If you’re like most people, your slim-down countdown commences on New Year’s Eve―and not a millisecond before. But really, by waiting until the new year to get started on the new you, you’re missing out on the best season for slimming―fall! This time of year is optimal for weight loss. Plus, by establishing a trim-down routine now, you’ll be well-equipped to handle the unhealthy holiday hurdles that will be here before you know it. Here are six easy ways to lose weight this fall.
1. Enjoy the great outdoors
Summer, with its sweltering temps and scorching sunlight, isn’t exactly conducive to outdoor exercise. But fall’s lack of humidity makes exercising outdoors a breeze. And, since we all know that increasing physical activity is a great way to speed up our slim-down, taking advantage of autumn’s cooler temps is a fast pass to weight loss success. Try catching up on a loved one’s day with a pre-dinner stroll, or get off to an active start with a morning jog. Not sold on the whole exercise thing? Torch some calories engaging in fun fall activities like apple or pumpkin picking, or raking leaves!
2. Snooze to lose
One of the things people like least about fall is the shorter days. But in a nation of sleep-deprived multi-taskers, is it really so bad that we’re forced to wind down a little earlier? Time and again, studies exploring the relationship between sleep and weight have demonstrated that adults who skimp on ZZZs tend to weigh more than those who get adequate pillow time. Considering the fact that a 2013 Gallup poll revealed that fewer than 40 percent of adults are getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep a night, chances are good that an earlier curfew could work in your weight loss favor. Start by setting an earlier bedtime. But don’t stop there; decide on a to-do curfew as well. This will be the time you ditch the devices, stop cleaning the kitchen, silence your cell and start unwinding. To make drifting off easier, avoid eating, exercising or napping right before you hit the sack.
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3. Take advantage of the healthy harvest
Aside from dishing out filling fiber and a slew of other nutrients, fruits and veggies are cholesterol-free and low in calories, fat and sodium, making them an important part of any weight loss diet. In fact, a 2015 study published in the journal PLOS Medicine demonstrated a clear connection between increased consumption of fruits and non-starchy vegetables and weight loss. Autumn, with its tasty array of seasonal produce, makes it easy to load up on these nutritional powerhouses. Hit the grocery store or farmer’s market to stock up on your fall favorites, and toss them in a crock-pot with some chicken or vegetable broth for a cozy fall stew. Or visit our recipe section for some other produce prepping ideas.
4. Savor the structure
Although one of the things we love most about summer is the spontaneity, the lack of structure can make planning meals and scheduling exercise kind of tricky. Add to that weekend after weekend of BBQs and picnics and you’ve got a recipe for diet destruction. But with the kids back in school and the weekend commitments slowing, fall is a great time to get organized. Try planning out the week’s meals on Sundays, and hit the grocery store to grab everything you’ll need. Get a head-start on healthy by chopping up and packaging your daily produce picks in individual serving containers. Check your calendar for commitments, then mark the days you can work in a workout. When it comes to weight loss, a little planning goes a long way. And autumn is the perfect time to plan out healthy habits for the year.
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5. Be wary of your wardrobe
With bathing suit season officially behind us and sweater weather in sight, now’s the time to resolve not to hide slim-down slip ups behind layers of baggy clothing. Sure, cooler temps warrant warmer attire, but since when do they necessitate over-sized everything? Skip the elastic waist-bands and loose layers and opt for clothes that fit your frame. Not only will you be less likely to reach for that second slice of pie, you’ll have a good gauge of your weight loss progress. Plus, you’ll feel better in more flattering garb!
6. Step on the scale
Regardless of the season, one thing is for sure: weighing yourself regularly is a great way to stay on the trim-down track. In fact, in a two-year study recently published in the Journal of Obesity, researchers found that frequent self-weighing and tracking results was helpful for losing weight―and keeping it off. Don’t lose sight of the scale just because the season changes. Try weighing yourself once a week, around the same time of day, and with the same amount of clothes on each time. Record your weight on a calendar, spreadsheet―whatever works for you. Just be mindful that your weight is susceptible to many factors, including fluid and sodium intake. So don’t panic if you’re doing everything right and that number on the scale goes up or stays the same across two weigh-ins.
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