If you want to lose weight once and for all, than you don’t have to try different strategies and hope they work. Implement these scientifically proven weight loss strategies, and they will work for you.
1. Cut Back on Sugars and Starches
The single most important thing you can do to lose weight is to cut back or eliminate sugars and carbohydrates (carbs). The reason is that sugars a carbs stimulate the secretion of insulin, which is the main fat storage hormone in the body. When you reduce your insulin levels, your body accesses your fat stores more easily, so your body burns your fat instead of carbs. This one step will help your body put fat burning on autopilot. See the study here.
2. Eat Breakfast
You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And of course that’s true if you eat a healthy breakfast, which keeps your blood sugar and hormone levels stable while increasing your metabolism so you burn more calories. Additionally, a 2013 study found that women who had a larger healthy breakfast showed a greater reduction in ghrelin, the hunger hormone, than those who ate a small breakfast.
3. Don’t Skip Meals!
Keeping a food journal is one of the most important things you can do to lose weight. Researchers including Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center found that in addition to keeping a food journal, women should avoid skipping meals and avoid going to to lunch in restaurants. The study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics observed that:
- Women who kept food journals consistently lost about 6 pounds more than those who did not
- Women who reported skipping meals lost almost 8 fewer pounds than women who did not
- Women who ate out for lunch at least weekly lost on average 5 fewer pounds than those who ate out less frequently.
4. Exercise Changes Your Metabolism
A study published in the March 2012 issue of the journal Cell Metabolism confirms that even a single day with exercise “switches on” genes responsible for energy metabolism. This is really encouraging news, and goes to prove what has been thought for a long time; i.e., that your body gets good at whatever it does a lot. Essentially, your body learns to do well whatever it does often. This is born out in the famous book “Fit or Fat” by Covert Bailey. Bailey makes the point that athletes burn fat more efficiently because their cells have learned how to access and release stored energy more efficiently.
5. Change the size and color of your plate
A 2012 study showed that reducing the size and changing the color of your plate results in reduced calorie intake. This study showed that changing from a 12-inch plate to a 10-inch plate lead to a decrease in calories of 22%. It also found that when the plate color contrasts with the food color, people ate fewer calories. So serving your meals on small white plates is a great strategy for losing weight.
6. Exercise & diet is better than diet alone
A number of studies show that combining exercise with diet provides better weight loss results than dieting alone. A 2014 study showed that in particular, when you combine Resistance Training (RT), or working out with weights, with dieting, weight loss happens faster. This same study showed that while Endurance Training (ET) or cardiovascular training works, it is especially effective when performed in intervals, like in High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
This is common sense, in that as muscles burn calories, having more muscle equals burning more calories, right?
7. Write it down!
A 2008 study of nearly 1,700 participants showed that keeping a food diary can double a person's weight loss. Writing down your daily food intake is a way to acknowledge the importance of your weight loss mission and help you to take it seriously. Tracking your food, your emotional triggers, and daily physical activity helps you identify patterns and habits that lead to overeating and inactivity. “The more food records people kept, the more weight they lost,” said lead author Jack Hollis Ph.D., a researcher at Kaiser Permanente's Center for Health Research in Portland, Ore. "Those who kept daily food records lost twice as much weight as those who kept no records.”
Writing it down helps us to be accountable, become aware of our habits, and change our behavior. According to the National Weight Control Registry, journaling is one of the most powerful tools used by all successful dieters.
8. Increase calcium
A study from the University of Tennessee showed that increasing dietary calcium significantly increased weight and fat loss by as much as 50%-70%, while strengthening bones and preventing osteoporosis. So help yourself to low-fat or non-fat yogurt, cottage cheese, or milk, and watch the pounds melt away!
9. Protein Aids Fat Loss
Research from the University of Illinois reported in the Journal of Nutrition suggests that eating more high-quality protein can help a person maintain muscle mass and reduce body fat during weight loss. That's because of leucine, one of the Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) in particular spares muscle proteins during weight loss, so you only lose the fat and not the muscle. Maintaining muscle during weight loss is essential because it helps the body burn more calories.
Be advised though, that eating too much protein can strain your kidneys. As in all things, keep the protein in balance with the other elements of your diet. And stay with fresh, whole foods for the best results.
10. Long Term Weight Loss is Possible!
What’s the good news? Once you’ve made the decision to lose weight and changed your lifestyle to make that weight loss happen, you can keep it off essentially forever, when you maintain your lifestyle choice. A 2014 study showed that people that sustained the lifestyle they adopted to lose weight, kept it off for 10 years.
Graham Thomas, Ph.D., is the lead author on a study of self-reported weight loss and behavior change in nearly 3,000 participants. After following the group for over 10 years, Thomas noted “On average, participants maintained the majority of their weight loss over this extended follow-up period, and better success was related to continued performance of physical activity, self-weighing, low-fat diets, and avoiding overeating.” What’s the good news? “Long-term weight loss maintenance is possible, but it requires persistent adherence to a few key health behaviors.”