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Losing weight doesn’t need to be a struggle. Our 25 research-based tips on how to lose weight naturally can help you succeed in any weight loss program. All you need to start your journey is to focus on our top seven weight loss tips. Journey further with us and learn how sustainable weight loss encompasses realistic goals, exercise in nature, mindful eating practices, positive body image, and much more.
1. Start your journey today
Now is always the best time to start working on the figure you really deserve. Gradually implementing healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes is the best way to lose weight safely.
2. Take a walk after eating
A short walk after meals helps to balance insulin and blood sugar levels.
A 2022 study in the Journal of Sports Medicine revealed that just two to five minutes of post-meal-walking can result in reduced blood sugar and insulin levels (2).
A stable blood sugar helps us feel fuller for longer and prevents snack cravings triggered by blood sugar fluctuations (3).
Standing after a meal can likewise result in better insulin levels. However, a light walk is twice as effective as just standing (4).
So, after your next meal, stand up for a while or, even better, go for a stroll.
3. Add veg and protein to all meals
A balanced diet is essential for sustainable weight loss. This means including vegetables and protein in every meal. Additionally, focus on low-processed whole foods and lean proteins.
4. Eat foods in the correct order
Starting with vegetables and protein followed by carbs may help you feel fuller than doing it the other way around (3). Protein actually delays the release of sugar from carbs into the blood.
Consuming water, fat, protein, or fiber as a ‘preload’ before a meal may also delay small intestine glucose absorption, minimize insulin release, and reduce glucose spikes (4).
Diabetics who ate veggies and protein first had almost 29% lower blood sugar levels 30 minutes after eating carbs (5). This sequencing also increases gut incretin (i.e., GLP-1), which may suppress the appetite (3).
5. Drink enough water
The recommended daily water intake is not necessarily 8 to 10 glasses. It depends on individual factors such as sweating, exercise, and the environment (10). Replenishing water when needed and checking your urine color is all you need to do.
Drinking water can help you lose weight, especially if it replaces calorie-laden drinks. Before meals, drinking water likely makes you feel fuller, so you consume fewer calories at meals (6). Drinking water instead of drinks with calories also helps reduce total calorie consumption and promote weight loss. (11).
To increase real water intake, try sipping water between other favorite beverages.
6. Get enough sleep
As the old saying goes, ‘rest is for walking a longer path,’ and getting enough quality sleep is important for any weight loss journey.
A healthy sleep routine regulates hunger hormones, curbs cravings, and boosts energy levels. It can also reduce stress levels that lead to weight gain (15). To successfully lose weight, aim for at least 8 hours of quality sleep every night.
7. Sleep earlier and better
Staying up late can lead to excess calorie consumption and increased cortisol levels. Increased cortisol can contribute to weight gain, especially in the abdominal area. This stress hormone disrupts the sleep-wake cycle making it difficult to fall asleep (16).
To reduce stress and improve sleep, relaxing exercises, sunlight, meditation, and a balanced diet can go a long way.
A diet high in saturated fat and low in dietary fiber can also negatively impact sleep quality. Furthermore, a diet high in sugar and non-fiber carbs can cause more frequent nighttime awakenings (17).
To avoid staying up late, regulate your sleeping patterns, increase physical activity during the day, and eat a healthier and more balanced diet.
8. Increase your motivation
The above-mentioned seven tips are the key to successful weight loss.
However, it’s easy to slip back into old ways. But, staying motivated is crucial for sustainable weight loss. Intrinsic motivation, such as desiring a healthy body, tends to be more effective than your doctors’ advice which is extrinsic.
You can increase motivation by setting behavioral goals and increasing self-reliance. This can help you lose weight more easily (18, 19). To stay on track, you may often need to reaffirm your intentions.
One way is to periodically imagine your future self as you progress along your weight loss journey (20). You can also write down all your reasons for losing weight. Keep them where you can see them, and this will help to increase intrinsic motivation.
9. Don’t skip meals
Meal timing affects your circadian rhythm. These rhythms interact with dietary habits and can impact weight and insulin resistance. Regular meal schedules therefore reduce metabolic and chronic disease risk factors (21, 22, 23).
Therefore, eat at regular times regardless of your eating pattern or whether you’re doing intermittent fasting. Optimal meal timing, however, varies depending on genetics and other factors. You may need to experiment to find the right times (24).
10. Practice mindful eating
To avoid overeating and unhealthy snacking, eat slowly and mindfully. Don’t eat while watching distracting devices like smartphones or TV. A focus on eating helps register feelings of fullness and leads to healthier food choices (25).
