Updated: Sep 28, 2022
1. Reduce sugar intake
We’ve all heard about how sugar makes us fat, right? Well, what if we told you that eating lots of simple carbs (the kind found in sodas, white bread, white pasta, cookies, etc.) actually make you gain weight? We know it sounds crazy, but according to numerous studies, simple carbs cause your blood sugar levels to rise immediately after consumption and then fall rapidly—a pattern that triggers cravings for additional food due to low blood sugar. Your body becomes conditioned to crave foods high in refined grains and sugary treats, even though your insulin levels remain normal.
As a result, you could wind up consuming way more calories than necessary, while at the same time gaining unwanted pounds. To avoid this scenario, try swapping out some of your favorite sweetened beverages for water and/or unsweetened tea. You may find yourself reaching for those sugary snacks less often!
2. Eat breakfast
One of the best ways to lose weight is to eat a good-sized meal within two hours of waking up. Research shows that people who skip breakfast tend to snack later in the day, consuming twice as many calories as those who eat something substantial first thing in the morning. Try including protein and fiber in your meal; these substances keep blood sugar stable and promote satiety (fullness). If you don't have time to eat a full-on breakfast before work, at least grab a yogurt parfait or cereal with milk.
3. Cut back on alcohol
Alcohol contains empty calories, meaning that they provide no nutritional value whatsoever. A standard drink contains anywhere from 10 to 35 grams of carbohydrate, depending on the size of the serving, plus approximately 4 grams of dietary fiber and 1 gram of protein. That's not much compared to the 150 to 300 calories packed into a typical cheeseburger or chocolate chip cookie. Plus, when consumed above certain limits, alcohol can interfere with sleep quality, memory function, and mood regulation.
To achieve optimal results, stick to one alcoholic beverage per day and limit yourself to no more than one drink per week. Also, try to consume alcohol alongside meals instead of as a stand-alone treat. Your liver processes alcohol more efficiently when it comes as part of a balanced diet.
For help staying sober and losing weight, check out our article on the top 5 reasons drinking stops working.
4. Get moving
If you're looking to shed some pounds, making sure you get enough exercise is absolutely essential. Research shows that physical activity helps burn excess calories, boosts metabolism, and promotes weight loss. One study published in Obesity Surgery Journal found that both men and women who were physically active lost significantly more weight than those who weren't. And unlike unhealthy habits like skipping meals or pouring liquid calories down your throat, regular exercise doesn't lead to intense hunger or calorie counting.
Plus, being fit also increases your self-esteem, which can help motivate you to maintain a healthier lifestyle. So if you want to look great naked, get off the couch and start moving today.
5. Say no to processed food
Saying no to junk food isn't just a matter of willpower; it's actually a matter of health. Processed foods are loaded with preservatives, artificial ingredients, trans fats, and chemical additives that aren't good for your body. In fact, research suggests that choosing whole over packaged foods may improve cardiovascular health, boost brain power, reduce risk of cancer, and increase lifespan.
6. Keep watch on your calorie intake.
The number of calories you consume each day is directly proportional to how much weight you gain. If you eat more than you burn, you will gain weight. You should try to keep track of what you eat and drink throughout the day. Try not to skip meals or snack excessively. When you do eat, make sure you choose foods that are high in protein and low in fat.
7. Components of your diet
Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for your body. Your brain uses glucose (a type of carbohydrate) for energy. Carbs are stored in your liver and muscles and provide the energy needed for daily activities. In order to maintain a healthy diet, you need to have a balance of carbs and fats. A balanced diet includes complex carbohydrates, simple carbohydrates, and dietary fiber. Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Simple carbohydrates are found in refined sugar, white flour products, and processed food. Dietary fiber is found in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, and nuts.
Protein is the building block of muscle. Muscle is the largest organ in your body and is responsible for movement, breathing, digestion, and many other bodily processes. Protein helps build and repair cells and organs. Your body requires protein for proper functioning. Protein is found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy, soybeans, and other plant-based foods.
Fat provides insulation and cushioning for your internal organs. It also helps regulate hormones and keeps skin soft and smooth. Eating a well-balanced amount of healthy fats is necessary for good nutrition. Healthy fats include omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats, and saturated fats. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health. Monounsaturated fats help lower cholesterol levels and prevent heart disease. Saturated fats increase satiety and help stabilize blood sugar levels.
Water is the most abundant substance in our bodies. We lose water through urination, sweating, and respiration. Most people don't realize they're losing water until their urine becomes darker and heavier. Drinking enough water is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Drink at least eight glasses of water per day.