Calling all dieters!
We’ve all been there, left staring sadly at the tiny portions on our plate and pretending we are satisfied.
What media tells us is the best way to lose weight is constantly changing.
From the South Beach program to Keto to your standard low-carb diet, succeeding in healthy weight loss can feel impossible.
There are even quick-fix medications on the market for those who feel they have exhausted everything else.
If you are unhappy with your current weight, where do you start?
If you are going to put in the hard work, you want to make sure it lasts.
Nothing is worse than dedicated months of misery only to gain the weight back and then some immediately after going off your diet because it promised quick weight loss, not maintenance.
As they always say, it’s about lifestyle changes.
A fast weight loss is often too restrictive and difficult to maintain long term.
So skip the dieting, skip the restriction and skip those weight-loss medications.
Instead, work on adding in small, healthy changes to your current habits.
It’s not the fastest way but it’s the most effective way.
If you are like many chronic dieters, this might seem foreign to you.
Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
Let’s take a look at 15 tips for losing weight that will help get you crushing those weight-loss goals.
15 Weight Loss Tips That Are Evidence Based
1. Use Smaller Plates
If you have not heard of this before, it may seem silly.
Why would you use smaller plates?
How will that help me?
As humans, taste and smell are not the only senses we use when we eat.
We also use our eyes!
Of course, we want food to look at good as it tastes but we also want it to look satisfying.
A full plate means a full stomach, right?
It can be harder to feel satisfied when there is a lot of empty plates in front of you before you even start eating.
One of the first steps to developing healthy eating habits is controlling your portion sizes.
This can help cut out a lot of calories without completely changing your food choices.
A hearty appetite or strong cravings can often result in over-indulging.
The more you over-indulge, the more the scale creeps up.
By choosing a smaller plate, you help to trick your brain to feel more satisfied with a smaller portion.
Load up your tiny plate with foods that are rich in nutrients to better guarantee satisfaction after your meal.
This means more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods.
Cutting out or moderating processed foods also helps to crush those cravings.
The less frequently you choose foods such as cake, cookies, candies, and chips, the less you feel like you need to have them.
You can also try enjoying your meals from a small bowl.
Similar to smaller plates, a small bowl limits the portion size but gives the illusion that you are eating more.
Most of us have a small bowl or plate in the house already, why not give it a try?
2. Avoid White Foods
You are likely familiar with highly processed carbs such as white bread and pasta.
A diet high in carbs is often associated with weight gain so it’s recommended to limit these foods to moderation.
This means only having them occasionally.
Instead of choosing white breads or white pastas, opt for whole-grain or even vegetables instead.
Whole grains, such as whole-grain bread, brown rice, quinoa, and oats are good sources of fiber.
The more fiber you include in your diet the more satisfied you will feel after a meal.
This will not only allow you to eat less during your meals but it will help to keep you feeling full for longer.
Choosing veggies as an alternative to pasta or bread also helps to boost fiber intake.
If you haven’t already, give zucchini noodles a try or riced cauliflower.
If you really want to be creative, try sweet potato toast instead of regular.
In addition to being healthy foods, these veggies make it easier to cut down on carbs and pounds making them the better choice all around.
You can also swap out those sweets for healthier carbs.
Instead of ice cream or candy as a dessert in the evening, choose yogurt or. a fruit such as an orange.
3. Don’t Drink Calories
It’s easy to forget that some of the drinks we choose may be detrimental to our weight goals.
Even that morning cup of joe may be hindering your progress.
Sugary drinks such as fruit juice, sugar-sweetened coffee, sodas, energy drinks, and smoothies are not only high in calories, they are high in carbs as well.
In fact, 1 can of Coke has 140 calories and nearly 40 grams of carbs, all of which are added sugars.
That’s over 3 tablespoons of sugar per can.
Imagine if you drink multiple sodas a day.
A large portion of calories and carbs can be cut out by simply switching to water.
Not to mention, you will feel better too.
Drinking a large amount of sugar-sweetened beverages daily usually results in low water intake.
