Like it or not, this time of year is always the same: Everyone's looking up new ways to lose weight or prepare yourself with strategies to fend off unwanted pounds as you head into the holiday season. It's not really necessary — all of the #bodypositive movements trending on social media are proof that you look amazing exactly as you are — but sometimes it's what a girl wants to feel comfortable in her own skin. And there's nothing wrong with that.
But when it comes to weight loss, it's easy to get sucked in by quick tricks and "hacky" loopholes that make it seem way easier than it actually is. That's why top personal trainers and nutritionists weighed in on the best slim-down strategies they dished out all year. Whether it be your fitness routine, your nutrition goals, or even your sleeping habits, these are the lifestyle tweaks the experts say actually work when it comes to weight loss.
In this day and age, when there are hundreds of different workouts to try, there's no reason to force yourself to exercise in a way that bores you to tears or makes you dread every single workout. Plus, repeatedly forcing yourself to run when you really hate it is an easy way to fall off the fitness bandwagon, says Kyra Williams, a certified personal trainer and CrossFit Level One trainer. "If you hate what you're doing, you won't look forward to it and once your willpower to force yourself is gone, you will go back to doing nothing," she says. Doing something you love makes it way more likely that you'll stick to it. If you don't know what that is yet, check out the most popular workouts of the year for ideas on what to try next.
Throw up a praise hands emoji, because 2016 was the year that women finally started embracing how awesome it is to lift heavy weights over tiny ones. But if you haven't gotten the memo on why it's so great, here's a fill-in: Lifting heavy weights leads to a boat-load of health benefits, including better bone health, more strength (duh), less belly fat, and a higher calorie burn after you've finished working out. And no, for the last time, you won't "look bulky" if you go for those 20-pound dumbbells over the 10-pound ones. Instead, you'll finally start to see the toned muscle definition everyone's always after. Williams says the reasoning is simple, really: "If you want to see visible muscle, you have to have muscle. If you want to have muscle, you have to lift weights." Time to go pick stuff up and put it down.
Ditch the Diet
Quick-fix diets are exactly like they sound: They're not meant to last long-term. And that's why many of them find their way into "been there, failed that" territory. So for your New Year's resolution, eat and exercise in a way you could do for the rest of your life, says Williams. "A strict diet cannot be done forever, nor could a workout program that has you training four hours a day when you have a full-time job and other responsibilities," she says. "You will burn out. Think long-term instead and you'll be able to go forever." If you need help getting started, try these "diets" that have been proven to be more successful.