If burning fat is your top goal, then you’ll want to pay close attention. There is such thing as weight loss tips, and then there are weight loss tips that maximize your efforts.
Whether you eat pretty healthily and just want to reboot your system or ditch the junk altogether in order to feel better and drop pounds, you may need to take some extra measures to lose a targeted amount of weight. What follows is advice on how to do that in a healthy and sustainable way. Read on for these science-backed tips, and for more on how to eat healthy, don’t miss 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
Fruit is good for you—”better than any refined sugar, because it’s a whole food that comes with antioxidants and fiber, which helps regulate blood sugar,” says Keri Glassman, MS, RDN, CDN, and founder and CEO of the Nutritious Life Studio. But if weight loss is your goal, you should limit your servings to one to two servings a day, like a cup of berries or a small-to-medium-size apple. While the sugar is naturally occurring, some fruit contains 15–30 grams per serving depending on which you choose. (See: 25 Popular Fruits—Ranked by Sugar Content!) So you definitely do not want to be drinking a smoothie loaded with four different fruits for breakfast. Because of its sweetness, fruit is great for fighting sugar cravings, but, cautions Keri, “for people who have a strong sugar addiction, or who want to lose weight, you can actually overindulge in grapes if you’re eating them all day long.” For more, see: 7 Ways Smoothies Will Make You Gain Weight.
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Starches tend to be more caloric than many foods, and are sometimes easy to overeat. Limit even healthy carbs like brown rice, whole- and sprouted-grain breads, potatoes, and sweet potatoes to one to two servings a day.
Fats are filling, but you need to be mindful of how much you’re consuming. Nuts are a great way to feel satisfied, but they are high in fat—and therefore calories—and people have a tendency to eat too much of them.
Keep in mind that a tablespoon of nut butter is around 100 calories—and a lot more if it’s a heaping scoop. A small handful of nuts is about 150 calories—and it’s almost impossible not to grab them by the handful (that’s not just me, right?). So if you want to trim weight, you need to pay closer attention to portions and not fall prey to mindless munching. Experts recommend that you portion out foods that you find harder to control your consumption of, and put the bag or jar back in the pantry before eating. Pre-portioning snacks is one of the 26 Easy Ways to Keep The Weight Off, According to Dietitians.
If you eat a balanced diet, including a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner and maybe a snack or two, you should have all the food you need for the day, so continued snacking will only mean unneeded calories. (Especially if you’re eating The Unhealthiest Snack Foods, According to Science.)
That said, nightly snacking habits are tough to beat—especially sugary ones. If it’s late and you’re really craving something sweet—and none of the 20 Things Dietitians Do to Stop Sugar Cravings In Their Tracks are quelling the urge—don’t cave in! Sometimes a simple piece of fruit will suffice. “If it’s between a candy bar and a piece of fruit, obviously go for the piece of fruit,” says Keri.
There is research to suggest that tracking what you consume helps you eat less. Use a food journal, an app, or even the notes section on your phone. Things to track to reach your weight-loss goal include: (1) What you eat for each meal. (2) Your fruit, grains, and starchy veggies (note them separately). (3) How much water you drink. (4) Cravings. (5) Sleep quality and hours. (6) How you feel. (7) Your weight.
Aim for your weight divided by two in ounces. So if you weigh 200 pounds, that’s 100 ounces of water, or 12.5 8-ounce glasses. Drink more if you’re working out or have headaches or cravings. You’ll feel fuller faster.
Exercise has so many benefits—you’ll be in a better mood, have bonus energy, and of course, kicking up a sweat helps with weight loss. So grab your sneaks and get after it! Try a walk, a jog, a hike, an indoor cycling class, or an online workout.
If you want to monitor your progress on the scale, that’s fine. A weekly check-in is a good way to gauge progress. But you might also want to measure the inches around your waist, thighs, chest, and upper arms. (Make sure to measure the exact same spot every time!) This will give you some perspective, especially if you exercise because your body can transform in a positive way even if the scale doesn’t budge. Remember, muscle weighs more than fat, by volume; its density can make the circumference smaller. Besides, lean tissue burns more calories, even at rest.
There are some foods that are just naturally higher in fat and calories—like The 7 Foods Most Likely to Make You Gain Weight. There are only 7 of them on this list (there are more, but 7 is a manageable number), so sidestep them to achieve your weight loss goals.