15 Life Hacks For A Healthier and Slimmer You in 2016

fresh start

If you are looking to switch things up, be healthier, slimmer, and stronger than you have been; here are 16 easy life hacks you can use to accomplish just that.

We all can fall into unhealthy habits, and unfortunately, these keep us lazy, overweight, and not at our best selves.

The good news is that just small hacks to your daily routine can make a huge long-term difference.

Here are 16 that I’ve discovered over the years that have helped me be healthier and in the best shape of my life.

Start Flexible Dieting /IIFYM

Thinking of starting the year with a lemonade diet or a cabbage soup diet? Think again. Restrictive, very low calorie diets do not work long-term and foster unhealthy eating patterns.

This time try flexible dieting. It is designed to avoid deprivation, promote slow steady weight loss, and to easily be carried out for the long-term.

Plus, there are no forbidden foods!

Give Sugary Drinks the Chop

One of the easiest things you can do, as well as one that will drastically reduce your daily calorie intake, is to give up sugary beverages this year.

Drinking calories is never a great idea because of the rate at which drinks can be consumed, the quality of calories they usually contain, and the level of satiety they deliver.

  • A 20 floz Coke = 239 calories
  • A Grande Starbucks Caramel Brulée Latte = 440 calories
  • A large McDonald’s Sweet Tea = 220 Calories

Plus, sugary drinks are not only linked to obesity but they are also contribute to type 2 diabetes.

Switch to water or sparkling water instead. It will be hard at first, but after a couple weeks, you’ll prefer water. (Check out or guide for quitting soda here.)

I’m not saying to never enjoy a Coke as a treat, but just hack them out of your daily diet.

By the way, diet sodas aren’t the answer. Research shows that diet soda drinkers are just as heavy if not heavier than regular soda drinkers.

Ease Up on the Alcohol

Along the same lines as above, hacking the way you drink alcohol can have a profound impact on your health and weight. Alcoholic drinks not only contain a lot of calories but they also impair your liver’s ability to process fat.

If you are a beer or wine every night kind of girl or guy, it really could be a big factor as to why you aren’t making the fitness or weight loss progress you think you should be making.

Pick just one or two nights out of the week to enjoy a couple alcoholic beverages instead.

Take the Stairs

We have invented some clever devices to avoid using stairs, and unfortunately, they also contribute to making us more sedentary.

Use the stairs whenever possible.

At work, at the mall, or even as part your fitness routine, stairs are a great way to strengthen your muscles, burn fat, and give you a nice tushie!

Just 2 minutes spent going up stairs burns 25 calories ( 170 pound male). Taking the elevator burns zero. Over the course of a day, this can really add up!

Park in the Outer Realm

My partner always wants to park close to where ever we are going and often spends at least 10 minutes driving around hunting for spots.

I on the other hand, grab the first spot I see even if it is at the end of the lot or 6 blocks away.

Here’s why parking far away is better.

  • You can burn more calories by walking more.
  • You save gas by not driving around in stop and go traffic.
  • You prevent your car from getting dinged as there are fewer cars at the end of the lot.

Break Your Bread Dependance

I love bread, but it is so calorie dense and adds a lot of extra calories most of us don’t really need. I now have bread occasionally, but it isn’t part of my daily diet.

Cutting out the bread is an easy hack that can save a whole meal’s worth of calories throughout the day.

2 slices of bread at breakfast and 2 at lunch are about 313 calories, plus bread is usually consumed with butter and/or a condiment like jam or mayo. This adds even more.

Instead, opt for a veggie omelet with no bread for breakfast or a big salad for lunch.

Ditch the Daily Desserts

I have a big sweet tooth and until my early 30’s I always felt the need to have a small dessert after lunch and after dinner. This added a lot of extra empty calories to my diet and was keeping me from achieving my fitness goals.

When I quit this habit, I saw a drastic improvement in lowering my body fat percentage.

I now still enjoy some sweet treats on the weekends but no longer is it daily.

If you have a sweet tooth try eating some fruit instead of that candy bar, granola bar, or cookie. It satisfies your sweet tooth, yet provides fiber and far better nutrition.

Change Your Coffee Preference

black coffee
If you need caffeine to start your day, hacking the way you drink it can make a big difference over time.

Once we start adding stuff to coffee and tea we take a drink that is relatively calorie-free and turn it into a calorie-laden beverage. (Check out our calories in coffee page.)

Learn to drink your coffee or tea black or with a little sugar-free almond milk. Lighter roasts are easier to drink black and cold brewing coffee produces an even smoother cup of joe.

Eat Your Veggies!

I created a whole article about clever ways to eat more vegetables and I challenge you to double your vegetable consumption this year.

Eating a lot of vegetables will not only help you to slim down but will promote better overall health. I try to eat a several large servings with each meal.

Quit Skipping Breakfast

It can be easy to skip breakfast or grab something small as you rush out of the door for work, however, this can be counter-productive to your fitness goals and even your work productivity.

