Weight Loss Tips, Evidence Based
I recently read an article that listed several evidence-based weight loss tips, and knowing that there is an over abundance of weight loss advice out there, I wanted to share my favorite weight loss tips from the article with you. (You can access the studies and abstracts and read the full article here.)
1. Drink Water, Especially Before Meals: (I'M A HUGE FAN OF THIS ONE!)
It is shown that drinking water can help with weight loss. It can boost your metabolism by 24-30% over 1 - 1.5 hours, which can help burn off a few more calories. One study showed that drinking a half liter (17 oz) of water about a half an hour before meals helped dieters eat fewer calories and lose 44% more weight.
2. Cut Back on Added Sugar: Added sugar is truly the single worst ingredient in the North American diet, and most people eat too much of it. Studies show that eating sugar (and high fructose corn syrup) is strongly associated with the risk of obesity, as well as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and others. If you want to lose weight, you need to cut back on added sugars. Be sure to read labels, because even so-called health foods can be loaded with sugar. (And be careful not to DRINK sugar beverages! Liquid sugar calories may be the single most fattening part of our diet.)
3. Eat Less Refined Carbs: Refined carbohydrates are usually sugar, or grains that have been stripped of their fibrous, nutritious parts (includes white bread and pasta). Studies show that refined carbs can spike blood sugar quickly, leading to hunger, cravings and increased food intake a few hours later. Eating refined carbs is strongly linked to obesity. If you're going to eat carbs, make sure to eat them with their natural fiber.
4. Use Smaller Plates: Using smaller plates has been shown to help people automatically eat fewer calories in some studies.
5. Exercise Portion Control or Count Calories: Portion control (eating less) or counting calories (food diary) can be useful. This usually works for the short term, to help make you aware of what you are actually consuming meal to meal.
Anything that increases your awareness of what you are eating is likely to be useful.
6. Keep Healthy Food Around in Case You Get Hungry: (Another obvious favorite!) Keeping healthy food close by can help prevent you from eating something unhealthy if you become excessively hungry. A few snacks that are easily portable and simple to prepare include whole fruits, a handful of nuts, baby carrots, yogurt and a hardboiled egg (or two).
7. Brush Your Teeth After Dinner: Although I'm not aware of any studies on this, many people recommend brushing your teeth and/or flossing right after dinner. Then you won't be as tempted to have a late-night snack. (IT'S GOOD FOR YOUR TEETH, TOO!)
8. Eat Spicy Foods: Spicy foods like Cayenne pepper contain Capsaicin, a compound that can boost metabolism and reduce your appetite slightly.
9. Eat More Fiber: Fiber is often recommended for the purpose of weight loss. Although the evidence is mixed, some studies show that fiber (especially viscous fiber) can increase satiety and help you control your weight over the long term. (FIBER is FILLING!)
10. Eat More Vegetables and Fruits: Vegetables and fruits have several properties that make them effective for weight loss. They contain few calories, but a lot of fiber. They are also rich in water, which gives them a low energy density. They also take a while to chew, and are very filling. Studies show that people who eat vegetables and fruits tend to weigh less. These foods are also super healthy and nutritious, so eating them is important for all sorts of reasons.
11. Chew More Slowly: It can take a while for the brain to "register" that you've had enough to eat. Some studies show that chewing more slowly can help you eat fewer calories and increase the production of hormones linked to weight loss.
12. Get Good Sleep: Sleep is highly underrated, but it may be just as important as eating healthy and exercising. Studies show that poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity, being linked to an 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults.
13. Do Aerobic Exercise: Doing aerobic exercise (cardio) is an excellent way to burn calories and improve your physical and mental health. It appears to be particularly effective to lose belly fat, the unhealthy fat that tends to build up around your organs and cause metabolic disease.
14. Lift Weights: One of the worst side effects of dieting, is that it tends to cause muscle loss and metabolic slowdown, often referred to as starvation mode.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to do some sort of resistance exercise, like lifting weights. Studies show that weight lifting can help keep your metabolism high, and prevent you from losing precious muscle mass. Of course, it's not just important to lose fat. You also want to make sure that what is beneath looks good. Doing some sort of resistance exercise is critical for that. (NO, LADIES, YOU WON'T BULK UP. JUST LIFT!)
15. Eat More Protein: Protein is the single most important nutrient when it comes to losing weight. Eating a high protein diet has been shown to boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day, while helping you feel so satiated that you eat up to 441 fewer calories per day. One study also showed that protein at 25% of calories reduced obsessive thoughts about food by 60%, while cutting the desire for late night snacking in half. This is the single most important tip in the article. Simply adding protein to your diet (without restricting anything) is one of the easiest, most effective and most delicious ways to lose weight. (YES! ABSOLUTELY YES! AND NOT DIFFICULT TO DO!)
16. Don't "Diet", Eat Healthy Instead: One of the biggest problems with "diets," is that they almost never work in the long term. If anything, people who "diet" tend to gain more weight over time, and studies show that dieting is a consistent predictor of future weight gain. Instead of going on a diet, make it your goal to become a healthier, happier and fitter person. Focus on nourishing your body, instead of depriving it. Weight loss should follow as a natural side effect. (MAKES PERFECT SENSE!)