LOSING weight is hard work, but who says you have to meticulously count calories, stress at the gym or cut out your favourite foods just to get rid of a few pounds?
It's a bit of an oxymoron to suggest that it's possible to cut the flab without much work isn't it? After all, health magazines and experts have always made the process seem like an uphill battle. But, while that might be true to some extent, there are some short cuts for those of you who really don't have the time, patience or money to put in the work. For that sort of information, we had to consult those who have tried these methods and found them useful.
1. Take a dip.
It's not quite the kind of advice you'd expect to hear when you want to lose weight to fit into a bathing suit, but many experts agree that swimming is a good way to exercise because it puts less stress on the body and has cardiovascular health benefits. "I used to spend at least two hours at the gym on Saturdays, but ever since I joined my swimming class, there is no longer any need for that," said marketing expert Shakira. "Now exercising is so much fun, especially when I take my daughter along."
2. Invest in meal replacement shakes.
It's one of the easiest meals to prepare if you are not too big on spending hours in the kitchen. Just add water and blend with a few fruits and within seconds you will have yourself a treat. Mother of two, Stephanie Rowe, lost all of 170 pounds in just a few months just by sticking to her diet of two replacement shakes, two snacks and a full meal. "After losing the weight, everything changed. I have changed my whole lifestyle, so it is not just about a quick fix, I am now living healthy," she said.
3. Download a calorie counting App
Journaling every morsel to count your calories daily can be very tiresome, but just like with many other things, smartphones can help to simplify this process for you. With downloadable smart phone Apps, you can track your calories, plan meals, search for foods, and calculate your BMI with little effort. And then you get to share your success with your friends by posting your results on social networking websites like Facebook.
4. Go for a walk with a friend.
Do you usually feel guilty about putting your health before your kids or putting everyone else before your health? One way to solve this problem is to get your friends and family members involved in your exercise routine. "I usually just walk with my boyfriend at Emancipation Park in the evenings so we can get some alone time," said Charmaine Riley. "Sometimes we even challenge each other to a jog."
5. Have fun while watching TV.
There are so many things you can get done while watching television, like squats, lunges, sit-ups, push-ups, dumbbell curls -- get the drift? Have no time to go jogging or are you rarely in the mood to leave your morning programmes to go to the gym? Well you can take the gym into your bedroom. "I have stationed my treadmill in my bedroom and I usually jog on it while I watch my movies. Now I jog a whole hour without even realising it," one customer service representative told All Woman.
6. Get your game on.
Get it out of your head that video games are for little boys. With games on Nintendo Wii and Playstation's Dance Dance Revolution, you might even find yourself sweating harder than you would in a gym. "My son and I usually play Wii games and so we do boxing, baseball and tennis in the living room. The first time I did the boxing, I was unable to walk for days because all my muscles it seemed were activated," shared Stephanie Johnson.
7. Leave the big bags behind.
Go for clutches instead of large handbags when you are planning to go to a social gathering. That way, your hand will always be holding something and it makes it that much more difficult to reach for another serving of food while standing around and chatting with friends.
8. Sleep it off.
Yes, that's right. Instead of stressing over your weight, try and get more sleep. Research has shown that sleep deprivation can actually slow down your metabolism. Lack of sleep also increases your appetite as it leads to an increase in the level of your hunger hormones. So learn to take a break every now and then.
9. Get a manicure.
Instead of mindlessly munching on that big bag of potato chips during your weekend movie hour at home, get out your mani-pedi set and keep your hands occupied. Painting your toes red, is a great way to keep your hands out of the cookie jar while taking in the Law and Order marathon.
10. Let off some steam.
Burn some extra calories by spending a few hours in the sauna. The weight loss experienced would just be minimal, but it's always a good thing when you can still lose weight while relaxing. Be sure though to keep your body hydrated. "My gym instructor doesn't make me leave without getting a sauna session," said Sasha-Gay.