As I tell all of my online clients, it is important to set yourself up for success. Here are some practical tips and applications to living right in your living room.

1. Make housework your workout

Too busy to hit the gym? No problem, you can get all the activity you need from your daily chores. Remember, exercise in and of itself won’t cause weight loss—that comes from the way you eat. That said, being active is still an important component to losing weight long term because it improves your health, ramps up hormones that support motivation and happiness, and gives you more energy overall.  Here’s how to turn mundane chores into a daily fitness routine.

Pair laundry with lunges

Play the following game while folding laundry: Stand and fold five items of clothing, pause and do 5 squats, fold another five items and do 5 more squats. Repeat until you are done with one basket. Now pick up the basket and lunge your way to put the items away. Take a big step, pause and lunge. It will take longer to put laundry away for sure, but you’ll build muscle and tone your legs for the price

Tune in

I’m not talking about the TV here. Put on some headphones and turn up your favorite music. Dance while you sweep the floor, boogie while you put away the dishes, and keep on grooving as you dust around the house, make the beds, or pick up left behind socks. Every action can be done with more energy and enjoyment when music is fueling you, even if you hate cleaning.

Whittle your waist

Use hard to reach tasks as an opportunity to work your core muscles. This includes dusting off ceiling fans, moldings, and hard-to-reach light fixtures. Each time you reach up high focus on engaging your abs, butt and lower back muscles.  Not only will this keep you safe by using your stabilizing muscles, you’ll burn fat off your trouble zones.

Wash windows

Why pay extra? Plus, washing windows is a great toning exercise for your upper body. So get out the Windex and get ready to say goodbye to that upper arm jiggle. Take turns wiping in a circular motion with both your left and right hand.

2. Healthier Tube Time

TV is a triple threat when it comes to weight gain. First, it’s all too easy to mindlessly eat, and to eat too much in front of the television. Second, TV watching is a sedentary behavior. You burn less calories watching television than you do reading a book. Some experts say that it’s because TV does all the imagining for you, so your brain isn’t even necessary. Finally, with commercials packed with high sugar, refined carbs you’re constantly battling temptations. Here’s how to turn that triple threat into a triple friend.

Break during breaks

When the commercial comes on, mute your box and get up. Do jumping jacks, lunges, squats, push ups, and crunches until your show comes back on. You can also have your iPod handy so you can switch to music during ads.

Quash cravings 

If you’re used to eating in front of the TV make sure you have something on hand to keep your hands busy such as knitting, folding clothes, or even a healthy beverage. Try a sparkling mineral water with sliced lime while watching your favorite show. It takes time to break an association such as eating during television shows, so be patient. Most people report that it takes about three weeks to create a new habit.

Know when to fold em

Fold laundry and put clean cloths on hangers during your show. During the commercials get up and put away what you’ve completed. You’ll break up the sitting time, and keep yourself too busy to think about eating.

3. Keep a food-free living space

Make anything but the dining table a zero-food zone. Noshing in front of the computer, or while watching TV allows you to all too easily veg your way to overeating, and eating the wrong sorts of foods. Read on for strategies to keep your living space about living not eating.

Zap the TV trays

You can eliminate that which you won’t be using any longer—and maybe free up some needed space in your living room. Remove extra tables and trays and replace them with standing lamps and a small bookshelf and stock it with cards, books, and board games. The living room doesn’t have to be all about TV remember, you could spend some time reading or playing games.

No more candy bowls

Don’t sabotage yourself or others by leaving out a display bowl with candy in it. And while I’m at it – ditto for the bar. Alcohol on display means having a drink will always be on your mind. There are only so many times you can walk by either before you give in. Both of these items are better for a special or planned occasion, not as a part of your daily routine.

Eliminate food scents

You know what it’s like to walk by a Cinnabon store—just the smell can make you dizzy with desire. The same thing can happen when you smell caramel or vanilla scented candles or air fresheners. Replace these scents with those that will help you lose, not gain, weight. I suggest lavender to reduce stress, peppermint or pine to lower appetite, and citrus or rosemary for energy

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