People are often advised to do all sorts of crazy things, most of which have no evidence behind them. Struggling to shed weight and keep it off? We asked a registered dietitian, for the top weight loss tips she shares with patients.
Over the years, you’ve probably heard your fair share of wacky weight loss advice, whether it’s to drink celery juice every day or replace your meals with weight loss “cookies.” And often, those tips are promoted by people without any health expertise. (Read: Proceed with caution.)
Most people who try to lose weight have good intentions. They start strong, but end up losing steam and any weight they may have lost comes creeping back. We looked into the latest science to find out how people can actually lose weight the right way and keep it off.
But just as there’s a ton of misguided weight loss advice out there to be avoided, there are also a lot of legitimate, research-backed and expert-approved suggestions.
Put this plan into play and soon enough, you’ll start to look and feel better. Here are our some best weight loss tips
Weight Loss Tips: How to Lose Weight Effectively
Drink Water, Especially Before Meals
It is often claimed that drinking water can help with weight loss — and that’s true.
Drinking water can boost metabolism by 24–30% over a period of 1–1.5 hours, helping you burn off a few more calories.
One study showed that drinking a half-liter (17 ounces) of water about half an hour before meals helped dieters eat fewer calories and lose 44% more weight, compared to those who didn’t drink the water
“I have my clients learn how to choose foods they like, really taste each morsel going into their mouths, and chew deliberately. I advise them to chew slowly, swallow only when the food is all chewed up, and repeat. It takes time to know we’re full. Eating slowly allows us to not only enjoy our food more, but gives us better cues of satiety.” — Janet Zinn, a licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in private practice in New York City.
Fill Your Plate With Protein
Protein is the building block of cells and one of the most important nutrients for weight loss. Not only for people trying to build muscles but even in general people trying to maintain a healthy weight, protein is essential. Eating a high-protein diet has been shown to boost metabolism and prevent overeating, by promoting satiety. Eggs, chicken, chickpeas, lentils and cottage cheese are some common sources of high-quality protein.
Buy a Fruit Bowl
You know that hitting the recommended five to nine daily servings of fruits and veggies can make it easier to slim down, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accomplish. A simple way to make it happen? Buy a fruit bowl. You’re more likely to grab fruits and veggies over less-healthy options if they’re ready to eat and in plain sight. Katie Cavuto MS, RD, the dietitian for the Philadelphia Phillies and Flyers, suggests keeping washed and prepared veggies like cucumbers, peppers, sugar snap peas, and carrots in the front of the fridge so they aren’t overlooked. Bananas, apples, pears, and oranges fare well as sweet snacks and should be kept on the counter where everyone can see them.
Don’t Eat A Carbohydrate Unless It Has Fiber Attached To It
“This reduces sugars and white flour (pastries, white bread, candy, juice, etc.) in the diet, and helps you to choose carbs that better support your appetite and nutrition needs” says Hopsecger. “The more fiber in your diet, the better!”
Fiber helps improve blood sugar control, helps lower cholesterol and reduces your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, colorectal cancer and heart disease. When you have diabetes, a diet with fewer carbs (like bread, pasta, rice, desserts, sugary beverages, juice) is also important because you’ll need less insulin. And that can help prevent hunger, fat storage and weight gain.
Foods rich in fiber include legumes (dried beans, lentils), veggies (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, spinach squash, sweet potatoes) and fruit (apples, berries, oranges, pears).
Choose A Low-Carb Diet
If you want to lose weight, consider starting by avoiding sugar and starch (like bread, pasta and potatoes). This is an old idea: for 150 years or more there have been a huge number of weight-loss diets based on eating fewer carbs. What’s new is that reviews of modern scientific studies have repeatedly shown that low carb is at least as good, if not better, than other approaches to diet.
Obviously, it’s still possible to lose weight on any diet – just eat fewer calories than you burn, right? The problem with this simplistic advice is that it ignores the elephant in the room: hunger. Most people don’t like to “just eat less,” as it may result in having to go hungry forever. Sooner or later, many will likely give up and eat without restriction, hence the prevalence of “yo-yo dieting.”
While it should be possible to lose weight on any diet, some appear to make it easier and some to make it much harder.
The main advantage of the low-carb diet is that it may cause you to want to eat less.
