Weight loss and management can be challenging regardless of if you are looking to shed 2 pounds or 50. Weight loss requires patience as well as diet and lifestyle changes. Using a mix of proven strategies can help to make this journey easier and more efficient.
Keeping an eye on what you eat and counting calories really does help as weight loss typically occurs when you are following a healthy diet and take in less calories while increasing physical activity. Cutting calories alone is not a sustainable way to lose weight, but it is an effective tool when paired with other lifestyle and diet changes while increasing your awareness of what you are eating to promote healthier choices.
One of the simplest ways to boost weight loss is to drink more water. When paired with a low calorie diet drinking water before eating resulted in 44% more weight loss over 12 weeks in one study. Water may enhance weight loss by boosting metabolism to temporarily increase calories burned by the body after eating. Drinking more water will also help to keep you full to fight those extra snack cravings. Drinking 1-2 liters of water a day may help to maximize weight loss goals.
Consuming protein rich foods will also help with weight loss goals, high protein diets are associated with decreased belly fat as well as preserved muscle mass and metabolism during weight loss. Protein will help to decrease calorie intake and reduce appetite. Protein does not have to be meat, it can also come from plant based sources such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
To accelerate weight loss decrease intake of refined carbs as they are linked to increased body fat and weight gain, they also have been stripped of nutrients and fiber content during processing, and typically have a high glycemic index meaning they digest quickly and can cause spikes/crashes in blood sugar levels followed by cravings. Whole grains are the way to go, a study reported that a whole grain rich diet decreased calorie intake and body weight compared to a diet rich in refined grains. Another study found high intake of refined carbs was associated with increased belly fat while whole grains was associated with less belly fat.
Weight lifting/resistance training can boost fat burning and metabolism to help you burn more calories, even while you are at rest. One study showed that metabolism was increased by 7% and helped to stabilize blood sugar in those with diabetes to lead to a 4 pound of weight loss after 10 weeks of resistance training. In another study resistance training helped 94 women to preserve fat free muscle mass and metabolism after weight loss, and helped to allow more calorie burning throughout the day.
Fiber, fiber, fiber, increase your fiber, this moves slowly and undigested in the GI tract which helps to slow the emptying of your stomach to keep you feeling full for longer. Fiber boosts your satiety which could be a benefit to your weight loss goals. Men who consumed 33 grams of insoluble fiber were found to have decreased appetite and food intake in one study, while another found for each gram of fiber 252 women consumed it was associated with 0.5 pounds less body weight and 0.25% less body fat. Another study found increasing intake by 14 grams a day was linked to a 10% calorie reduction and 4.2 pounds weight loss over 4 months without making other lifestyle changes.
The amount of sleep you are getting can also affect your weight, getting enough sleep can set up up for success while deprivation can cause the weight to slowly come back. Just a single night of sleep deprivation has been shown to increase levels of hunger hormones which can lead to increased appetite and weight gain. Getting enough sleep can help boost weight loss.
Being physically active and getting exercise is a must for healthy weight loss. Cardio will increase your heart rate which will help to strengthen your lungs and heart as an added plus to go along with increasing calories burned to aid in fat and weight loss. Cardio can help to burn 400-600 calories, and if done 5 times per week for 10 months can result in an average weight loss of 8.6-11.5 pounds according to one study. Aim for 150-300 minutes of cardio each week or around 20-40 minutes a day. Studies show that if you pick activities you enjoy doing the chances are greater you will stick with it for the long haul.
Not only does what you eat matter, so does how you do it, by eating slowly and practicing mindful eating it will help to increase weight loss and decrease intake and allow you to enjoy your food more. Simply chew your food more before swallowing, this will also help the digestion process while you help yourself slow down and enjoy. Eating more slowly has been shown to lead to increased satiety hormones and feelings of fullness, resulting in decreased calorie intake and increased weight loss.
Perhaps the most important thing is to stay accountable to your weight loss goals for long term success. Keeping a journal has been shown to be associated with increased weight loss and decreased weight regain. This will also help to monitor your progress to help you make adjustments and assist in further weight loss. Finding a friend to partner with you in a weight loss journey or joining a weight loss community will increase your motivation and help you stay on track to move towards your goals.
No matter the amount of weight you want to lose it can be a challenge, but if you stick to a healthy lifestyle it can be done. You may have setbacks, but don’t give up as it is not a failure, rather merely a chance to learn and keep moving forward. The only failure is if you actually give up. With determination and patience it is possible to reach your weight loss goals. Stay positive, not only can you do it, but you are worth the improved health and the benefits that come with it.