When I feel a pound or two creep up on me I can usually keep it in check with some extra exercise and by paying attention to what I eat. After all, paring down calories and ramping up exercise are two keys to weight loss. But as a registered dietitian, I also know that there are some zero-effort ways to enhance weight loss. Intrigued? I’ve compiled 6 top tips for lazy ways to lose pounds.
—Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D.
I’m not in favor of diet pills, but…there is some evidence to suggest that taking a daily multivitamin may actually aid weight loss. Several studies have shown that dieters who take a multivitamin either lose more weight or feel less hungry than those who take a placebo. Nutrition experts think that when you’re low on certain vitamins and minerals, your appetite revs up, encouraging you to eat more and replenish those missing nutrients. Keeping those nutrients at healthy levels with a multivitamin may then help stave off extra appetite. Although it’s best to get your vitamins and minerals through food, eating fewer calories may cause some dieters to become deficient. So cover your bases with a multivitamin.
It doesn’t take much effort to step on a scale. And research shows that people who do this regularly are more likely to be at a healthy weight. When you’re keeping track of your weight, you’re more likely to notice if you go up a pound or two…and not let the number keep going up. By the way, according to obesity experts, daily weighing does not promote eating disorders. Yes, people with anorexia weigh themselves obsessively—but the disease came first, not the weighing.
Must-Read: 4 Secrets of Slim People
Soups and salads have something in common: they have lots of water and fiber, which fill you up. Starting your meal with a broth-based soup or veggie-packed salad (remember to ask for the dressing on the side!) can keep you from overindulging in higher-calorie foods later on. In fact, starting your meal with a side salad may make you eat 12 percent fewer calories at that meal, according to research out of Penn State. Another study showed that people who started lunch with vegetable soup ended up eating 20 percent less than those who skipped the soup. (Want to know what other foods help you lose weight? Check out these 7 Foods That Do the Weight-Loss Work for You.)
Breakfast has got to be one of the lowest-effort meals there is. It’s not hard to pour a bowl of cereal or smear some peanut butter on a banana. Plus, research shows that people who are most successful at losing weight—and keeping it off—tend to eat breakfast every single day. Certain breakfast foods may even help you lose weight, like these Breakfasts That Fight Fat.
When you feel hungry, drink water before eating. It’s an easy diet tip that has some research to back it up. A 2010 study in the journal Obesity found that adults who drank two cups of water before a meal ate less at the meal and lost more weight over 12 weeks than the group who didn’t drink water before eating.
Sure, if you have the time and desire to buy vegetables whole and then have the foresight to cut them up and store them in your fridge, be my guest. But this post is about effortless ways to stay slim and healthy. So that’s why I’m recommending that you save yourself some trouble and buy vegetables already prepped—bagged lettuce, baby carrots, cut-up vegetables and fruit. Having these healthy foods ready to go will make it easy to choose them when you’re hungry and ready for a meal or snack.
Want another sure-fire way to lose weight? Lose up to 2 pounds this week with our 7-Day Weight-Loss Diet Meal Plan.