Battle Obesity with these Weight Loss Tips That Really Work
Obesity is still a big problem in America. In fact, 19 states have adult obesity rates over 35%, up from 16 states last year. It’s easy to tell someone to change their diet or start an exercise regime, but accomplishing that is a lot harder than it looks. Especially when people live incredibly busy lives, and we’re just getting over a pandemic.
The most successful weight loss programs recently involve an element of mental training and attacking the issue from a psychological standpoint. However, sometimes it still comes down to good habits and a strong will.
There are millions of things you can do to lose weight, here is a quick list of some helpful tips to battle obesity and get the scale on your side.
Tip #1) Plan Accordingly
When you have a lot of weight to lose, it means playing the long game. Every Saturday or Sunday, try to plan your meals and snacks for the week. Make sure to stick to your calorie allowance and portion control.
You may want to also take the time to write out a shopping list, so you’re not running to the store multiple times a week. Shop smarter. Stay out of bulk warehouses and stores that sell junk food.
Tip #2) Become an Excellent Accountant of Calories
Calorie counting works for people because it’s a way to stay accountable to your goals. It also helps to stay motivated because if you eat extra during the day, you can always counteract it with exercise in the evening (i.e. burning calories).
Reducing your calorie count by 500 a day equates to losing a pound a week. If you wish to lose two pounds a week, reduce it by 1,000 calories per day. Also, consider adding physical activity once you have reached a minimum of 10% of your weight-loss goal.
Tip #3) Rearrange Your Food Storage
When something is out of sight, it’s usually out of mind. Throw out all of your bad food and then rearrange your cabinets for healthier items.
Assign certain shelves in your fridge to fruits and vegetables. Don’t tuck them away in a drawer. When foods are at eye length, you’re much more likely to grab something healthy to munch on, than if it is hidden away and you have to go searching.
Tip #4) Keep a Diary with Food Selfies
It’s one thing to write in a diary, it’s another thing to go digital with pictures. Before every meal or snack, photograph what you are eating. Then, use this library to scroll through during the day, to keep yourself informed. These pics will remind you of what you’ve already eaten and help you make better choices
Tip #5) Use a Weight Loss App
A recent study shows that there are more than 3.7 billion downloads of health apps in a year.
Many people find great success when they build a weight loss plan on their phones. Think about it. It’s an object that is constantly by your side. If you use an app to track what you eat, the times, and the portions, it helps you to be honest with yourself.
Studies have found that consistent tracking of physical activity with an app helps with weight loss. Health apps track exercise too. They can even sync with devices like FitBit or Apple Watch, which monitors steps and burned calories in real time.
Tip #5) Indulge in the Morning
Do the opposite of skipping breakfast. You need to be eating a big meal first thing; filled with foods that keep you satiated longer. People who eat more in the morning and less at night, tend to lose more weight.
Studies suggest starting your day with a high-protein meal to stave off the mid-day munchies. Protein can regulate appetite hormones, decreasing the hunger hormone ghrelin, and elevating the satiety hormones peptide YY, cholecystokinin, and GLP-1.
Good choices for a high-protein breakfast include:
- Quinoa porridge
- Chia seed pudding
- Nut and seed butter
Warm and solid foods also work to make you feel fuller and less hungry later in the day. A good goal is a breakfast of 350-400 calories, with at least 25 grams of protein.
Tip #6) Eat Mindfully
Mindful eating is a practice in which you pay very close attention to what you are doing while eating. This means watching how and where you eat food, as well as the way you position your body.
Most people live busy lives and eating typically happens in a rush, whether that’s in a car, working at a desk, or even sitting in front of a TV. This results in people being woefully unaware of what’s going into their bodies.
A few techniques you can try to achieve mindful eating are:
- Sit down to eat, preferably at a table. Simply enjoy the experience of eating a meal.
- Avoid all distractions. Turn the TV off, shut your computer down, and put your phone away.
- Eat slowly and take the time to savor your food. This gives your brain enough time to recognize the signals that you are full, which prevents overeating.
- Make carefully considered food choices. Grab foods full of nutrients that will satisfy you for hours.
Tip #7) Get Some Serious Sleep
Countless studies have demonstrated the relationship between weight loss and getting a good night’s sleep. In fact, less than 5-6 hours of sleep per night is associated with an increased incidence of obesity.
