Have you heard strange advice for losing weight, like drinking celery juice every day or eating weight loss “cookies”? These tips often come from people who aren’t experts in health. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. But there are also good tips from experts that can help you if you want to lose weight.
1. Eat Healthier Foods: A study from February 2023 found that eating less processed foods can reduce the risk of becoming overweight. On the other hand, those who eat a lot of processed foods have a higher risk of gaining weight.
2. Try Plant-Based Diets: Another study from October 2022 showed that people who followed a low-fat plant-based diet for 16 weeks lost more weight compared to others who didn’t.
3. Get Support from Others: It’s easier to lose weight when you have people cheering you on. This support can come from your family, friends, a coach, or even an online community. Joining an online support group can motivate you, and studies from July 2022 and June 2022 back this up.
4. Stay Positive: Your attitude is important. Research from February 2022 found that people who successfully lost weight saw their setbacks as temporary pauses, not failures.
Here are more tips from experts that can help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
1. Eat Slowly
“I have my clients learn how to choose foods they like, really taste each morsel going into their mouths, and chew deliberately. I advise them to chew slowly, swallow only when the food is all chewed up, and repeat. It takes time to know we’re full. Eating slowly not only allows us to enjoy our food more but gives us better cues of satiety.”
2. Enjoy the Food You Eat
“So often we’re told what to eat, and then when we don’t like that specific food, we’re less apt to create long-term healthy habits. Try new fruits and vegetables. Find out how to prepare new dishes that provide variety and flavor. Add herbs and spices to elevate flavor. Or if you prefer, savor the sweetness of fruit and the depth of raw and steamed vegetables. There’s no reason that your relationship with food can’t be pleasurable.”
3. Keep a Daily Gratitude Journal
“Our eating habits are sometimes connected to our emotions, whether we realize it or not. When we’re stressed, we may use food to help cope with the stress. I work with clients on keeping a daily journal of things they’re grateful for — or even just a journal to write in when stressed — so that they’re better prepared to cope with the stress by acknowledging it and utilizing other tools, rather than reaching for food as a coping mechanism.”
4. Batch Cook and Prep
“Every Sunday I batch cook enough chicken for the week. I cut off the fat, bake it with seasoning, measure 3.5 ounces, and put that much into a container with some mustard and frozen veggies, so I can grab one a day to bring to work. I also take the time to divvy up in individual containers ¼ cup of rolled oats, 1 tablespoon each of natural peanut butter and ground flax, and a pinch each of protein powder and cinnamon to sweeten. So when I’m a zombie in the morning, all I need to do is add water and microwave!”
5. Don’t Forget the Weights
“Make sure you are lifting weights two or three times a week. Using moderate to heavy weights — three or four sets of 10 to 15 reps with weights that challenge you — helps increase your muscle mass. When you have more muscle on your body, the food you eat is more likely to be utilized as fuel, rather than be stored as fat.”
6. Sleep Well for a Healthy Body
“Lack of Sleep Affects Your Hunger and Choices”
When you don’t get enough sleep, it can make you want to eat more and not the healthiest foods. Your body has hormones that control hunger and satisfaction. When you’re tired, one hormone called ghrelin (which makes you hungry) goes up, and another hormone called leptin (which makes you feel full) goes down. This can lead to eating more and choosing foods that are high in calories.
“Not Enough Sleep Affects Your Thinking”
When you’re tired, your ability to think and handle your emotions is also affected. This can make it hard to make good choices, including what you eat.
“On the Other Hand, Good Sleep Helps”
When you get enough rest, your body works better. You’ll eat when you’re actually hungry and stop when you’re satisfied. Plus, your hormones will be in better balance because your body had time to rest and recover.
— Angela Lemond, a registered dietitian-nutritionist in Texas
7. Eat Regular Meals
“Don’t Skip Meals, Your Body Needs Fuel”
Our bodies need calories to stay alive. If you skip meals or don’t eat enough, your body will try to make you eat more, especially foods that are high in calories. Instead, honor your hunger and eat regularly. I usually recommend eating something every four hours.
8. Stay Hydrated
“Drink Water Before Meals to Help Control Your Appetite”
Drinking two glasses of water before a meal can help you lose weight and keep it off. It works in two ways: first, sometimes you think you’re hungry when you’re actually thirsty, so drinking water can stop you from eating too much. Second, water makes you feel full, so you eat less during the meal.
