As much as I love a good work out, going to a studio or gym to train, and constantly trying to maintain habits, I understand that life is difficult. Sometimes you are just so overwhelmed—scheduling, work, relationships, etc.—that you can’t maintain consistency all the time. It’s difficult trying to stay on the grind and in the zone all the time! That much is 100% certain, no matter how solid your habits and routine has become.
Everyone’s goals are different: you just want to shed some pounds; or you just want to fit into those specific jeans; or your body is worn and you need to ease up more.
At the end of the day, everyone’s goals are the same. You want to better your body and you want to look good.
In light of that, here are some easy diet tips and tricks to keep in mind while you eat (75% of weight loss starts in the kitchen!), and some equally simple exercises to go with them. No need for gym membership, or any special equipment or a dietician—these are all easily doable by yourself, for your personal benefit!
- Eat More Fiber
Check this out: according to a study in 2014, the average American male eats just 15 grams of fiber per day, and the average American female eats 18 grams daily. To give you some perspective on how little that is, the daily intake of a male is recommended at 38 grams per day and women at 25! Luckily, fiber isn’t just some arbitrary nutritional number to hit for the sake of dieting. If you eat more fiber, not only does it help you lose weight in the bathroom, but it also helps you feel full longer on fewer calories! Seriously a great weight-loss addition.
Some foods to consider: whole wheat anything (pasta, breads), brown rice, bran flakes, apples, beans, popcorn, vegetables.
- Cook at Home
This might seem simple at first, but it really can make a huge difference in the waist. Getting the obvious fast food establishments out of the way—McDonald’s, Burger King, Five Guys, etc.—you can cut a lot of unnecessary calories, and in turn a lot of unnecessary fat, but simply making your own food. The main reason is that a lot of fast food chains and eat-out restaurants over saturate their foods with too much of everything. You get bigger portions at a restaurants; the ingredients aren’t always natural; there’s more additives that pile on calories like extra butter or salt to help the taste—it’s all a part of the restaurant game.
The best thing about cooking meals for yourself at home is that you know exactly what portions and what ingredients you’re putting into your meals. You have total control over what’s going in your body! Plus, it’s cheaper and saves you money!
- Nix Out the Soda (Pop)
Ever since you were a kid, you had a feeling that pop was full of sugar. Now you’re older, and you know it is. It’s sweet; the sugar is blatantly obvious; you can seriously turn over to the nutrition label and see the amounts of sugar it has in it per serving; and it is addictive because it tastes good. As it turns out, numerous studies have been linked to the consumption of soda (pop) over time being linked to weight gain—according to a Harvard School of Public Health fact sheet:
“A 20-year study on 120,000 men and women found that people who increased their sugary drink consumption by one 12-ounce serving per day gained more weight over time—on average, an extra pound every four years…one study found that for each additional 12-ounce soda children consumed each day, the odds of becoming obese increased by 60% during 1 ½ years of follow-up.”
Now imagine how many servings you drink in a day alone—one, two, maybe as many as five or six? Cutting out the soda (pop) will definitely help flatten that waistline.
- Spicy Foods are Your Friend
If you don’t like spicy or hot foods in your daily routine, maybe you should rethink that. Studies show that eating foods high in capsaicin (think chile peppers) or spicy foods can help increase your metabolism. Not only that, but hot foods also make you feel full more quickly. That helps prevent you from overeating and controlling your food portion.
If you feel the sweat—much like a good workout—that’s a good thing!
- Substitute in Your Cooking
A lot of the time when you cook, you might feel like going tit-for-tat by the book/recipe is the ideal, best practice for making the best meal possible. But then you look at the ingredients in said recipe, and realize a sobering reality: a lot of that stuff is not good for your weight loss goals. What are you to do? Simple. Substitute!
There are a ton of things you can substitute in for recipes that might call for less than ideal weight loss foods—I do it all the time, my parents do it all the time…you know it’s legit when my parents are doing it. Here is a list of a good lot of recipe substitutions to make your food super tasty but less guilt-ridden!
- Long Walks (30 minutes or more)
The weather is getting more beautiful by the day—which is weird, it’s February—but regardless, that gives you an excuse to go out and take walks! Whether it’s with your dog, in the park, or in the city, if you add at least 30 minutes of “brisk” walking in your day you can burn just up to 150 calories. Obviously, if you pick up the intensity or the length of the walk, you’ll burn even more.
When people think squats, they generally think of the kind with big barbells and weights in the gym. That’s not the only squat in the world—the motion is the squat! Which means you can do it at home! Make sure your engaging your core, keeping your back straight and dipping to 90 degrees. Get this in about 10-15 minutes or more a day and you will definitely help lose not only leg fat, but belly fat as well.
It’s the thing that is so simple to do, but so difficult to achieve your goals with. Because planks are a static exercise—meaning you literally don’t move—it’s not hard on your joints. However, the whole goal of planks is to engage your abdominal, back and shoulder muscles; pretty much all the major parts of your body! Try holding this for a minute to start, and work your way up from there! Believe me, you’ll feel it the rest of the day and into the next morning!
- Yoga Poses
Okay, I have tried yoga. I will admit to that, because it helped me in dancing and increasing flexibility. You should know that yoga is also not just for getting more flexible—it stiffens up and makes you utilize your muscles in often less-than-conventional positions. And of course, it helps you alleviate stress and relax—which also leads to weight gain for a variety of reasons. Try, as Prevention suggests, doing yoga three times a week regularly to have an interesting alternative to conventional weight loss.
I saved this one for last because, although it is simple to do in terms of mechanics and body motion, it can get quite the sweat going! For those who don’t know or haven’t tried this in your P.E. class, burpees are when you start standing, drop quickly to the ground (preferably using a proper squat motion), do a push-up, come back to standing and then jump up into the air. It’s really 3 simple exercises—squat, push-up and jumping jack—combined into one fluid motion. Burpees make you use your whole body, and on top of that increase your heart rate to burn calories just like any other exercise.
Hopefully these easy-to-do tips for dieting and exercise help you fit into those pants or look good for that date! Just remember that it all hinges on a balance of understanding your caloric intake and how active you are physically (more calories in than you burn leads to weight gain)!
Do you have any other tips, suggestions, or thoughts on these or other dietary and exercise-related things? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear it!
Written by: Michael “Bboy Roach1” Roach
 Fiber intake in the U.S. population. https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/80400530/pdf/DBrief/12_fiber_intake_0910.pdf
 Fact sheet: Sugary drink supersizing and the obesity epidemic. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sugary-drinks-fact-sheet/
 Can I lose weight if my only exercise is walking? http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/walking/faq-20058345