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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

25 Simple Weight-Loss Tips You Shouldn’t Overlook

25 Simple Weight-Loss Tips You Shouldn’t Overlook

We all know that weight loss is only sustainable with a lifestyle change. Try to incorporate these tips into your daily habits, and watch the pounds melt away.

1. Weight vs. fat: know the difference!

Remember that while a pound of fat and a pound of muscle weigh the same, muscle takes up a lot less room in your clothes. Don’t be afraid to gain muscle weight. Adding more muscle will also raise your metabolism and keep your body-fat percentage low.

2. Throw out the scales.

Don’t be so attached to a number. Instead, measure your BMI and take measurements with measuring tape. Scales can often be deceiving. For example, if you are dehydrated, you may see the numbers drop, but you haven’t really lost any fat. Instead, base your success on measurements and how well your clothes fit.

3.Check progress weekly rather than daily.

Weekly check-ins provide a more accurate picture of your actual progress. If you check your weight or measurements daily, you may become discouraged at the lack of progress. Set weekly instead of daily weight-loss goals to keep on track.

4. Not all calories are created equal.

You will lose more weight if you eat three 70-calorie eggs instead of a candy bar, even if the calorie count is the same. The eggs will regulate insulin and not cause your blood sugar to spike. The extra protein will also help keep you feel full longer. The candy bar will do the exact opposite and can cause you to pack on the pounds. It’s not just calories in and calories out, it’s the kind of calories you put in and how your body processes them that helps you reach your weight-loss goals.

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5. Understand the science of metabolism.

Realize that our BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) and your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) are different when it comes down to the numbers. Your BMR is truly your metabolic rate if you just slept all day. Your RMR is your metabolic rate if you laid in bed, but ate meals, and had small activities like moving around your home. Calculating your RMR is probably a more realistic base platform when you’re trying to look at calories burned. Once you have this information, you can better calculate your total caloric loss when adding in exercise and meal plan information.

6. Apps can help you keep track of food intake.

Many apps help you manage your meal plans and exercise. These apps also help you network with other people and create accountability. My personal favorite is myfitnesspal, simply due to its ease of use. Also, the fact that you can scan the UPC codes of items that you are eating to automatically pull them up is quite handy. However, there are many apps out there. Just find one that works best for you, and use it as a tool to manage your diet.

7. Buddy up!

Having someone else keep you on track is key. It can be a trainer, family, or friends. Just knowing that someone else is going to ask you about your meal plan or exercise goals often helps you to resist temptations and procrastination. Even better, having a workout partner who will meet and work out with you will further ensure success.

8. Intensity matters more than time.

Slogging away on that treadmill for an hour at an easy walk may not be your best option for losing weight. One study found that obesity odds decreased by 5% for women and 2% for men for every additional minute of high-intensity exertion.

9. Eat whole foods over processed food.

Your body understands the chemistry of real food and utilizes it much better. However, when you add processed foods into the mix, you usually are adding more sugar, sodium, chemicals, and refined carbohydrates. Keep your diet to whole, unprocessed foods, and you should see a huge difference in your waistline.

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10. Reduce your sugar intake.

Eating too much sugar impacts upon your insulin levels. Insulin unlocks your cells to allow sugar to enter. However, if more sugar enters your cells than is needed, the excess energy accumulates as fat.

11. Don’t drink your calories.

Carbonated beverages are often loaded with sugar. Those “empty” calories can add up quickly, without giving you the satisfaction of being full.

12. Don’t neglect weight training.

Adding muscle, through activities such as weight training, increases your metabolism and fights fat. Lifting weights also helps to strengthen your bones, improve balance, and regulate your blood sugar.

13. Remember small habits, and small plates, add up.

Smaller plates often equal smaller portion sizes, thus reducing your daily caloric intake. Try swapping out your regular dinner plates for a smaller design.

14. Get plenty of sleep.

If you don’t feel rested, you may be tempted to turn to sugary snacks to get your through the day. There is a strong connection between sleeping disorders and weight gain. So make sure to turn in at a decent time and make sleep a priority if you are trying to drop pounds.

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15. Reduce stress.

During stressful periods, many people turn to food to help them cope. Try to use other forms of stress reduction, such as exercise or meditation, to help you manage life’s difficulties.

