Simple Strategies for Sustainable Weight Loss
There's no magic formula to losing weight, but it's possible to lose it and keep it off. You don’t need ground-breaking or impossible to implement tricks. Simple training, nutrition, and lifestyle strategies are what will help you hit your goal. With a little a planning and the right mindset, long-term, sustainable weight loss is within your reach. Start by making a game plan using the tips below.
Eating often has been shown to help control appetite, boost mood and concentration, and maintain muscle mass. So how often should you eat to reap the benefits? Aim to eat every three hours for a steady supply of energy throughout the day.
When the body has to digest food, it has to work to break it down into a usable form. The fancy term for this is "the thermic effect." It simply means that every time you eat, your body has to rev up the furnace to break that food down. That doesn't mean you should eat huge meals every three hours. Simply eat a combination of high-fiber carbs, lean protein, and healthy fats in portions that are correct for your size and activity level.
Eat a Lean Protein at Every Meal
Eating protein is like throwing lighter fluid onto a fire. It helps fire up your body's fat-burning furnace and helps you regulate your weight. When choosing your protein, remember that fewer legs equals better protein. In other words, fish have no legs and are a lean and healthy source of protein. Turkey and chicken, also healthy choices, have two legs. With anything that comes from an animal with four legs, be selective by choosing the leanest cuts of meat. Read our primer on protein for more.
Drink Green Tea
Green tea has a natural component that helps to speed up the metabolism. Not the bottled tea, but brew-it-yourself with boiling water and a tea-bag-type tea. Green tea contains substances called catechins that stimulate the body to burn calories (rev up the metabolic furnace). A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that drinking four cups of green tea per day reduces body fat. Added bonus: Catechins have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, anti-cancer properties, and may help control cholesterol levels. Read "4 Health-Boosting Teas to Drink Right Now" to learn about the benefits of drinking tea.
Think About Your Portion Sizes
In this video, nutritionist Amanda Carlson-Phillips clears up confusion surrounding portion sizes using a primitive, yet versatile measuring tool. For more on how to choose the right amount of food to maintain a healthy diet and lose weight, read Portion Sizes 101.
Go to Bed Early
While we know that healthy sleep habits can improve your mood, energy, and productivity, there’s another reason to get more shut-eye: Sleep may play a role in weight management.
Northwestern University researchers found that people who went to bed late consumed more calories after 8 p.m. than people who went to bed earlier. They also ate fewer fruits and vegetables, had higher BMIs, and frequented the drive-thru. Here's how it works: When you’re tired, grehlin (the hormone that regulates hunger) rises while leptin (the hormone that regulates satiety) decreases. So even if you eat, you may still feel hungry and unsatisfied when you’re sleepy. Sleep deprivation also reduces basal metabolic rate, which means that your body actually needs fewer calories. So at this point, you’re storing more calories as fat. Click here for tips to get a good night’s sleep.
Increase Your Cardio Intensity
Metabolic specialist Paul Robbins explains how you can burn more calories and turn up your metabolism with a simple twist to your cardio routine.
Perform Interval Training
For a period after training, the body burns more calories during what's called Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). The magnitude of the EPOC can change with different types of training. Weight training and circuit training will rev up the metabolism, as will interval training. Bottom line: All training will create EPOC, but these exercises will give you the most bang for your buck. Try to do them four days per week and save the long easy sessions for your recovery days. Use this sample interval workout to get started.
The biggest determinant of calorie burning is your metabolism. And the biggest factor in that is your lean muscle mass. Build more lean muscle, increase your metabolism. So weight training has to be a part of any effective fat loss program. Click here to learn more about our Weight Loss training program.
Keep a Food Journal
Keeping a food journal can help you lose more weight. One study found that people who kept food journals lost nearly six pounds more than those who didn’t track what they ate. To start your own food journal, grab a notebook and record what you’re eating and drinking throughout the day, how hungry or thirsty you feel, and where you’re eating your meals. Over time, you’ll notice patterns (portion control, etc.), and you can use this to make healthy changes.
Minimize Distractions When Eating
Eating at your table without a book, TV, or a smartphone within your reach can help you eat fewer calories. Research that analyzed mostly college students of a normal weight found that distraction during a meal can increase food intake by 10 percent. It also increased the amount of food a person ate at other meals during the day by more than 25 percent. Read more about the study here.