— Megan Casper RDN, a nutrition counselor
9. Choose Flavorful, Lower-Calorie Options
“Pick Tasty Foods That Won’t Pile on the Calories”
You can enjoy delicious foods without going on a strict diet. For example, choose sharp cheddar cheese over mild cheddar. You’ll use less, but still get lots of flavor without feeling like you’re dieting.
10. Balance Your Plate
“Half Veggies, Quarter Whole Grains, Quarter Lean Protein”
Make half your plate vegetables, a quarter whole grains, and a quarter lean protein. When you switch the amounts of grains and vegetables on your plate, you’ll see a difference. Just remember, potatoes, corn, and peas are starchy vegetables, so they belong in the grains category.
— Lainey Younkin, RD, a nutrition counselor
11. Start Small with Physical Activity
“Take Small Steps to Get Active”
Don’t feel like you have to change everything at once. Start by finding out how much you walk in a day, and then set a goal to walk a bit more each day until you reach 10,000 steps if possible.
— Esther Avant, an online sports nutritionist
12. Focus on the Big Things
“Pay Attention to Calories, Protein, and Fiber”
When it comes to losing weight, concentrate on the most important things: calories, protein, and fiber. Don’t worry too much about the little details. For exercise, focus on strength training, walking, and taking time to rest.
13. Track Your Progress Beyond the Scale
“Measure Success Beyond Just Your Weight”
Don’t rely solely on the scale to track your progress. Take photos, measurements, and note your achievements that are not related to weight. This will help you see the positive changes you’re making to your health and lifestyle.
14. Boost Your Breakfast with Protein
“Eat Protein in the Morning”
Try to have 15 to 25 grams of protein at breakfast. Protein digests slowly and keeps you full, reducing cravings later in the day. Combine protein with fiber and healthy fats for a satisfying breakfast.
15. Include Protein in Every Meal
“Eat Protein Throughout the Day”
Having protein-rich foods at every meal can help you lose weight. Protein keeps you full and controls your hunger hormones. Include foods like eggs, yogurt, beans, nuts, and lean meats in your meals.
— Christine M. Palumbo, RDN
16. Choose Whole Foods over Processed Ones
“Pick Whole Foods Instead of Processed Ones”
Processed foods taste good because they have lots of added sugars, fats, and salt. Studies show that people eat more calories when they have unlimited processed foods. So, try to eat more natural, unprocessed foods.
17. Watch Out for Sugary Carbs
“Avoid Foods That Make Your Blood Sugar Spike”
Some foods make your blood sugar go up and down quickly, like white potatoes and white bread. This can make you feel hungry and eat more. Try to balance your meals to avoid these spikes in blood sugar.
— Sue-Ellen Anderson Haynes, RDN
18. Enjoy Fruits for Dessert
“Use Fruits as a Healthy Dessert”
Fruits are low in calories and rich in nutrients. Use them as dessert to meet your daily fruit intake. You can grill, bake, or sauté fruits like peaches for a tasty treat.
— Anderson Haynes
19. Eat Heavier Meals Earlier in the Day
“Have Bigger Meals in the Morning”
Eating larger meals in the morning and smaller ones in the evening can help with weight loss. Eating a big dinner too late can make it harder to lose weight. But remember, everyone’s needs are different, so consult a dietitian for personalized advice.
— Anderson Haynes
20. Plan Your Meals
“Plan Your Meals in Advance”
Meal planning is a great way to stay healthy and organized. Take a few minutes over the weekend to plan your meals for the week. It’ll save you time, money, and help you eat balanced meals.
— Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN
21. Make a Grocery List and Stick to It
“Write a Shopping List and Follow It”
After planning your meals, create a shopping list. This will save you time, reduce waste, and prevent impulsive purchases, especially when you’re hungry or tired.
22. Stock Your Kitchen with Healthy Ingredients
“Keep Healthy Staples in Your Kitchen”
Make sure your pantry, fridge, and freezer have healthy ingredients like beans, whole grains, yogurt, fruits, vegetables, and more. These basics can help you prepare healthy and tasty meals.
23. Have the Right Kitchen Tools
“Use the Right Kitchen Equipment”
Having the right tools in your kitchen can make cooking easier and healthier. Items like a cast-iron skillet, an immersion blender, and good knives can help you cook with less oil and create delicious meals.
24. Read Food Labels
“Check Food Labels for Nutritional Information”
Reading food labels can help you make healthier choices. Pay attention to not only the calories but also the nutrients, like sodium, sugar, and saturated fat. Choose foods that provide good nutrition.
— Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN
25. Choose Nutrient-Rich Snacks
“Pick Snacks That Are Good for You”