People try to lose weight for several reasons, and many fall into the fad diet trap that promises real results quickly. While there are certainly ways to speed up your weight loss efforts, it’s important to understand that rapid weight loss can backfire.
Why Losing Weight Fast Isn’t the Best Goal
While the allure of the “5-pound-a-week” diet myth is strong, there are many reasons why rapid weight loss can defy your best weight loss efforts.
First, when people lose weight quickly, especially through a bland or fad diet, they usually can’t keep it off because the weight they lose is mostly muscle mass and water compared to people who lose weight slowly.
“Maintaining lean muscle mass is important for weight loss because it plays an important role in metabolism,” says Connie Bennett, certified health coach and author of Sugar Shock and Beyond Sugar Shock. “Muscle helps you burn more calories. But when you lose weight too quickly, you lose muscle and your body slows down its calorie burn. Rapid weight loss can even lead to a permanent slowing of metabolism.”
Rapid weight loss often leads to the dreaded yo-yo weight gain experienced by chronic dieters. In fact, a study of former contestants on NBC’s The Biggest Loser showed that the faster the pounds are shed, the slower the contestant’s metabolism. The study also found that contestants gained significant weight in the six years following the competition.
Another study of 200 participants in The Lancet in Australia found that the diet group lost 10% more fat and 50% less lean muscle than the fast-diet group, although the dieters lost the same amount of weight.
Also, when people lose weight quickly, metabolism slows down and work often increases, making it almost impossible to keep pounds off. Obesity researchers report that our bodies require us to eat 100 more calories per day for every pound we lose.
Popular fad diets also often lead to nutritional deficiencies. “Fast weight loss is often water, especially when you’re cutting back on carbs,” says registered dietitian Ellen Albertson, author of Rock Your Midlife. In addition, if daily calories are low, the body can use muscle mass as fuel to reduce metabolism even more, because muscle mass is metabolically active.”
Bottom line: Losing weight is the way to go. Professionals usually say that safety is about losing half a pound to 2 pounds per week. With that goal in mind, here are some tried and true ways to shed pounds and keep them off.
15 Expert Tips for Safe and Sustainable Weight Loss
1. Implement long-term lifestyle and behavior changes
Ban the word “diet” when you’re trying to lose weight, Albertson. Eating can be unpleasant and make you hungry, so when you’re trying to gain weight, you keep thinking that food is what you want. Instead, she recommends thinking of weight loss as part of being healthy and taking care of your body first.
“Starving is not easy or complicated for many people, and it is difficult to monitor body weight on a scale, but you can see your daily diet plan, how much you burn through exercise, and some other factors that affect your weight, such as. stress and your daily sleep,” Albertson said. SMART recommends setting specific, measurable, attainable, meaningful and time-sensitive goals and rewarding yourself when you hit them.
2. Focus on the first 5% to 10%
Instead of saying, “I need to lose 25 pounds,” and setting yourself up to what seems like an impossible goal, look at the potential health benefits of even a small amount of weight loss.
“Set smaller, more attainable goals,” says Bennett. Losing just 5% to 10% of your total body weight (TBW) can significantly improve your health and reduce your risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. “
3. Reduce intake of ultra-refined carbohydrates and sweets
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (AMA) found that what you eat is the most important factor in losing weight. If you improve the quality of the food you eat, the pounds will come off even more quickly.
“One of the healthiest ways to lose weight is to reduce your intake of sugar and fast-metabolizing carbohydrates.” Bennett says. In particular, you will want to reduce or drastically reduce your intake of foods with a high glycemic load, such as sugary foods, refined carbohydrates, and soft drinks. If you avoid or reduce the amount of fries, chips, crackers, etc., you will speed up your metabolism and weigh loss.”
4. Eat more Vegetables to lose weight
Research shows that a plant-based diet not only helps you lose weight, but it’s also easier than a low-calorie diet. It is also nutrient dense and has many health benefits.
“They are a great help in your weight loss journey because vegetables are high in fiber, calorie-free, and take up more space in your stomach, keeping you full,” says Albertson. In fact, a study in Brazil found a direct correlation between increased fruit and vegetable consumption and weight loss.
