There are many weight-loss plans that are expensive and not sustainable, not based on scientific evidence, and may actually be harmful to your health.
There is no one “right” way to lose weight. The best approach for you will depend on your current habits, how much weight you want to lose, and your long-term goals.
No matter how much you exercise each day, if you don’t make good decisions about what you eat, you won’t be able to lose weight.
This weight-loss guide provides simple, evidence-based nutrition strategies that work, based on the advice of nutritionists, psychologists, and the published scientific database.
Eat a balanced diet.
You will need to change your diet if you want to lose weight. Bloody sugar levels are not just about eating and drinking fewer calories.
Your body breaks down any food you eat into glucose and sends it into your blood. This triggers your pancreas to release insulin, which helps your cells absorb the glucose.
The candy bar is digested much faster than the baby carrot and can cause your blood sugar levels to spike.
Research indicates that when blood sugar rises sharply, the resulting excess of glucose and insulin in the body cannot all be used for energy, so some of the glucose is stored as fat.
Processed, simple sugars that spike your blood sugar levels can lead to weight gain, so it’s important to eat foods that you digest slowly.
Vegetables are good for weight loss because they are low in calories and high in fiber. This means that you can eat a lot of them, feel full, and not have your blood sugar levels go up.
Incorporating more nourishing foods into your diet is a better way to promote overall health and manage weight, rather than restricting certain foods or food groups. Produce is a great way to add volume to dishes without adding fat and calories, and it is also very nutrient-dense and filling. You can make lower-calorie versions of your favorite dishes by swapping out high-calorie ingredients for fruits and vegetables. If you make sure that at least 50% of what you eat is veggies, you will be on the right track to better health.
Build a better breakfast.
If you want to revolutionize your day, start by eating a balanced breakfast with plenty of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Skipping breakfast can lead to feelinghungry later in the day, which can make it difficult to resist overeating or cravings for unhealthy foods. A healthy breakfast should fill you up and keep you satisfied until lunchtime. Try to eat 400-500 calories for breakfast, including a source of lean protein, healthy fat, and fiber. This combination of nutrients will help you maintain stable blood sugar levels and lose weight.
Eat the right carbs: Fiber and resistant starch.
It’s important to limit or cut sugar and processed carbs from your diet if you want to lose weight, according to studies and experts.
Processed foods are generally made up of simple carbohydrates, which are easy to digest but also cause a quick spike in blood sugar levels. Over time, this can lead to problems like type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Low-carbohydrate diets, such as the ketogenic diet and the Atkins diet, are becoming increasingly popular. These diets restrict the consumption of all types of carbohydrates, from the simple carbs found in cupcakes to the complex carbs found in whole grains. However, complex carbs are an important part of a healthy diet for several reasons. First, complex carbs are digested more slowly than simple carbs, which can help you feel full for longer and prevent hunger pains. In addition, complex carbs have been shown to protect against coronary heart disease.
Complex carbs like fiber and resistant starch are important to include in your diet. Good sources of both fiber and resistant starch include peas, lentils, beans, whole grains, and cold pasta.
Mindful eating can help you control your portions and make better choices about the food you eat. Paying attention to what you’re eating and when you’re eating it can help you identify times when you’re overeating. Additionally, try to avoid eating foods that you don’t really want to eat. This can help you focus on eating what your body needs, rather than what external cues are telling you to eat. Knowing where your extra calories are coming from is a good way to make better choices about your diet in the future.
Skip sugary beverages.
Liquid calories don’t satisfy us in the same was as solid food. This is because we don’t register them in the same way, meaning that we don’t feel as full. Drinking soda, coffee with sugar, or sweet tea is less satisfying than eating a nutritious stir-fry, for example. Did you know that by skipping sugary drinks, you’re more likely to lose weight? It’s also good for things like heart health and preventing diabetes. Be mindful of how much juice, soda, sweetened coffee and tea, and alcoholic beverages you consume in a day. If you drink a lot of these throughout the day, you’ll have taken in at least 800 extra calories by the time night comes around – and you’ll still be hungry. Not to mention that alcohol can actually suppress the metabolism of fat, making it harder for you to burn those calories.
Start strength training.
Building muscle through strength training raises your resting metabolism rate, meaning you’ll burn more calories even when you’re not working out. This effect is even more pronounced when you also add aerobic exercise to your fitness routine.
To start strength training, try doing some push-ups, squats, or lunges. You can also use free weights to do simple bicep curls or tricep extensions. If you want, you can mix in some new moves for your abs, arms, back, or legs. Doing strength training just 3-4 times per week can help you lose weight quickly, as well as improve your range of motion, stability, and posture.
