We all know that eating healthy and exercising regularly is at the core of almost every weight-loss strategy. However, successful weight-loss involves much more than just being disciplined with your meal size and exercise routine. You also need to bring major changes to your lifestyle, take care of your overall health, and become more mindful in order to keep the weight off.
As studies show, only 20% of overweight individuals are successful in long-term weight loss suggesting that current diet and exercising recommendations don’t work. Luckily, these same studies, such as The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), were able to give us more insight on what helps with long-term weight loss other than eating less and exercising more. We’ve included some points provided by the NWCR here as well as additional tips and tricks that could help you lose weight and keep it off.
Intensify your daily activity levels
Exercising is a proven way to burn extra calories and build more muscle. However, most of us have limited time and energy to devote to running, weight-lifting, cycling, and other forms of slimming exercises. To boost your daily physical activity levels for greater calorie burning, you consider becoming more active with simple daily chores like gardening, house cleaning, playing with the kids, walking to the grocery store etc. The WHO even lists these types of activities as leisure activities that are good for your health and your waistline.
Other ways to become more active while on the go include taking the stairs, standing up frequently when working at a desk job, limiting your time spent in front of the TV or on the internet. The goal is to resist the urge to behave lazily and become more physically active in general. As you can see, physical activity involves much more than what you do at the gym.
Drink more water
A study published some time ago in Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) found that water intake increased weight-loss success in older adults. The reason for this was mostly because these adults replaced caloric beverages like fruit juice and soda with plain old water that contains zero calories. Water taken after a meal also makes you feel fuller while it reduces your food intake when taken before a meal.
Then there’s also a phenomenon water-induced thermogenesis that involves calorie-burning caused by the body’s attempt to heat up the water drank to basal temperature. Furthermore, many times our body may confuse hunger with thirst and lead us to eating more than we really need to. All in all, water can be considered one of the most successful weight-loss drinks. So, make sure to drink water only whenever you feel thirsty. Also, there’s no point in following daily fluid intake recommendations because it’s hard to measure how much water your body really needs given that you also get your fluids from food.
Get enough sleep
If you don’t get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep daily, all your attempts at losing weight will be in vain according to an article published in Environmental Health Perspectives. The article explains that poor sleep has frequently been correlated with obesity, hypertension, and other metabolic disorders. The reason for this being that many metabolic processes are thrown off track when we’re deprived of much needed sleep.
Other than that, we also tend to make poor choices when sleep deprived and give in to food cravings and laziness. Research also show that sleep deprived folks tend to crave carbohydrate-rich foods in particular and that they ate more calories than their well-rested counterparts. The Environmental Health Perspectives article notes a study by the Penev’s research group which compared the weight loss of well-rested and sleep-deprived folks. While both groups lost the same amount of weight, in the well-rested group, fat accounted for 57% of the weight loss while it accounted for only 26% of the weight loss in those who did not get enough sleep.
You’d probably be surprised to learn that sitting still in the lotus pose with your eyes shut and breathing deeply could just be what you need to burn more calories. According to a review published in Psychosomatic Medicine, mindfulness meditation was proven to be successful at increasing weight-loss success. The reason for this is that meditation decreases stress levels and stress is known to cause weight gain.
The reason why being chronically stressed out can sabotage your weight loss is because it increases levels of a fattening stress hormone called cortisol. What’s even worse is that elevated cortisol was frequently linked to abdominal obesity in particular. Another reason why meditating can help you lose weight is because it will help increase your awareness about your unhealthy habits, making it easier for you to gain control over yourself.
Consider taking weight-loss supplements
Everyone knows by now that there’s no magic pill or potion that will help you miraculously lose weight without even lifting a finger. But weight-loss pills wouldn’t be prescribed by doctors to obese patients if studies didn’t prove their effectiveness. The best diet pills work by suppressing appetite, increasing thermogenesis, increase feelings of fullness, and by interfering with the absorption of carbohydrates and fat. The do so thanks to their ingredients which mostly consist of herbs and safe stimulants.
Examples include caffeine, green tea extract, fiber, calcium, synephrine, and chili. While weight-loss supplements alone won’t lead to noticeable weight loss, they can nevertheless, be a great addition to your current program. Just make sure to purchase these products from reputable companies in order to avoid counterfeit products that could even damage your health.
Find a hobby
A lot of the times, we tend to eat more than we should out of boredom. Other times, we may munch on snacks and sweets while watching TV and posting on social media. To avoid eating too many calories because of boredom, you could try occupying your mind with activities you really enjoy. Taking up a hobby like hiking, painting, gardening, and fishing just to give a few examples. Some of these hobbies also include plenty of enjoyable physical activity to pursue in leisure time and that will keep you away from screens.
According to the NWCR study, 62% of those who’ve successfully lost weight watched less than 10 hours of television per week. As you can see, limiting your time in front of screens is an important component of successful weight loss because, let’s face it, you don’t burn any calories while couch potatoing.
Keep a close eye on the scale
You probably feel some anxiety by just looking at the scale, not to mention when actually weighing yourself. But keep in mind that the scale is your best friend when you’re aiming to lose weight. According to NWCR findings, 75% of those who lost weight weighed themselves weekly. Furthermore, a study published in a 2014 issue of Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) found that those who weigh themselves lost significantly more weight than those who did not.
Since the numbers on that scale don’t lie, you’ll be less likely to cheat with your weight-loss program than if you didn’t monitor your progress on a regular basis. Once you’ve finally reached your weight-loss goals, we suggest weighing yourself once a month to check if you’re not going off track with your new lifestyle and dietary changes.
Include superfoods for weight loss
Reducing your calories, avoiding refined carbs and fat, and eating more fruits and veggies is the key to weight-loss success. But you may also want to amplify your fat-burning strategy by introducing foods proven to help with weight-loss. Some of these fat-burning foods include grapefruit, bananas, oats, tofu, chilies, avocados, and beans. Most of these foods boost weight loss either by suppressing the appetite because they’re low GI foods. Meaning they don’t cause a spike in your blood sugar levels.
Others seem to exert a modest metabolic boost for greater calorie burning. If you include these foods into your breakfasts you also get the upper hand as the NWCR study also found that 78% of successful dieters ate breakfast daily. So, instead of focusing so much on your macronutrient intake, make sure to focus on eating foods proven to provide plenty of important nutrients without making you pack on extra pounds.
While you already know that you won’t be able to lose weight if you don’t diet and exercise. You may find it helpful to know what else you need to consider to make your weight loss successful in the long haul. The tips given here were found to work wonders when included into a successful weight-loss strategy through numerous studies.
Most are also easy to implement into a long-term lifestyle change. Make sure to consider each one when making your weight-loss program. We’re sure you’ll see those extra pounds slowly shed away and stay away. Keep in mind, however, that it does take time to lose weight so don’t feel discouraged. Be positive if you’re not reaching your goals as fast as you would like to.