Weight loss can often feel like more of an uphill battle than a simple equation. A certain diet strategy may help one person quickly shed pounds, while someone else could try the same thing and have little success. However, there are a few science-backed ways to help you lose weight (without making yourself miserable in the process!)
It’s important to keep in mind that our diets are the biggest catalysts or inhibitors to our weight loss goals. Eating a 1,200 calorie meal is a lot easier than running for two hours! Making small tweaks in your diet can go a long way, and sneaking in a little exercise helps keep that calorie burn going all day.
Here are 10 easy habits to adopt for better weight loss results:
Load Up on Veggies
Vegetables are naturally low in calories and high in fiber, making them the perfect weight loss food. They are also full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to help your body function at its best and fight inflammation.
Try to incorporate at least one serving of vegetables into two meals every day, and if you’re really up for the challenge, strive to fill half of your plate with veggies at every meal!
Replace White Carbs With Whole Grains
The only service white pastas, breads, and rice offer us is good taste—and we’d argue that whole grains are even more delicious! Whole grains are much more healthful than white, refined grains since they’re packed with protein, fiber, B vitamins, and fiber for a sneaky superfood.
The protein-fiber combo found in whole grains helps keep you fuller longer and slows down digestion so you don’t crash an hour later. Yes, we are telling you to eat more carbs to slim down!
Take the Stairs
We were thrilled to discover the term non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) and how powerful it can be for burning calories. NEAT exercise is defined as pretty much energy expended on anything besides sleeping, eating, and sports-like exercise—think gardening, taking the stairs, and taking the dog for a walk.
Prioritizing NEAT activity can help you burn an extra 200 calories per day without even stepping foot into the gym.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Studies continue to find links between sleep and weight loss—one even shows that sleep may be more beneficial for weight loss than your diet or exercise regimen! Not getting enough sleep can lead to unhealthy eating habits, uncontrollable cravings, and poor glucose metabolism. Plus, getting the sleep you need will keep you more energized for NEAT activity!
Cut Back on the Vino
We hate to burst your bubble, but cutting back on alcohol can make a major difference in your weight loss journey. Alcohol is high in calories but adds no nutritional value, making it easy to consume more calories than your body needs. Plus, we all know lowered inhibitions make it that much easier to give into junk food cravings.
Watch Out for High-Calorie Health Foods
While foods like avocados, granola, and dark chocolate certainly have their place in a healthy diet, it can be easy to accidentally eat too much. For example, a serving size of avocado is only one-third of the fruit, and a one-ounce serving of dark chocolate is about one square! The bottom line: Check out the serving size, and try to stick to it.
Eat at Home More
The average restaurant meal contains more than a day’s worth of calories and typically has more saturated fat and sodium than a home-cooked version. It’s much easier to practice portion control and be in better control of your health by cooking your meals yourself. You then have the power to experiment with new foods and flavors, monitor your sodium and fat intake, and avoid the massive portions of rich restaurant food!
Don’t Obsess Over One Macronutrient
Those low-carb, low-fat, or ultra-high protein diets aren’t sustainable (or healthy) for the long run. Our body needs all three macronutrients to function properly, and it’s best to follow a more moderate, balanced approach to healthy eating.
Unless your doctor has told you differently, try to incorporate lean or plant protein, heart-healthy fats, fresh produce, and whole grains at every meal. Trust us, your body will thank you for it! It’s all about practicing healthy lifestyle habits, and not just until you hit the desired number on the scale.
Looking for more weight loss tips?
Do Some Soul-Searching
New research is causing experts to believe our mindset has everything to do with weight loss. If you’re losing the weight simply to be thinner, it might be more difficult than if you have a more worthwhile purpose for your health and longevity (like if you want to be healthy and strong to play with your grandkids!)
It’s totally OK to want to lose weight in part for aesthetic reasons—it’s your body after all—but it might be worth spending some time to take inventory of all the other amazing health benefits eating healthy and exercising have to offer, besides a smaller pant size.
Stop Villainizing Fruit
Fruit is affectionately known as “nature’s candy,” but it has so much more to offer than natural, wholesome sweetness. Fruit is packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to help your body get the well-rounded nutrition it needs.
Ditching fruit based on its sugar content isn’t worthwhile, because your body digests it differently than the stuff you buy in the bag. Even if they technically contain the same amount of sugar, digestion is going to be a whole lot different for a donut made with lots of saturated fat and bleached white flour than with a banana consisting of slow-digesting starches, fiber, and lots of vitamins! We think it actually makes for a great weight loss food.
Unplug at Meal Time
You may have heard of the term “mindful eating,” which employs eliminating common distractions to sit down and simply enjoy your food for the taste and nourishment it provides. Mindful eating has been used as an effective tool for everything from weight loss to eating disorder recovery, as it helps one become more satisfied after eating and develop a healthier relationship with food.
Moving from the couch to the dinner table at night could make a serious impact on how many calories you’re eating and how satisfied you are after a healthy meal. It’s worth unplugging and turning your focus to nourishing your body or enjoying a meal with loved ones.