It’s hard to argue with cold hard facts. Taking a scientific approach to eating healthy and losing weight can vastly improve your results. Here are 10 scientifically backed tips and tricks on how to reduce weight and keep it off.
1. Log what you eat
Whether it’s in a notebook, on your computer or through a food journal app, find a method that works for you and get in the habit of recording what you consume throughout the day. Keeping a weight loss journal will encourage you to be aware of your food choices and hold you accountable for maintaining a healthy diet. And while you’re holding yourself accountable, keep your measuring cups handy. With portion sizes constantly expanding, a regular reset of what a one-cup or a half-cup serving size looks like can help keep your caloric intake (and waist size) in check.
2. Pack the protein
Emerging research shows that consuming adequate amounts of dietary protein induces satiety and reduces the feeling of hunger when compared to carbohydrates or fats. Some individuals find a high-protein, low-carb diet to be an effective way to reduce calorie intake and burn fat, in part, because it is an eating regimen that can boost appetite control.
3. Eat breakfast
Eat a breakfast high in protein and fiber to kick-start your day. Fiber can help act as an appetite suppressant by increasing your feeling of fullness, so you eat less and wait longer between meals. And, research suggests that consuming your protein throughout the day has a more beneficial impact on indicators of muscle protein synthesis than eating the same amount of protein at one time. Just be sure to opt for plain eggs and healthy omelets over greasy breakfast sandwiches if you want to see real results.
4. Don’t grocery shop on empty
Trigger foods are oh-so-tempting, especially when you’re starving. Research suggests that people who shop for food on an empty stomach may end up with less healthy options in their cart. To avoid making unhealthy purchases that don’t match up with your weight management plan, experts recommend eating a healthy snack, such as a piece of fruit, prior to heading to the store. Other tips include chewing gum while shopping and hitting the store with a pre-written list, as not having one increases the likelihood of buying random junk food.
5. Size down your plates
For some people, an effective diet plan has more to do with how much you’re eating, rather than exactly what you’re eating. Trick your brain into feeling full by swapping out your standard dinnerware with the next size down. Research suggests that people who eat from larger plates and bowls may consume more food than those who eat from smaller ones. Smaller plates make your portions look larger, which makes you feel more satiated as you eat.
6. Slow down
Research suggests that people who take more time to eat, eat less. By giving your body more time to savor and digest food, you’re also giving your brain more time to process feelings of fullness. Try putting your utensils down and sipping water in between bites to help moderate your pace and work toward both weight control and appetite control.
7. Forget the term “diet.”
If you’re serious about losing weight long-term, your new healthy weight loss habits can’t be temporary—they need to be part of an entire lifestyle shift. Research suggests that people who “diet” may be more likely to gain weight when they stop dieting, whereas those who are fully committed to adopting lifelong healthy habits may see sustained (and better) results. It’s not about starting and stopping a diet. It’s about incorporating healthy habits into your everyday lifestyle and then solidifying them into lifelong behaviors.
8. Keep the water flowing
Believe it or not, staying hydrated is a beneficial thing for your waistline. H2O may help with appetite control during meals by keeping you feeling full, which makes water a powerful tool all on its own—not to mention that even mild dehydration can impact how you feel, and many sources suggest that thirst is not always a reliable indicator of hydration status.
9. Sleep soundly
If you want to trim down your physique and see the numbers drop steadily on your scale, it is imperative that you consistently get approximately 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep each night. Emerging research suggests that there may be a correlation between inadequate sleep and obesity. Poor rest zaps your energy—meaning you may be less likely to exercise. To make matters worse, when you’re exhausted you also may be more likely to deviate from your diet plan and make less-than-ideal food decisions.
10. Indulge in moderation
Some studies suggest that willpower is a limited resource. In fact, some nutrition experts suggest that occasional controlled indulgences that stray from your typical diet food actually help keep weight management goals on track. Given that self-control may be a limited resource, allowing that bite of dark chocolate may strengthen resolve for some people when they’re faced with a plate of brownies later. And, who doesn’t appreciate a well-earned reward?