For decades, the weight-loss credo has been to exercise more and eat less. But that theory is based simply on calorie consumption being the primary cause of weight gain or weight loss. It’s a bit more complicated than that, just as the inner workings of our individual bodies can be complicated.
In reality, overweight individuals can lose weight without counting calories. Instead, learn how each food group affects your hormones and hunger. Here are a few methods that have been proven to encourage weight loss.
1. Cut carbs, not calories
Reducing your carbohydrate intake actually leads to eating fewer calories, resulting in weight loss that doesn’t require a lot of effort. And, according to a number of diet and weight loss studies, test groups that ate a low carb diet lost double the amount of weight as the groups who ate a low-fat calorie-restricted diet.
Cutting carbs is as easy as just removing certain sources of simple carbs from what you eat every day. These include starches such as potatoes, pasta and bread — as well as sugary things like regular soda and all sweets. Yes, this includes all of those yummy cakes, candies, brownies and cookies.
When it comes to pasta and bread, choose whole-grain instead of white. One good rule of thumb is to avoid anything white or anything that contains white ingredients. Period.
This eliminates all that white flour and white sugar, and you can replace those white potatoes with sweet potatoes, red potatoes or yams for added flavor, fiber and vitamin content. In addition, cutting carbs lowers insulin levels. This can cause a marked reduction in water weight gain and bloating.
2. Try a smaller plate
Getting control over your eating habits is as complicated as the brain itself. Your brain has to make the choice of what you eat and what you don’t.
Did you know that you can actually lose weight by tricking your brain? When you use large bowls and plates, your brain believes you’ve eaten less food. So use small bowls and plates to feel full while eating less, according to psychologists who have studied this approach.
3. Just add water
Eating foods with a high water content can keep you satisfied despite eating less and losing weight. High-water-content foods have a low energy density and include some fruits and vegetables — such as cucumber, celery and tomato.
According to diet and weight loss studies, individuals who are eating these foods tend to be the dieters who are losing more weight than those eating high-density foods — such as cookies, cheeseburgers and pizza. Female soup eaters were successful at losing a full 50 percent more of those unwanted pounds than others eating high-energy-density foods, according to one study.
4. Increase your fiber
Several studies have shown that eating foods full of soluble fibers can produce weight loss results as well. This is especially true of high-fiber vegetables. In addition, digestive tract bacteria are broken down by soluble fiber, and this can be an excellent tool in fighting obesity. Many successful diets combine low-energy-density fiber-rich foods — such as those that are plant-based — with high protein.
5. Start with a protein-rich breakfast
Experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so a healthy diet should start there if you want to lose weight.
According to more than one study, replacing bagels, or other high carb foods, with high-protein eggs can aid in losing weight with very little effort. Studies showed that egg-eating groups consumed less calories for up to 36 hours than those who ate a high-carb breakfast instead of eggs.
Why? Protein helps you lose weight because it boosts your metabolism, burns more fat and curbs your appetite. Protein also helps with gaining more muscle. So, add more protein to your diet with foods that include a healthy helping of eggs, fish and meat.
6. Opt for coconut oil
Coconut oil helps with weight loss by increasing fat-burning while reducing your appetite via medium chain triglycerides. Since these fats are metabolized in a different manner than other types of fat, replacing other oils that you might normally use for cooking with coconut oil can help you lose weight faster.
7. Sleep more, stress less
Many people don’t consider their sleep habits when they embark on a weight loss plan. This is a big mistake. Healthy weight loss is dependent on proper duration and quality of sleep. Lack of proper sleep puts both children and adults at a high risk of obesity. It also can result in increased cravings and hunger.
Stress is a factor because it increases cortisol, resulting in more belly fat. So, striving to reduce stress and increasing quality sleep can go a long way toward reaching your weight loss goals.
If you can’t follow all seven tips, pick a couple of these methods and be consistent with them for at least three months while monitoring your results.