One thing that many people struggle with is losing weight and keeping it off afterward. The biggest reason for their weight gain in the future is their unhealthy eating habits, lack of sleep, avoiding exercise, unhealthy gut, etc. That is why it is important to focus on building healthy habits for yourself in terms of diet, exercise, and sleep, instead of starving yourself in order to look like a supermodel. To help you lose weight permanently, we will share 12 tips that have proven beneficial in the past, all of which have been backed up by science in the battle against weight gain and obesity.
12 Tips on how to lose weight permanently
Exercise portion control
Science has shown that people will eat everything that they serve themselves during a meal. The problem is that mindless eating leads very easily to overeating and thus leads to overweight and obesity (1).
Practicing portion control is one of the best ways to prevent overeating. There are many ways in which you can practice portion control. One of the most popular techniques involves using smaller plates and bowls. Our personal favorite technique is using the plate as your personal portion guide.
Next time you serve your lunch or dinner, simply make sure that you fill half of your plate with greens and at least a quarter of the plate with a protein of any kind. The remaining quarter is to be filled with carbs, and there is only a place for half a teaspoon of fats. Think about it – it is simple, it is easy, and best of all, it is effective, not only for weight loss but also for maintaining a healthy weight in the future as well (2).
Switch to whole grain foods
A 2015 study investigated which foods are considered to be addictive and why that is. The results showed that it is the processed, high-fat, high-sugar foods that are the most addictive of them all since they are made in a way to make you eat more of them as much as possible (3).
Unlike processed foods, wholegrain foods are the perfect source of multiple nutrients and many weight-loss-friendly nutrients as well, including fiber. Because of their high-fiber levels, whole grain foods can keep you feeling full longer, suppress your appetite, and help you prevent any overeating in the long-run (4). Some great examples are brown rice, quinoa, barley, popcorn, oatmeal, whole grain pasta, and bread, etc.
Always plan your meals ahead
Figuring out what to have for lunch or dinner can be quite stressful and overwhelming. The last thing that we want is to add more stress to our already exhausted bodies after running around the office the whole day. Taking a moment to plan out your meals can help eliminate some of that stress for you. And according to a 2017 study, meal planning has been associated with a healthier diet and a lower obesity rate (5).
Start by writing a weekly menu that will focus on your lunches and dinners, and even snacks if you choose to, which you can then use to write a shopping list for your weekly trip to the supermarket. If this is not possible, then at least try to plan your meals the day before. By doing so, you are less likely to end up making an unhealthy decision that you will regret later.
Increase your fruit and veggies intake
For as long as we can remember, our parents have been talking to us about how important it is to get all of our vitamins from natural sources such as fresh fruit and veggies. And while we do not deny them of being excellent sources of the much-needed vitamins and minerals, that is not the reason why fruits and veggies are marked as the best weight-loss foods.
You see, fruits and veggies are filled with water and fiber, and they are more likely to have a very low energy density, which is what makes them weight-loss-friendly food. Eating large portions of fruits and veggies will allow you to introduce more fiber to your diet, feel full for a long period of time, and lose weight, all of that while you intake very little calories (6). There have been countless studies that have associated the high fruits and veggies intake to a lower BMI (Body Mass Index) and a lower risk of obesity as well (7, 8).
Start your day with a healthy, high-protein breakfast
Apart from fiber, protein is the second most important and weight-loss friendly nutrient out there. Planning your diet around these two nutrients will surely help you achieve your ultimate weight loss goals and hang to their effects for a long time afterward.
Protein keeps up full for a longer time. Our body also needs more energy to metabolize protein, as compared to carbs (9). Introducing more protein to your diet will help you speed up your metabolism, thus burning more calories around the clock. Multiple studies have been done on the topic of the importance of protein for the weight loss process (10, 11).
So why don’t you take advantage of protein early in the morning but preparing yourself a high-protein breakfast? A high-protein breakfast has been shown effective in preventing mindless snacking on “empty calories” throughout the day, weight loss, and loss of belly fat, which are just the effects that you are looking for whenever you are on a weight loss journey.
Some delicious ideas for a high-protein breakfast would be scrambled eggs with veggies, Greek yogurt with berries and nuts, a whey protein shake, or stir-fry tofu for all of you vegans and vegetarians out there. Your breakfast does not have to be anything complicated, and it can take only 10 minutes to get it done, so there are no excuses to continue skipping breakfast and missing out on its beneficial effects.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity weekly
Physical activity can boost our mood, improve our sleep, strengthen our immune system, and help us maintain a healthy weight. A common misconception is that to lose weight, you need to spend hours and hours at the gym – time that you do not have when you are a full-time parent have a career and home that you need to take care of.
