Want to lose weight and keep it off?
You’re in the right place.
I’ve put together the most comprehensive list of ways to lose weight… without any “miracle” potions, crazy diets or other scams you usually come across.
These are all credible and scientifically accurate recommendations that you can implement right now.
But before you go any further, keep this in mind…
All diets work.
Although they can take opposing approaches, all diets are designed to make you eat fewer calories by restricting certain food groups.
Whether the restriction is on processed foods, carbs, fats, animal products or even skipping meals, they all work by limiting the amount of calories you consume (1).
With that in mind, the following weight loss tips and strategies are all proven ways to eat fewer calories or burn additional calories with minimal effort on your part. It must be the most complete and accurate list available online…
If you already think you’ve tried it all, go through this list. I guarantee you’ll discover golden ideas you wish you’d thought of years ago.
Warning: this list is huge.
1. Stop Eating So Much Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has become very popular in the natural health community.
However, those who want to lose weight should not be adding more into their diet.
Coconut oil is 100% fat and 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories. By comparison, 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein contains only 4 calories per gram.
This means coconut oil is bursting with calories.
For example, just one tablespoon (13.6 grams) of coconut oil is 117 calories. That’s equal to the calories in three oreo cookies, or half a Mars bar (2).
The benefits of coconut oil have also been grossly exaggerated, so it’s best just to save it for delicious Asian dishes.
2. Don’t Let Your Kids Boss You Around
Many use their kids as an excuse for having junk food in the house.
Yet in reality, you are in control of purchasing decisions, not them.
And if you believe the foods your children want are not healthy options for you, why would they be for your children?
Fat loss is a lot easier if everyone is eating healthy at home, not just you.
Here are some options if you have fussy kids.
3. Skip Breakfast If You Don’t Love It
Today’s official nutrition guidelines recommend we eat breakfast.
But new research shows it’s not “the most important meal of the day.” At least, not for grown adults.
In this large study comparing recommendations to eat or skip breakfast in 309 overweight or obese subjects, there was no difference in weight between groups after 4 months (3).
It simply didn’t matter whether people ate or skipped breakfast.
It was always thought that skipping breakfast caused people to be hungrier and eat more calories later in the day. However, turns out this isn’t enough to overcompensate for the breakfast that was skipped.
This seems logical, because you are effectively removing an entire meal from your diet each day.
Basically if you’re hungry in the morning, eat breakfast. If you aren’t, don’t.
4. Learn to Enjoy Black Coffee Instead of Milk Coffee
Many people don’t even consider a milk coffee to be a snack, let alone a high-calorie snack.
But a 12 oz (350 ml) whole milk coffee, such as a latte or cappuccino, contains 165 calories (4).
That’s almost the same as eating a glazed donut from Krispy Kreme, or two large boiled eggs (5).
If you like coffee and you need to lose weigh it’s best to stick to plain, black coffee.
5. Don’t Add Sugar In Your Coffee
Whole milk in your coffee is one thing, but adding loads of sugar takes it to a whole new level.
High-calorie coffee drinks are actually no better than soft drinks. They’re loaded with empty calories that can equal a whole meal or more.
Starbucks’ 16 oz Unicorn Frappuccino had a whopping 410 calories.
Fair enough if you wanted to try that with a friend (I did), but flavoured coffee should not be a regular part of your diet.
6. Eat Healthy On The Weekend Too
Many people eat healthy during the week only to “cheat” or splurge on the weekend with junk food, restaurant meals and alcohol.
Unfortunately, if you are trying to lose weight then this eating pattern will not work.
The extra calories you consume on the weekend will cancel out any deficit you create during the week. Dr. Spencer illustrates this nicely:
Sustainable weight loss is about lifestyle change, which includes the majority of weekends too.
7. Don’t Portion Equally With Your Partner
Many couples fill their plates with the same amount of food.
Generally speaking, over time this will cause one person to gain weight. Calorie requirements vary widely depending on your current weight and how physically active you are.
For example, an active 200 lb (90kg) male requires about 2800 calories to maintain his weight. An active 155 lb (70kg) woman requires about 2170 calories. Exceeding those needs will cause fat gain.
For perspective, that 600 calorie difference in requirements is equivalent to a small McDonalds Happy Meal with Coke.
To accurately predict your daily calorie requirements I recommend using Alan Aragon’s equation, which is accurate to within 5% of the longer formulas:
- In pounds: Total Energy Expenditure = Target bodyweight in pounds x (8-10 or 9-11 + average total weekly training hours).
- In kilograms: Total Energy Expenditure = Target bodyweight in kilograms x ((8-10 or 9-11 + average total weekly training hours) * 2.2).
8. Stop Eating So Much Butter
I love butter.
It can turn just about any plain dish into a culinary masterpiece.
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But it’s extremely high in calories, which means it’s not a good idea to increase your consumption.
For this reason (among others), the craze to “bulletproof” your diet with butter is dumb.
9. Go Easy on Peanut Butter, Margarine and Other Spreads
It’s so easy to slather on excessive amounts of a spread like peanut butter, Nutella or margarine.
Trying to eyeball it can be incredibly deceiving.
Source: Ben Carpenter
Use a tablespoon to first measure out how much spread you’ll have. Getting this right could be huge for your weight loss efforts.
10. Embrace “Hara Hachi Bu”
Hara hachi bu is a traditional Japanese practice that roughly translates as “eat until you are 80% full.”