This is because insufficient or poor-quality sleep slows down the process in which the body converts calories into energy (known as metabolism). When metabolism is less effective, the body stores unused energy as fat. Poor sleep has also been shown to increase the production of insulin and cortisol.
How long you sleep affects the regulation of appetite-controlling hormones like ghrelin and leptin. Leptin sends signals of fullness to the brain, thus the importance of catching those zzz’s!
Tip #8) Fiber is Your Friend
Dietary fiber is made of plant-based carbohydrates that are not digestible in the small intestine (unlike starch and sugar). Including plenty of fiber in your diet increases the feeling of fullness and can potentially lead to weight loss.
Foods that are rich in fiber include:
- Nuts and seeds
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole-wheat pasta
- Beans and peas
- Whole-grain bread and cereal
- Oats, barley, and rye
Tip #9) Cut Back on Bad Stuff
We all know what that means.
The American diet is loaded with sugar (thank you high-fructose corn syrup), with definitive links to body weight and obesity. Even if you’re drinking sugar (soda and juice), it’s bad for your health.
Refined carbohydrates are no better. These are heavily processed foods that no longer contain fiber or other nutrients. This includes items like white bread, rice, and pasta. Although they are quick to digest, they will rapidly convert to glucose.
Excess glucose will enter the blood and spike insulin. This hormone will promote fat storage in the adipose tissue, which contributes to weight gain. Alcohol also has similar effects and is also digested quickly.
If you’re trying to lose a lot of weight, the first thing to go should be sugars, processed foods, and alcohol.
Tip #10) “IF” You Try it, You Might Like It
IF stands for intermittent fasting and is a pattern of eating that involves short-term, regular fasts. It also means eating meals in a shorter time period during the day. Many studies have shown that short-term intermittent fasting (up to 24 weeks) leads to weight loss in obese individuals.
There are different types of intermittent fasting you can check out, like:
Alternate Day Fasting
Also referred to as ADF, this is when you fast every other day and eat normally on non-fasting days.
This method involves eating just 25-30% of the body’s energy needs on fasting days.
The 5:2 Diet
Fast on 2 out of every 7 days. On fasting days, only consume a maximum of 600 calories.
The 16/8 Method
In this technique, you fast for 16 hours and eat only during an 8-hour window. For most people, this starts at noon and ends at 8 p.m.
Multiple studies from around the world have shown that eating during a restricted period (fasting) results in participants consuming fewer calories and losing more weight.
Tip #11) Balance the Bacteria
An emerging area of research has shown that bacteria in the gut play a significant role in weight loss. The human gut hosts over 37 trillion types of bacteria and a variety of microorganisms. Some of these can increase the amount of energy a person harvests from food, leading to more fat deposits and weight gain.
This is why you want good bacteria in the gut! Some foods that can help you do that include:
These enhance the functions of good bacteria, while inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria. The best types of fermented food include:
Probiotics are also good for your gut.
These types of foods stimulate the growth and activity of good bacteria that aid in weight control. Prebiotic fiber naturally occurs in a variety of foods like:
- Chicory root
Tip #12) Keep Your Stress in Check
One of the biggest secret culprits of weight gain is stress. Stress triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which initially decreases appetite but, over time, works the opposite and leads to weight gain. That means, if you’re a person that’s continuously stressed, it’s going to be harder to lose weight.
Cortisol signals the need to replenish the body’s nutritional stores from the preferred fuel source (carbs). Then, insulin transports the sugar (from the carbs) to the brain and muscles. If it is not used in the fight or flight scenario that caused the release, it is then stored as fat.
One study implemented an 8-week stress management program for children and adolescents who were obese. The results found that the stress management program significantly reduced the BMI in obese youth.
Some common methods to manage stress include:
- Breathing exercises
- Yoga or Tai Chi
- Walking or hiking outside
As mentioned above, don’t forget how important it is to get good sleep. This will also help you reduce stress and relax during your weight loss journey.
Summing it Up
It’s not easy to lose weight today. Especially after the pandemic, when we can have any type of meal delivered to our doorstep.
The key to healthy weight loss is understanding food better and holding yourself accountable. It’s important to journal or monitor your intake in some form during the day. A dedicated exercise routine will also contribute not only to continued weight loss, but a reduction of stress.
Pay attention to your food and focus on your goals. Follow these smart tips and you’ll be on your way to battling obesity with a vengeance!