11 Smart Steps to a Slimmer You

These editor-approved tips will help you reduce calories and manage your weight.

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If you've ever tried to lose weight—or just maintain your current weight—you know how hard it can be. Sometimes it seems the world is conspiring against your best efforts.

But just as various factors of your environment and habits can throw impediments in your path, you can dismantle some of those obstacles with a few simple tweaks to your daily routine. Read on for healthy ways to mange your weight while enjoying the food and lifestyle you love.


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Shake up your workout routine this way

It seems like a new “must-try” workout fad appears every day, and it can be hard to keep up. Now, you can skip the scroll through Instagram. To help vary your routine, we’ve gathered the 6 best exercise moves to steal from trendy workouts.

Top tip: Bring your barre class skills home, and try the bridge pose to work your core, hips, and chest. To get started, lie on your back with your knees bent. Push your hips up towards the ceiling and hold the pose for 30 seconds. This move will open your hip flexors and improve your spine’s flexibility, all while engaging your core.

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Slash calories, but keep food favorites

It's possible to cut your daily calorie consumption and lose weight without giving up your favorite foods. These 10 tips can help you make better food choices and pick the perfect portion, both of which can slash calories. The best part? You'll never feel like you're missing out.

Top tip: Serve yourself one tablespoon of peanut butter instead of two, and slash 95 calories. When picking a fruit to pair with your nut butter, remember not every option is low-cal. Grabbing a small apple instead of a large banana can save you 75 calories.

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Blend a better smoothie to boost weight loss

Some smoothie recipes can promote good gut bacteria, which can help beat belly bloat and promote regular digestion. Another bonus: Smoothies can help you shed pounds, if you don't overload your blender. It's amazing how easy a cup full of calories can be sipped through a straw, so don't pulse up more fruit than you could actually eat.

Top tip: Try different smoothie add-ins like chia seeds. One tablespoon of chia seeds contains 20 percent of your daily fiber, which can keep you fuller, longer. Fiber also helps your digestive system run smoothly, which may help you lose weight.

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Keep your workout interesting

Celebrity trainer Donovan Green shares exercise secrets to help optimize your gym time, while scorching maximum calories. They're simpler than you might think.

Top tip: Keep your heart rate up and your body guessing with interval training:

  • Walk for two minutes
  • Jog for 30 seconds
  • Repeat four times

As your stamina improves, amp up your workout by increasing each interval to 60 seconds and minute-long sets of sprints and sit-ups to the sequence. There's more: Interval workouts can help increase the number of calories you burn, even after you've left the gym.

To track the steps you accumulate during your workout—and throughout the day—download an app, like Sharecare, for iOS and Android. Once you activate the tracker, your steps are calculated automatically, so grab your phone whenever you move.

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Blend it up for a flat belly

Buildup of bad bacteria in the gut may cause gastrointestinal issues like uncomfortable bloating. Smoothies to the rescue! These low-calorie smoothie recipes can aid digestion, minimize bloating and encourage a flat belly.

Top tip: The berry blast smoothie is full of fresh strawberries and avocado, and contains 289 calories and 17 grams of protein. This tasty snack or meal also was 14 grams of fiber, which is known to ease digestion and promote regularity.

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Treat yourself, wisely

There are a few reasons you might not be losing weight, even though you’re kicking butt in the gym. If you're treating yourself to a calorie-heavy snack after a hard session on the treadmill, you could be sabotaging your calorie burn.

Top tip: It’s great to work out, but if you’re overestimating your calorie burn and then rewarding yourself with a sweet treat, you probably won’t lose weight. If you must treat yourself after a workout, make it a low-cal choice like a bowl of fruit with a little dollop of low-fat Greek yogurt or a square of dark chocolate.

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Skip the salt and pick a spice

It can be discouraging to see your weight fluctuate each time you step on the scale. Despite your healthiest efforts, there are a number of reasons your body weight varies. More often than not, slight weight changes are normal, but there are things you can do to help steady the scale.

Top tip: Water retention may be weighing you down, and causing your weight to spike. A sodium-rich diet may be to blame. Instantly cut your salt by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and skipping processed junk food. Seasonings like pepper, thyme, oregano, paprika, and other herbs and spices can also replace salt, without compromising flavor.

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Develop the right mindset

WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers), has helped millions of people shed pounds. In addition to helping dieters make healthy food choices, the program provides eaters with emotional support to achieve a positive mindset along their weight loss journey. One aspect that makes WW so effective is the focus on the individual through community.

Top tip: Keep up with your goals by seeking the support of family, friends, and fellow dieters. A self-fulfilling attitude is essential for successful weight loss. If you believe you can achieve, you will. This positive, “can-do” attitude might also help your confidence blossom, propelling a happier and healthier life.

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Go organic

Some fruits and vegetables contain more pesticides than you might believe. Pesticides are used to kill insects, rodents, weeds or fungus, but may expose consumers to the chemicals in the process. Despite your best washing efforts, many of these chemicals won't complete rinse away.

Top tip: Go organic to avoid ingesting pesticides. To get that organic label, produce is required to be grown without genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or pesticides. There might be another way to avoid eating these chemicals, without paying organic produce prices. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Clean Fifteen list, a catalog of fruits and veggies with the least amount of pesticide residue.

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Swap this way

Don't swear off your favorite foods in an effort to drop pounds. Instead, swap some big-ticket ingredients with healthier alternatives. Your waistline and taste buds will thank you.

Top tip: These easy swaps can help you save calories:

  • Save over 190 calories by swapping a three-ounce beef burger for a portabello mushroom cap
  • Spread mashed avocado on your sandwich instead of mayo to save 60 calories and 8 grams of fat
  • Replace the oil in your next baking recipe with applesauce and eliminate 1,800 calories per cup
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The easiest way to crush cravings

Eating a plant-based diet can not only help you lose weight, it may also help you save money, too. You can also reduce your calorie intake by enhancing your eating environment. 

Top tip: Change up the layout of your kitchen. Bring healthy snacks like fruits and nuts to the forefront of the pantry or fridge, leaving sweets and sugary foods in the back. Why this works? Keeping unhealthy eats out of sight makes you less likely to reach for them.

We tend to grab what’s closest and quickest, so put carb-heavy things, like breads, in the freezer. You'll be less likely to carbo-load if you have to defrost the slices first.

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