Eating while distracted can lead to increased calorie intake and poorer food choices.
Set aside a designated time and space for meals, take small bites, and savor the flavors. This can help you tune into hormonal signals and reduce calorie intake more easily (26).
11. Enjoy your exercise routine
Find an enjoyable physical activity that suits your lifestyle. Then, make it a habit. It doesn’t have to be intense; activities such as walking, stretching, or yoga can help you lose weight and improve your overall health (71, 72).
Replace unhealthy habits with healthier ones. Instead of lazing around, get into some mild exercise and gradually implement long-term behavioral changes, which can improve energy levels and reduce feelings of fatigue (27).
Before starting any exercise routine, consult your healthcare provider to identify any conditions or activities that may increase the risk of injury during exercise.
12. Set realistic goals
Aiming to lose 1‒2 pounds (0.5‒1 kg) per week. This gradual approach helps you lose weight and keep it off by developing healthy habits.
Achieving self-set goals also leads to a sense of accomplishment. This increases the likelihood of maintaining weight loss long-term (28).
Losing just 5‒10% of your body weight can have a significant impact on health. You can reduce the risk of certain cancers and improve joint pain and blood sugar control (29).
Set achievable goals for achieving a healthy weight. Remember, slow and steady weight loss is the golden rule for winning the race.
13. Update goal-setting
Establishing easy-to-adjust process goals can make it easier to lose weight, especially when unexpected things happen.
Focusing on rigid target goals and outcomes can backfire on your motivation (30). Process goals are associated with less anxiety, higher confidence, greater focus, and more satisfactory outcomes than outcome goals (31).
A study of 126 overweight women found that those who focused on the process of losing weight were more likely to lose weight and maintain dietary changes (32).
Process goals clearly define how you can lose weight by following an actionable plan. Positive expectations and confidence in your abilities tend to lead to greater weight loss (33).
To set goals, use the SMART principles: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based (34).
14. Reframe your perspective
Changing your perceptions, thoughts, and feelings can improve your chances of losing weight.
A systematic review article examines the outcomes of reframing the reasons for weight loss. It found that it is less burdensome to view weight loss as a positive change for a healthier lifestyle rather than a negative change involving restrictive diets (35).
Thinking about food as supportive nourishment is a good start. Focus on eating a variety of healthy foods that make you feel positive and energetic. This is better than depriving yourself of things you enjoy.
It is also important to embrace body acceptance at all stages and avoid becoming trapped in ‘diet culture.’ Changing your lifestyle is better than ‘going on a diet.’
15. Enjoy every diet day
The key to successful weight loss is to enjoy what you eat. Studies show that most people regain weight after two years. Furthermore, fad diets with restrictive or unappetizing foods are difficult to maintain (36, 37).
Don’t force yourself to eat healthy foods you’re not used to. Try to gradually incorporate new foods into your existing diet without a designated ‘cheat day’ to improve self-control.
Eating nutritious foods should be your primary goal. Remember, eating well is about becoming a healthier and happier person.
16. Reward yourself now and then
Losing weight can be challenging, so celebrate and reward yourself when you lose weight in order to stay motivated.
Studies show that self-affirmation and celebration can increase self-control which can, in turn, help maintain successful weight loss (38).
Celebrating success means acknowledging behavior changes too, not just the number on the scale. Avoid binge foods and insignificant or expensive rewards.
Examples of appropriate rewards:
- Buy a new workout outfit or fitness equipment.
- Have a picnic in the park or a beach day with friends.
- Get a new haircut or hairstyle you’ve been wanting to try.
- Try a new healthy restaurant or recipe.
17. Reinforce positive body image
Body image impacts how much weight you can potentially lose.
To develop a positive body image, dress confidently and focus on what you can do with your body. Replacing negative self-talk with positive affirmations can help too. (40)
It takes time and effort to develop a positive body image. The payoff is improved mental and physical health plus enhanced motivation. When you feel good about your body, you are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors.
18. Get into nature
Walking in a forested environment has been found to decrease cortisol levels compared to walking in a laboratory setting (41).
Walking outdoors among leafy greenery may also alleviate inflammation, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep quality. Being exposed to phytoncides and natural tree oil secretions may be the reason (47).
Furthermore, increased physical activity can also lower cortisol levels. So, walking in the forest or a leafy tree park is a great way for busy people to relax and potentially lose weight (47).