Spice up your life.
Spicy foods may help you burn more calories. Capsaicin, a compound found in jalapeño and cayenne peppers, may increase your body’s release of stress hormones, such as adrenaline. Eating hot peppers may help you eat more slowly and avoid overeating. You’re more likely to stay mindful when you’re full. Some great choices besides hot peppers: ginger and turmeric.
Go to bed earlier.
You’re more likely to have a slow metabolism if you don’t get enough sleep. You might also make different food choices if you’re not well-rested, and sleep deprivation can have a negative impact on your overall quality of life. Try going to bed 15-30 minutes earlier each night.
Keep a food journal.
According to studies, people who log everything they eat, especially those who log while they’re eating, are more likely to lose weight and keep it off for the long haul. A 2019 study published in Obesity found that the habit takes less than 15 minutes per day on average when you do it regularly.
Using an app or notebook to track what you eat can help you stay accountable and identify areas that need improvement.
Take a walk!
It can be helpful to manage your weight by walking, as this can help increase the amount of energy you expend on non-exercise activities. This includes activities that are not related to formal exercise or sleep, which is known as NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). Studies have shown that obese individuals tend to walk less, and that this activity also decreases as people gain weight.
It’s beneficial to exercise at any time, but evening activity may have some added benefits since your metabolism typically slows down at the end of the day. Doing thirty minutes of aerobic activity before dinner can help increase your metabolic rate and keep it elevated for a few more hours, even after you’ve stopped moving. Additionally, it can help you relax after your meal so you won’t be as tempted to eat more because of stress.
Resist the urge to skip a meal.
Experts say that you won’t lose weight any faster by skipping meals. If you have a busy day and can’t sit down for a meal, put a piece of fruit and a pack of nut butter in your car or purse, and keep snacks in your desk drawer. This will help you avoid being hungry.
If you go for long periods of time without food, it will slow down your metabolism and make you more likely to binge later in the day. Try to eat three meals and two snacks every day, and don’t go more than three or four hours without food. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to snack if you need to.
Eat your H2O.
Drinking water can help reduce bloating, but you can also eat foods that contain a lot of water. These include cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, asparagus, grapes, celery, artichokes, pineapple, and cranberries. These foods have diuretic properties that also help you feel full because they contain more fiber.
Munch on mineral-rich foods.
Eating foods that are high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium can help reduce bloating caused by sodium. Foods that are rich in potassium include leafy greens, most “orange” foods (oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, melon), bananas, tomatoes, and cruciferous veggies — especially cauliflower. Low-fat dairy, plus nuts, and seeds can also help give you a bloat-busting boost. They’ve also been linked to a whole host of additional health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, and reducing risk of chronic disease overall.
Try intermittent fasting.
Intermitent fasting is a method where you only eat during a certain window of time each day. A growing body of scientific research is suggesting that this may be equally important for overall health as what you eat.
Although there is only a limited amount of research that suggests intermittent fasting is effective for weight loss, there is more evidence from animal and human studies that indicates fasting has other benefits, such as improvements in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurological disorders.
If you decide to try this approach, there are many different types of intermittent fasting to choose from. Two of the most popular are:
- 16:9 method: Where you eat during a 9-hour window each day and fast for the other 16 hours. Most people choose to skip breakfast and eat between 12-9 pm.
- 5:2 method: Where you fast, or severely restrict how much you eat, for 2 non-consecutive days during the week, and you eat a regular diet for the other 5 days.
What you eat is just as important as when you eat when intermittent fasting. Eat foods high in fiber and protein to help with hunger during the fasting period.
If you tend to use food as a way to cope with stress, it can be very difficult to lose weight. This can even lead to weight gain.
The researchers found that emotional eating can be caused by stress from racism, homophobia, and physical or sexual abuse.
Therefore, to stop emotional eating means overcoming the stress that triggers it. Some ways to overcome stress include:
- Guided meditation
- Mindful breathing
- Getting better sleep
Binge eating is a serious condition that is considered to be an eating disorder. If you think you may have a binge eating disorder, it is important to get help from a professional.
According to nutritionists, the best way to lose weight is not through trendy, restrictive diets that cut out whole food groups, like carbohydrates. These diets are not sustainable and will not help you keep the weight off long-term.
Instead of focusing on what not to eat, focus on eating the right balance of healthy fats, carbs, and proteins. Cut out processed foods and find an eating routine you can stick with and enjoy.