Your afternoon coffee break is for more than cursing your boss and taking an extra shot of espresso. It’s an opportunity to get that much closer to your kilo-shedding goal. And we don’t mean by ordering your coffee sans sugar, and caramel (although, that certainly wouldn’t hurt).
Follow these tips and you’ll burn calories, fight cravings, up your healthy dinner game, get your hormones in check, and get even more out of your after-work workouts.
EAT ONE OF THESE SNACKS
By perking yourself up at the first sign of hunger (hello, 3 p.m. munchies), you can help to prevent cravings and overeating later. Turn to snacks like brown rice crackers and cheese, avocado toast, Greek yogurt with berries, or string cheese and an apple. All of these contain a combination of carbs, fibre, protein, and fat for true staying power. Plus, you can stash them in a desk drawer or your office fridge so they're ready when you are, says Sarah Calamita, a registered dietitian. If you like to work out after work, your afternoon nibble can also double as a pre-workout snack, she says. And better fuelling means better results.
USE YOUR PHONE TO CHILL THE F OUT
Listen to the Chill Vibes playlist on Spotify, do a quick meditation with an app, or do five minutes of deep breathing with the help of a timer on your phone. While meditating for weight loss sounds a little too good to be true, one study investigating the effects of cortisol on weight loss suggests that it's an effective method. Researchers divided participants into two groups: One group learned intuitive eating strategies and the second group learned stress-management techniques. Seven weeks into the study, dieters who used the stress-busting strategies lost more on average than the other group.
“Many people don’t realize how important stress management is to weight loss,” says Calamita. “When your cortisol levels are chronically high, it forces fat storage, even if you are eating well.”
PLAN YOUR WORKOUT
Put down the coffee and use your break to start hashing out your plan for the gym tonight or tomorrow morning. You’ll zap way more calories, give your metabolism a greater boost, and build more fat-shredding muscle if you go into your sweat session with a plan of attack, says Gainor.
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To create a body-rocking training plan, focus on incorporating total-body, lower-body, upper-body, and core moves into one workout, says Los Angeles-based personal trainer Mike Donavanik.
GO FOR A WALK
“Short bursts of movement throughout the day can lead to major calories burned—sometimes to more than you could burn at the gym in a 30-minute workout,” says Donavanik. Plus, some research suggest that sitting for long durations may have harmful effects on your hormone levels, making weight loss so much harder than it has to be, says Calamita.
Even if you only have 15 minutes to walk around the block, any movement is great for your weight-loss efforts, says Gainor.