19. Plan for challenges
Losing weight is not always a smooth process, and setbacks can occur, such as illness, injury, or social engagements. Therefore, you should also plan for possible challenges.
For example, research restaurant menus ahead of time to find healthy options. Alternatively, bring a healthy dish to share at a dinner party, or just eat less.
When feeling stressed, take a bath or chat with friends to relax instead of eating. Stay flexible and adapt strategies as needed. Planning for challenges promotes a sense of control and empowerment, helping you stay committed to your goals.
20. Chew rather than drink
In the U.S., most added sugar intake comes from drinks. Unlike solid foods, sugary beverages don’t promote a feeling of fullness. This can lead to eating too much without even realizing it (50, 51, 52).
Gradually replace sugary drinks with fruit-infused water. Unsweetened tea can also help reduce calorie intake. Mindful and observant drinking may also be able to help.
21. Keep healthy snacks on hand
Keeping healthy snacks on hand can prevent overeating, control calorie intake, and maintain energy levels (55).
Any kind of fresh fruit, unseasoned or unsalted nuts, and low-sodium seaweed are healthy snack options.
The key point is to prepare them ahead of time for easy access (56). When hunger strikes, avoiding unhealthy foods can increase the chances of better weight loss.
Spending time in the sun may actually aid weight loss. Getting 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure per day is recommended (67).
22. Get out in the sun
Different types of light interestingly have different weight loss effects.
Experiments have shown that sunlight with sufficient intensity can activate subcutaneous white adipose tissue (scWAT) by penetrating the skin (57).
Also, daily exposure to blue light in the visible spectrum to scWAT may impact circadian rhythms, which play an important role in human health and weight loss (57).
On the other hand, exposure to artificial light at night is likely to affect physiological functions. It has been shown to disturb human glucose homeostasis associated with fat gain, obesity, and atherosclerosis (58).
23. Find a weight loss partner
It can be difficult to lose weight alone. Having a weight loss partner or peer support group may help you stay motivated and make your goals more achievable (62, 68). Social support from family, friends, or online peer communities are all helpful. Having someone to share your weight loss successes and challenges with can be a great asset in achieving your goals (63).
24. Focus on you and your journey
Social media use has been linked to a negative body image and eating disorders. The key culprits are idealized images and appearance-related remarks (64).
Social media can thus be a major source of negative self-comparison.
One solution is to spend less time online and focus more on your own unique potential. Another way to associate more with positive peer support groups or individuals who appreciate your weight loss efforts.
It is better to focus on yourself and how you are changing rather than on external images that are out of your control.
25. Live a fulfilling life
Mental, emotional, and physical health are all interconnected (65). Successful weight loss may mean living a fulfilling life and being true to yourself.
Engage in joyful and fulfilling activities and develop a positive relationship with your body. Avoid boredom, which can lead to increased snacking and calorie consumption (66).
How to naturally lose weight in 7 days?
Start by focusing on healthy eating. Eat whole foods and nutrient-dense foods while reducing processed and high-calorie foods. Physical activity is equally important for weight loss.
How to lose 20 pounds in a month?
Losing 20 pounds in a month is neither a safe nor sustainable goal. Rapid weight loss can be harmful to your health. Instead, focus on healthy eating habits, regular exercise, and balanced nutrition.
How to lose 10 pounds in 4 weeks?
Focus on eating a well-balanced diet, getting some exercise, staying hydrated, and experimenting with mindful eating. Make sure your lifestyle goals are feasible, be practical, and also willing to make adjustments when needed.
What’s the best way to lose belly fat?
Areas of body fat gain and weight loss are largely determined by genetics. However, the most effective way to lose belly fat is via a combination of targeted exercise and a well-balanced nutritious diet.
How does drinking water help you lose weight?
Drinking water can aid in weight loss by increasing metabolism, reducing appetite, and burning more calories. It also helps to replace high-calorie beverages with water to support better hydration and further weight loss.
Bare essentials to losing weight:
Start today: Start your weight loss journey today! Make small changes and gradually work towards larger goals.
Eat and walk: Take a short walk after meals and eat protein and vegetables first to stabilize blood sugar.
Drink water: Drink enough water a day and aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Eating healthy can be enjoyable.
Enjoy eating: Find healthy foods you like and celebrate your successes along the way.
Stay positive: Visualize your future self and be prepared to meet challenges. Find an exercise routine you enjoy and spend time in nature. Have healthy snacks on hand. Lastly, focus on your personal goals and don’t get distracted.