Good, sane, science-based weight loss tips are hard to come by these days.
Everywhere you look, all you find are ads about “that one weird trick to help you lose fat”, supposed miracle fat loss supplements or just false promises of fast and effortless results.
Well, not here. Not from us.
You see, we care more about actually helping people succeed in their fitness journey than about making easy money. That’s why we prefer to be honest with you.
So here’s the truth: Dieting for weight loss isn’t fun, quick or easy. At the beginning it may be OK, but, as the time passes and you get deeper into the process, it mostly sucks.
The good news: there are a few things you can do to make it suck less! (Yay)
So here are 10 weight loss tips for easier and more successful dieting.
Weight loss tip #1: Set realistic goals
We’ve talked about this before in a previous article on why your fat loss diet sucks.
Expecting way too much in terms of how fast and how easy your weight loss will be is one of the worst things you can do.
Our recommendation is to set a realistic goal of losing around 1% of your body weight
This means that, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should expect to lose, on average, around 2 pounds per week. It follows that, as you drop weight, you should expect your weight loss rate to slow down as well.
It’s also important to note that you may lose weight faster at the start of your diet because of a drop in water weight. This is especially true for low carb diets and ketogenic diets, which have been shown to result in a massive initial water weight drop.
Weight loss tip #2: Stop eating every 2 hours
Seriously, stop eating every two hours! It doesn’t increase your metabolism or help with fat loss.
In our experience, eating that frequently not only isn’t better, but is usually worse for weight loss, since:
- it results in many tiny meals of 200 calories each, which never leave you satisfied.
- it makes you think about food ALL DAY LONG.
- it’s impractical and a major pain in the butt. I mean, who wants to have to eat every 2 hours at work?
And to the registered dietitians out there: for crying out loud, stop making meal plans with 8 meals per day for your clients! Shame on you. You should know better.
Weight loss tip #3: Give intermittent fasting a try
Intermittent fasting has become quite popular in the last few years, especially by those looking to lose weight. And with good reason, since many people have experienced great results in terms of weight loss by eating this way.
For those of you who don’t know what intermittent fasting is, it, basically, involves alternating periods of fasting and periods of feeding.
So, for example, you may set your fasting period to be from 10 pm on one day until 4 pm on the following day. That gives you 18 hours of fasting and an eating window of 6 hours (from 4 pm until 10 pm every day). This is known as the 18:6 regimen among those practicing IF.
And although lots of people attribute almost magical-like properties to intermittent fasting, it essentially works like every other dieting approach does: by helping you eat less overall.
Eating less, of course, results in weight loss and, consequently, improvements in insulin sensitivity and blood lipids, as well as a host of other health improvements!
Weight loss tip #4: Eat enough protein
OK, we know we mention this all the time (sorry about that), but this goes to show you how important it is to get enough protein.
As we’ve talked about in our article on how to get a bikini body:
How much? A good general recommendation is to aim for around 1 gram of protein per pound of your target body weight or per pound of your lean body mass.
Weight loss tip #5: Eat more whole, minimally-processed foods
Whole, minimally-processed foods are usually rich in dietary fiber and water, as well as in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Moreover, they are usually relatively low in calories and, similarly to high protein foods, they are more satiating than highly-processed foods, which may explain why they help with weight regulation.
Examples of such foods that you should try to eat more of include:
- vegetables and fruits
- beans and legumes
- lean meats, fish and eggs
- tubers and whole grains
A few minimally-processed foods, such as avocados, nuts, healthy oils (olive oil, coconut oil, etc), although packed with micronutrients, are actually quite calorie dense, so have these in moderation.
Weight loss tip #6: Get enough protein and veggies first and at every meal
Since foods that are rich in protein, fiber and water are more filling, it makes sense that having them at sufficient quantities and with every meal is a good strategy to help keep you feeling fuller throughout the day.
We recommend that you try and get at least 30 grams of protein with every meal as well as a serving of vegetables.
Moreover, eating your protein-rich foods and your veggies first at every meal can help fill you up earlier and, therefore, make it easier to eat less of higher calorie foods that are in your plate and help stop you from having seconds.
Weight loss tip #7: Take a break from dieting every now and then
If you’ve been dieting for days, weeks and months on end without making any good progress yet, maybe it’s because your diet doesn’t involve any breaks.
This, by the way, applies to anything that isn’t particularly enjoyable.
Imagine doing any activity that you don’t particularly like. It could, for example, involve taking a maths class. Sitting in the class 24 hours a day for a week would make it absolutely unbearable and very unlikely for you to learn much, since you’d lose your concentration after an hour or two.
Take that 24-hour-a-day, week-long class, however, and split it up into chunks of a couple of hours per day on a few days per week and spread across a few months, and that class doesn’t seem so impossible to sit through after all. Heck, you might even get a good grade on the finals!
The same applies to dieting.
If you start dieting knowing that you can have a free meal once or twice a week and a week-long diet break every couple of months, you’ll be much more likely to adhere to your diet and not “cheat” on it.
Weight loss tip #8: Cut out sugary drinks
According to this scientific study, consuming sugary carbohydrates in liquid form (soda) led to more weight gain than when consuming the same number of calories from sugary carbohydrates in solid form (jelly beans).
This wasn’t a result of the insulin-spiking properties of carbohydrates, by the way, as many so called nutrition authorities would have you believe.
The explanation for the weight gain in the liquid carbohydrate group is actually quite simple: the group eating solid form carbohydrates “compensated” for the extra energy intake by reducing the amount of food they were eating from the rest of their diet.
The liquid carbohydrate group, however, did not. Instead, the subjects in the liquid carbohydrate group kept their food intake the same, which meant that the calories they got from the soda resulted in an energy surplus. Hence, the weight gain.
Our recommendation: cut out the sugary drinks (including fruit juices). They are mostly a waste of calories that you could use to eat delicious food! If you still like the taste of sodas, switch to diet sodas. And no, in commonly used doses and in the context of an overall healthy diet, they won’t negatively impact your health.
Weight loss tip #9: Find what works for you
According to this very interesting meta analysis from 2014 which compared weight loss in overweight and obese adults following different popular diet programs, any diet works, provided that you can adhere to it.
To quote the authors:
The weight loss differences between individual named diets were small with likely little importance to those seeking weight loss. This supports the practice of recommending any diet that a patient will adhere to in order to lose weight.
What are we trying to get at? Simple:
Experiment with different dieting approaches to find what works for you and choose a dieting approach that you like and which is sustainable for you in the long-term.
Don’t fool yourself, however. Different approaches work for different people, but they do so for the same reason: they help them eat a hypocaloric diet.
Weight loss tip #10: Get enough quality sleep
You wouldn’t think that sleeping well would affect your weight, but, according to research on sleep duration and its effects on body weight, it turns out that it does!
Sleep deprivation, both acute and chronic, seems to affect bodyweight in a number of ways:
- It affects the “hunger hormones” ghrelin and leptin. More specifically, insufficient quality sleep can result in increased ghrelin and decreased leptin concentrations.
- It provides an increased opportunity to eat, since you are awake for longer.
- It may alter thermoregulation. This means that your core body temperature is reduced, which can result in lower energy output.
- It increases tiredness, which may cause you to skip exercise and be, overall, less active.
Take home: Try to get enough quality sleep every night. You’ll feel better and more energized during the day, and you’ll probably experience less hunger as well.
So that’s it for this week’s article!
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