Getting fit doesn't have to be a project—in fact, it's quite doable if you break into a routine and make healthy living a habit rather than treat it as another daunting task to add to your already chock-full to-do list. Even though you may envy "fitspo" girls on Instagram and wonder how on earth J.Lo's body looks the way it does, the secret to their lean figures and healthy lifestyles aren't locked in a vault. Even the smallest changes can help you achieve your diet and fitness goals, and they're things that fit girls do on a daily basis that we're here to share with you.
Cook Ahead of Time
According to dietitian Lisa Moskovitz, finding the energy to cook after a long, exhausting day is a battle. Hence, she suggests designating one day per week (preferably during the weekend, when you’re not inundated with work) and cooking your meals in advance. “Pack them away in the refrigerator—or even freeze them—so that you have healthy home-cooked meals in minutes without doing anything more than pressing a button on the microwave,” she says.
Keep Healthy Snacks at Your Desk
Says Moskovitz, “Most of us get that urge to nosh between lunch and dinner, especially when you’re stuck sitting behind a desk all day. Since the vending machine or other empty-calorie processed foods are often within a 10-step radius of your desk, it can be hard to resist these unhealthy temptations.” Instead, she suggests keeping high-fiber, protein-rich snacks like oats, cereal, fresh fruit, and raw nuts at your desk or in the office kitchen at all times.
Get to Know MCTs
We've already talked about digesting medium-chain triglycerides as a way to quickly (and easily) banish belly fat. Explains Alexandra Samit, Be Well health coach at Dr. Lipman’s Eleven Wellness Center, "MCTs are a unique form of fat that requires less energy and fewer enzymes to be digested. The best part is that instead of being stored in the body as fat, they get burned for energy. Boost your metabolism, burn fat, and get an increase in energy by incorporating a tablespoon into your diet every day."
If you work a desk job that requires you to sit most of the day, use your time wisely! Instead of being motionless all day, take some leg exercise breaks. Extend one leg out (while seated) and lift it 15 times while you squeeze your abs and your quadriceps; then repeat with the other leg. Also, don’t forget to get up and walk around as often as you can during the day, whether it’s a trip outside or even just a walk over to a colleague’s desk to say hello.
Drink Lots of Water
You’ve probably read countless times that you’re supposed to drink more water, but we promise there’s a reason it’s drilled into our brains. Drinking a big glass of water before each meal can help you lose more weight than just eating fewer calories alone. Bottoms up!
Load Up on Protein
Swap out your morning bagel for a hearty serving of eggs, lean meat, or fish. These three foods are high in iron, vitamin D, omega-3s, and branch chain amino acids and help kick-start your metabolism for the day ahead.
Snap Some Pics
If you’re already big into Instagramming photos of your food, keep it up! Studies show that keeping a digital food journal is more effective in raising awareness of and changing dietary decisions than writing things down—this way, you get a visual sense of your general diet. While you’re at it, try downloading a fitness tracker like MyFitnessPal to document your progress.
Walk It Out
Senior Byrdie editor Hallie Gould swears by walking everywhere to get in shape. If you can, try to walk to work or pick a lunch spot that’s farther away than usual to burn some extra calories without having to hit the gym.
Hear us out on this one: Even if you classify yourself as a lazy girl, a 15-minute circuit is completely doable. Try an easy body-toning workout twice a week to get in shape in less than a month (seriously, you only need to do it two times a week). Take a break between episodes of The Mindy Project and try the “30-1 method”—you’ll thank us later.