So why not focus on simply getting 150-200 minutes of physical activity each week? Is it that hard to find at least half an hour a day to do some cardio or even go for a quick hike? Any form of a moderate-intensity aerobic activity will help you to reach your goal weight and maintain a healthy weight afterward (12).
Keep sipping on water throughout the day
There is only one ultimate weight-loss-friendly drink that we need to be talking about, and that is water. Plain, simple water is what will help you to soothe your thirst and lose weight at the same time.
By drinking 0.5 liters of water, you can boost your metabolism to burn as much as 24-30% calories more in the following hour after that, according to science (13). Plus, drinking two glasses of water before a meal has been scientifically proven to help induce weight loss by reducing the calorie intake during the meal (14).
So come on, take a big sip of water while you are reading this article, and start looking for a quality water bottle that you can invest in. Carrying your water bottle with you everywhere you go is bound to remind you to keep sipping on water all day long.
Schedule your workouts
Much like planning your weekly meals, you need to plan your workouts as well. No matter whether you are going to the gym, going to a class, or simply working out at home – take the time to schedule your daily workouts. If you do not plan your workouts, the chances are that you will end up giving up way to early by finding excuses as to why you cannot work out during the day.
Snack on healthy foods
Snacking is an inevitable part of our diet. It is almost impossible to go through the day without having a snack or two, even if it is only an apple or a handful of mixed nuts. If you are stuck at work and do not have any time to go for lunch, having a quick snack can help satisfy your hunger until you come home and prepare a healthy lunch for yourself.
But what you snack on is very important. Instead of eating a calorie-rich granola bar, candy, or potato chips, try to eat more healthy snacks for a change. You can eat popcorn, fruits, veggies with hummus, Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, or mixed nuts, all of which are great examples of nutritious and weight-loss friendly snacks. But be careful – too much of even the healthiest snacks can be bad for you and ruin your weight loss results. Remember what we have talked about portion control and apply the same techniques to your snacks as well (15).
Include protein in each meal
Eating a high-protein breakfast alone will not do the trick completely. Instead, aim to introduce protein to every meal and possibly even snack during the day. That way, you will constantly be using its benefits for your weight loss process. Eating lots of protein will help you to feel full and not starve yourself in between meals, and as we mentioned earlier, it will lead to your body burning more calories on the go.
You probably have heard all about intermittent fasting – the eating pattern that cycles through periods of eating and periods of fasting. Numerous beneficial effects are expected to occur because of this special eating pattern, including weight loss. The biggest reason for that is the reduced calorie intake because of the smaller eating window (16).
There are many ways in which you can fast intermittently, although the one that we recommend to anyone new to this concept is the 16/8 method. This method allows for an 8-hour eating period and is usually done by skipping either breakfast or dinner. Other methods include eat-stop-eat, the 5:2 diet, the 18/6 method, and others.
Note that we do not recommend intermittent fasting to be practiced long-term because of the lack of scientific research on its long-term effects. But it is recommended to be done from time to time, especially when you are trying to lose weight and maintain your results.
Take a probiotics supplement
A healthy gut can go a long way, providing numerous positive effects for your overall body and mind. And how will you improve your gut’s health? By introducing more of the good, live bacteria to your diet, of course!
Get yourself a probiotic supplement that you can use on a daily level to ensure a healthy balance between the good and bad bacteria in your gut. By doing so, probiotics will help reduce any present inflammation, reduce your appetite, and improve the absorption of the nutrients in your gut, among many other benefits as well (17, 18). Of all probiotics, a certain bacteria known by the name of Lactobacillus gasseri has shown the most promising weight loss effects (19).
If you feel like a probiotics supplement is not the right choice for you, there is no need to feel desperate. There are lots of probiotic-rich foods to choose from. Try eating more yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh, pickles, and miso to get your daily probiotics!
Weight loss is not hard nor impossible when you have the right tools in your hands. And when we say tools, we mean a calorie deficit, protein, fiber, delicious fruits and veggies, and all of the other 12 tips that we mentioned in today’s article. We hope that you too, would be able to make the smart decisions about your life – ones that are meant to transform you into a better version of yourself that sparkles with self-confidence and health from every angle.