Lots of people are starting the new year with their weight loss resolutions and a steely determination. Some will make it, some will give up after a few weeks and others won’t even start. But the biggest shock is the amount of people who gain the weight back within 3 years. According to Gary Foster, Ph.D who is the clinical director of the Weight and Eating disorders program at the University of Pennsylvania, 65% of dieters return to their pre-diet weight within three years.
Which is a shocking amount. But let’s drill down into why people regain the weight after diets and give you a much higher chance to keep it off.
So what is the best way to lose weight and keep it off?
Below you will find a list of the best ways to lose weight and the mechanisms needed to keep it off and thrive.
- Don’t Diet. Sounds counter-intuitive doesn’t it? How do you lose weight without dieting? Simple really, you make a lifestyle change. You see, the problem is that diets end. This is typically when you have met your weight loss goal. And then what happens? You go straight back to your old eating habits. So rather than a diet, make a commitment to make better choices in your meals from now on.
- Everything in moderation. Following on from the previous point, you don’t only have to eat lettuce leaves. The key is to make more good choices than bad ones. This will make your weight loss consistent. Think of it like a marathon, not a race. Within a few months, you will find yourself automatically choosing the healthier choices, not craving sugars, trans fats and processed foods.
- Know what you put in your body. This one was a massive eye opener for me. Let me clarify, I don’t mean become a nutritional expert. All you need to do is one thing. Grab a calorie tracking app. There are lots available but myfitnesspal is the most well-known. It also has the largest database. Whenever you eat something, scan it. You will soon come to realise just how many calories you are consuming. Let me warn you, most people severely under-estimate their calorie consumption. Knowing what you are consuming is the best thing you can do. Better than exercise even. I cannot stress how important it is.
- Stop drinking your calories. Sugary drinks are terrible for your health, weight and your teeth. But what you might not know is that fruit juice is included in this category. We all know to keep away from soda (be that diet or full), but fruit juice is seen as a healthy option. It’s really not. Start drinking lots of water. Water is great for your body. Humans can go weeks without food. Without water you would be dead in days. We need water for our bodies to function correctly. It also reduces appetite by keeping you feeling fuller. And if you want a change, coffee (without sugar of course) and tea is very low in calories. The caffeine can also boost your metabolism, helping with weight loss.
- Don’t avoid fat. There is a demonisation of fats. But not all fat is bad for you. Nuts, butter, avocados, cheese, olive oil, natural peanut butter to name a few are all super good for you. Despite being full of fats. Obviously deep fat fried items are bad for you (full of trans fats) but most natural fats are great for you and will aide in weight loss.
- Don’t lose weight too fast. Remember, you’re making a lifetime commitment here. Your lifestyle change will take time. Aim to lose between 1-2 pounds a week. Obviously if you are very over-weight, at first you will lose more. Just remember that it takes time. Sometimes your loss will stall. This could be due to a number of factors, including water retention. Keep doing what you are doing and it will continue to come off.
- Know how many calories you need. I should have put this one further up! It’s so important. Without knowing your energy requirements, you won’t get anywhere. The calculator above will help you get a good idea of what you need.
- Protein! Protein! Protein! Your diet should be high in protein. Protein is amazing. It is one of the most metabolic macronutrients, which means you burn calories just by consuming it. It also aids in muscle repair and building, which itself aids in fat burning. But the biggest one is this. Protein will keep you fuller for longer.
- Move more. It sounds basic but it works. You could grab a step tracker and commit to a daily goal. You could join a gym and do cardio or weight lifting. Or you could shove on a pair of old shoes and pound the streets. But part of your lifestyle change should be a commitment to not only your looks, but your health too.
- Sleep more. Your sleep schedule is crucial. Make sure you get enough sleep or no matter what you do, your body will not work how it should. Elite athletes know this and classify it as being just as important as what they eat and how they train. It also affects your willpower. Which leads to bad diet decisions and not looking after yourself correctly.
- Make goals. Push yourself to be better each day. Say “this week I won’t do X” and then stick to it. Determination, motivation and willpower are all things you can build up, so begin now. Don’t make excuses, don’t say “I will start Monday”. Go for it, right now.
Honestly, I don’t know if this article constitutes any “hacks”. But whatever you want to call the above, be that advice, tips, tricks or hacks, it will help you on your journey.
You got this, now go out there and make a fitter, healthier, longer living life for yourself.