Facts you should know about weight loss: the importance of Weight loss, science-backed/natural ways to lose weight, medication and surgery approach and many more.
While there are endless diets, supplements, and meal replacement plans claiming to ensure rapid weight loss, most lack any scientific evidence. There are, however, some strategies backed by science that do have an impact on weight management.
These strategies include exercising, keeping track of calorie intake, intermittent fasting, and reducing the number of carbohydrates in the diet.
Whether your weight-loss goals involve trying to lose 5 pounds or more than 50, the same principles determine how much weight you lose and how fast your weight loss will occur. Remembering the following simple healthy eating diet tips and putting them into practice can lead to weight reduction without the aid of any special diet plans, weight loss programs, fitness books, or medications.
Our body weight is determined by the amount of energy that we take in as food and the amount of energy we expend in the activities of our day. Energy is measured in calories. Metabolism is the sum of all chemical processes within the body that sustain life.
Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories (amount of energy) you need for your body to carry out the necessary functions. If your weight remains constant, this is likely a sign that you are taking in the same amount of calories that you burn daily. If you’re slowly gaining weight over time, it is likely that your caloric intake is greater than the number of calories you burn through your daily activities.
Every adult is in control of the amount of food he or she consumes each day, so our intake of calories is something we can control. To a major degree, we can also control our output of energy or the number of calories we burn each day. The number of calories we burn each day is dependent upon the following:
- Our basal metabolic rate (BMR), the number of calories we burn per hour simply by being alive and maintaining body functions
- Our level of physical activity
For some people, due to genetic (inherited) factors or other health conditions, the resting metabolic rate (RMR) can be slightly higher or lower than average. Our weight also plays a role in determining how many calories we burn at rest — the more calories are required to maintain your body in its present state, the greater your body weight. A 100-pound person requires less energy (food) to maintain body weight than a person who weighs 200 pounds.
Lifestyle and work habits partially determine how many calories we need to eat each day. Someone whose job involves heavy physical labor will naturally burn more calories in a day than someone who sits at a desk most of the day (a sedentary job). For people who do not have jobs that require intense physical activity, exercise or increased physical activity can increase the number of calories burned.
As a rough estimate, an average woman 31-50 years of age who leads a sedentary lifestyle needs about 1,800 calories per day to maintain a normal weight. A man of the same age requires about 2,200 calories. Participating in a moderate level of physical activity (exercising three to five days per week) requires about 200 additional calories per day. More strenuous exercise programs, such as those with cardio focus, can burn even more.
In this article, The Vibely will share the nine effective methods of weight loss, 12 things to know before you embark on a weight loss journey, the importance of Weight loss, how fast should you expect to lose weight? the no-diet approach to weight control, the diet approach to weight control, when should weight-loss medications or surgery be considered?
Things to know before you embark on a weight loss journey
1. The desire to lose weight must come from the individual.
If you’re truly ambivalent about making changes in your lifestyle or are doing this to please someone else, you’re likely to fail. When making changes, decide what’s right for your lifestyle. Your best friend’s diet and exercise plan may be completely wrong for your health habits and interests. The key is to find a system that works for you.
2. Don’t blame yourself if you aren’t perfect.
If you once fail at your attempt to curtail your overeating, it doesn’t mean you are a failure at weight control and that you should just give up. Accept that you made a poor choice, but don’t let that poor choice influence the rest of your meal plan. The same holds true with exercise. Skipping a few workouts doesn’t mean you can’t get back on track. Weight control does not involve making perfect choices all the time; rather it’s about attempting to make good health choices more often than poor ones.
3. Don’t go hungry.
Make sure not to skip meals, and always have some healthy low-fat snacks on hand. When you starve yourself, you are more likely to overeat and make bad food choices. Try to eat healthy, regular meals.
4. Avoid surroundings where you know you’re tempted to make poor food choices.
Everyone has a time when we’re most likely to overeat, whether it’s the morning coffee break or after-work gathering with friends. Try to plan other activities or distractions for those times, or plan in advance how you’re going to handle them and stick to them.
5. Surround yourself with people who support your efforts.
Even our good friends can knowingly or unknowingly sabotage weight-loss attempts. Spend time with those people who will not pressure you to make poor food choices.
6. Decide on some nonfood rewards for yourself when you reach interim goals.
For example, at the end of the first week of healthy eating or after the first 5 pounds lost, buy yourself a new DVD, app, or book.