If you aren’t drinking enough water you can feel sluggish, tired, and experience low energy levels.
Not to mention cutting out these sugar-laden drinks means you are also consuming way fewer calories from just liquids alone.
No need to say goodbye to all your beloved beverages.
Reading labels can go a long way.
Instead of having a soda, choose flavored sparkling water.
Make sure the label shows zero sugar.
Swap out that fruit juice for fruit-infused water and cut out the added sugar to your morning coffee or tea.
You will be surprised by the difference this can make for your weight.
4. Exercise Habits
Activity is a big component in cutting those pounds.
Regular physical activity can increase your muscle mass and bump up your metabolism.
A well-functioning metabolism means burning more calories at rest.
Whether you prefer to hit the treadmill or the weight room for your workout, physical activity can help to create a larger calorie deficit and increase the amount of weight you are able to lose.
A calorie deficit is when you burn more calories than you consume.
Along with a healthy diet, regular physical activity can help to drop those pounds and improve your mood and confidence.
You may even see physical changes before noticing a large drop on the scale.
This can help to provide extra motivation to encourage you to continue getting in those workouts.
No matter how you choose to workout, as long as you are moving you are burning!
5. Set An Attainable Goal
It’s important when embarking on a weight loss journey that we’re being realistic.
Make sure to set attainable goals.
This does not mean your goal of losing 100 pounds is not attainable but don’t expect to lose that much weight in a few short months.
If you feel like your goal weight is unattainable, break it down into more modest weight loss goals.
For example, instead of a few months, set a goal to lose 100 pounds in a year.
If that feels attainable but overwhelming you can break it down into smaller goals.
Choose a short-term goal for a more modest weight loss.
This short-term goal can be a 5-pound loss in weight within 1-3 months or whatever you feel is feasible for you.
It’s important to note that small change is still changed towards better health.
Consider choosing a goal that is not weight-related.
For example, “I will add in a workout at the gym every Monday and Wednesday for at least 30 minutes.”
Work on that mini goal until you feel confident and then you can begin to move forward to a new goal.
The amount of weight you lose and how quickly varies from person to person.
There is no reason to let yourself become discouraged because you aren’t losing as fast as someone else has.
Instead, focus on your progress in the gym.
Are you lifting more weight than you previously could?
Are you eating more fruits and vegetables than you had before?
Are your energy levels higher than they used to be?
These are all non-scale victories that should be celebrated.
6. Track Body Fat %, Not Weight
As mentioned above, the scale does not always reflect all our hard work.
This can be discouraging for many people.
A lot can be going on in your body while you are working towards your goal weight that may not show with immediate pounds lost.
Sometimes you are holding onto water weight from a salty meal or your scale is not calibrated correctly or on a flat surface.
This is especially true when adding in regular physical activity.
Muscle is denser than fat therefore, the scale doesn’t always reflect when we are replacing it with muscle mass.
This change can be hard to see on the scale but it plays a huge impact on your overall health.
The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn throughout the day and the easier it is to obtain a healthy body weight.
It’s also important to mention that weight is not always a good tool for determining health.
A primary example of this is body mass index (BMI).
This is a tool that uses your height and weight to determine your range between underweight and obesity.
Unfortunately, because we all have varying muscle mass this is not always accurate.
For example, someone who is a body builder may have the same BMI as someone who is obese and both would be categorized as obese due to the BMI range.
This tool does not recognize the difference in body fat and muscle distribution.
Instead, track your body fat percentage.
This will provide you a clearer picture of your progress.
There are many tools you can use to can track your percentage but an easy way to do it is simply with a tape measure.
Measure common areas on your body before and during your journey to lose weight.
You may notice bigger differences here than on the scale as you work to also build up muscle mass.
7. Use Spices in Your Cooking
Sometimes it can seem like healthy foods are bland but they don’t have to be!
During the rise of highly processed foods, our taste buds have gotten accustomed to strong flavors that are difficult to mimic with whole foods.
