Achieve Weight-loss Goal with These Science-Backed Tips
Feb 27, 2023 by Benny Chan
Fitness is not just a digital display on the fat scale.
Weight loss is a difficult and daunting journey that requires self-discipline, hard work, and motivation. But many falls into the fad diet trap promising real results fast. While there are ways to accelerate your weight loss efforts, it’s important to understand that shedding pounds too fast can backfire.
Safe, successful, and sustainable weight loss is more about a journey in which you get to know your body versus a destination based on the scale or an impending deadline. Do you want to lose weight without compromising your metabolism rate and muscle mass? Read on for science-backed advice on the best ways to lose weight—and keep it off.
Get Enough Protein
Eating enough protein while reducing calorie intake is important when trying to lose weight. Protein is the key to keeping you stay full. Studies have shown that eating a high-protein breakfast can help you reduce your calorie intake throughout the day while maintaining adequate energy.
Protein is important to maintain lean muscle mass. If you drastically reduce your caloric intake and lose weight too fast, your body will use muscle mass as fuel and reduce metabolism, as muscle mass is metabolically active. This is why a rapid weight loss approach with a severely restricted diet is unhealthy in the long run.
Therefore, adequate daily protein intake is important for short- and long-term weight loss, maintaining muscle mass, and normal metabolism. Ensure adequate daily protein intake by including protein-rich foods such as chicken, fish, and seafood at each meal. For snacking, choose options like two eggs, 1/4 cup of nuts, 3/4 cup of yogurt, or cheese to meet protein needs and keep hunger at bay.
Related: How Much Protein Is Enough?
Focus on whole foods
Instead of obsessing over calorie counting, focus on consuming whole, nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. These foods are not only low in calories but also packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which will keep you full and satisfied for longer. Plus, they provide the essential nutrients your body needs to function at its best.
Practice Mindful Eating
Pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues when you eat. Avoid distractions such as TV or your phone, and savor your food. This will help you become more aware of your eating habits and prevent mindless snacking. Also, try to eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly, which will aid digestion and help you feel fuller and eat less.
Drinking enough water can help you feel full and prevent overeating. It is essential for overall health, and it aids in digestion, promotes healthy skin, and regulates body temperature. Aim for at least eight glasses of water per day, or more if you are physically active or in a hot climate.
Incorporate HIIT into your workouts
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of exercise involving short bursts of high-intensity activity followed by brief rest periods. This training type has been effective in pumping up your heart rate and weight loss.
Try incorporating HIIT workouts into your routine several times a week, such as sprinting, and body-weight exercises like jumping jacks, or burpees, to aid fat-burning and build lean muscle.
Cardio and Weight Training Work Together
A study revealed that individuals who engage in regular cardio exercise lose more weight and burn more calories than those who rely solely on diet control without cardio exercise.¹
Additional research has also shown that cardio exercise effectively burns fat, particularly the harmful abdominal fat that increases the likelihood of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.² Therefore, adding cardio to your fitness routine can help you get shred and enhance metabolic health.
Alternatively, resistance training can promote muscle growth, burn calories, and prevent a decrease in metabolism while shedding weight, resulting in a more toned and defined physique. Additionally, resistance training can improve insulin sensitivity, which can help regulate blood sugar levels and decrease the risk of weight gain.³
Incorporating cardio and strength training into your workout regimen can make weight loss more manageable than anticipated.
Find Chances to Purposely Move More
Increasing your non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is a simple approach to losing weight. NEAT refers to the energy you expend through activities other than eating, sleeping, or exercising, including activities like walking, standing, fidgeting, doing chores, taking staircases, and other non-exercise activities.
Research has shown that NEAT can account for a substantial portion of an individual's total daily energy expenditure throughout the day without requiring structured exercise.
In fact, studies have found that NEAT can vary by up to 2,000 calories per day between individuals with similar body sizes and compositions, and that increasing NEAT can have a significant impact on losing body fat.
Here is a vivid example of that,
Assume individual 1 has a sedentary job (sits at a desk for 8 hours per day), and Individual 2 has an active job (stands and moves around for 8 hours per day)
Average height and weight for their gender (let's say 5'10" and 180 pounds)
Resting metabolic rate (RMR) of 1,800 calories per day (this is the number of calories their body burns at rest to maintain basic functions)
Now let's compare the number of calories each individual burns in a typical day. We can estimate the calories burned by each individual using the following formula:
For the purpose of this example, we will assume that both individuals consume 2,000 calories per day and do not engage in any structured exercise. We can estimate the TDEE for each individual as follows:
Based on these estimates, individual 2, who has an active job and a higher NEAT, would burn approximately 300 more calories per day, 2,100 calories a week, and about 100,000 calories a year than individual 1.
This difference in NEAT alone could result in a weight loss of approximately 1 pound every 12 days (assuming a daily calorie deficit of 250 calories).
Get Enough Sleep
A study investigated the relationship between self-reported usual sleep duration and subsequent weight gain in 68,183 women who were followed for 16 years. The results showed that women sleeping 5 hours or less gained 1.14 kg more than those sleeping 7 hours.⁴
Poor sleep can disrupt the normal production of hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin stimulates hunger, and leptin contributes to feeling full. When you don't get enough sleep, your body produces less leptin and more ghrelin, which can make you feel hungry and increase your appetite.⁵
In addition, several studies have also indicated that sleep deprivation affects food preferences. Sleep-deprived individuals may be more likely to crave high-calorie, high-carbohydrate foods that provide a quick burst of energy.⁶
Getting enough sleep is the easiest way we can do to maintain a healthy weight and overall fitness. So ensure enough sleep per night and find a way to get better sleep and improve your deep sleep and REM.
Related: How to Get Better Sleep?
Practice Gratitude and Self-Compassion
Weight loss can be a challenging and emotional journey, and it's essential to practice gratitude and self-compassion along the way. Take time to appreciate your body for what it can do; rather than focusing on its appearance, focus on the digital display on the scale.
Celebrate your progress, no matter how small, and be kind to yourself if you slip up or have a bad day. Remember, every step you take toward your weight loss goals is a step in the right direction.
Research has shown that self-compassion is linked to numerous health benefits, including lower levels of anxiety and depression, improved emotional resilience, and greater motivation to make positive changes.
By practicing self-compassion, you can develop a more positive and supportive relationship with yourself, which can significantly impact your overall well-being and success in achieving your weight loss goals.
Remember, weight loss is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It's essential to find what works best for you, both physically and mentally.