How to Lose Weight
MichaelSvoboda/istockphoto
How to Lose Weight
MichaelSvoboda/istockphoto

EXERCISE YOUR OPTIONS

Fat loss can be achieved without pricey supplements, gym memberships, or pay-to-play diet plans. Instead, there are plenty of simple and inexpensive options to kick off a healthy fat-loss cycle naturally. In fact, many of these easy tips involve saving money by cutting out other expenses. Here are 25 tips to help keep budgets and bodies healthy and lean.

Drink Matcha
eriyalim/istockphoto

DRINK MATCHA

Green tea has a compound, EGCG, which has been linked to weight loss in various studies. For the most concentrated dose of this fat fighting compound, reach for matcha, a particularly potent form of whole leaf green tea. Matcha is a little pricier than regular green tea, but still comes out to around $1 per serving when prepared at home.

Interval Training
martin-dm/istockphoto

DO INTERVAL TRAINING

Interval training uses small bursts, or intervals, of high-intensity exercise to condition the cardiovascular system. Think sprints interspersed in a jogging routine. Even a small amount of this type of exercise can help the body and metabolism work a little more, resulting in burning off more calories and fat throughout the day after the workout.

Weight Loss Exhausts Will Power
adrian825/istockphoto

MAKE HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES

This requires willpower, which can be difficult when faced with an option of delicious donuts vs. simple fruit. One way to encourage yourself to make the healthy decision is to set up a piggy bank and deposit a small amount every time you choose responsibly. Use the accumulated funds to buy something nice for yourself. After about three weeks, the habits will be formed and it will be easier to make healthy choices automatically.

Go Meatless
bhofack2/istockphoto

GO MEATLESS

Meat is full of filling protein, but also packs in a lot of fat and cholesterol, which can help your body retain extra fat. Try substituting mushrooms for meat, which also contain protein, and very few calories. Going meatless even a few times a week can make an impact.

Cut Back on Dairy
baibaz/istockphoto

CUT BACK ON DAIRY

As delicious as it is, cheese is not helpful for those trying to lose weight. The same goes for ice cream and most other dairy products. Try to limit your dairy intake to one serving per day, especially if you are used to eating a lot more. This one change can radically reduce the amount of fat you take in, leading to immediate results.

Drink Plenty of Water
PeopleImages/istockphoto

DRINK PLENTY OF WATER

Not only does water help fill you up, it also helps your body function optimally. Staying hydrated ensures your elimination processes are working at full steam, helping to rid your gut of bacteria that may be helping your body to hold on to fat. Figure out how much water you should drink, and make it a goal.

Skip Fancy Coffee Drinks
segray/istockphoto

SKIP THE FANCY COFFEE DRINKS

Coffee drinks with sugar, cream, syrups, and such pack in a surprising amount of empty calories. There's no need to give up coffee, but enjoy it black, or with a small splash of milk. If you add sugar, be sure to stick to 2 tablespoons total daily.

Pack Your Lunch
iuliia_n/istockphoto

PACK A LUNCH

Bringing your own lunch or snack to work or on trips does double duty. Homemade food is cheaper than ready-made food and much healthier. Even healthy-ish takeout food is packed with more oil and sugar than is necessary to ensure it tastes good. With food made at home, you can control the amounts of everything.

Eat Dinner Earlier
monkeybusinessimages/istockphoto

EAT DINNER EARLIER

The later you eat, the less time your body has to digest and turn that food into energy and the more likely it will get stored as fat. Ideally, you should stop eating at least four hours before bedtime. A cutoff time of 7 p.m. works well for many people.

Digest with a Walk
monkeybusinessimages/istockphoto

DIGEST WITH A WALK

Walking helps promote digestion, which feels good while also getting in a little extra exercise. The better your digestion, the better your elimination of unusable matter, and the better your body will convert usable matter into energy. A 30-minute walk after eating is enough to give your body a boost.

Skip a Meal
bopav/istockphoto

SKIP A MEAL

Intermittent fasting is a fancy way of simply skipping a meal. Letting your body go at least 12 hours without food will gently encourage it to use stored fat as energy. Skipping breakfast or dinner once a week is a surprisingly easy way to test out if this method works for you.

Substitute Juice for One Meal
Liliboas/istockphoto

SUBSTITUTE JUICE FOR ONE MEAL A DAY

An all-juice diet can be too extreme for many bodies, and is controversial as far as health goes. Sipping on juice for one meal a day, however, is a gentle way of providing nutrient-dense fuel that is low in calories. Sticking to vegetable-based juices without a lot of sugar is the best way to promote fat loss. Even at full mark up, a juice costs less than the average take out meal.