7. If you have a slip-up, this is no reason to give up.
Giving in to temptation and overeating doesn’t have to mean the end of your healthy eating plan. After the overeating episode, just resume the healthy eating plan and forgive yourself.
8. Stock your pantry and refrigerator with healthy foods.
Get rid of the high-calorie, low-nutrition snacks like chips and candy. But don’t forget to have plenty of healthier options available as well, such as popcorn (hold the butter, try Parmesan cheese sprinkles), low-fat cheese and yogurt, fruit, instant cocoa without added sugar, sugar-free popsicles or puddings, or whatever appeals to you when you’re hungry for a snack.
9. Study the Internet or your cookbook collection and identify some low-fat recipes you would like to try.
10. Set small goals and focus on these rather than the “big picture.”
Decide where you want to be in a week or in a month rather than focusing on the total amount of weight you’d like to lose.
11. Don’t compare your weight loss to others.
Everyone is different and has different metabolic rates. People also vary in the number of calories they burn daily or how much exercise they do. Aim for a healthy rate of weight loss, and don’t measure yourself by what others are doing or their results.
12. Seek out restaurants and venues where you can stay on track.
Many restaurants offer nutritional information and calorie content on their menus, and it’s often possible to modify your choices. Get the salad dressing on the side or hold the butter. Substitute vegetables for fried foods. Even starting the meal with a green salad can make you eat less of the high-calorie main dish while adding some vitamins and fiber to the meal.
The natural and Science-backed ways to lose weight
Methods of weight loss that scientific research supports include the following:
13. Trying intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a pattern of eating that involves regular short-term fasts and consuming meals within a shorter time period during the day.
Several studies have indicated that short-term intermittent fasting, which is up to 24 weeks in duration, leads to weight loss in overweight individuals.
The most common intermittent fasting methods include the following:
- Alternate day fasting (ADF): Fast every other day and eat normally on non-fasting days. The modified version involves eating just 25–30 percent of the body’s energy needs on fasting days.
- The 5:2 Diet: Fast on 2 out of every 7 days. On fasting days eat 500–600 calories.
- The 16/8 method: Fast for 16 hours and eat only during an 8-hour window. For most people, the 8-hour window would be around noon to 8 p.m. A study on this method found that eating during a restricted period resulted in the participants consuming fewer calories and losing weight.
It is best to adopt a healthy eating pattern on non-fasting days and to avoid over-eating.
14. Tracking your diet and exercise
If someone wants to lose weight, they should be aware of everything that they eat and drink each day. The most effective way to do this is to log every item that they consume, in either a journal or an online food tracker.
Researchers estimated in 2017 that there would be 3.7 billion health app downloads by the end of the year. Of these, apps for diet, physical activity, and weight loss were among the most popular. This is not without reason, as tracking physical activity and weight loss progress on the go can be an effective way of managing weight.
One study found that consistent tracking of physical activity helped with weight loss. Meanwhile, a review study found a positive correlation between weight loss and the frequency of monitoring food intake and exercise. Even a device as simple as a pedometer can be a useful weight-loss tool.
15. Eating mindfully
Mindful eating is a practice where people pay attention to how and where they eat food. This practice can enable people to enjoy the food they eat and maintain a healthy weight.
As most people lead busy lives, they often tend to eat quickly on the run, in the car, working at their desks, and watching TV. As a result, many people are barely aware of the food they are eating.
Techniques for mindful eating include:
- Sitting down to eat, preferably at a table: Pay attention to the food and enjoy the experience.
- Avoiding distractions while eating: Do not turn on the TV, or a laptop or phone.
- Eating slowly: Take time to chew and savor the food. This technique helps with weight loss, as it gives a person’s brain enough time to recognize the signals that they are full, which can help to prevent over-eating.
- Making considered food choices: Choose foods that are full of nourishing nutrients and those that will satisfy for hours rather than minutes.
16. Eating protein for breakfast
Protein can regulate appetite hormones to help people feel full. This is mostly due to a decrease in the hunger hormone ghrelin and a rise in the satiety hormones peptide YY, GLP-1, and cholecystokinin.
Research on young adults has also demonstrated that the hormonal effects of eating a high-protein breakfast can last for several hours.
Good choices for a high-protein breakfast include eggs, oats, nuts, and seed butter, quinoa porridge, sardines, and chia seed pudding.
17. Cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates
The Western diet is increasingly high in added sugars, and this has definite links to obesity, even when the sugar occurs in beverages rather than food.
