By Kris Gunnars, BSc |
The weight loss “industry” is full of myths.
People are being advised to do all sorts of crazy things, most of which have no evidence behind them.
Over the years, however, scientists have found a number of strategies that seem to be effective.
Here are 26 weight loss tips that are actually evidence-based.
1. Drink Water, Especially Before Meals
It is often claimed that drinking water can help with weight loss, and this is true.
2. Eat Eggs For Breakfast
Eating whole eggs can have all sorts of benefits, including helping you lose weight.
If you can’t eat eggs for some reason, then that’s fine. Any source of quality protein for breakfast should do the trick.
3. Drink Coffee (Preferably Black)
Just make sure NOT to add a bunch of sugar or other high-calorie ingredients to it. That will completely negate any benefit you get from the coffee.
4. Drink Green Tea
Like coffee, green tea also has many benefits, one of them being weight loss.
Green tea contains small amounts of caffeine, but it is also loaded with powerful antioxidants called catechins, which are also believed to work synergistically with the caffeine to enhance fat burning (9, 10).
5. Cook With Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is very healthy. It is high in special fats called medium chain triglycerides, which are metabolized differently than other fats.
Keep in mind that this is not about adding coconut oil on top of what you’re already eating, it is about replacing some of your current cooking fats with coconut oil.
6. Take a Glucomannan Supplement
A fiber called glucomannan has been shown to cause weight loss in several studies.
This is a type of fiber that absorbs water and “sits” in your gut for a while, making you feel more full and helping you eat fewer calories (15).
Studies have shown that people who supplement with glucomannan lose a bit more weight than those who don’t (16).
7. Cut Back on Added Sugar
Added sugar is the single worst ingredient in the modern diet, and most people are eating way too much of it.
If you want to lose weight, you should be cutting back on added sugars. Just make sure to read labels, because even so-called health foods can be loaded with sugar.
8. Eat Less Refined Carbs
Refined carbohydrates are usually sugar, or grains that have been stripped of their fibrous, nutritious parts (includes white bread and pasta).
Studies show that refined carbs can spike blood sugar rapidly, leading to hunger, cravings and increased food intake a few hours later. Eating refined carbs is strongly linked to obesity (20, 21, 22).
If you’re going to eat carbs, make sure to eat them with their natural fiber.
9. Go on a Low Carb Diet
10. Use Smaller Plates
Using smaller plates has been shown to help people automatically eat fewer calories in some studies. Weird trick, but it seems to work (26).
11. Exercise Portion Control or Count Calories
Portion control (eating less) or counting calories can be very useful, for obvious reasons (27).
Anything that increases your awareness of what you are eating is likely to be useful.
12. Keep Healthy Food Around in Case You Get Hungry
Keeping healthy food close by can help prevent you from eating something unhealthy if you become excessively hungry.
13. Brush Your Teeth After Dinner
Although I’m not aware of any studies on this, many people recommend brushing your teeth and/or flossing right after dinner. Then you won’t be as tempted to have a late-night snack.
14. Eat Spicy Foods
15. Do Aerobic Exercise
Doing aerobic exercise (cardio) is an excellent way to burn calories and improve your physical and mental health.
16. Lift Weights
The best way to prevent this from happening is to do some sort of resistance exercise, like lifting weights. Studies show that weight lifting can help keep your metabolism high, and prevent you from losing precious muscle mass (36, 37).
Of course, it’s not just important to lose fat. You also want to make sure that what is beneath looks good. Doing some sort of resistance exercise is critical for that.
17. Eat More Fiber
Fiber is often recommended for the purpose of weight loss. Although the evidence is mixed, some studies show that fiber (especially viscous fiber) can increase satiety and help you control your weight over the long term (38, 39).
18. Eat More Vegetables and Fruits
Vegetables and fruits have several properties that make them effective for weight loss.
They contain few calories, but a lot of fiber. They are also rich in water, which gives them a low energy density. They also take a while to chew, and are very filling.
19. Chew More Slowly
It can take a while for the brain to “register” that you’ve had enough to eat. Some studies show that chewing more slowly can help you eat fewer calories and increase the production of hormones linked to weight loss (41, 42).
20. Get Good Sleep
Sleep is highly underrated, but it may be just as important as eating healthy and exercising.
Studies show that poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity, being linked to an 89% increased risk of obesity in children, and 55% in adults (43).
21. Beat Your Food Addiction
If you suffer from overpowering cravings and can’t seem to get your eating under control no matter how hard you try, then you may be a food addict.
In this case, get help. Trying to lose weight without dealing with this problem first is next to impossible.
22. Eat More Protein
Protein is the single most important nutrient when it comes to losing weight.
This is the single most important tip in the article.
Simply adding protein to your diet (without restricting anything) is one of the easiest, most effective and most delicious ways to lose weight.
23. Supplement With Whey Protein
If you struggle to get enough protein in your diet, taking a supplement can help.
24. Don’t Drink Calories, Including Sugary Soda and Fruit Juices
For example, one study showed that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to a 60% increased risk of obesity in children, for each daily serving (51).
Keep in mind that this applies to fruit juice as well, which contains a similar amount of sugar as a soft drink like coke (52). Eat whole fruit, but use fruit juice with caution (or avoid it altogether).
25. Eat Whole, Single Ingredient Foods (Real Food)
If you want to be a leaner, healthier person, then one of the best things you can do for yourself is to eat whole, single ingredient foods.
These foods are naturally filling, and it’s very difficult to gain weight if the majority of your diet is based around them.
Keep in mind that real food doesn’t need a long list of ingredients, because real food IS the ingredient.
26. Don’t “Diet”, Eat Healthy Instead
One of the biggest problems with “diets,” is that they almost never work in the long term.
If anything, people who “diet” tend to gain more weight over time, and studies show that dieting is a consistent predictor of future weight gain (53).
Instead of going on a diet, make it your goal to become a healthier, happier and fitter person. Focus on nourishing your body, instead of depriving it.
Weight loss should follow as a natural side effect.