Experimenting with different spices and seasonings can make those bland vegetables come to life.
Not only will it improve the flavor of those healthy foods, but it can also boost the nutrients as well.
Spices such as turmeric are well known for their use in herbal medicine and have been shown to have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties (1, Khanna 1351).
If you haven’t experimented with these types of seasonings before, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Instead of just plain old salt and pepper, season your Brussel sprouts with garlic and herbs.
Toss some turmeric in your scrambled eggs or season your salmon with Cajun-inspired seasonings.
Try something new and make it fun.
The more you enjoy the process the easier it will be to sustain.
8. Drink Green Tea Regularly
If you’ve never tried this delightful green beverage, now is your chance.
Green tea has numerous health benefits but is best known for its anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Research has shown that compounds found in green tea, known as catechins, are responsible for most of its favorable health benefits.
These catechins have also shown to improve weight loss and help with weight maintenance (2, Hursel, et al. 2009).
Green tea is high in antioxidants which can reduce the risk of various chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Replace your morning cup of coffee or that afternoon energy drink with a nice warm cup of green tea.
With just enough caffeine for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up without feeling wired late into the evening, it’s the perfect addition to a healthy diet.
9. Try Intermittent Fasting
If you’ve been fearful of trying intermittent fasting in the past, it might make you feel better to know that you’re already doing it!
Every time we go to sleep at night, our body fasts until breakfast the next morning.
That is why it is called breakfast, break-fast.
Intermittent fasting is simply an adjustment of the times that we allow ourselves to eat.
You can choose to only eat between the hours of 12 and 8 pm or you could choose to no longer eat after 6 pm in the evenings.
The reason intermittent fasting has gained such popularity with weight loss is because it helps us to prevent over-eating.
If you shorten the time of your food intake during the day, it’s likely you won’t consume as much as you would have otherwise.
Recent studies have shown a strong connection between intermittent fasting and calorie restriction with successful weight loss as well as improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels (3, Stockman, et al. 2018).
When we eat fewer calories, we lose weight.
When we lose weight, we improve our blood sugars, therefore, improving insulin sensitivity and cutting our risk for developing diabetes or other metabolic conditions.
Although further research is warranted, the health benefits of this style of fasting shows a lot of promise when it comes to losing weight.
10. Get Quality Sleep
Adequate rest can be more powerful than most people realize.
This is the time our body uses to recharge and recover.
Poor sleep is not only detrimental to our mood, but it can also be detrimental to our health and weight as well.
If we don’t get enough hours of sleep our body is unable to work as efficiently and may begin to malfunction.
Studies have shown that poor sleep can result in a higher likelihood we will over-eat during the day (4, Chaput and Angelo, 2012).
This is a result of our hormones malfunctioning.
Some studies have suggested a noticeable increase in the hormones Ghrelin and Cortisol for those short-duration sleepers.
Ghrelin and Cortisol are responsible for stimulating our appetite.
There is also a decrease in the hormone Leptin which is responsible for telling us when we are full (Chaput and Angelo, 2012).
11. Keep a Journal
Keeping your goals and progress in one place can be a powerful thing.
Not only will it help to inspire you and allow you to see how far you have come but you can also use it as a tool to keep you on track and accountable.
Write down your long-term goal.
Where do you see yourself 6 months from now?
A year from now?
12. Make a Plan
You can use a journal to log your meals, track your activity and even track your behaviors.
Tracking these things in a journal can help you modify your behaviors and adjust to better meet those long-term goals.
You can also use your journal to track setbacks and how you overcame them.
Track when you met a small goal or feel you have successfully implemented a behavioral change into your new lifestyle.
It can be valuable and motivating to document your journey so you can look back after reaching your long-term weight-loss goal and see how far you have come.
13. Calorie Intake Isn’t Everything
Maybe you already knew this.
Maybe you heard it here first.
It may sound counter-intuitive but it’s true, calorie intake isn’t everything.
Although it is required to have a calorie deficit in order to be successful with any weight loss goal but it’s more than just counting.