Refined carbohydrates are heavily processed foods that no longer contain fiber and other nutrients. These include white rice, bread, and pasta.
These foods are quick to digest, and they convert to glucose rapidly.
Excess glucose enters the blood and provokes the hormone insulin, which promotes fat storage in the adipose tissue. This contributes to weight gain.
Where possible, people should swap processed and sugary foods for more healthful options. Good food swaps include:
- whole-grain rice, bread, and pasta instead of the white versions
- fruit, nuts, and seeds instead of high-sugar snacks
- herb teas and fruit-infused water instead of high-sugar sodas
- smoothies with water or milk instead of fruit juice
18. Eating plenty of fiber
Dietary fiber describes plant-based carbohydrates that it is not possible to digest in the small intestine, unlike sugar and starch. Including plenty of fiber in the diet can increase the feeling of fullness, potentially leading to weight loss.
Fiber-rich foods include:
- whole-grain breakfast cereals, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain bread, oats, barley, and rye
- fruit and vegetables
- peas, beans, and pulses
- nuts and seeds
19. Balancing gut bacteria
One emerging area of research is focusing on the role of bacteria in the gut on weight management.
The human gut hosts a vast number and variety of microorganisms, including around 37 trillion bacteria.
Every individual has different varieties and amounts of bacteria in their gut. Some types can increase the amount of energy that the person harvests from food, leading to fat deposition and weight gain.
Some foods can increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, including:
- A wide variety of plants: Increasing the number of fruits, vegetables, and grains in the diet will result in an increased fiber uptake and a more diverse set of gut bacteria. People should try to ensure that vegetables and other plant-based foods comprise 75 percent of their meal.
- Fermented foods: These enhance the function of good bacteria while inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, and miso all contain good amounts of probiotics, which help to increase good bacteria. Researchers have studied kimchi widely, and study results suggest that it has anti-obesity effects. Similarly, studies have shown that kefir may help to promote weight loss in overweight women.
- Prebiotic foods: These stimulate the growth and activity of some of the good bacteria that aid weight control. Prebiotic fiber occurs in many fruits and vegetables, especially chicory root, artichoke, onion, garlic, asparagus, leeks, banana, and avocado. It is also in grains, such as oats and barley.
20. Getting a good night’s sleep
Numerous studies have shown that getting less than 5–6 hours of sleep per night is associated with an increased incidence of obesity. There are several reasons behind this.
Research suggests that insufficient or poor-quality sleep slows down the process in which the body converts calories to energy, called metabolism. When metabolism is less effective, the body may store unused energy as fat. In addition, poor sleep can increase the production of insulin and cortisol, which also prompts fat storage.
How long someone sleeps also affects the regulation of the appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin sends signals of fullness to the brain.
21. Managing your stress levels
Stress triggers the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which initially decrease the appetite as part of the body’s fight or flight response.
However, when people are under constant stress, cortisol can remain in the bloodstream for longer, which will increase their appetite and potentially lead to them eating more.
Cortisol signals the need to replenish the body’s nutritional stores from the preferred source of fuel, which is carbohydrates.
Insulin then transports the sugar from carbohydrates from the blood to the muscles and brain. If the individual does not use this sugar in fight or flight, the body will store it as fat.
Some methods of managing stress include:
- yoga, meditation, or tai chi
- breathing and relaxation techniques
- spending some time outdoors, for example walking or gardening
The no-diet approach to weight control
22. Avoid processed foods
By adopting sensible eating habits and practicing portion control, you can eat nutritious foods so that you take in as many calories as you need to maintain your health and well-being at your ideal weight. Often, weight loss occurs on its own simply when you start making better food choices, such as avoiding processed foods.
23. Avoid taking sugar-laden foods.
If you do not want to follow any dieting rules, you can simply cut eating food with high sugar rates.
24. Stop taking white bread and pasta.
Another way to reduce weight in the no-dieting approach is to stop taking white bread and pasta. substitute whole-grain varieties instead.
25. Avoid foods with a high percentage of calories from fat, such as many fast foods.
26. By replacing some unwise food choices with healthy ones.
By doing so, you’ll be cutting back on calories. If you add some moderate physical activity, you have the perfect plan for losing weight without the need for special or inconvenient (and often expensive) diet plans.
27. Avoid alcohol.
Alcohol intake leads to weight gain. By avoiding taking too much alcohol, you’re on the right path to reducing weight gain in a non-dieting manner.