Starting the day off with a nutritious breakfast, gives you energy, fuels your brain, helps you be more productive, and prevents bingeing on a high-calorie lunch.

Your breakfast should contain some protein, some healthy fat, and some carbs. I recommend eggs with sauteed veggies. This meal keeps you satisfied, is highly nutritious, and can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge or freezer.

Join a Club

Switch up your life by joining a common interest club this year. There are clubs for just about everything and they help you to cultivate your talents, meet other people, and often burn calories.

  • Hiking clubs
  • Dodge ball groups
  • Choirs
  • Swimming clubs
  • Community service organizations
  • Indoor soccer

And many other groups can be great ways to get out of the house, watch less TV, and be more active. Check out MeetUp.com for groups in your area, or use it to start your own.

Hack Your Lunch Break

walking during lunch

Hmmm. Sit at your desk and check Facebook, stand in line and eat bad fast food, or exercise during your lunch break?

Using your lunch break to get in some fitness can make a huge difference in how quickly you reach your goals. Start out a couple days a week walking around the block or climbing stairs at your office. Eat some fruit, nuts, or a Lara Bar while you are exercising or right after.

Climbing stairs for 30 minutes burns over 360 calories!

Get Off Your Bum

Another easy life hack that can make a big difference is reducing the amount of sitting you do each day.

Consider a standing workstation, or at least, sitting on an exercise ball instead.

A 170-pound male would burn an extra 200 calories by standing at work for 5 hours as opposed to sitting at his desk.

Wake With Water

Start your day off with a big glass of water as soon as you wake up. This rehydrates your body, wakes you up, and helps flush out toxins that built up overnight as the result of your body’s repair processes.

Also, make sure you are drinking enough pure water throughout the day. Cutting out soda as suggested above will really help with this hack too.

drink more water

Make Your TV Room a Snack-Free Zone

Snacking while watching television in the evening is perhaps the easiest way to sabotage your healthy eating and fitness efforts.

This creates mindless eating, where we have no idea how many calories or how much we are consuming. Also, these snacks tend to be unhealthy anyway.

How to stop:

  • Skip the chip/ cracker/ candy aisles at your grocery store.
  • Eat dinner later in the evening.
  • Try controlled snacks instead like 2 squares of dark chocolate, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or a handful of cashews. Eat this before you sit down to watch.

By implementing just a few of the healthy hacks above, you can be well on your way to better reaching your health and fitness goals. Small changes over time make a big difference and have the best chance of becoming life-long healthy habits.

Scientific References

  1. Fowler, S. P., Williams, K., Resendez, R. G., Hunt, K. J., Hazuda, H. P., & Stern, M. P. (2008). Fueling the Obesity Epidemic? Artificially Sweetened Beverage Use and Long‐term Weight Gain. Obesity, 16(8), 1894-1900.
  2. Desjardins, Y. (2014). Fruit and vegetables and health: an overview. In Horticulture: Plants for People and Places, Volume 3 (pp. 965-1000). Springer Netherlands.
  3. Tsai, A. G., & Wadden, T. A. (2006). The Evolution of Very‐Low‐Calorie Diets: An Update and Meta‐analysis. Obesity, 14(8), 1283-1293.

4 Comments

  1. spectra311

    I do most of these already. I actually gave up bread for the most part because I think it’s not necessary. I wrap sandwich fillings in lettuce a lot of the time and it is just as satisfying.

    Reply
    • Ted

      And this explains why you are so fit and healthy 🙂

      Reply
  2. Mellissa Ruryk

    whoo hoo! I’m already doing a ton of these, and have been abstinent from my trouble foods for 4 days. No, it’s not a lot of time, but it will add up.
    I am free and clear of diet and regular sodas. I drink water, tea, or zero calorie carbonated water, using lots of lemon and lime slices. Gave up coffee with sweetener and cream/chocolate milk/eggnog.
    I already don’t drink – got sober in 1988.
    I’ve resolved to keep things tidy, which means I often have to climb stairs in my home (three story townhouse) to get cleaning products, do laundry, put things away, etc. Also, I work on the second floor of a building with no elevator.
    I went for a walk today at lunch, and plan to do that again at least three times a week. I have a standing desk that I should use more!
    I’ve eliminated dessert unless it’s a piece of fruit or a piece of fruit with cheese or yoghurt.
    I got a Nutribullet for Christmas and have been pounding down veggies at breakfast!
    So: I need to park farther away, drink water as soon as I’m awake, and change my lunchtime/dinner time habits of eating in front of the computer/tablet/phone. It’s all doable… thanks for the support AND the great reinforcement of implementing what I know is the right thing to do. I’m just DOING it!

    Reply
    • Ted

      Great! So nice to hear that you’re making (have made) positive changes for your health. I’m sure you’ll see big changes in the year to come. All the best and please check in down the road and let us know about your progress.

      Reply