Hack (hak) (n) – 1. a clever solution to a tricky problem.
Losing weight and getting in shape is indeed a tricky problem. Here is a list of tried and true clever solutions:
- Use a smaller plate. This will trick your mind into eating less.
- Think of your calories as a bank account. If you eat too much at one meal, just eat a little less at each meal the next day.
- Practice mindful eating. Think about what you’re eating, how it tastes, and how full you feel. Don’t watch TV or work while you eat. You’re less likely to overeat.
- Work out with someone stronger than you. It will push you to work harder and keep you accountable. 
- Write down or record what you eat for awhile. You’ll increase your awareness and increase your chances of successful weight loss. 
- Use your hands for determining portion sizes without calorie counting. Find out how here.
- Download StandApp for your smartphone to remind you to move every hour.
- Eat a serving of protein at breakfast. This keeps you feeling fuller longer. 
- Keep unhealthy food out of sight. If you see it, you’re much more likely to eat it. Don’t keep it in your house if you can.
- Count your chewing. Try to reach 30 chews per bite. Seems like a mundane task at first, but it helps develop the habit of slowing down your eating. Just do it a few times and you’ll get the idea.
- Never eat directly from a package – portion out your food first. You’ll eat less.
- Keep a water bottle full and near you at all times. Drinking it with a straw will naturally help you drink more. I use this one and it has drastically increased the amount of water I drink.
- Don’t fall for clever packaging labeling unhealthy foods as healthy. Here are some tricks to look out for.
- If you have a craving for unhealthy food and can’t live without it, go to it, don’t bring it home. You’ll eat less of it.
- Find your own magic formula. Everyone has diets, workout plans, and there are a million ways to lose weight and get in shape. Find what works for YOU and not what works for someone else.
- Schedule your workouts just like you do meetings. Put them on your calendar. Set a reminder in your phone. This eliminates the “I didn’t have time” excuse.
- Make it fun, do what you love. Read more about making exercise fun.
- Acknowledge that you and only you are in control of your choices. Once you own it, you are empowered.
- Develop the habit first. Start a new exercise routine just by getting out there and doing something, then tweak the exercise once the habit is formed. Introduce new healthier foods first before removing the unhealthy ones. Find out how to develop healthy habits.
- Put on your gym clothes when you wake up, whether you feel like working out or not. Drive yourself to the gym. You’ll be surprised how your motivation will kick in just by going through the motions, even if you don’t feel like it.
- List your accomplishments and place them where you can see them. This keeps you focused on what you have done instead of what you haven’t.
- Use a menu planning app, like Menu Planner.
- Drink a smoothie once a day for an easy, healthy meal. Add greens like spinach, frozen fruit, a little coconut or almond milk, and even a protein powder to get in essential nutrients without much prep and no cooking. Here is how to make the perfect healthy smoothie every time.
- Use a crock pot if you hate to cook. Throw meat and veggies in, set it before work, and dinner is ready when you get home. Here’s a list of healthy crockpot recipes.
- Cook and freeze healthy meals. When you do cook, buy in bulk and make huge batches. Portion out, freeze, and reheat. Do this weekly or even monthly.
- Work out first thing in the morning. Not only will this stave off hunger the rest of the day , you’ll be done before you come up with reasons not to.
- Master one new habit at at time. Don’t add in a new one until you are stable with the first.
- Don’t force it. Don’t make yourself eat broccoli just because it’s healthy. Experiment until you find what you like. Invest some time into trying new foods and recipes.
- Choose a plate that is a contrasting color than the food you are eating. This visual mind trick will help you eat less. 
- Use skim, plain greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream, heavy cream in sauces (like alfredo), and even ice cream.
- Use fruit to sweeten instead of sugar, like bananas or dates. Here’s an example of a fruit-sweetened recipe.
- Use technology to motivate you and track your progress, like the Fitbit
- Join a fitness community, either in your area or online on sites like Fitocracy.
- Make it a goal to buy 90% of your food around the perimeter of your grocery store.
- Walk everywhere. If you can reach it by foot, do it. It will not only keep you active but you’ll have a positive impact on the environment too.
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