Are you trying to lose a few pounds? Internet is a confusing place when it comes to finding help for weight loss. On the one side there are fads and dangerous diets without any backing by medical science or research and on the other extreme are collections of hundreds of weight loss tips.
You will agree that both these situations are very confusing. First one is outright dangerous for your health and the second one is just too overwhelming to be actionable. To make your weight loss goals easier to achieve, we have listed below 12 of the best weight loss tips that not only are backed by powerful medical research by also easy enough to help you start on this effort.
1. Set realistic goals
This is where you should start. Just being by registering to your brain that long term weight loss success would take a lot of effort and time. There are no quick fixes. At the same time, you should also remember that you stand a reasonable chance of weight loss success only if you lose weight at a healthy and sustained rate.
A healthy weight loss rate is maximum of 2 pounds (0.91 kg) a week. And even for this you have to be really disciplined. Therefore, set your goals keeping this maximum weight loss rate per week. You should not be having unrealistic expectations like losing 10 pounds (4.54 kg) in a week. That will be a recipe for disaster and in any case not achievable.
2. Sleep well
This might seem trivial in the beginning but there is a strong correlation between lack of sleep and obesity. In fact, science has shown that we can gain weight even when we have not slept well for a few nights.
Sleep is important for weight loss advice because it produces a hormone called leptin that regulates appetite. If you will be running sleep deficit, your body will have higher levels of hunger inducing hormone called ghrelin. And in any case you are more likely to make bad eating choices while you are sleep deprived. All this will impair your progress to your weight loss goals.
3. Shop responsibly
Most of your junk eating can be avoided if you shop responsibly and with awareness. You should always go with a grocery list. You are more likely to buy junk if you go to the supermarket unplanned. It is also important that you do not include unhealthy and obesity inducing items like bakery, sweets, chips, cold drinks and juices etc.
You will note that when do not bring home junk food, you will consume less of it. Another advice is to go shopping after you have eaten well. You are more likely to buy junk food when you go with empty and growling stomach. In fact, you will head straight to food court before even shopping. And you know well that food courts are stocked with a lot of junk food.
4. Stay hydrated
This is perhaps the easiest of the weight loss tips I am sharing. Many a time, we head for food when we feel hungry. However, science has shown that the same part of the brain triggers hunger and thirst response. We need to pause for a moment and understand clearly if its just water, or we genuinely need something to eat.
Apart from this, drinking water before meals has been shown to decrease calorie count at meals and this should help with weight loss. Therefore, always carry a water bottle with you. And whenever you feel hungry, first ask yourself if you are thirsty or hungry and then take action.
5. Eat enough vegetables
Vegetables MUST form part of a weight loss diet. They are naturally low in calories when compared with other foods and simultaneously are a nutrient-dense food. Additionally, they are rich in fiber which slows down digestion process, leading to longer satiety. Vegetables are low glycemic index foods, therefore, their benefits extends beyond weight loss.
Therefore, eat a variety of vegetables and salads as part of your daily meals. Regular use of vegetables has been linked with lower BMI and other health indicators. Your meal plate should look colorful with vegetables and salads and target that half of your plate should be loaded with vegetables.
6. Eat slowly
If you are among those people who mostly end up overeating and over the years it has led to weight gain, then you should try eating slowly. This might be a result producing weight loss tip in this case. And there is science behind this. Our minds take about 20 minutes to send signals of stopping eating because food is converted to glucose and then reaches brain. Around this time, our gut also produces satiety hormones. Once these are generated, our mind sends signals to stop eating.
Therefore, if you eat slowly, you give a reasonable time to food to produce glucose and also your gut to produce satiety hormones. The result will be eating fewer calories meal after meal and subsequent weight loss.
7. Keep healthy snacks around
Hundreds of additional calories enter our bodies because of poor snacking choices. Our most popular snacking choices like biscuits, bakery, chocolates and biscuits etc are all fattening foods. One of the most recommended weight loss tips is to limit these unhealthy snacks and shift to healthy snacks options.
Some healthier choices are dried nuts, fruits, yogurt, dark chocolate, hummus, berries and watermelon etc. However, you should always have some snacks around you because if you do not control your hunger between meals, there are high chances that you will overeat at meals.
8. Use portion control
Next of our weight loss tips has a psychological bent to it. Our portion sizes at home and at restaurants have increased significantly. When we have bigger plate, we will fill it more and of course eat more as well.
Portion control, which means using smaller dinner plates, has been proven scientifically for weight loss. Therefore, shift to smaller plates and see the magic of psychology shed your pounds consistently.
9. Eat nutritous food when eating out
Trying to lose weight does not mean that you can not go out and eat. The only caveat is that you should be mindful of what you order. Many restaurants also offer healthy food as well. Try to order that. Be careful when ordering side orders. Opt for salads or low calorie options.
One easy weight loss tip when eating out is to order grilled and bbq food replacing fried food. Similarly, when two options are available, go for the baked option. That normally means less oil and fewer calories than fried portion of the same food.
10. Avoid junk food
Always be cautious of these three foods: sugars, processed foods and junk food. These three foods are the biggest contributors to an unhealthy diet and resulting weight gain.
Sugar can be sneaky. Read labels for added sugar. Get rid of soft drinks and energy drinks from your diet. They are sugar bombs with empty calories without any nutritional value. Try to stick to healthy meals and stay away from junk food like chips and similar stuff. Whenever buying food, try to go for as organic food as possible with the least processing.
11. Take control of stress
Stress has been linked with weight gain because stress produces hunger hormones which leads to overeating. It is not easy to feel less stressful. But there is no harm in seeking expert help. But at the minimum, try meditation which has been shown to help with stress. Try to not think of yourself as center of the universe. This will take a lot of pressure off your shoulders. Do not accumulate work and try to follow a routine of work. And this brings us to our last weight loss tip which is exercise.
12. Exercise regularly
Exercise is a stress buster. But aside from this benefit, exercise has been linked with less obesity, improved cardiovascular health, reduced hypertension and diabetes risk and a host of other benefits.
At the minimum, target 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise like brisk walking, cycling or swimming. While exercise on its own will not dramatically decrease your weight unless you exercise for considerable length of time most of the days. However, coupled with a healthy diet, exercise is very effective in consistent fat loss.
We can see that it is possible to lose weight without extreme exercise. By changing a few habits and making healthier food choices, we can shed pounds consistently. Though it is against the commonly held belief that working out is the ultimate solution for weight loss, but it is true and quite possible to lose weight without tiring yourself endlessly in the gym. However, this should not keep you away from doing regular cardio and strength training because these will ensure that you lose weight in a healthy way and keep it off.