By Lauren Bedosky
If you’re looking to lose weight, it can seem like a daunting goal. But here’s some good news: Losing just 5-10% of your total body weight carries major health benefits. A few noteworthy ones include possible improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugar, notes the CDC.
The key to sustainable weight loss and the related benefits is building healthy habits that benefit you in the long run. Here are 7 ideas to get you started.
- Befriend Protein and Fiber
Protein is the most satiating macronutrient. Pairing adequate amounts with fiber — another satiating nutrient — can help keep you feeling fuller longer. This may help you eat fewer calories, resulting in weight loss.
In one 2010 study, overweight and obese women who followed a high-protein (up to 30% of their calories came from protein) and high-fiber (more than 35 grams of fiber per day) diet for 10 weeks lost more body weight and fat than women who stuck with a high-carbohydrate diet.
- Eat Slowly
Eat too fast, and you may not realize you’ve reached your limit until you’ve already passed it. Slowing down when eating gives your gut hormones time to send fullness signals to your brain, which boosts satiety and prevents overeating during and after the meal.
In a 2019 study in Nutrients, two groups ate a 600-calorie meal: one at a “normal” speed, and one at a “slow rate.” Those who took their time eating reported greater fullness 2 hours post-meal and consumed 25% less energy from snacks 3 hours after the meal than those who ate at a normal speed.
- Prioritize Sleep
Here’s another reason to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night: It’s tough to make good nutrition choices when you don’t. Case in point: A February 2020 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association revealed that women ate more when sleep-deprived. What’s more, those extra calories were more likely to come from added sugars.
- Use Exercise Wisely
“Exercise is amazing, but it’s not a solution for weight loss on its own,” says Kimberly Gomer, M.S., R.D., a registered dietitian with Body Beautiful Miami who specializes in weight loss and management.
Here’s why: We all have a base amount of calories our bodies need to keep basic functions humming along. If you use exercise to create a drastic calorie burn, you may initially lose weight, Gomer notes. However, she continues, your base calorie burn will likely decrease after a few weeks, causing weight loss to stall or even reverse. The reason? Your body thinks you’re starving and slows your metabolism as a survival response.
Still, a regular exercise routine that combines aerobic activity with strength training is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. After all, exercise carries many benefits for your mental and physical health. A few include: lowering disease risk, strengthening muscles and bones, boosting brain power, and helping you maintain a healthy weight.
- Drink Water Before Meals
Drinking plain water before a meal is a zero-calorie way to fill your stomach, leading you to eat less. Over time, this reduced intake may help you shed pounds. Unpublished findings have shown that people who drank 2 cups of water before their 3 main meals lost nearly 5 pounds more (15.5 pounds total) after 12 weeks on a low-calorie diet than dieters who did not.
- Plan Your Meals
Creating a weekly menu helps take the guesswork out of healthy eating. This way, you don’t have to add, “What am I going to eat today?” to an already-packed to-do list. And you may be less likely to turn to take-out, drive-throughs, or vending machines for your next meal.
- Make — and Stick to — a Grocery List
Once you’ve planned your weekly menu, make a shopping list. This will help you figure out what you need and avoid buying items you don’t. Jot down your list on paper or use an app on your phone.
Then, stick to it. Hint: It’s easier if you don’t shop for food when you’re hungry. Research in rats suggests that higher levels of ghrelin (the “hunger hormone”) may make you more impulsive, which could lead to impulse buys. But honestly, anyone who’s ever shopped while hungry (and wanted to buy EVERYTHING they see) doesn’t need rats to tell them that.
Clinically Shown to Promote Weight Loss
If you’re looking for extra help with your healthy weight goals, consider LipoValin™.Two double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials were conducted on the formula. Participants were asked not to change their diet or exercise routine. Results from a combined analysis of these studies showed LipoValin reduced body weight and body mass index, reduced inches around the waist, suppressed appetite, and decreased cravings for sweets.*