“Weight loss can change your whole character. That always amazed me: Shedding pounds does change your personality. It changes your philosophy of life because you recognize that you are capable of using your mind to change your body.” – Jean Nidetch
Suppose, for the first time, you wanted to look into a weight loss (diet) program. You hop on Google, type in “weight loss program” and hit ‘Search.” Immediately, you’re on sensory overload as you attempt to decide which on what link to click. (Heaven forbid you type in “easy/quick/fast weight loss.”)
The ability to lose (and gain) weight is determined by many factors: genetics, hormones, metabolism, diet, environment (work/life, etc.), emotional state, active/sedentary lifestyle, etc.
Despite all of the information available out there, it can still be difficult to understand – much less “sign up”– for any weight loss “program” or “lifestyle.” There’s always some profit-driven company looking to sell you some B.S. product or program which, more often than not, is devoid of scientific rationale.
Individuals who are successful in their weight loss efforts (i.e. losing and maintaining a healthy weight) recognize two essential things. (1) Approaching the process of losing weight with a definite start/end date rarely works, and (2) the best “diet” program is one that fits your body, lifestyle, and tastes.
In other words: what works for you?
Answering this question is not always easy. So, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to devise a list of scientifically valid methods of weight loss from various sources – including doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, and people who’ve been successful.
Here are 25 things healthy people do to lose weight:
1. Believe in breakfast
Various studies show that individuals who skip breakfast tend to be heavier than those who eat “the most important meal of the day.” Whole-grain toast, eggs, oatmeal, yogurt are all quick and healthy choices.
2. Serve from the stove
After the meal is prepared, leave the serving dishes on the stove as opposed to a table. Research shows people eat 10 percent less.
When eating on the go, put your snacks into single-serving baggies. This simple practice will help keep you from overindulging.
4. Protein. Every meal.
Losing weight can be arduous on your muscles. Consuming protein during every meal helps to maintain muscle mass. Leucine is the amino acid responsible for this protective effect.
5. Get some calcium
Calcium intake is one of the most overlooked aspects of losing weight. Research demonstrates that consuming three servings per day of calcium-rich foods can increase the rate of weight loss 50 to 70 percent!
Knew this was coming, didn’t ya? Though weight loss is mostly about diet, exercise plays a vital role too. A regimen that mixes cardio with weight training is best.
7. Keep a journal
WebMD lists maintaining a record of your food intake as one of the best habits for weight loss. Aside from food, it’s also recommended to write down your daily physical activity, emotional triggers and habits that lead to inactivity and overeating.
8. Eat often
Skipping meals means lack of nutrition – a big no-no when trying to lose weight. Eating every 4-5 hours helps manage your appetite and ward off cravings.
9. Slow and steady
The research is in: binge dieting hardly ever works. The healthier, more sustainable weight loss rate is 1-2 pounds weekly; which also helps ensure you’re losing real fat, not muscle or water weight.
10. Have a support system
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, people successful at losing weight have a workout buddy and a supportive circle of friends and family.
11. Reward yourself (without food)
Incentives are a powerful thing when losing weight. Write down weight loss goals in 5-10 pound increments – and then reward yourself with an activity you enjoy.
12. Buy a “future outfit”
Buy an outfit for your ideal size and hang it somewhere. This visual cue will help keep you motivated.
13. Feed the family
If your partner/spouse or kids like to indulge, try buying snacks they like that you don’t.
14. Clench your fists
This one’s strange, but useful: studies show that clenching your fists for 30 seconds helps with impulse control.
15. Try some turkey
After the occasional “sweet treat,” eat a piece of deli-sliced turkey to keep from overindulging.
16. Set realistic goals
Instead of having a goal to “lose 20 pounds,” write the numbers 1-20 in a journal. After losing a pound, cross a number off and congratulate yourself!
17. Use a smaller plate
Forget about those large dinner plates. Get a set of smaller dishes and use them at each meal.
18. Eat that soup
According to researchers from Penn State University, you’ll consume 20 percent fewer calories by eating a bowl of healthy, low-calorie soup beforehand.
19. Oil up your bread
If you refuse to give up the occasional bread, we don’t blame you. Try this, though: use olive oil instead of butter. You’ll eat 20 percent less and consume 13 percent fewer calories.
20. Cut back on the meat
Lisa McRee, a former Good Morning America co-host who lost 30 pounds, has this advice: “Eat at least 80 percent things that grow and no more than 20 percent things that walk.” Makes sense.
21. Pump up the jams
Working out while listening to your favorite tunes will increase the tempo (thus intensity) of each workout.
22. Distractions are good
Well, they’re good when experiencing food cravings – which usually pass in a matter of minutes. During this time, distract yourself by reading, meditating, or going for a brisk walk.
23. Get in some fiber
Fiber helps normalize blood sugar levels, making it far less likely you’ll reach for some sugar-laden treat.
24. Deep breathing
Become familiar with and practice the art of deep breathing. Inhale through your nose to a count of four, hold for a count of five, and slowly exhale. Repeat this a few times when experiencing cravings or stress.
25. Shop outside the aisles
A simple “dieting” rule that’s been around for a while. Go around the aisles, not through them.