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Scientists Unlocked 8 Efficient Ways To Weight Loss

Scientists Unlocked 8 Efficient Ways To Weight Loss

We’re drowning in opinions about how to slim down. Your cousin thinks he’s a weight loss expert, your co-worker insists she’s a weight loss expert, perhaps even your spouse has started chiming in. With all these opinions swarming about, you’re probably aching for strategies actually backed by science.

If you’re looking for shortcuts that might actually work, here are 8 weight loss strategies backed by science.

1. Check your weight daily

When you’re trying to lose weight, it can be discouraging to step on the scale. You want to see a lower number, and you know it won’t happen overnight. Still, research says weighing yourself regularly could help you slim down. In one study, researchers from the University of Minnesota and Cornell University found that participants “who were weighing themselves daily lost significantly more weight than those who were not.”

2. Write down your weight loss goal

Dr. Gail Matthews at Dominican University found that people who wrote their goals down were 42% more likely to achieve them. This research study wasn’t specific to weight loss, but it certainly applies. If you need help setting a weight loss goal, this article will give you a framework.

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3. Limit liquid calories

Several research studies link liquid calories to weight gain and even cultural obesity. One study suggests this is partially because the calories in soda don’t fill you up like the calories in food, removing the natural instinct to stop.

If you decide to cut down your liquid calories, you can quench you thirst with our next strategy.

4. Drink more water before meals

A study published in the journal Obesity found that participants who drank 16 ounces of water before meals lost more weight than participants who did not. This is presumably because drinking the water helped them feel more full so they ate less during meals.

If you need a break from all this science, you might also enjoy learning that Khloe Kardashian says drinking more water was key to her weight loss.

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5. Start “crowding out” unhealthy foods by beginning your meals with healthy foods

This isn’t an actual research study, but New York Times bestselling author Kathy Freston has a fascinating article about what she calls “crowding out.” Basically, this involves eating healthy foods first in your meals so you’ll be less hungry for the other stuff. The beauty of this strategy is it lets your stomach tell you when to stop eating instead of putting that burden on your brain. Freston recommends eating more foods that naturally contain fiber to crowd out other foods, saying, “the one dietary component most associated with weight loss is fiber consumption.” Click here for a great big list of high fiber foods.

Speaking of fiber…

6. Consider eating more beans

“A 2013 study conducted by researchers at Loma Linda University found that ‘a high-fibre bean-rich diet was as effective as a low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss.’ Another study revealed that ‘bean eaters weighed, on average, 7 pounds less and had slimmer waists than their bean-avoiding counterparts.’” That quote comes from the Lifehack.org article “10 Delicious Bean Recipes to Help You Lose Weight,” which is a great place to start if beans aren’t a regular part of your diet.

7. Sleep 7-9 hours every night

We all know we should get more sleep. We hear it so much the advice almost puts us to sleep. But do you realize just how much research shows getting enough sleep is important for weight loss?

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An article by Amy Paturel at WebMD drives the point home (bullets added for clarity):

  • “A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people were starved of sleep, late-night snacking increased, and they were more likely to choose high-carb snacks.”
  • “A second study found that sleeping too little prompts people to eat bigger portions of all foods, increasing weight gain.”
  • “And in a review of 18 studies, researchers found that a lack of sleep led to increased cravings for energy-dense, high-carbohydrate foods.”

By my count, that’s twenty studies that appear to encourage sleep for weight loss. Maybe we should all take the advice a bit more seriously.

8. Form healthy habits using the “Implementation Intention” strategy

Implementation intention might sound a bit obtuse, but just think of it as a handy way to form new habits. It revolves around setting goals using an “if/then” structure.

For example, if you want to start eating better, instead of just saying “I’m going to eat more beans,” you could say, “If I eat at a restaurant, I’ll order beans as my side dish” (Modified from Chapter 8, pages 137-138 of Then a miracle occurs: Focusing on behavior in social psychological theory and research).

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Can you see how an if/then goal is more powerful than just saying, “I want to start eating better”? This strategy helps you form habits by forcing you to set specific goals that have built-in triggers to remind you to take action. A meta-analysis of ninety-four research studies revealed that implementation intention can “improve the capacity of individuals to initiate and maintain behaviors that fulfill their goals in many domains.” Examples cited include eating healthy foods and exercising.

Which strategy will you try?

Hopefully this post has provided some peace of mind by reminding you there are still science-backed ways to slim down. Pick the strategy that speaks to you and give it a try. And please share this post with friends who might find it helpful.

Featured photo credit: Lose weight now/ Alan Cleaver via flickr.com

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Kyle Young

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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