Small Steps To Big Weight Loss

When it comes to weight loss, even the smallest changes to your daily routine
can make a big difference.

Studio 5 Health and Fitness Contributor Melanie Douglass, R.D., shares 10
things anyone can squeeze into their day for better health.

1) Do Five Minutes of Cardio

No excuses! Take five short minutes out of your busy day to rev up your
energy and get your metabolism moving in a positive direction. Exercise can
be overwhelming, so take it 5 minutes at a time. Seriously. Tell yourself:
“just 5 minutes”… I won’t lie, this is supposed to get you to want to do more,
and 9 times out of 10, it does just that. But if you only end up with 5
minutes of cardio, at least you did better than none.

2) Try Salad Cups or Bags

Remember the Salad Shakers? What happened to them? That was actually a
very practical that needs to come back! If you find yourself “too busy” to eat
healthy, try throwing some greens, a handful of carrots, and any other
veggies you have on hand into a large glass/cup or plastic bag. Drop a little
dressing over the top, shake it and go! The cup is great if you have to eat in
the car (I’m not a fan of chowing down in the car, but if it’s veggies, go for
it!). The bag works great for lunches at work, etc. It literally takes 60
seconds to make a delicious salad that will full you up for ~250 calories
verses a 2000-calorie meal from a fast-food drive through.

3) Eat at Home

Stopping for a snack at a bakery, drive-through, gas station or restaurant
actually takes more time out of your day! If you are commutting, working
late, or running kids around, just keep driving and eat real food at home. If
you must stop for gas and a snack, hit a grocery store and run in and grab
some fruit or nuts, they’re right in front of the store, lower in calories, lower
unhealthy fats, and higher in nutrients than almost anything you can get in a
convenience store.

4) Do 25 Pike Pushups

This is a strength exercise that works your whole body… legs, glutes, arms,
and core. If you had to pick just “one” strength exercise to do, this is the one!
Simple start in a pushup position, balancing on your toes. Walk your hands
in/back (toward your feet), contract your abs super tight and push your hips
up into a pike. Hold, then walk your hands out and drop down into a

5) Eat heart-healthy fats

Don’t eat more fat, just swap the unhealthy fats (butter, margarine, baked
goods) with plant-based healthy fats from foods like: almonds, walnuts,
salad dressing, olive oil, tuna, avocado, or peanut butter… these healthy fats
help fight heart disease, improve blood pressure, improve cholesterol, and
can even help people relax, feel full and more satisfied with less food (like
eating a big green salad with regular dressing to feel more satiated).

6) Eat Fruit First!

If you crave sugar or get the afternoon munchies, eat a piece of fruit before
you eat anything else! Give your body a chance to be satiated with the
natural sugar found in nutrient-packed fruits. It may not feel like a chocolate
bar at first, but after a few days, fruit can calm any sugar/snack craving.

7) Look up at Least One Food Item on

If you want to eat smarter, you have to start building a databank of foods and
calories. You don’t have to obsess and track every little thing you eat… just
look up one food item each day… think about it – after 30 days, you’ll know
about 30 new foods. Once you know the nutrient (or lack thereof) value of
your favorite foods, you’ll be able to better balance your choices – for the
rest of your life.

8) Drink a Glass of Water with Every Meal

Drinking water before you eat promotes a healthy metabolism, helps fill your
stomach and helps you drink less of the stuff that may contain extra sugar,
calories or artificial sweeteners. It’s a simple easy – accessible anywhere –
thing that makes a big difference in your health.

9) Go to Bed “a Little” Bit Hungry

Try to go to bed with a small, but manageable level of hunger. Most of us
need to lose a few pounds, and if you want to lose weight, what better time
to bring on the pangs of hunger than while you sleep! Try not to eat after
dinner, then get a good night’s rest, wake up, and eat a healthy breakfast…
when your metabolism is more likely to utilize fuel more efficiently.

10) Contract Your Abs While You Drive

This little tip works wonders! Pull your belly button in toward your spin and
contract your abs as tight as you can, hold it for 5 seconds, then let it out
and exhale for 5 seconds. You’ll strengthen your abs, get more oxygen and
have fewer aches and pains.

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