Have you ever been on a diet? Most people have. This is how it goes: you start the diet and feel great for the first few days and after a week you think you’ve done enough to earn a cheat meal. You then proceed to eat everything you used to eat before, remember how good the food tasted, and give up on the diet.
There are other varieties of this same situation, but it always ends the same–you give up on the diet. This isn’t because you’re not good enough, or because it’s impossible for you to ever reach your goal weight. It is possible; dieting just isn’t the right way to do it.
To help you think outside of the box of dieting, here are 4 science-proven ways to lose weight.
It sounds like a simple answer, but the best way to lose weight is to drink enough water. There are several science-based reasons why this works. To start, when you increase your water intake, this increases the amount of calories you burn. Your resting expenditure (the calories you burn on a normal day) increases by 24-30% just 10 minutes after you drink water and lasts for the next 60 minutes. In fact, a study done with overweight women examined what would happen when these women increase their water intake to over 1 liter per day. They found that over 12 months, they lost an extra 4.4lbs with no additional dieting or exercise. They lost weight by maintaining the same lifestyle, plus a little extra water. To increase weight loss, other studies have shown that you should drink colder water because your body has to use energy to warm it to body temperature.
Another science-proven way to lose weight is by eating less refined carbs. The difference between this and a diet is that you’re not doing anything extreme and you’re not doing something that you know will just be a short-term diet. You need to think of it as a lifestyle choice that you aren’t going to change. A great example of this is the keto diet. Many people who eat keto meals don’t consider themselves to be on a diet. They think of it as the way that they live. The reason why this works so well is because studies show that refined carbs can spike blood sugar rapidly, leading to hunger, cravings, and increased food intake a few hours later. When you take refined carbs out of your diet, you stay full longer and have less cravings. It helps you to support a healthy lifestyle with minimal effort.
A lot of our perception of “fullness” is psychological rather than biological. If there’s still more food on the plate, you’ll keep eating. From children, we have been raised to eat what is in front of us, and if someone asks if we want more, we usually say yes. The problem starts with portion size. The plates that we eat off of have grown in size since the 1900s and continue to increase. As the plate size increases, so do our appetites. Studies have proven over and over again that using smaller plates helps people to eat less calories.
Often, when you ask a doctor how you should lose weight, they say to exercise and to eat more fiber. Since exercise is on every list of how you should lose weight, let’s talk about fiber. When you eat foods that contain a lot of fiber, you feel full for a longer period of time. Fiber also helps you to keep cravings away since it increases satiety. Fibrous foods are also very nutritious, so eating them is important for your health. Some examples of these foods are avocados, raspberries, artichoke, and lentils.
The Bottom Line
It’s easier to become healthy than you might think. The issue is that the media often portrays weight loss in the wrong way. Rather than telling you to drink water and switch out your plate size, they say to go on extreme diets. Focus on your health and creating a life that aligns closely to the one that you’re living now.