaicin, the active compound in cayenne pepper, paprika, and other spices, has been shown to help boost your metabolism. According to a Canadian study, those who supplemented their diet with capsaicin consumed 200 fewer calories during their next meal, The New York Times reports. If you prefer a milder spice, try cinnamon. Research from the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute suggests that cinnamon can help burn fat, thanks to its essential oil, cinnamaldehyde.
Fill Up On Water
Sipping on water doesn’t only keep you hydrated, but it also helps you eat less. According to a British study published in the journal Obesity, drinking 16 ounces of water before each meal can lead to a substantial weight loss. Researchers enlisted 84 obese adults for three months and divided them into two groups. The first group drank 16 ounces of water half an hour before each of their meals while the other group imagined that they were already full prior to digging in. The water group lost about nine pounds, while their imaginative peers shed approximately three fewer pounds. So make sure you soak up some H2O before your meal because it helps you feel fuller and make better food choices.
Reduce Your Added Sugar Intake
The American Heart Association limiting your daily added sugar intake to no more than 100 calories (six teaspoons) for women and 150 calories (nine teaspoons) for men. But most Americans are consuming much more than that, and it’s contributing to the rapid expansion of waistlines. If you want to shed pounds faster, evaluate your sugar intake. Eliminating sugary sodas, coffees, sports and energy drinks, in addition to processed foods, can help you curb your sweet tooth. When your blood sugar is balanced, your body is able to work metabolize carbs, fat, and sugar more efficiently for energy.
Swap Simple Carbs With High-Fiber Foods
You’ll increase your chances of obtaining that bikini bod when you replace simple carbs for hunger-curbing, fiber-rich foods. Vegetables and fruits, beans and other legumes, whole grains and nuts and seeds are foods packed with fiber. In a study at the University of South Carolina, participants increased their fiber intake to an average of 28.4 grams a day. One group got their additional fiber from beans while the second group got their fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. After four weeks, both groups had lost the same amount of weight — an average of three pounds each — and reported feeling less hungry.
Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
Contrary to their name, artificial sweeteners can actually cause your body to react the same way it does to real sugar. A 2015 study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that increasing diet soda intake — the biggest source of artificial sweeteners — is directly linked to greater abdominal obesity. In the study of older adults, researchers found those who drank diet soda each day tripled their waistlines over the course of nine years. So while sugar-free cookies and candies may seem like the healthier option, they’re actually the culprit behind bigger bellies and sky-high blood sugar levels.
Use A Standing Desk
Standing can help you burn upwards 1,000 calories a day, so if your office allows, opt for a standing desk. You’ll not only feel less chained to your desk, but you’ll feel less stiff and be more productive, too. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that standing burns about 54 calories over a six-hour day. Although that might not sound like much, those calories add up. You can burn over 1,000 calories a month just by staying on your feet. If you need more rapid weight loss inspiration, take a peek at these 25 Food Swaps That Cut 2,500 Calories a Week!