This is in stark contrast with our typical Western eating pattern, which is to eat until your sides are splitting.
This form of self-imposed calorie restriction seems to work exceptionally well for those who practice it, such as residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa.
It’s no wonder Okinawa has the most centenarians (people who live over the age of 100) in the world.
Simply altering expectations of how full you should feel after a meal can be a powerful mindset shift for those who want to lose weight.
11. Don’t Eat Six Small Meals Per Day
Eating frequent small meals through the day was always thought to be good for weight loss.
The idea was that eating often kept your metabolism high so you would burn more energy, encouraging weight loss.
So eating three meals of 800 calories will burn the same amount of calories as eating six meals of 400 calories. There is literally no difference.
Eating regularly throughout the day works for some, but if that’s not you, stop.
12. Go Paleo
Because there’s basically nothing fun you can eat, so you will lose weight.
In all seriousness, it can work because a Paleo eating pattern forces you to cut out most high calorie junk foods, which means you’ll eat fewer calories.
The question is how long can you maintain a restrictive diet that cuts out all bread, pasta and any sweet treats forever?
13. Go Vegan
Again, because there’s basically nothing fun you can eat!
In actual fact animal products are typically far higher in calories compared to plant foods. Especially cheese and processed meat like sausages and bacon.
Cutting out these from your diet will result in fewer calories consumed and weight loss.
14. Avoid Frozen Pre-Packaged Snacks Like Chicken Tenders
Chicken tenders, nuggets, fish fingers, tater tots (potato gems) and other frozen snacks are a popular treat.
Many even use them as a quick and convenient main meal dish, without realizing just how fattening they are.
Anything that is crumbed or battered and pre-packaged has been covered with vegetable oil. In fact, vegetable oil will be one of the main ingredients.
This basically doubles the calorie content when compared to a non pre-packaged version of the same food.
For example, one serving (four pieces) of Tyson brand frozen chicken tenders is 210 calories, or 1263 calories per 100 grams (16).
By comparison, an equal amount of plain chicken breast that you roast in the oven is only 110 calories. That’s half the calories for essentially the same thing, chicken breast.
You will find it really difficult to lose weight if you continue to eat frozen pre-packaged foods.
15. Set Realistic Weight Goals
Goals are important to get you started, but unrealistic weight loss goals will often work against you.
This is shown in data from several weight loss center programs.
It turns out those expected to lose the most weight are in fact the most likely to drop out of a program (17).
This makes sense because if you set the bar way too high, it can be extremely disheartening to not even go close. That can lead to yo-yo dieting and a kind of stop-start inconsistency that doesn’t make progress long-term.
A good realistic and modest goal is a 10% drop in weight over one year.
Just like weight gain, weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint.
16. Go Easy In The Holidays
Research shows our waistlines expand most during the holiday seasons.
It’s not much though, with the average person gaining only 1 lb (0.5 kg) between November and January.
But you need to start thinking about how to make better decisions when food is abundant, or what extra steps you can take to expend those additional calories.
17. Buy New Activewear
What we wear actually influences our thoughts and behavior, especially at the gym.
The experience that certain clothes can provide has been nicknamed “enclothed cognition” by researchers (20).
It makes sense that new fitness wear encourages us to be more active. At least, for a short while.
This is a fun parody of that concept:
Youtube Video Link:
18. Stop Eating Bacon and Sausages
Processed red meat like bacon and sausages are terrible for you, especially if you want to lose weight.
They are low in protein and tremendously high in fat and calories. Plus the cheapest varieties are typically only 30-50% meat, which is saying something.
I’m not a hardcore vegan enthusiast (see tip #13), but a high consumption of processed red meat (added nitrates) is linked to an increased risk of several forms of cancer if your lifestyle is unhealthy.
Alongside other cured meats, these are treats you should eat infrequently and in small quantities.
19. Stop Eating Pizza
Pizza is one of the most calorie-dense junk foods available.
Just two slices of a plain cheese pizza is 550 calories on average, equivalent to eating almost six bananas or seven hard-boiled eggs (21).
And that’s just for the average, plain pizza.
If you eat an entire 14 inch cheese pizza (which is not uncommon), you’ve consumed almost 2400 calories in one meal. Government guidelines say the average female requires only 2000 calories per day.
Pizza should be something you eat at your Christmas party, that’s it.
20. Stop Eating White Bread
White bread has no place in a weight loss diet.
It’s highly refined to the point where almost zero fiber remains, which means it does not make you feel full.
This also makes it high on the glycemic index and can spike your blood sugar levels sharply, as though you were eating sugar.
Combined with how soft and easy it is to eat, white bread can easily become a source of unfulfilling calories.
This study of 9,267 people found that those eating two slices (120 grams) of white bread per day were linked to a 40% greater risk of weight gain and obesity (22).
Fortunately, there are many healthy alternatives to conventional wheat bread if you are trying to lose weight. Ezekiel bread, sourdough or dark rye bread are varieties you need to get used to.
21. Try and Lose Weight Together
Having someone alongside you and knowing you are not in it alone is incredibly motivating and powerful.
Ask your partner or find a friend that wants to lose weight as well.
A version of this post originally appeared on Diet vs Disease as 77 Proven Ways To Lose Weight And Keep It Off (Sorry, No “Miracle” Potions Or Quick-Fixes Here)
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