4. Get some exercise
You don’t have to belong to a gym to get some exercise. Go outside for a run or do some quick-and-easy bodyweight workouts in your living room.
And even if you don’t have time for a full-fledged workout, you probably have time to crank out a few squats while you’re riding the elevator (alone, of course) or a few crunches while you’re watching TV or playing on your phone. And, according to a recent study from the University of Texas at San Antonio, people who break up their workouts into little chunks enjoy bigger health benefits than do those who complete the same amount of exercise, but during one daily workout. Plus, if you split your workout into manageable bites, you might end up working out more than you would if you were at the gym.
5. Put a stop to midnight snacking
Unfortunately, mounting research shows that there’s some credence to the idea that calories consumed after hours are more likely to wind up as fat—so make sure you eat enough throughout the day that you don’t find yourself ravenous a few hours after dinner. Plus, new research published in Cell Metabolism also suggests that by shortening the amount of time between your first and last bites of the day—even from 14 down to 11 hours—can spur weight loss. So there’s another reason to avoid the late-night munching.
6. Get more sleep
You don’t even have to be awake to make losing weight easier. And for 7-9 hours a night, you shouldn’t be. “If you’re sleeping poorly, not sleeping enough, or having difficulty going to sleep, you need to address the underlying problem,” Mass says. Case in point: In one Mayo Clinic study, people who got enough sleep consumed about 550 fewer calories than those who woke up about 80 minutes earlier than usual. Getting enough (solid) sleep helps to optimize your levels of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, both of which play a role in regulating your hunger levels and metabolism.
7. Eat a protein-rich breakfast. Every. Single. Day.
You know you need to eat breakfast to jump-start your energy levels and keep you burning calories all day. But that bowl of cereal isn’t going to cut it when it comes to weight loss. In one University of Missouri study, high-protein breakfasts made people feel fuller longer and eat less during the afternoon, compared to low-protein breakfasts with the same number of calories.
8. Hoof it
Leave your keys at home to multi-task your way to a better body. In one 2014 study (from a gym!), the average public transit commuter burned 324 calories getting to work and back—the equivalent of running about 20 to 30 minutes on the treadmill. Walk or bike your entire commute—not just one leg of it—and you’ll torch even more calories. Bonus: If the traffic in your city blows, on-foot commuting might actually get you from point A to point B in less time.