For everyone who’s just too busy to worry about weight loss, we’ve got good news: you don’t need any extra time. You can start losing weight now, in just minutes—no, seconds—a day, thanks to these tips from the New York Times bestselling book Zero Belly Diet.
In Just 2 Seconds
Order a “coffee, black.” A cup of coffee has nearly zero calories. A cup of coffee with cream and sugar has 80 calories. If you drink two cups a day, learning to take it black will save you 14 pounds in a year. Not into coffee? Check out these weight loss teas.
In Just 5 Seconds
Take a whiff. Smelling fresh green apples, bananas and pears can curb appetite and make sugary desserts less appealing, studies have shown. The scientists suggest this is because the produce makes you subconsciously think about making healthier choices. If a fruit basket on your desk attracts too many flies, try a simpler idea, like a shea butter-based scented lotion, which can have the same effect.
In Just 15 Seconds
Take a candy daydream. A recent study found that fantasizing about eating an entire packet of your favorite candy before indulging may cause you to eat less of it. For the study, researchers asked participants to imagine eating 3 or 30 M&Ms, and then invited them to help themselves to some of the candies as a “taste test.” Those who imagined eating lots of M&Ms actually ate the least.
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In Just 60 Seconds
Schedule a workout date. It’s hard to squeeze in a workout before meeting friends for drinks, so you blow off…the workout, of course. A better idea: Tell your bud to meet you at the gym. You can socialize, get fit, and still hit the bar afterwards. This trick works with spouses, too: A recent JAMA Internal Medicine study of nearly 4,000 couples found that people are more likely to stick to healthy habits like exercise when they team up with their partner.
In Just 75 Seconds
Nuke frozen veggies. While frozen produce has a nutrient density that’s often higher than fresh, canned foods don’t hold up. A study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that for some vegetables, canning degraded as much as 95 percent of the vitamin C and damaged every B vitamin in the food.
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In Just 100 Seconds
Choose stone fruit. New studies suggest that stone fruits—like plums, peaches and nectarines—may help ward off belly fat, high cholesterol and insulin resistance. The belly-flattening properties of the fruit may come from powerful phenolic compounds that help modulate the expression of your fat genes. Eat one as a snack, or chop it up and toss it on your morning cereal or afternoon salad.
In Just 2 Minutes
Pregame your dinner. While it may sound counterintuitive, eating before going to a work dinner or happy hour can actually take off pounds. A series of studies out of Penn State found that noshing on an apple or a broth-based soup prior to sitting down to a restaurant meal can reduce total calorie intake by 20 percent. With the average restaurant meal weighing in at 1,128 calories, saving 20 percent once a day could help you lose up to 23 pounds this year.
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And In Just 10 Minutes
Slow-cook a beef feast. This is a great one for busy weekends: Heat 1 tbsp canola oil in a pan over high heat, and brown a 3-pound chuck roast on all sides for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, slice some onions and mushrooms. When the meat’s brown, throw it into a slow cooker, and add the onions, mushrooms, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp Worchestershire sauce, some bay leaves and a can of dark beer. Put it on low and go about your Sunday. Six hours later you’ll have an incredible dinner at the ready for just 345 calories per serving.