16. Always have healthy snacks available.

If “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” this could not be more true than in the case of diet regulation. Not having healthy snacks around can certainly cause the pounds to pile on. Most refined foods also have that extra perk of being convenient: you just open a box or bag. Plan ahead and have healthy snacks available to reach for instead of junk food when you don’t feel like putting energy into food prep.

17. Reduce how often you eat out, and eat at home more.

Average American households spend 40% of their food budget on eating out. One study found that each meal or snack eaten outside of the home increases the caloric intake by 134 calories. While it is possible to eat out and stay healthy, most people do not choose healthy foods when they eat their meals outside of the home.

18. Allow yourself a cheat day.

If you feel constantly deprived, you may give up on your goals. It’s OK to cheat every now and then if it helps you stick to your healthy lifestyle for the long term. Moderation is key.

19. Reward yourself with activities or clothes instead of food.

While you may have grown up getting ice cream as a reward, you can move away from that now. Instead, get a pedicure, buy yourself a present, or go out with friends. You don’t have to add extra calories to your day to celebrate.

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20. Cut out commercials; they make you want junk food.

Time in front of the TV usually doesn’t include a lot of calorie burning, unless you put it in front of a treadmill or are doing an exercise video. Food commercials are everywhere, and they are designed to make you want to eat. If you limit your TV time, you will find your snacking will often be limited along with it.

21. Don’t have junk food accessible.

If it’s not in your house, it takes a lot more effort to go get it. Clean out your cupboard, fridge, and freezer of all the foods that will sabotage your weight-loss goals.

22. Don’t be afraid of healthy fat.

Contrary to the low-fat movements of the past, healthy fats do not cause weight gain. Don’t be afraid to eat coconuts, avocados, or nuts. Eating whole, natural foods in their raw form will help fill you up without adding on the pounds.

23.  Have heart-to-hearts with your saboteurs.

Do you have that friend who brings you donuts on a bad day? Does you spouse bring a potato chip bag to bed? Get them on board with your weight-loss goals, and tell them to bring you an apple instead.

24. Write down your goals.

Sometimes, just the act of writing down your goals helps you maintain them. Make sure to put your goals in a place where you can see them every day. It will help you stay committed during the weight-loss journey.

25. Stay hydrated.

Often, our body will send signals that we are hungry when we are actually dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water will help you feel less hungry throughout the day. If you do get hit with a snack attack, try drinking a large glass of water first and waiting about 30 minutes. You may find all your body needed was a little hydration.

Featured photo credit: Siora Photography via unsplash.com

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Sarah Hansen

A corporate-sales professional turned entrepreneur

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide)

Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss for Beginners (A How-to Guide)

Intermittent fasting weight loss is a type of diet that’s rapidly growing in popularity and becoming the way to lose weight. Scientists and nutrition experts like it, too. New books and articles on the topic are being published daily. Intermittent fasting is also popular with followers of the Paleo diet since our ancestors appear to have eaten this way for thousands of years.

I’ve been following this type of diet myself for 2 years. Doing so helped me lose and keep off 70 pounds without ever having to count calories, limit carbohydrates, or eat 6 to 7 meals a day.

This article teaches you all about intermittent fasting weight loss and details why it is one of the best weight loss diet hacks around. Once you finish, you will be able to implement it into your diet and experience the benefits it offers almost immediately.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

As you may have figured from its name, intermittent fasting weight loss is a diet plan where you set fasting periods during the day. This is usually between 16-20 consecutive hours, but it can be as little as 12 hours or as much as 24 hours (or even 36 hours).

While fasting you can eat and drink low calorie or calorie-free foods. Think coffee, tea, water, and vegetables.

The more time you spend fasting every day, the better your results. You can do these fasts as often as you like. Again, the more often you do so, the better[1].

Getting Started With Intermittent Fasting

Following this diet plan is super simple. All you have to do is choose a period of time during the day that you will fast. This should be between 16-20 hours.

The longer you fast each day, the better. Don’t worry about calorie restriction or measuring carbohydrates. Just focus on going about your day until it’s time to eat.

It’s best to choose a set period of time to conduct your fast. I like to fast from 8 PM to 4 PM the following afternoon. I’ll then have my first meal of the day and a snack or two a few hours later. Once 8 o’clock rolls around, it’s back to fasting.

My experience with intermittent fasting is that it’s best to start with a 16 hour fast (i.e. 8 PM one evening to 12 PM the next day) for the first 1-2 weeks. Once you are comfortable with this schedule, you can increase the amount of time you spend fasting. Do this by adding 30 minutes to each fast until you get to where you are fasting for 20 hours at a time.

