The Best Way to Lose Weight

The best way to lose weight is to eat a healthy, balanced diet, get enough sleep and exercise regularly. A trimmer waistline can help you avoid diabetes and heart disease, as well as improve your mood and blood pressure.

Aim to lose 1/2 pound to 2 pounds per week. The number on the scale will go up and down, depending on what you eat (your weight fluctuates because of things like water retention), activity level and stress.

Eat a variety of foods

While a healthy diet must decrease calories, that doesn’t mean it has to be boring or unsatisfying. Vary your meals by trying new foods, recipes and cooking methods. Try whole grains instead of refined sugar and use modest amounts of healthy fats such as olive oil, canola oil and nut oils. Incorporate plenty of fruit and vegetables into your meals and eat protein-rich foods such as beans, fish and lean meats.

Eating a variety of foods can also help reduce temptations to eat unhealthy foods. If you have a favorite higher-calorie food, such as a chocolate bar, make it an occasional treat and eat it smaller than usual.

Get plenty of sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy weight. In fact, studies show that sleep deprivation may cause hormones to interfere with appetite control and contribute to weight gain (24).

If you’re aiming to lose weight, getting a good night’s rest can help you stay on track. It can also make it easier to stick to your diet and exercise plan.

A good night’s sleep also helps you resist tempting treats that can wreak havoc on your waistline, like the Cookie Monster’s. Getting a poor night’s sleep can trigger a cortisol spike, which affects the microbes in your gut and slows down your metabolism, according to Men’s Health (25).

To ensure that you get an optimal night’s sleep, make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, quiet and free of distractions. Creating the right sleeping environment may improve your ability to fall into deep, restful REM sleep, which burns the most fat. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

Stay hydrated

While the old rule of eight 8-ounce glasses a day is still generally a good one, your body’s water needs will vary depending on factors like age, gender, health, activity level and tendency to sweat. For most healthy people, letting thirst be their guide is the best way to determine how much water they need.

In addition to helping you reach your hydration goals, drinking water throughout the day may aid weight loss by curbing carb-heavy cravings or increasing metabolism. One study found that people who drank two glasses of cold water before a meal consumed 22 percent fewer calories than those who didn’t drink the water.

Water also helps reduce excess calorie intake by replacing higher-calorie beverages like juice, soda and sweetened tea and coffee with water. Plus, consuming water with meals can help promote feelings of fullness. Water also keeps waste moving through the GI tract, preventing constipation and bloating that can add extra pounds.