Slim Down Safely: Expert Tips for Healthy Weight Loss

You’ve likely heard your fair share of wacky weight loss tips (like drinking celery juice). But successful, healthy weight loss isn’t about gimmicks or extremes. It’s about adopting different habits and creating a healthy lifestyle that supports your goals. Here are some expert-approved, science-backed weight loss tips that have stood the test of time.

Eat Plenty of Fruit and Vegetables

Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables is one of the most important healthy eating habits you can foster. Research shows that consuming just two to three cups of non-starchy vegetables daily can help you lose weight and reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

Vegetables and fruits contain a wide range of vitamins (A, C and K), minerals and dietary fibre. They are also a good source of phytochemicals, which are plant chemicals that have been shown to provide protection against certain health conditions.

If you struggle to eat the recommended servings of vegetables and fruit, try replacing some starchy foods with fruits and veggies to increase your intake. For example, have a bowl of spinach instead of rice or try cauliflower rice. Alternatively, make sure you include a rainbow of colors on your plate – try adding purple berries and sulforaphane-rich broccoli to your meal.

Limit the amount of fruit juice you drink, as it is higher in sugar than whole fruit and does not supply the same dietary fibre. Choose whole fruit over dried fruit, and if you do eat dried fruit, choose raisins or cranberries over currants or apricots. Try to eat meals together and avoid eating while watching television, as research has found that when people are distracted while they eat, they tend to eat more discretionary foods such as takeaway or processed foods and less from the five main food groups.

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Eat Healthy Fats

When it comes to fats, many people are confused about what’s good and bad for weight loss. After all, a gram of fat has more than twice as many calories as the same amount of protein or carbohydrates, so it’s important to keep your intake in check. But the recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans have moved away from recommending how much dietary fat you should consume each day, so it’s even more critical to focus on what types of fats you eat.

Unhealthy fats promote insulin resistance, inflammation and excessive fat storage. These fats are typically found in large amounts in animal products like fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy foods such as butter and ice cream, and processed foods such as cookies and pastries.

Healthy fats, on the other hand, promote heart health and reduce the risk of obesity and chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease. These fats include monounsaturated fats, found in avocados and peanut butter; and polyunsaturated fats, including the omega-3 fatty acids that can be found in fish such as salmon, tuna, trout and herring.

The goal is to replace unhealthy fats with healthier ones, but don’t go overboard and eliminate them completely. Aim to limit your total daily fat intake to about 30% of your calories and try to get most of this from unsaturated fats.

Get Enough Protein

Protein serves many important roles in the body, including building muscles and helping us feel full. It also helps stabilize blood sugar levels and supports the immune system. Many people struggle to get enough protein in their diet, but increasing protein intake can help with weight loss. Talk with a registered dietitian to determine how much protein you need for your specific goals.

You can get more protein in your diet by planning meals around lean proteins, like poultry, fish or lean cuts of meat. Keeping high-protein snacks on hand, like almonds, Greek yogurt, hummus or string cheese, can also be helpful. Try adding a protein supplement, such as whey or pea protein powder, to smoothies, milk or water for an extra boost.

Getting more protein in your diet can help with weight loss, especially when coupled with exercise. Several studies have shown that eating more protein can increase your feeling of fullness, decrease hunger and cravings and help preserve muscle while you lose weight. In addition, protein may make your stomach work harder to digest, which can burn a few more calories. However, it’s important to note that increasing protein intake without also decreasing calories can lead to weight gain. To lose weight, it’s essential to balance your protein, carbohydrate and fat intake.

Exercise Regularly

Regardless of the type of exercise you choose, it’s important to get in a regular routine. That way, it becomes more of a habit and something you do on a regular basis (like brushing your teeth). Exercise that burns calories while you’re doing it is ideal, but it’s also important to pick exercises that are fun so you’ll be motivated to keep up with them. NHS guidelines suggest adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week or more.

Try using a fitness app that lets you know when your Maximum fatness zone is so you can optimize your training for maximum results.

*Note: Always consult your healthcare team before starting a new fitness program, particularly if you have a health condition or injury.

Drink Water

Drinking water is a simple way to support your weight loss goals. It may suppress your appetite, boost your metabolism and make exercise easier and more effective. While it’s important to note that your overall dietary habits and behaviors are more influential in your success with weight loss, being properly hydrated is a smart place to start.

Because it contains zero calories, water is a great beverage to sip throughout the day to quench your thirst and stay hydrated. Drinking water in place of higher-calorie options such as juice, soda or sugar sweetened coffee and tea can help reduce your overall liquid calorie intake, which can lead to weight loss.

Water is also thought to promote satiation by filling the stomach and stretching it, which signals that you are full. A small study found that people who consumed two glasses of water before meals ate 22% less in that meal than those who didn’t drink the water.

Drinking a glass of water on an empty stomach may also help speed up your metabolism, as the body expends energy warming the water to your core temperature. However, this effect is likely very small and wouldn’t have a significant impact on overall calorie burn or weight loss.