You don’t have to fast every day in the beginning either. You may be more comfortable breaking in slowly with 2 or 3 days per week, or trying alternate day fasting. Add additional days of intermittent fasting as you become more comfortable with this style of eating.

Intermittent Fasting Schedules

There are several different fasting schedules you can choose from when you start an intermittent fasting diet. Here are some of the most popular.

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The 16/8 Method

This method of fasting involves fasting every day for 14-16 hours and eating during an 8-10 hour window. Many people who are getting started with intermittent fasting will find this the easiest schedule to keep. You can eat your last meal around 8 PM and not eat again until noon the next day, for example. This sounds simple, as you’re really only skipping breakfast, but you’re actually fasting for 16 hours in this case![2]

16/8 Method of Intermittent Fasting

    The 5:2 Method

    This fasting method involves eating normally five days each week and restricting calorie intake to 500-600 calories for two (non-consecutive) days. On fasting days, women should eat around 500 calories, and men should eat around 600 calories.

    5:2 Diet for Intermittent Fasting

      Alternate-Day Fasting

      As its name suggests, this type of intermittent fasting involves fasting every other day. As with the 5:2 method, some people find it easier to eat 500-600 calories instead of going on a full fast each fasting day.

      Alternate Day Fasting
        The Warrior Diet

        This type of fasting is considered by many to be the most difficult and follows a 20/4 eating schedule. For most of the day, you limit your food intake to small amounts of fruits and vegetables (low-calorie foods). For four hours each day, you eat large-portioned meals to get in your day’s calories.

        Because of the intense nature of this method, it’s only recommended for those who have been on an intermittent fasting diet for a while and feel comfortable with it.

        The Warrior Diet

          Tips to Make Intermittent Fasting Easier

          1. Drink Plenty of Water

          Squeeze a little lemon or lime juice into your water to help get rid of any cravings you experience. You can also drink coffee, tea, or other calorie-free beverages. After a few weeks, you will find that intermittent fasting keeps you from craving sugar entirely.

          2. Take in Caffeine in the Morning and Early Afternoon

          The caffeine in coffee and tea may actually make intermittent fasting weight loss a little easier since it’s good for curbing your appetite. Be careful not to overindulge, as this may lead to you feeling a little too wired. I also recommend these natural energy boosting tips to keep you going during the day.

          3. Avoid Artificially Flavored Drinks

          One type of calorie-free drink that should be avoided are diet sodas and other beverages that use artificial sweeteners like Splenda and Sweet & Low. Studies show that the can actually stimulate your appetite[3] like a drink that contains sugar and causes you to overeat.

          4. Don’t Gorge at Your First Meal

          The first meal after your fast should be the amount of food you typically eat. Binging will only make you feel awful and diminish the benefits you get from the fast.

          To avoid this, try creating meal plans, at least for the first few weeks. This will help you get into the rhythm of eating regularly portioned meals during your eating window.

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          5. Minimize Processed Carbohydrates and Sugars

          While intermittent fasting does make it possible to eat a little looser than normal, you should still eat as little bread, pasta, rice, etc. as possible.

          Focus instead on eating protein from beef, fish, or pork, carbohydrates from vegetables, fruit, and sweet potatoes, and healthy fats from foods like almonds, avocados, fish, and olive oil.

          You can find some carb sources that will aid your weight loss journey here.

          How Intermittent Fasting Helps You Lose Weight

          Eating this way has many benefits with regard to weight loss. The first is that when you’re fasting, your body will be forced to use its stored body fat for energy. After several hours of not eating, your body will use up its sugar stores, which will cause it to start burning fat for energy, a process known as metabolic switching. 

          Mark Mattson, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins explains this effect in simple terms:

          “Intermittent fasting contrasts with the normal eating pattern for most Americans, who eat throughout their waking hours…If someone is eating three meals a day, plus snacks, and they’re not exercising, then every time they eat, they’re running on those calories and not burning their fat stores.”[4]

          Burning calories this way, instead of from the food you’re eating throughout the day, will help you experience significant weight loss, but specifically lose weight from any excess body fat you’re carrying.

          This means that you won’t just be thinner, but you will also look better and be much healthier than if you lose weight the old-fashioned way[5].

          Intermittent fasting can help optimize the release of the key fat-burning hormones in your body. This is especially true for the two most important hormones: human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin.

