So you’re looking for an easy way to shed those extra pounds. Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to transform from a solid five out of ten (hi) into an Instagram model overnight. On the bright side, there are certain things you can do and small ways to change your diet to de-bloat, drop some pounds, and improve your health at the same time. Here are five little (BIG) things to cut out of your diet if you’re looking to feel better and maybe lose a few pounds.
Dairy is inflammatory. Like, it’s literally cow breast milk that’s meant to bulk up baby calves. Yes, cheese is f*cking delicious and so is a gigantic ice cream sundae with whipped cream and a cherry on top, but that disgusting, heavy feeling you get after eating a quesadilla or pint of Ben & Jerry’s is real. Cut out any milk-based products in exchange for dairy-free options like almond, coconut, cashew, or oat milk instead.
2. Artificial Sugars & Sweeteners
Natural sugars, like those found in fruit, are okay because they’re natural (duh). Artificial sugar, on the other hand, is basically the devil. Sugar alternatives like stevia are hyped up to be low-calorie and “better” for you, but that’s not exactly the case. Consuming artificial sugars can actually make you crave more sweet foods, a fact I’m sure you already know but bears repeating. Avoid eating candy and snacks with fake sugars, sweeteners, aspartame, and high-fructose corn syrups whenever possible.
3. Carbonated Drinks
Sure, carbonated drinks like soda, seltzer, and beer taste great. However, those sweet, sweet bubbles aren’t worth the calories, sugars, indigestion, bloating, or burps. Substitute all of these drinks for water or tea and watch the pounds melt off (if you don’t believe me, my ex-boyfriend lost 15 pounds after he quit drinking soda).
Allow me to elaborate. White foods are bleached and are not good for you. Swap out all white ingredients in your diet and replace them with brown ones, including bread, rice, flour, sugar, and pasta. These complex carbs are way more natural, easier to digest, and kinder to your stomach.
5. Processed Foods
Frozen meals are quick and easy to make—there’s no argument there. What I will argue, though, is that processed foods aren’t worth the convenience. Pre-packaged bags of produce are one thing, but microwavable rice side dishes, dumplings, and canned soups are trash. Quit being lazy, stop eating sh*tty TV dinners, and start cooking meals at home with fresh ingredients. There are more fresh food delivery/meal prep services than I could even name off the top of my head, there’s literally no excuse anymore.
Be an adult. You love ramen noodles and Taco Bell cheesy gordita crunches because they’re cheap and delicious… I get it. All of the things on this list taste pretty good, but they’re also super unhealthy and easily replaceable. Just by following these simple rules and removing some toxic foods from your diet, you’ll be on your way to better health, a smaller waistline, and maybe even a couple more Instagram followers too.
There are a million online workouts that will drive you batshit crazy looking for every machine, kettlebell, booty band, and yoga mat out there. Like, we’re not always standing in some fully stocked gym with two hours to spare and no one else around. We’ve found that sometimes, for whatever reason, we only have one or two weights, and it would be helpful to get a good workout with minimal equipment. That’s why we created this bomb full body workout that only requires ONE dumbbell, no matter the weight. Perform the reps listed for each of these moves, and then repeat the circuit 2 more times for a quick and efficient workout. Let’s get started:
1. Weighted Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks are a pretty basic cardio move to get your heart rate up, but adding a weight to it is no joke. People think that in order to warm up, they need to do intense cardio sprints or jump rope for 10 minutes straight, but if you add a weight to a basic movement, you’re getting a better workout in less time. Not only do jumping jacks warm up your shoulders and legs, but by adding a weight, you’re working on your core, too. Try holding the weight with both hands above your head and do 30 jumping jacks total. If that’s too hard, bring the weight to chest height, but do 40.
2. Single Leg Deadlift
People neglect single leg exercises because they think they could just be saving time by doing a move on both legs at the same time. What they don’t realize is that by isolating one leg at a time, you’re actually working on your balance and stability while toning the muscle. That’s why single leg deadlifts are the shit. Stand on one leg and hold your weight in the same hand. Keeping that knee slightly bent, bend at the hip, extending your free leg behind you for balance. Continue lowering the weight until you’re parallel to the ground, and then return to your standing position. Do 10 reps per leg, and remember to move slowly and squeeze your hamstrings with every rep.
3. Low To High Wood Chop
For those of you who don’t know, your obliques are the muscles on the sides of your abs that will completely shape your core if you do enough wood chops. We love this move because it works your obliques and the entire upper ab region, and it doesn’t involve you lying on the floor doing 500 bicycle crunches while holding your breath. For your wood chops, hold the dumbbell in both hands and twist left, so that it’s starting on the outside of your left leg. Then, lift the weight diagonally across your body, ending twisted to the right with the dumbbell above your head. Pivot on your left foot as needed, and do 12 reps on each side.
4. Weighted Squat Jumps
This is another move that will get your heart rate up, and of course it’s a squat, so you’ll feel the burn in your butt. Squat jumps work your glute muscles, which are some of the biggest muscles in your body, so you’ll be burning almost twice as many calories than by running or boxing. It’s low-key amazing. Holding your dumbbell at your chest, squat down and jump up, straightening out your legs in the air and landing in a squat again. Do 15 reps, and if you need to drop the weight, do it. Just try not to rest in between in each jump. Oh, and don’t blame us if you can’t sit down tomorrow morning.
5. Lunge To Curl
The dumbbell lunge with a bicep curl is a combo move, so you’re engaging your leg muscles and arm muscles in one move. Think of it like waiting for your laundry while doing your taxes. Both sound terrible, but you’re getting both done in the same hour and you feel good about it. Anyway, hold the dumbbell at your right side as you step your left foot forward into a high lunge, making sure your left thigh is parallel to the floor. Once you’re in your lunge, curl the weight to your chest, keeping your elbow close to your rib cage. Reverse to return to start, and do 12 reps on each side.
6. Weighted Crunch To Jump
This last move is pretty tough, but we decided to end the workout with a killer ab move, because people have literally been dying for abs since J.Lo circa 2003. The weighted crunch to jump is exactly what it sounds like, and it’s too late to bail now. Lying on the floor with your dumbbell at your chest, do 5 crunches or sit-ups, bringing the weight over your knees each time. Then, roll up to your feet and jump up, still holding the weight. Perform this combo 5 times total. You’re toning your abs while burning calories, so it’s basically the grand finale. Then you can pass out on the couch for the rest of the night! Or drink an entire bottle of wine. Or both.