Category Archives: tweaks

Quick Little Tweaks to Lose Weight Faster

Usually I like to go big: Dream big (I want to cut 5 minutes off my 10K time), breakfast big (I actually like to have two A.M. meals–one at home early and one when I get to the office midmorning), and give big (ask my friends, family and coworkers–my gifts are usually generous).

But I’ve also come to realize that sometimes little tweaks are all you need to make a big difference. Last year, I adjusted my running technique ever so slightly, and within weeks I had shaved a minute off my mile pace and my legs felt great.

So while going big is still my preference, I like these simple changes you can make to get trimmer and more toned without having to make a totally grand transformation. Try them today!

Grab a Granny Smith

An apple a day can keep pounds away, a study from Penn State University at State College reports. People who ate the fruit before a meal consumed 15 percent fewer calories overall than those who didn’t munch on a Macintosh. Apple eaters spend more time chewing, so they feel full on fewer calories.

Speed up

Calling all walkers: If you want to shed inches in less time, speed up to a trot. When one group ran for 30 minutes at a moderate pace and another walked at an incline at the same perceived effort level, the runners burned 2 more calories per minute, a study in the Journal of Sports Sciences reveals. The quick math: That translates to almost 5 pounds lost in a year!

Set a goal

Simply making a mental note to curb your calorie intake could help you cut back on stress eating. When offered dried fruit and chocolate after sweating through an anxiety-induced task, dieters ate 32 percent less of the snack than nondieters, a study in the journal Appetite finds. Seeing a healthy option may remind dieters of their eat-right goals. Keep nutritious food in view when tension mounts. Join the SELF Challenge for inspiration and motivation to eat right and work out.

Work it

Offices can help support your workout goals, a study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reveals. Workplaces that made changes, such as adding pro-fitness signs, say their employees maintain their weight during the year while those who toiled at businesses without such emphasis on exercise gained weight. Researchers suggest posting inspiring magazine pages deskside to stay on track. For more ideas to get inspired, visit the Fresh Fitness Tips blog.

Read the fine print
Checking out the calorie counts on menus might affect your choice. After New York City required some chain restaurants to post the data, 53 percent of diners said the numbers were higher than expected and 82 percent said the counts influenced their order, a survey from Technomic, a consultancy in Chicago, indicates. Many eateries have the stats online, so log on before you dine out.

Take note
Picking up a copy of SELF might be the only trainer you need! When people who aimed to work out for at least 2 1/2 hours a week received monthly printed fitness advice, they kept exceeding their goal up to a year later, according to a study in Health Psychology. Researchers say that written reminders are key. Register for free at and get your own personal online workout logs.

Keep a journal
You’ve heard it before, but just in case you weren’t paying attention, I’m going to refresh your memory: People who write down what they eat are the most likely to drop pounds, research at Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, finds. The reason: Food diaries reveal your healthy eating black holes. Jot down every bite for four days, without changing your diet. At the end of each day, look up each food you wrote down and tally up the calories.

To analyze your records, draw an x when more than four hours went by without eating, circle high-calorie meals, highlight fruit and veggies and underline anything that triggered guilt after you ate it. For day 5 and beyond, change your diet based on your notes. Replace x’s with 150-calorie snacks and circled meals will magically downsize. No highlights on day 2? Hit the produce aisle! Didn’t need those underlined cookies before bed? No late-night snack tonight!

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