Finding the best way to lose weight is a personal journey. Different diets work for different people, but experts agree that healthy lifestyle changes are key to long-term success.
Avoid fad diets and focus on sustainable, healthy habits that you can stick with over time. This will help you avoid yo-yo dieting and the health complications that come with it, like heart disease and diabetes.
Regardless of what fad diets may claim, regular exercise is an important part of losing weight. This is because exercising and burning more calories than one consumes creates a negative energy balance or deficit, which is essential for sustainable weight loss.
In order to burn the most calories, it is recommended that people perform cardiovascular exercise such as jogging or walking on a regular basis for at least 30 minutes each day of the week. Additionally, performing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to burn more calories in less time.
Incorporating resistance or strength training into an exercise routine is also important for weight loss, as it can help to build muscle mass which can increase one’s resting metabolic rate. This is because muscles burn more calories than fat during the day, even when at rest.
2. Eat Right
A healthy diet is the foundation of any weight loss plan. It features a variety of foods that are low in fat and sodium, and rich in nutrients like fiber, vitamins and minerals.
It includes whole foods, like fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, lean meats, fish, beans and low-fat dairy. There’s no one “best” diet for everyone, but many people find success with a plant-based approach.
Another key to success is making modest food portions the rule rather than the exception. This habit helps slim people stay in control of their eating. Practice it by using smaller plates and bowls. Also, eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. This technique can help you feel full on fewer calories, and it gives your brain time to signal that you’re satisfied.
Sleep is just as important to your health and weight loss as diet and exercise. Studies show that getting less than the recommended amount of sleep slows down your metabolism and can cause you to eat more calories.
Sleep deprivation also disrupts hunger hormones and can make you more likely to snack on high-calorie, unhealthy foods. This could sabotage your weight loss efforts.
To get enough restful sleep, keep your bedroom dark and quiet, shut down all screens an hour before bedtime, and create a relaxing bedtime ritual. Try reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing meditation. Try to stick to a consistent schedule, waking up and going to bed at the same times each day, including weekends. If you can, set your alarm earlier, rather than later, to help you fall asleep.
4. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is key to boosting metabolism and curbing hunger. Plus, drinking water helps the kidneys expel waste and retain healthy electrolytes and nutrients. Dehydration can also lead to constipation and other health issues, so keeping hydrated is essential for good overall health.
There’s also decent evidence that drinking water before a meal can help you eat less. In fact, one study showed that people who drank water before meals ate 75 fewer calories at that meal than those who didn’t drink water.
But don’t think that water is a magic weight loss bullet. In fact, drinking too much water could have the opposite effect and make you gain weight. If you’re unsure how much water you should be drinking, consult with a registered dietitian.
5. Stay Motivated
Whether it’s an app that tracks your food intake or a pen-and-paper journal, finding the right tools to help you stay on track can boost your motivation. You can also get inspiration from a weight loss community like a website, social media page, or in-person meetups.
Keeping yourself motivated to lose weight can also include non-food rewards for reaching milestones, such as graduating from walking to jogging or getting off your cholesterol medications. You can also reward yourself by putting exercise goals on your calendar, so you can cross them off when you’ve accomplished them.
Finally, be sure to practice self-compassion in tough times, such as when you eat an unplanned treat or the number on the scale goes up. This can help you power through setbacks and keep moving forward toward your goal.