Weight Loss Dos and Don’ts
Should you weigh yourself often?
Yes, it really helps.
People who succeed at losing weight and keeping it off weigh themselves often, research shows. A step on the scale at least once a week seems to build awareness best.
Don’t stress if the number on the scale goes up and down: Weight can change by several pounds over the course of a few days as water weight shifts.
Which fats should you cut back on to lose weight?
Not eating one type of food doesn’t translate to cutting overall calories. Besides, fat can help you feel full after eating, which may curb your desire for seconds or dessert. Your body needs some dietary fat to function.
Less than 10% of your calories should come from saturated fats, say government dietary guidelines. Replace butter and processed foods with more healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, like olive oil, cold water fish, tofu, avocado, and small amounts of nuts. Although lowering saturated fat isn’t magical for weight loss, it is beneficial for overall health.
To help lose weight faster, drink water when?
Drinking water, especially before mealtime, helps fill you up and makes you eat less. One study found that adults who drank two cups of water before each meal lost more weight than those who didn’t.
Water also helps you stay hydrated. When your kidneys are moving water through your body, your water weight is lower.
If you eat too much lunch, should you skip dinner?
Don’t skip meals if you’re trying to lose weight. You’ll feel hungrier later and be more apt to raid the fridge or nibble on junk — running your day’s calorie total potentially higher than from a meal. Missing a meal can also leave you less energized, making it less likely that you’ll exercise, an important thing if you’re trying to lose weight. Having small, nutritious meals and snacks between meals has been shown to help people lose more.
How long after eating should it take before you feel full?
Eat slowly if you want to lose weight because there’s a lag between when your mouth says “mmm!” and your brain registers fullness in your stomach. If you put your fork down between bites and pace yourself, you’ll give your brain more time to tell your stomach that you’re full.
In one study, women who were urged to eat slowly ate fewer calories and drank more water than when they were urged to eat as quickly as they could.
To lose weight, plan every meal.
Spontaneity is great for some activities, but eating isn’t one of them. Weight loss experts recommend planning your meals and snacks to make sure they fit into a well-balanced diet plan.
Without a good plan, you’re more vulnerable to the siren call of the nearest vending machine or bakery.
Why should you keep a food diary?
Keeping a diary of what you eat can double your weight loss, one of the largest and longest-running studies of weight loss maintenance found. Food journaling makes you aware of how much you’re really gobbling and lets you see — and fix — bad patterns.
And a written record makes you more accountable, so you think twice before you scarf down food.
Which carbs should you avoid to lose weight?
Carbs in processed foods
Despite the popularity of low carbohydrate diets, your body needs this important fuel to work.
It’s healthiest to ditch carbs from sugar sweetened beverages like sodas, junk food and animal fats, while still eating some carbs from whole grains, fruits, and veggies.
You can have all of this you want and still lose weight:
Eat your veggies freely without fear of packing on pounds — they’re comparatively low in calories, packed with fiber and nutrition, and help you feel full so you eat less overall.
Easy on the fixings, though: Frying, sautéing, or adding most sauces, dips, and toppings amps up calories.
What should you do about fatty foods you love?
Eat them in moderation
It might seem logical to ban all chocolate, ice cream, pizza, or whatever your fatty food jones may be. Problem: You risk craving, caving, and gorging.
A study shows that limiting food choices doesn’t help people lose weight. What does: A diet that includes your own food choices. Just eat high-calorie faves less often, in small amounts, or in lower-calorie versions.
To lose weight faster …
Burning the midnight oil may seem like a clever way to burn extra calories, but lack of sleep spurs hormonal changes that make people hungrier. Adults need seven to nine hours per night.
Sleep helps regulate metabolism. Bonus: Researchers say that by sleeping an extra hour, you cut calories by 6% — because you’re asleep, not eating.