Even without counting calories, overweight people tend to eat fewer calories on low carb.
Thus, calories count, but you don’t need to count them.
A 2012 study also showed that people who had lost weight experienced far less reduction in total energy expenditure (the number of calories burned within a 24-hour period) when they followed a low-carb diet compared to a low-fat diet during weight maintenance — a 300-calorie difference, in fact.
According to one of the Harvard professors behind the study, this advantage “would equal the number of calories typically burned in an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity.” Imagine that: an entire bonus hour of exercise every day, without actually exercising.
Recently, an even larger and more carefully conducted study confirmed this metabolism-sparing effect, with different groups of people who had lost weight burning an average of between 200 and almost 500 extra calories per day on a low-carb maintenance diet compared to a high-carb or moderate-carb diet.
Prioritise Your Sleep
“Often in clinic, if someone wants to lose weight but is not getting a good night’s sleep, I won’t begin by talking about food,” says dietitian Nichola Ludlam-Raine. “We talk about getting the sleep right first or they’ll be fighting a losing battle.
“The research shows that if people are chronically sleep-deprived they consume more calories the next day. When you are sleep-deprived, the hunger hormone called ghrelin increases, which means that you genuinely, physiologically, feel more hungry. Your brain function is also impaired so that you’re less likely to be able to resist high-calorie, palatable foods. Also your energy level and your motivation are going dip so you’re less likely to want to prepare a healthy meal.
“Ideally, go to sleep before midnight, get between seven to eight hours a night, and stick to consistent bedtimes and wake times – even on weekends. Ensure your bedroom is dark, not too hot, not too cold, and ideally keep screens out of the room. Watch your caffeine intake – with your last cup of tea or coffee 4pm at the latest – and alcohol intake. People think alcohol helps, but actually it leads to restless sleep.”
Do Weight Training
Doing weight training is less effective for losing weight than cardio workouts but they help to keep the level of metabolism which is important when you are on a long-term diet. Weight training makes the metabolism much faster and doesn’t let the body switch to the low energy consumption mode.
But don’t forget to eat some protein after a workout: the muscles will get stronger and you won’t have any extra fat.
Drink Green Tea
Like coffee, green tea also has many benefits, one of them being weight loss.
Though green tea contains small amounts of caffeine, it is loaded with powerful antioxidants called catechins, which are believed to work synergistically with caffeine to enhance fat burning.
Although the evidence is mixed, many studies show that green tea (either as a beverage or a green tea extract supplement) can help you lose weight
Batch Cook and Prep
“Every Sunday I batch cook enough chicken for the week. I cut off the fat, bake it with seasoning, measure 3.5 ounces (oz), and put that much into a container with some mustard and frozen veggies, so I can grab one a day to bring to work. I also take the time to divvy up ¼ cup of rolled oats, 1 tablespoon (tbsp) natural peanut butter, 1 tbsp ground flax, and a pinch each of protein powder and cinnamon to sweeten in individual containers. So when I’m a zombie in the morning, all I need to do is add water and microwave
Do Not Skip Your Breakfast
Skipping the meal, especially breakfast is quite common among people trying to shed kilos. It is based on a misconception that skipping breakfast is a great way to cut calories. In reality, it makes a person eat more later in the day. Studies show people who eat breakfast have lower BMIs than the ones who often skip their first meal. The ideal way is to divide the daily calories into three equal parts and have foods accordingly. Skipping meals or starving yourself slow down the metabolism and can halt your progress.
Get Smaller Plates
The bigger your plate, the bigger your meal, Brown reminds us. How so? While smaller plates make food servings appear significantly larger, larger plates make food appear smaller—which can lead to overeating. In one study, campers who were given larger bowls served themselves and consumed 16 percent more cereal than those given smaller bowls. Swapping dinner for salad plates will help you eat more reasonable portions, which can help the pounds fly off your frame! To kick even more calories to the curb, use small red plates. Although the vibrant hue may not match your dining room decor, the color can help you eat less, according to a study published in the journal Appetite.
Researchers suggest that the color red reduces the amount we’re likely to eat by subtly instructing the mind to stop noshing.
No Foods Are 100% Off-Limits
When you label foods as “good” and “bad,” you naturally fixate on foods you shouldn’t eat but typically still crave — and likely will crave more when they’re totally off limits.
