More than 70% of adult Americans are overweight or obese. In their desire to lose weight, many resort to fad diets that are too good to be true. Not only they are quick, one-size-fits-all diets are often ineffective, and may also pose a health risk because they don’t consider a person’s unique nutritional needs.
Safe ways to lose weight include adopting healthier lifestyle habits and expert weight loss counseling. It’s important to understand that achieving optimal weight is more about lowering the risk of heart attack, cancer, diabetes, and other life-threatening conditions than about looking good.
This article gives 19 practical tips for gradual, safe weight loss. If you stick to them, you’re likely to achieve your aesthetic and health goals.
Successful weight loss involves letting go of unhealthy lifestyle habits and replacing them with healthy ones. No quick, magic formula can help you shed excess pounds. To achieve results that last, you need to take small steps and understand what works for you.
Review these 19 rational tips for weight loss and try those that fit your unique mindset, personality, willpower, metabolism, and pace of living.
Medical weight loss programs are designed to help people shed pounds in a controlled way, focusing on the patient’s overall health. They help patients understand that the real problem with excess weight is the risk of severe disease, and they use scientifically proven ways to help patients reach their target weight.
Medical experts at the Vibrant Vitality Clinic work with their patients to create a personalized weight loss plan that typically includes:
Professional help is by far the surest way to achieve weight loss.
A common reason for gaining weight is the fast pace of modern life and the lack of time to prepare healthy meals. If this applies to you, try making small changes to your schedule and start making weekly meal plans.
Here’s how you can start planning meals upfront:
Like all plans, meal plans are made to be broken. However, if you stick to at least half of your targets, you’ll likely see progress in adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Some people skip breakfast thinking it will help them reduce their daily calorie intake. The truth is that a nutritious breakfast can help curb food cravings later in the day. Avoid breakfast options that contain a lot of carbs, such as bagels, pancakes, muffins, and other white flour and sugary treats.
Examples of a smart breakfast choice for weight loss include:
Make sure your breakfast includes foods high in protein and fiber.
Mindful eating is the exact opposite of how many of us eat today: scrolling our phones, in front of the computer, TV, or on the go.
Sitting at a table, free from distractions, helps us chew slowly, think about the food we’re enjoying, and recognize fullness signals. This simple change in the way we eat helps shed considerable pounds.
The more sugar and refined carbs we eat, the more we crave them. Thus, our appetite and portion sizes grow. Becoming aware of this process, helps us control our portion sizes. Start eating from smaller plates and bowls and allow yourself only one serving. This “trick” alone can bring you closer to your weight goals.
Though fasting regimes are popular and can be beneficial for your health, they are not feasible for everyone. However, eating every three to four hours has been proven to stabilize blood sugar levels and keep hunger at bay. Keep your meals and snacks between three to five hours apart.
Protein is an essential macronutrient responsible for maintaining our muscles and bones. Consuming protein-rich food is highly recommended for weight loss because it:
Doctors generally agree that the required daily amount of protein for an average sedentary adult is 0.36 g per pound of body weight. The exact amount varies depending on sex, age, daily activity levels, and metabolism.
To ensure you get enough protein, include high-quality protein foods in your daily meals, such as:
Most doctors and scientists agree that excess sugar seriously harms our gut health and immune system. It can cause insulin spikes and insulin resistance, damage blood vessels, and lead to life-threatening diseases.
Besides causing health issues, a high sugar and white flour intake is the most common cause of weight gain.
Make the effort to reduce carb consumption and replace refined with complex carbs (e.g., whole grains). Complex carbs are more filling and take longer to digest, reducing appetite and leading to less calorie intake.
Vegetables have kept people alive since the dawn of humanity, and it still stands that the healthiest diets are plant-based.
Nutritionists recommend that half of our plate at every meal is covered with vegetables. The other half should include quality protein, fats, complex carbs, or starchy vegetables.
Veggies are lower in calories than carbs and they are high in water content, leaving you satiated.
Here are some low-calorie vegetables that you can eat in large amounts without gaining weight:
Include at least one cup of vegetables with every meal. This will bring you closer to your health and weight goals.