Weigh Food Portions
maksime/istockphoto

WEIGH YOUR FOOD PORTIONS

Looks can be deceiving, and as Americans, we have a skewed perception of how small most serving sizes really are. Weighing your food can seem drastic, but it becomes second nature after a few days. Scales are an inexpensive one-time investment and can help make sure a diet plan is actually being followed.

Go Vegan
wmaster890/istockphoto

GO VEGAN

It's true that potato chips and Oreos are vegan, and no one is going to lose weight by eating those. However, if you eliminate meat and dairy from your diet while retaining other healthy elements like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, it's almost impossible not to lose weight. Going vegan for a short time to kick off the weight loss can have lasting results.

Cut Out Soda
Kwangmoozaa/istockphoto

CUT OUT SODA AND SUGARY DRINKS

If you drink sugary drinks most days, you're in luck when it comes to weight loss. This single tactic can drastically alter your body's metabolism and kick start it to drop pounds. Try sparkling water or unsweetened tea as a flavorful replacement until you kick the habit of sugary drinks.

Do 10 Minutes of Exercise in the Morning
monkeybusinessimages/istockphoto

DO 10 MINUTES OF EXERCISE IN THE MORNING

Exercise gets the body primed to burn fat all day long, which means it is most efficient when done in the morning. Just 10 minutes of exercise in the morning is enough to switch your body into fat-burning mode. It can be difficult to make this a routine, but having a calendar or setting a reminder helps.

Eat a Big Salad Every Day
franckreporter/istockphoto

EAT A BIG SALAD EVERY DAY

Salads, aside from being delicious and endlessly versatile, provide a lot of fiber. One big salad each day almost guarantees your body enough fiber to optimize digestion and provide natural energy. Eating a salad also means you will fill up on healthy veggies before having the opportunity to gorge on unhealthy foods.

Use a Free App
AndreyPopov/istockphoto

USE A FREE APP

There are plenty of free apps designed to help you lose weight. The popular My Fitness Pal app has tools to help track calories and exercise to get down to the nitty gritty. People who want a different approach can check out My Diet Coach, which comes with a personalized avatar for added visual motivation.

Involve Others
kali9/istockphoto

INVOLVE OTHERS

Sometimes going at it alone can be overwhelming. Chances are that everyone knows at least one other person who wants to lose a few pounds. Having a group or partner makes it easier to stay motivated. The accountability also helps people make healthy decisions like avoiding problem foods and sticking to exercise regimens.

Weight Loss Is About Diet
Rasulovs/istockphoto

EAT OATMEAL FOR BREAKFAST

Oatmeal is as close to a perfect food as it gets. Tasty, filling, and super-healthy, oatmeal has been linked to all kinds of health benefits, including weight loss. It's also super-inexpensive and infinitely versatile so that you could have oatmeal for breakfast every day for a month and never repeat a recipe.

Cut Down on Alcohol
JoeChristensen/istockphoto

CUT DOWN ON ALCOHOL

Alcohol is essentially sugar once it's in our bodies, and can be a source of adding extra pounds for many. Cutting down or eliminating alcohol is similar to cutting out other sugary drinks. Going off alcohol for just a few weeks can have a big impact on the waistline.

Stocking Up
Steve Debenport/istockphoto

GET YOUR 5 MINIMUM DAILY SERVINGS OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

It can be easier to include certain foods in your diet than to eliminate them. If you are focused on eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables, you will have less room in for empty calories, and you'll also stay focused on the positive rather than the negative. Happily, there are plenty of options for inexpensive fruits and vegetables.

Cut Out Flour
AndreyGorulko/istockphoto

CUT OUT FLOUR

It's no surprise that processed food is to blame for a lot of extra pounds globally. Rather than cutting out all processed foods, focus on the most pernicious: flour. You could cut out just wheat flour, or take it all the way and cut out all flours including rice, nut, etc. Just by eliminating this one element, most processed foods will be off the table.

Use Free Online Exercise Videos
asiseeit/istockphoto

USE FREE ONLINE EXERCISE VIDEOS

While there are always plenty of add-ons and options to buy things, there are plenty of online workout videos for free, and many of them high quality. BodyRockTV is one of the most popular, with different work out plans so that everyone can find what works for them.

Have a Cheat Day
PeopleImages/istockphoto

HAVE A CHEAT DAY

The constant pressure of dieting and working out can be a lot, sometimes enough to push people over the edge to where they give up. To avoid feeling like you've failed, give yourself a cheat day, where you can do and eat whatever you want. Indulging in your cravings will help manage them in the big picture. It can be once a week, once a month, or somewhere in between.