Overweight and obesity levels stand at 43.3% among American women¹, many of whom are trying to lose weight². While there are numerous ways to do so, unfortunately, some methods are not backed by scientific evidence and therefore are not recommended.
If you are on a weight-loss journey, you have probably come across claims about supplements and replacement plans that miraculously make your weight disappear. Rather than spending your money and energy on these, use scientifically proven methods like exercise and diet.
This article will look at ten gradual, sustainable ways to help you lose weight.
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That bag of chips, a slice of white bread, or bowl of pasta that you can't get enough of could be the stumbling block preventing you from losing weight. Refined carbs are extensively processed, which reduces their nutrients, fiber, and overall effectiveness in our body.
Additionally, refined carbs are known for spiking blood sugar levels and increasing belly weight and body fat. When eaten frequently, they can lead to serious problems such as type 2 diabetes³. Instead of refined carbs, try whole-grain products⁴ like quinoa, oats, barley, buckwheat, and brown rice.
Drinking water, especially before a meal, has been found to increase weight loss and reduce the amount of calories consumed by at least 13%⁵. In fact, one research study found that drinking 500ml of water increased burned calories by 30% after 30–40 minutes⁶. Therefore, if you are looking to lose weight, drinking water is one simple step you can take.
Increasing your fiber intake is also a good weight-loss strategy. It slows the emptying of your stomach, leaving you feeling full for longer. This reduces your intake of carbs and, consequently, your weight. Research indicates that increasing your intake of dietary fiber by 14 grams per day can reduce calorie intake by 10%⁷.
Foods like legumes, vegetables, seeds, fruits, nuts, and whole grains are good sources of fiber and can give good weight-loss results when incorporated into meals.
Consuming a high-protein diet can increase feelings of fullness, cut cravings, and boost metabolism. It can also help cut your carb intake. Protein-rich foods like legumes, seafood, meat, and poultry are essential to your diet if you are trying to lose weight.
Intermittent fasting is another effective method when it comes to weight loss. It involves switching between eating and fasting on a schedule. The fasting period can be from 12 to 24 hours, depending on the individual. This method enhances metabolism by helping your body burn fat and turn it into energy, thus increasing the calories burned at rest.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves a combination of brief, high-intensity bursts of movement followed by a short rest period. This workout keeps your heart rate high and forces your body to use energy from fat instead of carbs. People using HIIT as a weight-loss mechanism have been found to lose 28.5% more fat than people exercising in other ways, such as walking, bike riding, and moderate-intensity exercise⁸.
Stress and anxiety are known causes of emotional eating, which causes weight gain. According to research, yoga has been found to help relieve stress and anxiety, which in turn reduces binge eating and food obsession. Yoga exercises also help the body to burn more fat, leading to weight loss. Squeezing in at least 30 minutes of yoga to your daily routine can go a long way in helping you lose several pounds.
Cardio (aerobic exercise) is another powerful workout that is instrumental to weight loss. However, to speed up weight loss, you have to maximize your sweat sessions. Studies have shown that 20–40 minutes of cardio per day, or 150–300 minutes per week⁹, can result in significant weight loss. Cardio works by increasing the heart rate, which helps burn extra calories. Some cardio activities to try include running, swimming, jogging, bike riding, water aerobics, and brisk walking.
Practicing mindful eating – avoiding distractions while eating – helps with weight loss. Avoid watching TV, using your phone or computer, or talking as you eat. Getting rid of distractions will help you focus on the meal's smell, taste, and appearance, enabling you to recognize when you are full.
Mindful eating also helps remove the stress of doing lots of activities at once, which helps the body shed weight.
Odd as this may sound, chewing slowly and thoroughly can help you lose weight. This reduces the amount of food you eat, which cuts down carbs and increases weight loss. One study found that chewing 50 times per bite decreased calorie intake more than chewing just 15 times¹⁰.
The dietary techniques for losing weight include:
Cutting out processed carbs
Drinking more water
Incorporating more fiber and protein
The exercise techniques to lose weight include:
When you start out, be patient with yourself. You will not shed weight after a day of working out or intermittent fasting, but with consistency, you will notice a gradual improvement.
You can try all the activities mentioned in this article, or you can pick a few that complement each other to begin your weight-loss journey.
Prevalence of obesity and severe obesity among adults: United States, 2017–2018 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Attempts to lose weight among adults in the United States, 2013–2016 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)