You’ll agree that weight loss is a rather complicated issue. Not surprisingly, the global weight loss business is an ever-booming industry valued at a whopping $246.8 billion in 2022. Yet, the number of people looking for ways to lose weight fast keeps growing.
If this is not your first shot at getting a leaner body, you’ve probably wondered why losing weight is so hard.
People struggle with weight loss for reasons ranging from lifestyle to genetics and everything in between. But a factor that cuts across them all is how the body works. The body is programmed to store fat for occasions when food may be scarce. Weight gain also accelerates from middle age, partly because of muscle loss. These are among the top reasons most people find it difficult to lose excess weight.
Let’s simplify this issue with these science-backed tips to lose weight and keep it away for good.
Table of Contents
Cut Back on Added Sugars
The problem with added sugar is that it’s loaded with empty calories. In other words, it’s high in calories but very low in other vital nutrients. Science shows that people who indulge in foods high in added sugars are at a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. By added sugars, we’re talking about white sugar, coconut sugar, maple syrup, high fructose corn syrup, honey, and fruit juice from concentrate.
One way to reduce added sugar in your diet is by weaning yourself off sweetened beverages. These include sports drinks, soda, juices, and even sweetened coffee and tea. Another method is to swap out highly processed foods in favor of whole foods. And always remember to look at the ingredients list and nutrition labels.
Try Intermittent Fasting
The secret to losing weight is very simple: burning more calories than you’re eating. Doing this creates a calorie deficit, which may result in weight loss.
Intermittent fasting is one of the best ways of achieving this. This is a time-restricted eating pattern that involves splitting the day or week into periods of eating and fasting. Intermittent fasting to lose weight is based on the fact that when you eat is equally important as what you eat. A 2020 review of 27 trials showed that intermittent fasting might lead to a weight loss of 0.8% to 13% of an individual’s baseline body weight.
What matters is identifying an intermittent fasting method that aligns with your schedule and lifestyle. It’s also recommended to start slow. Start with a regimen with a longer eating window (12 hours, for instance) before gradually transitioning to methods with shorter eating windows.
Mind Your Hara Hachi Bu Point
Hara hachi bu is a Japanese cultural practice that involves eating until you’re 80% full. This secret of long and healthy living originated in Okinawa and involves mindful eating to cut calorie intake. The people from the Japanese island of Okinawa are believed to be the healthiest on earth. So it makes sense to want to borrow a leaf from their eating habits.
So, how do you determine your hara hachi bu point or when you’re 80% full? The secret is to aim for that point when you feel content, although not fully. There are two ways you can achieve the art of eating until you’re 80% full.
First, use a smaller plate. If you’re used to eating until you’re bloated, 80% of the food in a larger plate will most likely be more than you need. Another crucial piece of advice is to eat slowly. Your mind takes roughly 20 minutes to register the amount of food you’ve taken. If you barrel through the meals and stop at your estimation of 80% full, there are higher chances of eating to 100% full or even overeating.
Make Healthy and Mindful Eating a Lifestyle
You have probably heard that it’s impossible to lose weight after 30. Well, it can be tough, but it’s not impossible. The key is consistency and making mindful eating your lifestyle, not a one-off regimen.
Trying to lose weight is very similar to fighting an addiction. It’s easy to return to your previous eating habits if you relapse. And this often comes with a significant weight regain, particularly if you fail to act immediately.
According to Cleveland Clinic, 80% to 95% of dieters gain their pre-diet weight back after several years. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you must be willing to live a healthy life. One way is having something long-term motivating you to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Weight loss is a short-term goal. If you lose 25 lbs this year and return to your old eating habits, you’ll surely regain that weight. A good idea is to aim at all the benefits of maintaining a healthy weight, including decreased risk of health problems.
If you have tried working out at home or the gym, you may have realized that there are better ways of losing weight faster.
Let’s make a few things straight. First, exercising can help burn calories and manage weight. But its effectiveness is often oversold. Studies have shown that most fitness trackers are often far off when calculating the number of calories burned. For instance, 1500 calories burned on a recumbent bike as per your fitness watch may actually be 500 to 700.
Second, just as it takes time to gain weight, it takes time to lose it. The weight you’re trying to shed off now is the result of years of mindless eating. Don’t expect to lose all of it after two days of hitting the gym.
The secret is exercising consistently. And you don’t have to kill yourself with complex workout activities. Find an activity you love, whether it’s cycling, jogging, or rope jumping, and continue with it for the long term.
A Few Last Words
Although these weight loss strategies are science-backed, they won’t work for everybody. We’re all made differently. If you think you have done all the right things, but the scale is just not budging, you may want to see a doctor. Yours could be a genetic or hormonal issue, such as PCOS or hypothyroidism. These tend to make weight loss more challenging and often call for a different approach.