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15 Afternoon Practices That Supercharge Your Weight Loss

Lose weight with these proven tips.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

The mid-afternoon slump is a real thing. "Our body's natural circadian rhythm, the 24-hour internal clock that helps regulate our biological processes, sends signals to the brain during the day to keep us alert, awake and sharp," Anthony Reffi, PhD, tells Henry Ford Health. "Around lunchtime, there's a dip in these signals that can make us feel sleepy." Here are key afternoon practices to give you energy and encourage weight loss.

Eat a Protein-Filled Lunch

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Protein helps build muscle and keep you full, without making you feel sluggish. "Try to eat a variety of protein-rich foods to ensure you are meeting your daily protein needs," says Harvard Health. "As well as getting the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients needed for optimal health."

Take a Walk

Young couple strolling in the park

Walking, especially after lunch, is an ideal afternoon activity to promote weight loss.

"Walking also tends to improve or prevent reflux symptoms," Professor Jane Andrews of the Gastroenterological Society of Australia tells the Sydney Morning Herald. "Better still, if walking is a regular habit, it helps with weight management – and that's good for the gut too. Obesity leads to extra fat within the abdomen, and this also causes a feeling of bloating, more reflux, and discomfort."

Drink Water

Woman drinking water in summer sunlight

Water is essential for weight loss and for energy. Feeling peckish? Make sure you're not just thirsty, first. "Unfortunately, a lot of people are chronically dehydrated simply because they don't drink enough water to fuel their daily activities," Dr. Reffi says.

RELATED: This Is How Much Water You Need to Drink to Stay Hydrated

Cook Your Own Food

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Cooking your own food has seemingly endless benefits. You have complete control of ingredients, calorie-count, and the nutritional benefits of food you make yourself. "When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight," Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, says via Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health research.

Drink Tea

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Tea without added sugar and calories is a great choice for an afternoon pick-me-up. "Tea is uniquely plentiful in catechins, and especially epicatechins, which are believed to be the component responsible for many of its purported health effects," Dr. Howard Sesso, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, tells Harvard Health.

Lift Weights

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Strength training can give you a great afternoon boost while helping with weight loss. "Working out in the afternoon can serve as a stress reliever after a long day," Mauro Maietta, Crunch Fitness district fitness manager, tells CBC News. "Plus, body temperature and muscle flexibility tend to peak in the late afternoon, making it a good time for more intense workouts."

Get Outside

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Fresh air and sunshine are good for both your mental and physical state. Being active is also very effective for weight loss. "If you go for a walk outside, you're not only getting exercise, which wakes up body and mind, but you're also exposing yourself to fresh air and natural light," Dr. Reffi says.

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Try Yoga

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Yoga in the afternoon can help you re-energize. "You may feel increased mental and physical energy, a boost in alertness and enthusiasm, and fewer negative feelings after getting into a routine of practicing yoga," says Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Bring Your Own Lunch To Work

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Meal prepping your own lunches is a great way to save money and help with weight loss. "When it comes to freezing, some foods work better than others," according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Cooked meals tend to freeze well in airtight containers. Foods with high moisture content, such as salad greens, tomatoes, or watermelon, are not recommended as they tend to become mushy when frozen and thawed."



"A midday meditation break has a number of potential benefits," stress management specialist Stacey Shipman, MEd, tells Psychology Today. "It's an effective way to de-stress after a long meeting or difficult conversation. It can relax tight muscles caused by sitting slumped over a computer."

RELATED: 20 Things You Need to Know About Ozempic and Weight Loss

Go For a Run

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Going for a run in the afternoon will burn calories and give you an energy boost. "Many people choose to exercise at lunch because it doesn't eat into their free time," workplace psychologist Mike Clinton tells Runner's World. "Plus it perks you up and is likely to make you more productive in the afternoon."

Protein Shake

Various Protein sport shake and powder. Fitness food and drink.

Having a protein shake after an afternoon workout can help build muscle and burn fat. "That window of time after you exercise is when your body is just a little bit more efficient at utilizing that protein to help build that muscle, versus while you're exercising and you're breaking down the muscle and stressing the muscle," Kate Patton, MEd, RD, CCSD, LD, tells the Cleveland Clinic.

Take a Nap

Image of young smiling pretty lady lies in bed indoors. Eyes closed.

Sleep is crucial for weight loss, so a mid-afternoon nap could help. "Aim to nap for only 10 to 20 minutes," says the Mayo Clinic. "The longer you nap, the more likely you are to feel groggy afterward. However, young adults might be able to tolerate longer naps."

RELATED: 15 Quick Ways to Lose Body Fat Percentage in a Week

Do Some Stretches

Runner woman stretching legs with lunge hamstring stretch exercise leg stretches. Fitness female athlete relaxing on beach doing a warm-up before her strength training cardio workout.

Stretching can provide an energy boost and protect your muscles. "Stretching reduces the muscle tension, thereby reversing the cycle of tension, then tightening, and pain," according to Colorado State University. "Stretching has been shown to increase serotonin levels — i.e., the hormone that helps stabilize our mood, reduce stress, and overall makes us feel good — which causes a decrease in depression and anxiety."

Avoid Sugar


It can be tempting to have sugar to combat the afternoon slump, but this will just cause you to be more tired due to a blood sugar spike and crash. "Don't grab a soda for an afternoon pick-me-up," says the Cleveland Clinic. "Coffee, dark chocolate and unsweetened iced tea are better options."

💪🔥Body Booster: Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon as it can negatively impact sleep.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more