Ultimately, the best way to lose weight is to make healthy habits stick. For example, try to limit calorie-dense beverages like sugary soda or iced tea.
Choose an eating approach that fits your lifestyle, such as a Mediterranean-style diet, whole foods or low carbs. Find an accountability partner or health care professional to help you stay on track.
1. Eat fewer calories.
Creating a deficit of calories is the key to weight loss. While this may sound simple, it can be challenging for many people to do. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be.
Small changes in food and physical activity can make a big difference over time. The most important thing is to make sustainable changes that you can stick with long-term.
Aim to cut out one calorie-rich treat per day. This can help you shave hundreds of calories from your daily diet and could result in a lower number on the scale. Try to eat only when you are hungry and drink plenty of water. This will help reduce hunger and cravings. Also, eat high-water foods like fruits and vegetables (like cantaloupe, watermelon, and cucumber) to keep your appetite satisfied with fewer calories.
2. Move more.
Movement is key for losing weight and improving health. Moving more each day in NEAT activities — non-exercise activity – burns calories and can be as effective as going to the gym, per recent research. Even fidgeting in your chair can burn more calories than sitting still, and standing vs. sitting for two hours a day can burn an extra 54 calories in a 140-pound person, per The New York Times.
If you’re looking for ways to move more, try adding a walk at lunch or taking a dance class instead of meeting friends for happy hour. And be sure to wear comfortable shoes that allow you to easily move and consider keeping basic fitness equipment, like a balance disc or exercise ball, at work so you’re more likely to use it.
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables can help you lose weight and keep your body healthy. Vegetables and fruits are low in calories and have lots of vitamins and minerals, including fiber.
Filling your plate with the recommended two servings of fruit and three cups of veggies can help you get these nutrients. Choose fresh, frozen or canned produce without added sugar or cream sauces.
Try to eat a variety of colors, because different foods provide important nutrients, such as potassium, folate and vitamins A and C. Add more vegetables to your meals and snacks by putting them on a salad, in soups and stews or adding diced veggies to eggs or meat dishes. Keeping fruits and veggies visible can help—a fruit bowl in the fridge or a container of chopped carrots on the counter is a good reminder to reach for them.
4. Eat more protein.
Protein builds muscle, reduces appetite and helps you burn more calories than carbs or fat. So, it’s important to eat enough of it.
Eating more protein is simple if you make it a priority at each meal. Protein-rich foods include lean meats, fish, tofu and egg whites. You can also try adding a scoop of protein powder to a fruit smoothie, salad dressing or a bowl of oatmeal. Just choose one that’s unflavored and low in sugar.
Nuts can also add a healthy dose of protein to meals. But watch the portion size and be sure to choose lower-calorie nuts (like almonds or walnuts) over those that are flavored or salted. You can also sprinkle a handful of nuts on top of yogurt, salads, breakfast cereals or oatmeal.
5. Drink more water.
The amount of water you should drink depends on a variety of factors, like your activity level and the climate where you live. But a general rule is to aim for 64 ounces (about eight cups) per day.
Water is calorie-free and can help reduce the number of calories you consume, particularly when you replace sugary drinks with it. It’s also a good idea to have water on hand before meals, which may suppress your appetite.
In addition, drinking water may help boost weight loss because it’s needed for the body to break down fat and convert it to energy, according to a 2016 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition. This process is called lipolysis. Mild dehydration decreases this process. Water also increases cell volume and may play a role in weight loss.