Ditch the Fad Diets – 7 Best Tips to Lose Weight and Improve Health

With about 30% of the world population suffering from obesity[1], it comes as no surprise that a large number of people search for tips to lose weight on the internet and instantly fall for every diet plan that claims to help them quickly shed a few pounds. But, the huge amount of varying, and sometimes contrasting information and advice can be both overwhelming and confusing.

From the traditional low-fat, low-carb, and high-protein diets to the latest high-fat and low-carb keto diet to countless other types of meal plans with each promoting a different eating pattern, a new fad diet seems to pop up every other day. And all of them claim to offer the ultimate solution to not only losing weight, but also keeping it off forever. No wonder people get puzzled and end up following dietary patterns that cause more harm than good.

What Is The Best Way To Lose Weight, Then?

Let’s make one thing clear, once and for all – there is no one-size-fits-all diet plan for guaranteed and permanent weight loss. Since everyone’s body is different – in terms of genetics, metabolism, and several other health factors – it responds differently to various foods. In terms of weight loss, this means that a diet plan that works for someone else may not have the same effects on your body.   

What should you do then?

While there is no one perfect diet plan or a quick fix to losing weight, there are some measures that can help you shed those extra pounds. They won’t give quick results like the fad diets, but their effects will definitely be long-lasting.

8 Best Tips to Lose Weight in a Healthy Manner

While there is a lot of information available on weight loss, here are some of the best tips that will not only help you lose weight (slowly though), but will also improve your overall health:

1. Understand Calories

The theory of weight loss is very simple – eat lesser calories than you burn in a day. This sounds pretty simple, but sadly losing weight isn’t that easy. Here are a few reasons why most people struggle to lose weight even when they are counting and cutting back on calories:

  • Not All Calories Are The Same – Only reducing your calorie intake is not enough for weight loss; choosing your calories wisely is also essential because not all calories are the same. For example, 100 calories of apple are not equal to 100 calories of packaged chips. Despite the fact that the numbers of calories are the same, both the foods have drastically different effects on the body. Your weight loss efforts won’t be successful unless you become careful of where your calories are coming from, in addition to reducing their count.
  • Calorie Cutting Is Not A One-Time Task – Everyone who has been trying to lose weight for any length of time has hit the dreaded weight loss plateau. It happens due to the decline of metabolism with weight loss, which results in the burning of fewer calories. The key to getting past the weight loss plateau is to continue to cut calories as you lose weight.

To sum up, the trick for successful and sustained weight loss is to choose your calories smartly. Opt for foods that are low in calories, but make you feel full, like fruits and vegetables.

2. Overcome Emotional Eating

One of the key factors that contribute to weight gain and obesity is that most of us do not eat only when we are hungry. We often turn to food for comfort and distraction during periods of stress, anxiety, and even boredom.

For many people, emotional eating is the primary reason for the failure of their weight loss efforts. Figure out if you also indulge in emotional eating and if you do, identify your triggers and then look for healthier ways to deal with your issues. For example, if indulging in your favorite food makes you feel relaxed and happy during periods of stress, try practicing meditation or yoga instead. Similarly, if you happen to overeat when you are bored, try adopting some hobbies for your leisure time or take your pet for a walk or talk to a friend whenever boredom strikes you.

The key is to look for ways to deal with your issues or resolve your problems rather than ignoring or closing your eyes to them.

3. Cut Back on Added Sugar

Ask any healthcare expert to name one ingredient that’s causing the most harm to our bodies and you will be told that it’s added sugar.

According to the American Heart Association, the maximum daily added sugar limit for healthy women is 6 teaspoons or 25 grams whereas that for men is 9 teaspoons or 36 grams. And do you know how much sugar does an average American consumes per day?

17 teaspoons[2]!

Added sugar not only increases the calorie count of your foods, but the calories that come from sugar are also empty i.e. they do not contain any nutrients. In addition to this, too much sugar consumption is linked with many health problems – weight gain, obesity, slowed or damaged metabolism, diabetes, and heart disease, to name a few.

In one of his speeches, the Israeli author Yuval Noah Harari recognized sugar as the danger for mankind than gunpowder[3].

In view of all these factors, it makes sense why healthcare experts stress on limiting the intake of added sugar. It’s not only essential for weight loss, but also for avoiding diseases and staying healthy.

4. Do Not Eliminate Fat from Your Diet – Make Wise Choices Instead

The very first thing that most people cut from their diet as soon as they start the weight loss or healthy eating journey is fat.

But, this is not entirely the right approach!

While reducing your fat intake is definitely good for health, you shouldn’t completely cut it out from your diet. Instead, you should aim to consume healthy fats as it has been linked with improving your overall health and wellbeing; including weight loss[4].

Healthy fats also promote satiety and as a result, decrease cravings. If you are trying to lose weight or improving health, in general, it is recommended that you add healthy fats in your diet. Just make sure you are not going overboard with them.

5. Increase Your Fiber Intake

Foods that are rich in fiber not only help you lose weight by keeping you full for longer, but also provide a host of health benefits, such as improving gut health, lowering blood pressure, and improving the body’s response to insulin.

According to Dr. Frank Hu, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, high-fiber diets help in weight control as well as in preventing type 2 diabetes and heart disease[5].

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming 25 grams of dietary fiber per day to people on a 2000 calorie diet[6].

6. Watch Your Drinks

While we all know that sodas should be avoided due to their high sugar content and overall calorie count, many people don’t realize that they are consuming lots of empty calories in the form of other drinks. These even include some apparently healthy ones, like flavored waters, sports drinks, and fruit juices,

Although fresh fruit juices are healthier than the store-bought drinks, they can contribute to weight gain, when consumed in large quantities. Since juicing removes all the fiber, you are just left with a sugary drink, which naturally is not good for health, in the long run.

This is why nutritionists and dietitians recommend eating whole fruits as compared to consuming fruit juices.

7. Do Not Deprive Yourself

Healthcare experts strictly advise against depriving yourself of any food group. It is not only unrealistic, in the long run, but also often ends up in binge eating. For example, if you completely cut out sugar from your diet, you will naturally crave something sweet after some time and it is highly likely that you will give in to your craving at one point and end up binge eating your favorite dessert.

This is exactly the reason that highly restrictive diets are not practical in the long run.

8. Get Active

Incorporating some form of physical activity into your daily routine is another key requirement or tried and tested tip to lose weight and improve your overall health. However, getting physically active doesn’t mean getting involved in high-intensity workouts; you can start with as simple an activity as walking.

The Final Thought

Although many fad diets provide quick results, they are unhealthy and unrealistic. Rather than losing a few pounds initially and then returning to your unhealthy eating habits, it is better to take it slow and make small dietary and lifestyle changes that you can stick to.

Follow the guidelines given above to lose weight more naturally and in a healthy manner.