          Human growth hormone plays a key role in turning on your body’s fat-burning furnace so that it gets the calories you need to work and play from stored body fat. Studies show that fasting can significantly increase the production of HGH[6].

          The influence intermittent fasting has on insulin is just as impressive and possibly more important. Keeping your insulin levels low and steady is key to losing excess fat and keeping it off.

          Diets that are rich in processed carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, cookies, and soda) have the opposite effect. They cause your insulin levels to rapidly spike and then crash every time you eat one of these foods. The net result of this phenomenon is that your body will store more of what you eat as excess body fat instead of burning it off as energy.

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          Chronically elevating your insulin levels like this can also lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other chronic health problems. Intermittent fasting easily solves this problem.

          One study found that men who participated in intermittent fasting had “dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity”[7].

          This happens because you’re not giving your body food, so it will not produce insulin, allowing insulin levels to balance out until you eat again. This helps your body stay in a calorie and fat-burning state. You’ll also find that it gives you more energy throughout the day.

          Another great weight loss benefit of intermittent fasting is that hunger pangs and cravings that may normally plague you throughout the day will be reduced, if not altogether eliminated. This is probably due to its ability to balance your insulin and blood sugar levels and, in turn, help correct other hormonal imbalances.

          Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss FAQs

          Now that you know what intermittent fasting is and how to get started, it’s time to answer your other questions.

          Below are answers to the questions frequently asked about intermittent fasting. These answers should help you and make getting started a lot easier.

          How Much Weight Will I Lose?

          The amount of weight you lose with fasting is determined by how often and long your fasts are, what you eat afterward, and other factors.

          One study published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that average weight loss on an intermittent fasting diet was around 9lbs after 12 months, and weight loss was most successful in those who strictly adhered to their chosen diet[8].

          Can I Work out While Fasting?

          Yes, you can. In fact, doing the right type of workout while fasting will help you lose weight faster and even build muscle.

          If you are a hardcore athlete who often exercises for an hour or more each day, intermittent fasting may not be the best choice for you as this amount of exercise requires fuel to keep you moving and build muscle. However, light to moderate intensity workouts 2 to 4 times a week should work with intermittent fasting.

          The best workouts to do while fasting for weight loss are strength training workouts. This means anything from standard strength training to kettlebell or body weight workouts. Combine these with lighter forms of exercise like walking, jogging, or yoga.

          You could also try this 30-Day Resistance Band Workout Challenge alongside your intermittent fasting diet. It will help you get into an exercise routine while easing into your new eating routine.

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          Focus on doing 3-4 total body exercises per workout with as little rest as possible between sets. Doing this will help you burn more calories during and after your workout. You’ll also build muscle, which will help you look and feel better as the weight comes off.

          Remember, exercising can increase hunger, so try working out in the hour or two right before you are scheduled to break your fast[9]. Your body will be primed for a meal, and your hunger won’t get the best of you.

          Won’t I Lose Muscle When I Fast?

          First of all, you aren’t fasting long enough for your body to start breaking down muscle for energy. You have, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of calories from your stored body fat to use before that will begin to happen.

          If you’re trying to build muscle while fasting, you’ll need to ensure you’re getting enough calories, especially through protein, at each meal between fasts.

          Is Fasting Safe?

          As long as you are healthy, not pregnant, and aren’t taking medications, fasting is safe. Like all diets, you should discuss it with your doctor before beginning an intermittent fasting diet.

          I also feel that it may not be smart to follow this type of diet when you’re especially stressed. Since this diet can be a little stress-inducing at first, doing so when you aren’t able to be relatively stress-free and rested probably isn’t a good idea.

          Are There Any Supplements I Can Take to Make Fasting Easier?

          As with any other weight loss plan, it’s a good idea to take a few nutritional supplements to make sure your daily requirements are met. This includes a once or twice daily multi-vitamin, fish oil, and vitamin D.I’ve also found taking 10 grams of branched-chain amino acids before and after my workouts really helps, too. They’re great for giving you more energy during your workout and decreasing post-workout muscle soreness.

          For supplements to specifically help with digestion, check out this article.

          The Bottom Line

          Now you know what intermittent fasting is and how it can help you lose weight quickly and safely. If you want to give it a try, find a fasting schedule that fits with your lifestyle, and give it a go.

          More About Intermittent Fasting

          Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

          Reference

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