Albertsons aims to consume seven to nine servings a day to start and work up to five servings a day. “You can improve your daily diet with a green smoothie in the morning, add green salads and fruit to your lunch, and even replace dessert with fruit,” she suggest. For dinner, stir-fry again, add vegetables to pasta dishes, and stir into soup. “
5. Pump Up Your Protein
Increasing your protein intake can help curb appetite and prevent muscle loss.
“Eating about 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal — two scoops of protein powder or 4 ounces of chicken broth — can increase your appetite and help you manage your weight,” says Dr. Albertson. “The best idea for this is to make sure you’re eating high-quality protein at every meal.”
Albertson also says that women over 50 need 1 to 1.5 grams of protein more per kilogram of body weight per day than men and young women (who need daily protein .8 gm / kg of body weight). “Because women need more protein after the age of 50, especially when they reach menopause, the decline in estrogen in women causes a loss of skeletal muscle mass, strength, and repair capacity,” she said.
6. Drink More Water For Lose Weight
Research shows that drinking plenty of water is associated with weight loss independent of diet and exercise. Drinking enough water can help you feel full and fight sugar cravings. Water is also necessary for lipolysis, the way the body burns fat for energy.
Jordan Morello, a celebrity trainer in Florida who works with fitness platform Sweat Factor, says, “I recommend the eight-for-eight rule—8 ounces of water eight times a day—for minimal water intake.” My clients are often amazed at how this simple thing can curb appetite. and keeps them feeling fuller throughout the day once they incorporate this into their routine.”
Another trick? Try to drink two glasses of water before every meal. Research shows that this simple act can also boost the weight loss.
7. Have a Well-Rounded Breakfast
Listen guys, If you’re working on to lose weight, skipping the breakfast in morning will not help. In fact, studies shows skipping the morning breakfast is associated with obesity and overweight.
In addition, a study published in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society found that people who skipped breakfast had poorer nutrition and intake of nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium and iron.
But not just breakfast. “You want to eat well, balance your blood sugar throughout the day with enough protein, healthy fats, and high-quality carbohydrates like fresh fruit to think more clearly, work more efficiently, and feel better,” she says.
8. Stand Up and Move More Lose Weight
One of the easiest ways to lose weight is to increase your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) – the energy expended in everything you do except eat, sleep, or exercise. Small changes like walking away from the mall entrance, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking instead of pushing your grocery cart can burn hundreds of extra calories.
Or try to stand more than you sit. Studies show that replacing sitting with standing increases daily energy expenditure, which translates directly into calories burned and ultimately pounds.
For example, if you weigh 160 pounds and do more sitting than standing, you can burn about 35 extra calories an hour – an extra 280 calories a day, 1,400 calories a week, and 70,000 calories a year.
“Set a timer on your phone, Fitbit, or computer to remind you to stand up and walk around every hour,” says Albertson. “You’ll burn more calories and lower blood sugar and heart disease.”
9. Hit the Weights to Lose Weight
Muscle burns more calories than fat. So how do you build more muscle? Strength training.
Adding resistance training to your weight loss plan is a smart idea, not only because you will burn calories while working out, but also because of the “afterburn effect.”
EPOC, also known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, refers to how long oxygen levels rise after exercise to aid muscle recovery. This height increases strength training and metabolism.
The more muscle you add to your frame, the higher your resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR determines how many calories your body needs to rest. The higher your RMR, the more you can eat and not gain weight.
“Although cardiovascular exercise is often vital, strength training is important to keep the pounds off and lean, especially after age 50, when the calorie-burning muscle mass declines by 1 to 2 percent per year,” says Albertson. Strength training can slow muscle growth. “
10. Don’t Go Overboard
Cutting too many calories or working out 24/7 can actually backfire when it comes to weight loss. Most people think that shedding pounds requires drastic measures to get results, but giving yourself enough recovery time is more productive.
