So you want to lose weight without putting in a lot of effort? Join the club. Just about everyone with a few pounds to shed is hoping for the discovery of a magic pill that will help us do exactly that. Luckily, a handful of inspired researchers has been studying ways to easily burn more calories without sweating or going hungry. Here's what they've found:  

1. Stand more. One study from the Mayo Clinic found that people who are obese tend to sit for 2.5 more hours each day than people who are leaner. Those people who spent more time on their feet burned an average of 350 more calories by bedtime. 

2. Drink green tea. Green tea is a proven metabolism booster. Scientists are unsure if it's the caffeine or the catechins in the tea that are responsible for the revved-up calorie burn, but whatever the reason, you now have good motivation to pour another cup. Just skip the sweetener and cream to keep the calories down.

3. Clean house. We know cleaning usually isn't at the top of your list, but Edward Archer, Ph.D., a research fellow at the University of South Carolina, published recent research linking women's overall health, fitness and activity levels to the way their houses look. Those who had the cleanest houses also had the lowest body mass indexes. It's unclear if women who care more about their homes take the same pride in caring for themselves, or if they're simply burning more calories while cleaning, but whatever the correlation, the connection is there.

4. Cook your meals. Chopping veggies and stirring a pot of soup burns more calories than calling for delivery -- plus, you're in control of the ingredients you use. Opt for light recipes that call for lots of produce and protein (and are low in starches, fats and sugars). Add peppers to torch a few extra calories.

5. Take public transportation. If you've been meaning to change up your commute, now's the time. One study in New York found that people who ditched the car for the train or bus burned an extra 124 calories each day. Walking to and from the stop and standing once you board can both contribute to the extra weight loss.

6. Get a dog. According to one recent U.K. study, people with dogs are 50 percent more likely to fit in 30 minutes of physical activity each day than non-dog owners. Each time you take your dog for a walk, you get the same benefits as Fido.


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