Vegetables are high in fiber. Fiber aids digestion, speeds up the metabolism, and reduces gut inflammation. It also helps keep blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Examples of fiber-rich plants include:
Anecdotal evidence shows that increasing water intake helped many people lose weight. People often mistake thirst for hunger and eat when they should be drinking water.
Doctors recommend having at least eight glasses of water per day, but if you want to lose weight, it’s better to have more. Drinking a glass of water before each meal is particularly helpful because it gives you the feeling of fullness and reduces overeating.
Alcohol and sugary drinks are something that people often don’t consider when trying to figure out how they gained weight. Both types of beverages are full of sugar and if consumed every day, they add hundreds of calories to your daily calorie count, making it impossible to slim down.
Eliminate store-bought juices and other sugary drinks from your diet and replace them with unsweetened tea. As for alcohol, limit consumption to one or two glasses per week. Limiting alcohol consumption will positively impact your figure and wellbeing.
Exercise alone usually can’t help with weight loss. However, it’s a powerful tool in improving your health and supporting a balanced diet. The combination of calorie restriction and physical exercise is a surefire way to lose and manage your weight.
Cardio, strength training, and lifting weights are effective workouts for weight loss. Aim for at least four sessions a week and include a combination of these exercises. For example, you can jog, swim, or ride a bike twice a week. The other two days go to the gym to lift weights and do strength training.
If that sounds too ambitious, start with a daily, 30-minute brisk walk and gradually increase your activity level. You’ll quickly notice the positive change in your energy levels, mood, and physique.
Stress-induced weight gain is real. Cortisol, the hormone released in stressful situations, increases blood sugar levels and results in higher fat accumulation. Additionally, when we’re under stress, we’re more likely to binge-eat, eat late at night, and crave sugars that temporarily make us feel good.
Find the time to incorporate activities that will help you combat stress. Examples include:
Like stress, lack of sleep is sometimes responsible for releasing the hormone ghrelin, which increases hunger and appetite.
Scientists generally agree that an average adult needs seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep during the night. Sleep deprivation may cause other health issues, not just weight gain, so it’s essential to treat poor sleeping habits.
Note: Is a hormonal imbalance causing accumulated fat in the abdomen? See how to get rid of hormonal belly fat.
Many fad diets are ineffective because they promise significant weight loss results in an unrealistically short period. Even if you manage to lose 10 pounds in three days, the chances are you’ll gain it all back just as quickly.
Quick weight loss may also cause health issues such as muscle loss, headaches, gallstones, interrupted menstrual cycles, etc.
Doctors agree that the optimal weight loss rate for long-term success is one to two pounds per week. Take this into account when you plan your weight loss journey.
People often don’t realize how much they eat or how inactive they are until they read it in their own handwriting. A weight loss journal serves to keep track of your efforts and helps you reevaluate your strategy.
Try keeping a weight loss journal for a month. It can help you become more disciplined about exercise and meal management.
Having a weight loss buddy – your partner, best friend, a colleague from work, mom – works on two levels. It provides the necessary support from a person who’s in the same boat and is genuinely interested in your experience. Your weight loss buddy’s success can spur you to be more conscientious about your own meal and workout plan.
Many people wish to slim down because they want to stop feeling self-conscious about their bodies. This is a legitimate goal. However, the main problem with excess weight is medical rather than esthetic. The damage that extra carbs and a lack of physical activity can do to our bodies should be a wake-up call and a strong motivator for everyone who is overweight.
Note: If you still can't get rid of stubborn belly fat after following our tips, CoolSculpting might be the solution for you. Learn how CoolSculpting works and find out if you’re the perfect candidate for CoolSculpting the stomach.
The science is clear about our need to adopt a more balanced diet and healthier lifestyle. However, many people struggle to make those changes and spend years trying to lose weight. If you are among them, try the practical advice we recommend in this article. Hopefully, these 19 tips will help you reach your goals.
If you still need help, contact our medical weight loss counselors who are trained and dedicated to helping you succeed on your weight loss journey.
4325 E Indian School Rd, Suite 130
Phoenix, AZ 85018
Monday - Friday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Saturday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm