Last Updated on July 1, 2023 by Otuebo Harrison
You’ve certainly heard your fair share of bizarre weight loss suggestions over the years, such as replacing meals with weight loss “cookies” or drinking celery juice every day. Those suggestions are frequently offered by non-health professionals, so beware of anything that seems too good to be true. But for those who are in the correct mental health space and have the mind to lose weight as a personal goal, there are a number of reliable, research-supported, and professional-approved recommendations available as well.
The quality of your diet can be improved, for example. A study that was published in February 2023 in Nutrición Hospitalaria examined data from more than 15,000 individuals and showed that those who consumed the fewest processed foods had a lower risk of obesity while those who consumed the most amounts did so at a higher risk. There has been a lot of study done on the advantages of plant-based diets. According to findings reported in October 2022 in Obesity Science & Practice, a 16-week low-fat plant-based diet dramatically increased weight loss compared to a control group in a trial involving more than 200 dieters.
Numerous studies have also shown that having strong social support—from loved ones, a coach, an app, or an online community—can aid in your efforts to lose weight. According to research that was published in July 2022 in Digital Health, taking part in an online support group can aid in boosting motivation. And a study published in June 2022 in evaluation of Communication Research found that a 10-year evaluation of the literature on the subject of social support in online communities for people with obesity came to the conclusion that such support is linked to improved adherence to weight loss behaviors.
When you want to lose weight, your mindset is also important. Researchers discovered that those who successfully lost weight and kept it off embraced their setbacks and viewed them as brief pauses in their goal rather than failures, according to research published in the February 2022 issue of the journal Obesity.
Here are a few additional recommendations from professionals that are supported by research and can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
1. Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep causes your satisfaction hormone, leptin, to drop and your hunger hormone, ghrelin, to rise, which can lead to weight gain. We have stronger cravings for salty and sweet foods when we are sleep deprived. Why? Because your appetites for meals with more energy, or calories, increase whenever you experience intense hunger. Inadequate sleep also affects how we think and process our emotions, so it’s simple to draw a connection between this and a decreased capacity to make wise decisions about a variety of aspects of life, including food. If we flip a coin, we may reasonably infer that our bodies function more effectively when we are well-rested.
That would entail that we would only eat until we are full and only when we are actually hungry. As a result of giving our bodies the time they require for rest, repair, and renewal, our hormones will also be more in balance.
— Angela Lemond, a Texas-based private practice registered dietitian-nutritionist
2. Stay Hydrated
According to research, those who drank two glasses of water before meals lost more weight than those who didn’t, and they kept it off. This easy trick has two benefits. You may eat more as a result of thirst, which might pass for hungry. Additionally, water makes you feel fuller so you eat less at meals.
— Megan Casper, RDN, a nutritionist who also serves as the company’s CEO and founder.
3. Limit High-Glycemic Carbohydrate Foods
A food’s glycemic index score indicates how quickly blood sugar levels rise after consumption. White potatoes and refined bread are examples of high-glycemic carbohydrate foods that spike blood sugar before rapidly dropping after consumption, especially when consumed alone. You feel hungry afterward and crave more food. Although further long-term research is required, short-term studies show that there is a correlation. However, high-glycemic foods are not entirely forbidden. When you engage with a licensed dietitian-nutritionist, we provide you personalized strategies to help you balance your nutritional intake and minimize blood sugar spikes, which can aid in reducing appetite.
Sue-Ellen Anderson Haynes, RDN, CDCES, a certified personal trainer and national media spokesperson of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics who is based in Boston
4. Get Into Meal Planning
One of my best suggestions for eating well and keeping healthy is to organize your meals. I wrote a book about the idea since I love it so much! You’ll save time, money, and extra calories if you plan your food for the upcoming week over the weekend in 5 to 10 minutes. Unsure of the menu for tonight’s dinner? It’s already on your menu plan, so don’t worry. A balanced plate can be achieved by menu planning, which is a fantastic method to keep organized, know what groceries you need to buy and what you already have on hand.
Remember that it’s perfectly acceptable to take a night break from cooking and order takeout or prepare a freezer dish as part of the menu. Knowing in advance that you’ll be doing that prevents you from scrimping when hunger strikes. Also, make sure to put the plan in writing because having it in front of you will help you remember to follow it. —
Westchester County, New York-based culinary nutritionist and communications dietitian Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN
5. Don’t Skip Meals
“Remember, the main objective of our body is to stay alive. When our bodies are denied the calories that are literally their source of life energy, they will act in order to survive. The meals that are higher in energy density are known to our bodies, and we will crave them more. Respect your hunger and don’t let your body believe it is starving. This goes against a lot of diet strategies, yet those strategies don’t really help individuals in the long run. Generally speaking, I advise eating every four hours.
6. Enjoy the Food You Eat
We are frequently instructed on what to eat, and when we don’t enjoy the recommended cuisine, we are less likely to establish lifelong healthy habits. Take a chance on fresh produce. Learn new cooking techniques to create flavorful, diverse dishes. To enhance flavor, mix with some herbs and spices. Alternately, if you’d rather, take in the depth of steaming and fresh vegetables and the sweetness of fruit. Your relationship with food may be enjoyable, there is no reason why it can’t.
7. Eat Slowly
“I teach my customers how to select foods they enjoy, taste each bite carefully before putting it in their mouths, and chew slowly. I tell them to chew food thoroughly before swallowing, then to repeat the process. Knowing when we are full takes time. Eating slowly improves our satiety cues and allows us to enjoy our food more.
— Janet Zinn, a psychotherapist and certified clinical social worker with a private practice in New York City.
8. Cut Calories, Not Flavor
“By selecting options like sharp cheddar over mild cheddar, you can use less while still getting a ton of flavor without feeling like you’re on a diet,” says the author.
9. Think Big — Not Small
When trying to lose weight, concentrate on the areas that will provide you with the greatest return on your investment. These are known as the “big rocks” of weight loss. Reaching your goals will feel easier and more enduring if you put those first and let go of all the little things that add to overwhelm. Consider calories, protein, and fiber while planning your diet. Strength training, everyday movement, and rehabilitation should take precedence during exercise.
10. Give Your Breakfast a Protein Boost
For breakfast, aim for 15 to 25 grams of protein. Protein helps you feel full because it digests slowly and blocks hunger hormones. A high-protein breakfast also aids in reducing hunger throughout the day. Like two eggs with whole-wheat toast and avocado or high-protein frozen waffles with almonds, berries, and a little maple syrup, combine protein sources with fiber and healthy fats will help you lose weight and keep it off.
11. Don’t Forget the Weights
Be certain to lift weights twice or three times per week. Your muscle mass can be increased by using moderate to heavy weights, three or four sets of 10 to 15 reps using weights that are challenging for you. The likelihood that the food you eat will be used as fuel rather than stored as fat increases as your body mass increases.
12. Keep a Daily Gratitude Journal
Whether we are aware of it or not, our eating behaviors might occasionally be linked to our emotions. When we’re under stress, we might turn to food for comfort. I advise my clients who wants to lose weight to keep a gratitude diary every day, or even just a journal to write in when they’re feeling overwhelmed, so they’ll be better equipped to deal with stress by acknowledging it and using other coping mechanisms rather than turning to food.
— Lauren Manganiello, RD, CSSD, a private practice registered dietitian and board-certified sports nutritionist on Long Island, New York
13. Reorganize Your Plate
“Half of your plate should be veggies, quarters should be whole grains, and quarters should have lean protein. You’ll notice a change when you alternate the grains and vegetables on your plate. The lone exception is that because potatoes, corn, and peas are starchy vegetables, they belong in the category of grains.
— Lainey Younkin, RD, a Boston-based nutritionist and consultant
14. Take Action in Your Current Situation
“Don’t think you have to change everything about your life right now. Analyze your current situation, then decide where you want to be in the future. Get a step counter and check how much you walk on an average day as a wonderful place to start for folks who spend most of their time sitting down. Then, aim for a step goal that is a little higher than average and gradually increase it to 10,000 steps per day.
— Esther Avant, a San Diego-based online sports nutritionist with a focus on weight loss
15. Eat Breakfast Like a King, Lunch Like a Prince, and Dinner Like a Pauper
Although there are different interpretations of this adage, you should consume more calories early in the day. In a study that was released in the journal Nutrients in November 2019, researchers discovered that individuals who were given small breakfasts and large dinners lost weight much less than those who were given large breakfasts and smaller meals. Thus, we can see how eating smaller meals later in the day may be beneficial for people who want to reduce their weight and enhance their general health. The time the dinner was consumed was an intriguing aspect of this study. They discovered that eating the main meal (bigger meal) later than recommended (after 3 p.m.) made it more difficult to lose weight.
It’s vital to understand that this study does not advocate for a 3 p.m. eating cutoff for everyone. Individual demands, such as those of those who are pregnant, nursing, have diabetes, or take medications that call for particular foods, can necessitate the need for extra snacks and meals. It is crucial that you visit a qualified dietitian nutritionist for advice because of this.