Don't get me wrong — exercising at any time is good for you. But evening activity may be particularly beneficial because many people's metabolism slows down toward the end of the day. Thirty minutes of aerobic activity before dinner increases your metabolic rate and may keep it elevated for another two or three hours, even after you've stopped moving. Plus, it'll help you relax post-meal so you won't be tempted by stress-induced grazing that can rack up calories.
Ideally, health experts recommend that you aim for a loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week (7 days). Aiming to lose 2 pounds in a day is extreme and potentially dangerous; it is neither recommended nor guaranteed as an outcome. However, there are unusual times when a person considers this necessary, such as before a weigh-in for sports, so there are plans for achieving this in existence for those rare, one-off occasions. For details on this topic, see How to Lose 2 Pounds in One Day.
While few would suggest you start hitting up the tanning beds for better health, getting some natural sunlight can help you get rid of belly fat in a matter of weeks. Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that vitamin D-deficient overweight women between 50 and 75 who upped their intake of the so-called sunshine vitamin shed more weight and body fat than those who didn't. To practice safe sun, make sure you're limiting yourself to 15 sunscreen-free minutes per day.
Integrate fish into your diet with a tilapia and rice pilaf dish. Heat up one teaspoon olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Season a three-ounce tilapia fillet with some salt and pepper. Place it in the pan for about two to three minutes per side. When the fish is done, it should flake easily with a fork. Prepare ½ cup rice pilaf (prepared from a box or made from scratch) and ½ cup steamed snap peas. Serve the tilapia with the rice pilaf and the snap peas. Finish the meal with a baked apple, topped with a pinch of cinnamon and one teaspoon honey, served with ⅓ cup low-fat vanilla ice cream.
Don't let extra hours lounging in bed stand between you and a flatter stomach. While getting enough sleep can help boost your metabolic rate, sleeping in may undo any benefit you'd enjoy from catching a few extra winks. One Obesity study reveals that late sleepers who snoozed past 10:45 in the morning ate nearly 250 more calories over the course of the day, despite eating half as many fruits and vegetables as their early bird counterparts. Even worse, they chowed down on more salty, sugary, and trans-fat-laden fast food than those who woke up earlier. If you happen to head out of the house early, you're in for an additional metabolic boost; researchers at Northwestern University have found that people exposed to just a short period of early morning sunlight had lower BMIs than their late-waking counterparts.
Put into a soup pot 1 can of no-salt-added red beans (drained), 4 cups low-sodium vegetable juice like Knudsen’s Very Veggie Low-Sodium Juice, 2 to 3 teaspoons oregano or Italian-style seasoning, and 2 cups of any veggies you already have sitting in the refrigerator bin, such as carrots, celery, and onions. Rough-chop the vegetables into bite-size pieces and bring to a boil, simmering until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. If desired, top with a tablespoon of fat-free sour cream.
Add a cup of low-fat milk, a part-skim mozzarella stick, or a half cup of low-sodium cottage cheese to breakfast, and you may have a belly-busting win. While lots of research links calcium with lower body weights, results from a 2014 study suggest that calcium-containing foods may reduce waist circumference in those genetically predisposed to carrying weight in their midsection.