For many, part of their self improvement journey involves weight loss. For some, it’s purely about looks. For others its about a healthier lifestyle, and for others a combination of the two. Either way, to lose weight successfully, it’s a near certainty you’ll have to diet. Unfortunately, dieting is hard. There’s no way around it. But, in order to make it a little bit less hard, we compiled a list of 7 diet tips that are sure to help you. As with all health and fitness advice, consult a Doctor before acting on any of these diet tips.
1. Count Calories
New research regarding diet and nutrition is being published on a daily basis, and while some of that new research suggests that not all calories are equal, it is consensus that all calories are mostly equal. And that is really what matters. The surefire guaranteed way to lose weight is to take in less calories than you burn. Counting the exact amount of calories you burn everyday is difficult, but you should at least try to count the other side of the equation. With the internet and a handful of fitness apps, counting calories has never been easier.
Remember, everything you eat counts, including the one candy you took out of the candy jar at work, the bite of your girlfriends sandwich, or the entire pack of breath mints you just had.
2. Be Consistent
If there was one piece of advice we could give anyone who is looking to improve themselves, learn a skill, or be successful at something, it is: be consistent. Consistency is key for so many things, weight loss being one of them. Weight loss is not an overnight process: it requires patience and consistency to lose fat and keep that fat off. Staying consistent with your diet will ensure you are constantly making forward progress toward your weight loss goals, even if it’s coming slower than you had initially expected.
3. Add Exercise
While diet is mostly about how many calories you take in, it doesn’t mean that’s the only part of the weight loss equation you should modify. Burn extra calories by adding exercise to your weight loss regimen. Not only is it healthy to exercise, it also burns calories while you do it and extra calories while you rest. Furthermore, some exercise builds muscle mass which will increase your basal (resting) metabolic rate (BMR) making it easier to lose more weight on the same amount of food. We wrote about a few exercise ideas here, and here.
4. Maintain High Protein Intake
There are countless successful diet programs out there. Two things most of them have in common are the following:
- Caloric restriction
- Moderate – High protein intake
Restricting calories, whether explicit (calorie or point quotas) or implicit (restrict certain foods and food groups which make a caloric deficit a virtual guarantee) is the hallmark feature of a weight loss program.
The second hallmark feature is maintenance of protein intake. People have lost weight on both low carb and low fat diets (we prefer low carb), but few are successful on diets that also restrict protein intake. Protein is key to build and maintain muscle mass. Maintaining muscle is crucial in keeping your aforementioned basal metabolic rate high.
5. Avoid Sweets and Alcohol
You don’t need to cut sweets and alcohol entirely out of your diet to be successful; however, moderating on the amount of sweets you eat and alcohol you drink will make the pounds come off much faster. Sweets spike your insulin, which can lead to increases in body fat while offering very little in terms of nutrients or even satiation. Alcoholic drink caloric intake is quite high, and the calories have no nutritional value.
6. Avoid Late Night Meals
If you’ve already made it to the late evening, avoid the late night snack and call it a night instead. This is one of the most effective practical dieting tips out there. Not only does some research shows eating a large meal before bed is not healthy, it’s also very counterproductive for weight loss. You already made it close to bed time, even if you’re a little hungry, save the calories and go to straight to bed instead of to the kitchen first.
7. It’s OK to be Hungry
A common myth is that it’s unhealthy to feel hungry while on a diet. While it’s true that too large a caloric deficit while dieting for weight loss can be detrimental; being hungry if you’re running a modest to moderate caloric deficit is part of what it means do diet! If you eat until you aren’t hungry all the time, you’re likely going to be eating the same way you’ve been eating prior to losing weight. It won’t be successful. Being hungry is part of what makes diets difficult to follow: It’s a big mistake to think that you should never be hungry while trying to lose weight.
While losing weight is a very difficult process for many people, the nice thing about dieting is that if you maintain a caloric deficit and are consistent, barring certain medical conditions or drugs, you will lose weight. Hopefully these 7 tips will help you reach the end of your weight loss journey with a little bit less difficulty.