“A lot of people get frustrated because they’re not losing weight, so they reduce the stress they’re doing (aka the catabolic phase),” says certified personal trainer Rob Darnbrough, CEO and founder of the Smart Fit Method. In California. “For example, they will run extra miles, spend time in the gym and / or eat less. However, all the results we want to achieve above actually occur during anabolic recovery.”
During the anabolic phase, the body builds muscle mass and loses fat mass as it recovers from stress, explains Darnbrough. So, instead of pushing yourself to a dead end that leads to overuse and reduced results, put as much energy into rest and nutrition as you do into exercise. “To create lasting results, try to balance your stress-recovery relationship,” says Darnbrough.
11. Check in With an Accountability Partner to Lose Weight
Losing weight can feel lonely, but you don’t have to do it alone.
It shows that research is a responsible job. In one study, two-thirds of participants who joined a weight loss program continued abstinence six months after the meeting ended, compared to a quarter of those who attended the meeting. Of course, many organizations recommend sponsors or champions the road to excellence.
“One of the best ways to consistently eat better and lose weight consistently is to check in with an accountability partner every day,” says Bennett. “Your accountability partner doesn’t have to be your co-worker or best friend. Just find someone with similar weight loss goals. You don’t have to talk every day. Just text each other to share that you’re eating healthy and staying on track. If you’re obsessed with junk food , you can also rely on your partner. That’s when you want to call them.
12. Watch Less Television
Bed lovers wanting to lose weight should turn off the TV—in fact, the more television people watch, the more weight they gain.
A study that collected data from more than 50,000 middle-aged women over six years found that for every two hours participants spent watching television every day, there was a 23% higher risk of obesity and a 14% higher risk of developing diabetes.
Watching too much TV is linked to extra pounds, mainly because of sedentary activities that lead to mindless eating. So turn it off or change the channel to the training program.
13. Reconnect With Your Satiety Cues
When it comes to mindless eating, you can reset your body to the natural “Hungry” and “Full” state and rewire your brain to eat.
“Eating can disrupt your natural signals of hunger and satiety, and running or being in a crowd — driving, watching TV, playing on your phone,” says Albertson. “Also, like small children, we learn to clean the plate instead of eating until we are full.” Add to that the fact that portion sizes have increased significantly, up to 60% for items such as groceries, and the result is consistent overeating.
“Instead, you needs to try to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re feeling full,” says Albertson. “Instead of tracking your food intake, try tracking how hungry you are before, during and after eating to reconnect these signals.”
14. Get More Sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy weight and overall health. Studies show that poor sleep is linked to weight gain and other health problems. When researchers analyzed 16 years of data on 183 American women aged 68 and over, they found that those who slept less than five hours a night were 15% more likely to be obese than those who slept seven hours a night.
Lack of sleep can also affect the production of the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which regulate appetite, which can lead to daytime hunger. In addition, poor sleep increases cortisol and can lead to loss of body and belly fat.
“Most of us can’t control what time we wake up, but we can control when we sleep, so it’s a good idea to estimate seven to nine hours when you should be awake,” says Darnbrough. “I also encourage the 3-2-1 rule, which means work three hours before bed, stop eating two hours before bed, and stop digital stimulation an hour before bed to promote deep and REM sleep.”
15. Find Non-Edible Substitutes for Self-Soothing
It’s called “comfort food” for a reason. However, emotional eating can derail any weight loss efforts.
“When you’re stressed, which increases cortisol levels, not because of food cravings, eating triggers the release of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine — which increases levels of the love hormone oxytocin — or through touch, playing with pets, or cuddling,” says Albertson.
Animal studies have found that oxytocin reduces caloric intake and has a positive effect on metabolism. A small human study found that giving men oxytocin for eight weeks led to weight loss.
“Although more research and investigation is needed to understand how an increase in oxytocin in your body can affect weight and performance, if you are facing difficult emotions, taking a self-compassion break will help you to give yourself the care you need, so you will be less likely to eat,” says Albertson . Remember the acronym HALT, which stands for worried, lonely, and tired. If you are physiologically hungry, eat. If you are experiencing difficult emotions, ask yourself, “What do I need?” Ask and give yourself what you need. If you’re not hungry, it’s not food.”