Science says you can burn calories and boost your metabolism by doing more of what you enjoy, like having sex and eating chocolate. We know—best. news. ever.
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You might be able to make up for lost time at the gym with a little merlot. According to studies from Washington State University and Harvard Medical School, red wine contains a polyphenol called resveratrol that turns "white fat" into "beige fat"—which is easier to burn off. Another study by Arizona State University suggests that resveratrol can also help suppress your cravings, so you may also be less likely to binge eat before bed. (Just don't go overboard: One or two glasses should do the trick, and yeah, you should still work out.)
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Talk about sweet relief! Researchers found that antioxidants in chocolate can help block the breakdown of fat and carbohydrates (meaning less is absorbed into your bloodstream and trapped in your fat cells). "The flavanols in chocolate can elevate your mood and improve blood flow, so you may also feel more energetic—and therefore see an increase in productivity and motivation to exercise," says Roger E. Adams, Ph.D., a certified sports nutritionist and founder of Eat Right Fitness. Like with the vino, Adams cautions this is a benefit where you'll want to tread lightly: "Even dark chocolate calories can pile up quickly, so use it as a small boost and not a major tool."
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Take a Hot Bath
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Your evening suds session could do more than help you relax. According to research published in the journal Temperature, a one-hour soak in a hot bath can burn approximately 140 calories (about the same number of cals you'd burn during a half-hour walk) and it can also help lower blood sugar. Of course, it won't *replace* exercise, but we'll take any excuse for more self-care bubble baths.
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Catch Some Shut-Eye
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As if you needed another reason to hit the snooze button, a study conducted by Columbia University found that people are more likely to pack on the LBs when they're lacking zzz's. Researchers observed the eating habits of men and women after they'd had nine hours of sleep vs. four and found that participants consumed about 300 calories more when sleep-deprived. Women, in particular, were more likely to choose fatty foods.
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Have a Tea Party
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Green tea has long been hailed for its antioxidant properties, and now it turns out it can work as a booster shot for your metabolism, too. Research published in the journal Obesity found that obese mice with a high-fat diet gained weight 45 percent slower when also fed with a compound found in green tea. Why the increased calorie burn? "Green tea is an excellent source of EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which improves the body's cellular machinery responsible for burning fat by increasing metabolic rate," explains Paul Salter, R.D., C.S.C.S.
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Dance the Night Away
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If you're looking for more ways to stay social without packing on the pounds, try hitting the local concert hall. According to Harvard Medical School, a 155-pound person can burn 112 calories for every 30 minutes of dancing. Bonus: Dancing can also make you a better athlete.
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If you're looking for a little more adventure (and even better calorie burn), celebrate #ThrowbackThursday with a night at the nearby skating rink swerving to all of your old favorites—and burn more than 500 calories an hour (estimate for a 155-pound person). Just be careful not to fall prey to the usual pizza and soda while there.
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Carrie Bradshaw was on to something when she claimed shopping as her main source of cardio. Research shows that walking is great for our health—and that the calorie burn is on par with running when you walk with weights. Translation: Hit up your favorite stores—the heavier the bags the better! Bonus points if you have to walk on an incline or up stairs.
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Schedule Some TLC
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Plan a romantic night in to increase your bond and your bod. Passionate kissing can reportedly help you burn two calories per minute. And that's just getting started. According to experts, half an hour of sex can burn an estimated 150 calories. (But you burn even more when you orgasm—we're dead serious.)
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Get a Massage
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There are so many mind-body benefits of getting a massage. Not only can it help fight insomnia (see weight-loss benefits of sleep above!) but it also melts away stress and anxiety, which can lead to overeating. That's because when we're stressed, our bodies amp up the production of cortisol, the stress hormone that can cause carb cravings. Bottom line: Happiness is the key to healthiness.
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