While nothing is absolutely forbidden when you do succumb to temptation, keep the portion size small and add a bit more exercise to your daily workout.
It’s also important to follow healthy eating guidelines in general, even after you have lost weight. This should include sufficient amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals with limited amounts of fat and sugar.
What about special diet plans (fad or extreme diets and popular diets) and weight loss programs?
Many people prefer to have a set of rules to follow when dieting. Others may crave emotional support from attending counseling sessions or meetings. Diet products, fitness and nutrition books, and health services have become a billion-dollar industry, so there are obviously many people looking for help with weight control. Before you jump on the latest diet bandwagon, remember that organized diet plans and programs can only result in weight loss if you burn more calories than you consume. No dietary supplements, exercise devices, combinations of foods, or specific patterns of eating will change this fact.
Some examples of popular diet plans and programs include;
28. The Atkins diet,
29. The South Beach Diet
30. Weight Watchers.
31. Jenny Craig,
32. Cutting carbs,
33. No-carb diets,
34. Body for Life,
35. ketogenic diet,
36. High-protein diets,
37. Dr. Andrew Weil’s diet plan,
38. The Ornish diet.
All of these diets have their proponents, and all of them have been successful for some people.
Because one’s appetite, eating habits, and preferences vary widely among individuals, before you decide on a diet plan, ask yourself if the plan sounds realistic to you. If the plan involves rigorous measuring of portions and calorie counting, are you up to the task? If you’re forbidden to eat certain foods, will you develop cravings for them? Do you feel that you will feel comfortable adhering to the diet guidelines? Will the diet’s requirements fit easily into your daily schedule?
Finally, consider that once you’ve lost the weight, you may regain the weight if you return to your previous eating habits, so any weight-loss plan should be something you can live with for a long time. Your health care provider can recommend a consultation with a dietician or nutritionist if you would like help evaluating or developing a weight loss or healthy eating plan.
Remember that the most successful weight management comes from dietary changes and healthy eating choices that will stay with you over time, not from diets that leave you feeling deprived or result in binge-eating episodes.
When should weight-loss medications or surgery be used?
39. Medical approach to weight loss
Doctors usually consider medications to be an appropriate treatment in patients with a BMI greater than 30 or in those with a BMI of greater than 27 who have other medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high blood cholesterol) that put them at risk for developing heart disease.
It is not recommended that medications be used for cosmetic weight loss or to lose small amounts of weight.
40. Surgery approach to weight loss
Weight-loss surgery is also available for people with severe obesity whose attempts to lose weight through other medical treatment methods have failed.
Most experts agree that bariatric surgery, or surgery to promote weight loss, should be reserved for the morbidly obese (those who have a BMI greater than 40) or those with a BMI of 35 to 40 with obesity-related health problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, or severe sleep apnea.
Why is weight loss important?
Maintenance of healthy body weight has health benefits and is important for maintaining both physical and emotional well-being and disease prevention. Excess weight, body fat, and obesity have been associated with an increased risk for numerous health conditions, including
- heart disease (including heart attack),
- high blood pressure,
- some types of cancers,
- sleep apnea, and
- elevated blood cholesterol levels.
It should be noted that a reduction in weight for those who are overweight can make a major impact on the health conditions listed above. Many overweight people also report improved mood, increased self-esteem, and motivation, and feeling healthier in general after they have lost weight.
How fast should you expect to lose weight?
Most fitness and nutrition experts agree that the right way to lose weight is to aim for a safe, healthy rate of weight loss of 1 to 1½ pounds per week. Short-term dramatic weight loss is rarely healthy or sustainable over time. Modification of eating habits along with regular exercise is the most effective way to lose weight over the long term. It is also the ideal way to ensure that the weight stays off.
Starvation or extreme diets may result in rapid weight loss, but such quick weight loss can be unsafe and is almost impossible to maintain for most people. When food intake is severely restricted (below approximately 1,200 calories per day), the body begins to adapt to this state of poor nutrition by reducing its metabolic rate, potentially making it even more difficult to lose weight.
This also happens when dieters engage in fasting or skipping meals. It is also possible to experience hunger pangs, bouts of hypoglycemia, headaches, and mood changes from overly stringent dieting. These health symptoms can result in binge eating and weight gain. Since a highly restrictive diet is almost impossible to maintain for a long time, people who attempt to starve themselves thin often start to gain weight again when they stop dieting and resume their former eating habits.