How to lose weight without a gym membership
While I'm a firm advocate in using exercise as a tool for weight loss, it's unfortunately not the most solely effective one. I know many well intentioned gym goers who train hard and push themselves daily only to see limited (if any) changes to their body composition. The truth of the matter is that you don't need to sweat your life away in order to look good in a bathing suit. Some of the best tools for losing fat are available without a gym membership. Here's some easy, research based methods for losing pounds without lifting a single dumbbell.
Find out how much you're eating - this is the easiest one to overlook. Sometimes even a "healthy" meal or drink can contain subtle calorie bombs. Did you know that the difference between two versus three tablespoons of salad dressing is nearly 100 calories? Or that most "healthy smoothies" clock in at over 300 calories per serving? Same goes for 'domino' foods such as nuts, chips, and trail mixes. If that number on the scale isn't budging, using a calorie tracker app and monitoring your nutrition intake for a week can help unravel the mystery of certain foods that might be sabotaging your weight loss goals. Not sure how many calories you should have daily? Go here
Don't eliminate your favorite foods, moderate them - If I told you to close your eyes and think about anything but a large cheese pizza, what's the first thing that's going to pop into your head? Many crash diets don't work because they fail to incorporate the psychologically rewarding component of our favorite foods. Going cold turkey from anything that gives you joy can be tough, especially for the novice dieter. This could work one of two ways. For the well disciplined dieter that has no problem calling it quits after one slice of (insert favorite food here), simply factor this in as part of your daily calorie total and eliminate a snack or have a smaller meal later in the day. If you, however, fall into the binge eating pizza category like me, try to limit your favorite food to one meal, one day per week.
Eat green leafy vegetables with every meal - the benefits of a diet rich in green leafy vegetables are two-fold for weight loss. They're packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that help to boost your immune system and reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. That's not all they're good for though. The fiber content found in green vegetables can help to regulate metabolism, control blood sugar levels, and give you a "full" feeling during meals. Leafy greens come in many forms but a few of the most nutrient dense are collard greens, kale, spinach, broccoli, and arugula. All are a great substitute for traditional salad mixes.
Skip breakfast - This might sound like heresy given what we've been told by doctors over the years - "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day". The latest research paints a different picture. Studies done on intermittent fasting reveal it can not only aid in weight loss but can also increase insulin sensitivity, energy utilization, and the production of growth hormone. What is intermittent fasting? It's an eating pattern where you limit the calories you consume to a small window throughout your day. 16-8 is one of the most popular protocols. This means that you consume all your daily within an eight hour window (noon-8PM for example) and fast for the remainder. I'll go into this topic in greater detail in the future, but know that intermittent fasting can be a powerful priming tool for fat loss.
Get moving - It might sound like a drastic oversimplification, but losing unwanted weight is *technically* little more than a solving a math problem. If you lose more calories than you take in, your body will start burning through fat stores for energy. While the bulk of this equation should come from mindful eating practices, moving around is the best way to keep your metabolic engine running at it's best. Even something as simple as walking can help you hit your fat loss goals more quickly. It's a small wonder that smart watches and fitness trackers have taken the world by storm. You can see in real time how many calories you're burning throughout your day. Keep track - if you don't already have one, look into purchasing a smart watch or fitness tracker to get a daily snapshot of how moving around can help.
Evaluate - This is a tough, but necessary one. Regardless of what feedback mechanisms you prefer....the mirror, the scale, or the snugness of your clothes...you should conduct periodic checks (at least once a month) to see if you're on the right track for your weight loss goals. If you're falling short, adjust accordingly and push yourself a little more. If you're seeing results, keep it up and be patient. You'll inevitably have tough days/weeks/months where you can't find the time or energy to eat right and exercise but that doesn't mean that all your hard work is lost. Take time to evaluate so you know which direction you're headed in.