The best way to lose weight is a slow and steady process that avoids yo-yo dieting. Slower weight loss can also reduce health risks such as diabetes, heart disease and joint problems.
Embracing long-term changes, such as healthy eating patterns and physical activity, is important for sustainable weight loss.
1. Eat a Healthy Diet
When trying to lose weight, the most important thing is what you eat. Focus on making healthy food choices, and don’t try to make too many changes all at once.
A healthy diet includes a variety of foods from each major group, and limits added fats, salt and sugar. It also provides the right amount of calories for your body.
A healthy diet helps maintain a healthy weight and reduces the risk of disease. It includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. It also limits empty kilojoules such as soda, processed snacks and alcohol. By sitting down to eat meals without distraction, you can take time to enjoy your food and be more aware of when you’re full.
2. Exercise Regularly
The more energy you expend, the more likely you are to burn more calories than you consume. A negative energy balance, also called a caloric deficit, is needed to lose weight over time.
The best way to achieve a caloric deficit is through a combination of a healthy diet and physical activity. Ideally, this should be done over the long term through consistent dietary and exercise changes.
Regularly engaging in aerobic exercise improves endurance, breathing and heart health and reduces body fat. Walking, swimming, tennis and cycling are all good examples.
To get the most benefit from exercise, find a routine you enjoy and stick with it. Try to do something active every day – even 10 minutes of physical activity can make a difference.
4. Stay Hydrated
Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy one, being well-hydrated is crucial. Drinking water can suppress the appetite, boost metabolism and make exercise more effective, all of which help achieve results on the scale.
Water also promotes satiation by taking up space in the stomach and sending signals to the brain that you’re full. Studies show that drinking a glass of water before meals can reduce overall calorie intake, especially when done in place of high-calorie beverages like juice, soda or alcohol.
Being dehydrated makes it harder to metabolize fat and carbohydrates, which can cause your body to store unwanted pounds. Additionally, being dehydrated can lead to short-term and long-term health problems, including bloating, fatigue and constipation. By staying hydrated, you can avoid these issues and keep your weight loss on track.
5. Get Enough Nutrients
Getting the nutrients you need is key to healthy weight loss. Significantly restricting calories isn’t necessary, but it’s important to eat plenty of nutrient-rich whole foods like veggies, fruits, whole grains and lean protein. These foods control hunger, boost metabolism and promote fat burning.
Eat at least four to six ounces of protein at each meal to stabilize blood sugar and promote weight loss. Good sources of protein include poultry, fish (especially wild game), eggs and nuts.
If you aren’t already, start tracking your food using an app like MyFitnessPal or a notebook. Studies show that people who track their food are more successful at losing and keeping off weight long-term. This is especially true if they make it a habit. It takes less than 15 minutes a day to log what you eat!