The best way to lose weight is by adopting healthy eating and activity habits that can become part of your lifestyle. Avoid fad diets.
Try to banish the word “diet.” It sounds depressing and is often short-term and unsustainable. Instead, focus on getting healthier and setting SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-sensitive) goals.
1. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Despite rumors to the contrary, breakfast is crucial to weight loss. Having this first meal of the day can help you control cravings and portion size throughout the day, as well as provide the energy needed to complete your workout.
Start the day with a balanced power trio of protein, fiber-packed carbohydrates and better-for-you fats. This nutrient-rich combination prevents blood sugar peaks and dips, which can trigger hunger and cravings.
Skip sugary options like a bowl of cereal with skim milk or a pastry, and opt for a bagel with salmon and cream cheese or eggs with spinach and tomato. Black coffee and unsweetened iced tea are great options to help suppress appetite without adding unnecessary calories, Zumpano says.
2. Drink Water Before Meals
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s important to drink water before meals. Not only is it calorie-free, but research has shown that drinking water before a meal can help you eat less.
Water makes your stomach expand, which signals to your brain that you’re full. It can also help you cut back on unnecessary snacking. Since thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger, having water in your body at all times can keep you from overeating and can help you lose weight.
Plus, consuming more water can help you reduce your overall liquid calories. Swapping your favorite flavored drinks for flat or sparkling water can save you a lot of extra calories. Water is just one piece of the puzzle though—you still need to work out and eat healthy, too.
3. Eat 80% of the Time
A common problem with many diets is that they are too restrictive. By limiting entire foods or food groups, they can leave you feeling deprived and ultimately lead to failure.
The 80/20 rule offers a more flexible approach to healthy eating. The majority of your meals should consist of whole, natural foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruit and lean protein. The other 20% can be reserved for treats, cravings and social occasions.
This way of eating can help you build a healthier relationship with food, rather than seeing “bad foods” as off-limits. Trying to avoid a food, such as French fries, can be an exhausting mental workout and will eventually cause you to eat them out of sheer willpower. The 80/20 diet is a more sustainable way of eating that can help you reach your weight loss goals.
4. Get Enough Sleep
When you’re not getting enough sleep, your hormones go haywire, making it hard to resist temptation or stick to your weight loss plan. Studies show that getting adequate rest at night can help regulate your metabolism, ward off the Cookie Monster from taking over in the breakroom, squash stress hormones and fuel your workouts.
Ideally, you should get at least seven to nine hours of sleep per night. To help fall asleep earlier and promote a better quality of sleep, experts recommend limiting caffeine and alcohol at night and keeping the bedroom cool and dark.
Taking a walk outside for about two to three minutes in the morning and returning to bed before sundown can also promote a healthy sleep cycle. These habits can help you sleep in the REM phase, which is when your body burns the most fat.
5. Avoid the Carbohydrate Aisle
Many of the processed foods found in the carbohydrate aisle are high in sugar and carbohydrates. These products are also calorie dense, meaning that eating them can lead to weight gain.
Choosing healthier carbs such as whole grains, quinoa, brown rice, sweet potatoes and beans/legumes are better choices when trying to lose weight. Eating nutrient filled carbohydrates, such as these, is best when eaten with protein or healthy fats to keep you full and help you control your blood sugar levels.
It is also important to avoid sugary drinks and instead opt for water. Aim to drink at least 2 litres of water each day. It is also a good idea to include a glass of water with every meal. This will prevent dehydration, which is often caused by skipping meals or overeating.