100 calories of skittles is not the same as 100 calories from broccoli.
Choosing high-quality foods along with paying attention to portion sizes and adding in exercise can help you meet your goals without breaking out the calculator.
Along with losing weight, you also want to make sure you are making healthy choices.
Fruits and veggies will naturally have fewer calories and higher in nutrients such as vitamins and minerals than the majority of their processed counterparts.
They also contain high amounts of fiber which can help you feel fuller and thus eat less.
Skip the tedious calorie counting for a smarter weight-loss plan and include more whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats.
This removes the need to calorie count but still helps to create a calorie deficit in a healthy way.
14. Eat Plenty of Non-Starchy Vegetables
This might sound a little confusing.
Aren’t all vegetables great for losing weight?
All vegetables are good for you however, there are some that we need to be more mindful about how frequently we eat them due to their high starch content.
Starches are just another form of carbohydrate that can increase body weight if consumed. in abundance.
Starchy vegetables include all potatoes, peas, corn, lentils, and squash.
These starches are still healthy additions to a meal and, like all vegetables, aid in digestion but should not be consumed at every meal.
Instead, choose more non-starchy vegetables such as cucumber, broccoli, kale, swiss chard, asparagus, etc.
These vegetables you can enjoy in abundance without worrying about consuming too many carbohydrates.
15. Choose Healthy Fats
We’ve talked a lot about carbohydrates and fiber, what about fats?
Adding in more healthy fats to your diet can increase your satiety and contribute to heart health.
What is a healthy fat?
There are a few different kinds including monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated, and trans fatty acids.
Mono and polyunsaturated are your healthy fats whereas saturated and trans should be limited in the diet according to the American Heart Association (5, The Skinny on Fats, 2020).
These types come from animal products and have been shown to increase your risk for heart disease if consumed too frequently.
You can also get some healthy fats from animal products such as seafood.
Incorporating more of these foods into your diet will help you to feel more satisfied during meals and limit the need to snack so you can crush those weight loss goals.
16. Eat Lean Protein
Another satiating addition to your meals is protein.
When trying to lose weight, choosing lean protein sources is key.
Swap out your fatty cuts of beef for lean or choose chicken, turkey or fish instead.
Higher fat foods also mean higher calories therefore choosing leaner cuts can help to cut down on your calorie intake without sacrificing your appetite.
3-ounces of chicken breast is going to be just as filling as 3-ounces of beef or pork.
Building healthy new habits is the foundation for long-term weight loss and living a healthier lifestyle.
The best way to lose weight is not to remove all bad foods from your diet but to add in more good foods little by little.
Improving your eating habits and creating a workout routine you can be consistent with will help to boost your metabolism and ability to obtain a healthy weight.
Choose a journal to document your progress and your goals while you work on lifestyle changes.
Don’t get discouraged, change takes time and a lot of practice to establish permanent changes and meet your long-term weight-loss goal.
With these tips in hand, you don’t have to worry about how to start, only where.
- Khanna, N. M. “Turmeric – Nature’s Precious Gift.” Current Science, vol. 76, no. 10, 1999, pp. 1351–1356. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24102180. Accessed 23 June 2021.
- Hursel, Rick, Wolfgang Viechtbauer, and Margriet S. Westerterp-Plantenga. “The effects of green tea on weight loss and weight maintenance: a meta-analysis.” International journal of obesity 33.9 (2009): 956-961.
- Stockman, Mary-Catherine, et al. “Intermittent fasting: is the wait worth the weight?.” Current obesity reports7.2 (2018): 172-185.
- Chaput, Jean-Philippe, and Angelo Tremblay. “Insufficient sleep as a contributor to weight gain: an update.” Current obesity reports1.4 (2012): 245-256.
- “The Skinny on Fats.” Www.heart.org, The American Heart Association, 11 Nov. 2020, www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/prevention-and-treatment-of-high-cholesterol-hyperlipidemia/the-skinny-on-fats.