“Focus instead on choosing the right portions of healthy foods 80 to 90%of the time,” she says. “That, paired with a healthy exercise routine, can lead to long-term weight loss success. And it leaves some wiggle room to enjoy ‘fun foods’ occasionally without feeling guilt or resentment.”
When working with children, she recommends teaching which choices are better and will fuel their bodies more effectively, rather than giving them lists of foods to eat and foods to completely avoid.
“Feelings of guilt from eating forbidden foods can snowball into unhealthy emotions in childhood, adolescence and even adulthood,” she says.
Don’t Snackotage Your Diet
“Snackotage” is a word we just made up (although it’s probably a trending hashtag by the time you read this), but it sums up a problem that can ruin many diets – too many unhealthy snacks that sabotage all your good work at meal times.
“Try to make sure you are eating meals at regular times, with healthy fruit and veggie snacks in between, and drink plenty of fluids,” says Hugueniot. “This will help stop you snacking on unhealthy foods, and keep you more full during the day.The best snacks are those containing veggies, but if you’re having packaged snacks go for those with around 100 calories and stick to two a day at maximum.
“Healthier snacks include: fresh fruit, low-fat and lower-sugar yogurt with fruit, plain rice cakes or crackers with lower-fat cheese, unsalted nuts and seeds, veggie sticks with lower-fat dips such as reduced-fat hummus and salsa, malt loaf, fruit loaf or a currant bun, crumpets and scotch pancakes.”
Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
It’s no secret that booze is loaded with sugar and calories, which is probably why it tastes so good, but that’s also why it leads to weight gain.
Since it gets digested and absorbed very quickly while not providing any satiety, it’s easy to overdo it.
Eat Your Vegetables First
Researchers at the University of Minnesota did a series of studies in which they had participants eat vegetables before they put any other food on their plates-and even the researchers were surprised by what they found. “People consumed up to five times more veggies than usual,” says Traci Mann, Ph.D., who led the study. And participants who munched carrots before being offered M&Ms subsequently ate one-third less candy than those who were just given the candy first.
Why does this trick work? Because when any food is put in front of us, we generally go for it-and the veggies aren’t competing with other foods on our plate (which we tend to go for first, if given the option). So start with a salad or crudités.
And, save the bread for the end of the meal. Eating simple carbs first dramatically increases blood sugar, which causes your body to pump out insulin and store the calories as fat-the opposite of what you want if you’re trying to lose weight, says obesity expert Louis Aronne, M.D., a professor of metabolic research at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Having some vegetables and protein before simple carbs blunts that unhealthy blood sugar response,” he adds.
Cut Back on Added Sugar
Added sugar is one of the worst ingredients in the modern diet. Most people consume way too much.
Studies show that sugar (and high-fructose corn syrup) consumption is strongly associated with an increased risk of obesity, as well as conditions including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
If you want to lose weight, cut back on added sugar. Just make sure to read labels, because even so-called health foods can be loaded with sugar.
Skip the Liquid Calories
“There’s a strong relationship between sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain in adults. If you regularly have a sip of something sweet, consider this: Research has shown that reducing intake of sugar-sweetened beverages can result in meaningful weight loss, even if it’s the only change you make. Replacing a 20-ounce soda with sparkling water every day would save more than 20,000 calories over a few months, which could translate into more than five pounds of weight loss!” — Brittany Markides, RDN, the founder of Choose Food in Austin, Texas
Avoid Processed And Refined Products
Processed foods contain trans fat that can lead to weight gain. So, all kinds of processed foods must be avoided when trying to shed kilos. Even all kinds of refined products like refined sugar, refined flour and refined oil must be avoided. Focus on eating whole-grain, green veggies, fruits. They are healthy and nutritious. The nutrients can aid in your weight loss and can increase your metabolism to shed more kilos.
Don’t Ignore Calories Completely
Although nutrition experts have been telling us for years that calorie-counting isn’t the golden rule of weight management, that doesn’t mean you should ignore them altogether.
Exceeding your caloric intake by 150 calories one or two days isn’t going to derail your weight-loss efforts, but consistently consuming an excess of 150 calories per day will amount to a 15-pound weight gain in one year, Tong says.
Those extra calories can look like a three-quarter cup of rice, one-and-a-half glasses of wine or a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter.