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8 Science-Backed Weight Loss Tips

September 24, 2019 4 min read

8 Science-Backed Weight Loss Tips

Losing weight is a challenge for the average person, which makes it even more difficult if you're trying to lose weight while eating tasty food or balancing your career, social life and family. Fortunately, there are a handful of science-backed weight loss tips that have been proven to work.

Cut the soft drink

“Avoid all sugary drinks, as they provide ’empty calories’ that don’t fill you up. The sugar may uniquely act on the liver to produce belly fat.”

—Dr. Dean Schillinger, chief of theUniversity of California, San Francisco Division of General Internal Medicine

You know the drill: Liquid calories don't fill you up like solid foods, so they're more likely to be consumed in excess. And since soda is loaded with sugar, it will make it harder to lose weight or prevent weight gain. You don't need to give up soda entirely — water is always a better choice — but try cutting back and see what happens. You can also swap soft drinks for another beverage.

Consume tasty food

“You need a program that satisfies hunger and has good food so it doesn’t feel like a diet. Hunger erodes willpower, and that’s the reason most diets fail.”

—Susan B. Roberts, professor of nutrition at Tufts University and founder of iDiet

Eat mostly real, whole foods, avoiding processed foods as much as possible. Processed foods are usually high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, which can lead to rapid spikes in blood glucose levels, followed by crashes that make you feel tired, irritable and hungry again soon after eating them — which makes it hard to stick with a plan long term!

Make it simple

“The simple message is to eat a healthful diet and to engage in more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The challenge is how to actually accomplish that in an environment that seems to push us constantly in the wrong direction.”

—Dr. Stephen R. Daniels,pediatrician-in-chief at Children’s Hospital Colorado

A healthy diet includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and lean meats — foods that provide vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your body needs. A healthy diet also includes fewer calories than you use.

Be realistic

“Aim to achieve and improve health and reach a psychologically ‘happy weight,’ not an unrealistic ‘ideal’ weight that may be impossible to reach for most.”

—Dr. Jaideep Behari, associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Set realistic goals and don't try too hard to lose too much weight at once. You must also be realistic about your progress — everyone has good days and bad days when it comes to dieting and exercising. Don't expect yourself to be perfect all the time; just do your best!

Make a commitment

“People need to have the mindset of someone who is ready and willing to make some permanent changes in the way they live. A number of treatments can create short-term weight loss without a great deal of effort from the person, but they don’t allow for long-term weight loss.”

—Dr. Michael Jensen, obesity researcher at the Mayo Clinic

The most important factor in losing weight is making a commitment to yourself. You have to decide that you will lose the weight, no matter what it takes. You must truly believe that you are worth it and that this is something that will improve your life in every way possible. Your mind is probably already programmed with negative beliefs about losing weight, so make sure you write down all of these thoughts on paper and then tear them up! Use positive affirmations such as "I am beautiful" or "I am sexy" whenever negative thoughts pop into your head. This will help reprogram your mind with positive thoughts instead of negative ones!

Bring the family along

“Make small changes that stick, make changes as a family and keep it positive.”

—Dr. Stephen Pont, medical director of the childhood obesity center at Dell Children’s Medical Center

Exercising with others can make it more fun, help you stay motivated and even burn more calories than if you were exercising alone. The American Heart Association suggests finding an activity that everyone enjoys doing together — whether it's walking, cycling or playing tennis. If you're not sure what activity everyone will enjoy, start by asking each person what they'd like to try. Then choose the one that seems most likely to succeed with your family members' busy schedules and interests in mind.

Knowledge is power

“The culprit is not bad choices by individuals. It is the toxic food environment in which calories are ubiquitous. Until the food environment changes, everyone must become aware of the calories they consume, especially those from beverages, sweets, and other calorie-dense foods.”

—Dr. Lawrence J. Appel, director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research atJohns Hopkins University

The problem with weight loss is the lack of knowledge about how to do it. When people are given the information that they need to make good choices for their health and well-being, they can improve their lives dramatically.

Don’t count calories

“The ‘calorie in, calorie out’ approach fails, because it disregards how food affects our hormones and metabolism. Pay attention to food quality.”

—Dr. David S. Ludwigprofessor of nutrition at Harvard Medical School

The practice of counting calories can be helpful for people who are very overweight and need to lose a significant amount of weight. But once you're within a healthy weight range, it's not necessary. Plus, focusing too much on how many calories you're consuming can make it more difficult to eat intuitively and feel satisfied with what your body needs each day.

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