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Foods to Eat and Avoid to Keep the Weight Off (According to Science)

Foods to Eat and Avoid to Keep the Weight Off (According to Science)

Imagine this scenario: you’re considering investing money in a hot new stock. You’ve looked into several other stocks and really feel like this is the right one for you. You’ve read about several people striking it rich on this stock, and you’re about to pull the trigger and invest some dough.

At the last minute, you find out some insider information. The stock will likely net you a short-term gain, but there is an 80 percent chance you will lose all the money you gained along with your initial investment within 6 months to a year.

Would you still invest your hard-earned money after learning this?

Absolutely not.

So what does this have to do with weight loss?

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This: only only one out of five people is successful at losing weight and keeping it off. We know this, yet we still continue to pour billions of dollars into dietary supplements and diet programs that clearly don’t work.

Here’s a better solution: take the time to learn about what “healthy” really means (most people skip this step). Then apply that knowledge with a series of tiny steps.

Ready to get started? You’re about to find out what science says about the foods you should and shouldn’t eat to keep the weight off, and you’ll get some tips to get started along a healthier path.

Foods to Eat and Avoid

A clinical study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that the four eating habits associated with the most weight loss after six months were:

  • Eating less desserts
  • Eating out at restaurants less
  • Drinking less sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Avoiding fried foods

After four years, the four eating habits associated with keeping the weight off were:

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  • Eating fewer desserts.
  • Eating more fruits and veggies.
  • Drinking fewer sugary beverages.
  • Eating meat and cheese in moderation.

In another study that included over 120,000 healthy women and men and spanned 20 years, researchers determined the foods and drinks most responsible for weight gain were:

1. Potato chips

2. Potatoes

3. Sugar-sweetened beverages

4. Red meats

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5. Refined grains

6. Sugary foods

These are the foods you should and shouldn’t eat. If only it were that simple though, right? Not to worry, because here are some tips to help you start changing those unhealthy habits into healthy ones.

6 Tips to Keep the Weight Off

1. Eat out less.

If you eat at restaurants often, you’re going to have a much harder time keeping the weight off. Research shows fast food is detrimental to your health. And the average meal at chain restaurants has 1128 calories! That doesn’t include appetizers, drinks, and dessert either!

2. Eat more vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and yogurt.

Research shows these foods are associated with long-term weight loss.

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3. Turn your bad habits into good ones.

Habits make up a large part of our daily actions. When you create a new habit, you will partake in healthier behaviors without even thinking. That’s the secret to losing weight and keeping it off: make healthy eating and exercise automatic, routine behaviors. It’s easier than you think. You just need to start small.

4. Take the time to learn about what “healthy” really means.

Most people skip this step, and it’s why they keep failing every time they try and lose weight. I write a lot about the science of healthy behavior change on this site because understanding this stuff can help you retrain your brain to make healthier decisions. Keep soaking up as much knowledge as you can–just make sure what you’re reading is backed by clinical research studies.

5. Get your head in the right place.

Your mindset will have a huge impact on whether or not you can keep the weight off. The good news is, you can learn how to change your mindset into a healthy one.

6. Go public with your goal.

A research study found that telling your friends and family members about your weight loss goals can substantially increase your odds of achieving them. Lean on your support network and ask for help when you need it.

Use these tips to help you lose weight and, more importantly, keep it off. Long-term weight loss isn’t easy. That’s why you should stick with what works. Use these proven methods and you’ll drastically increase your odds of success.

Featured photo credit: Charlotte Astrid via flickr.com

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Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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