Achieving and reaching a healthy, sustained weight is possible – it is! But, if you’ve lost weight in the past only to regain it, stop blaming yourself and believing you’re a failure.
Let’s try a different approach. Instead of following trendy diet fads loaded with bad advice, use evidenced-based solutions for successful sustained weight loss and management. These tried-and-true weight loss tips can help you be more successful at losing weight and keeping the weight off long-term.
Keep in mind not all of the solutions work for everyone. Pick and choose those that feel right for you to customize your weight-control plan.
What foods do you buy each time you grocery shop? Is your grocery cart filled with lots of fruits and vegetables (fresh or frozen), whole grains, beans, fish, eggs, lean meat or plant protein sources, and low-fat dairy? If so, perfect. Eating healthier is much easier when you predominately have healthy foods in your home. Aim for 20-35 grams of fiber from plant foods each day. Fiber fills you up, slowing down digestion and the absorption of carbohydrates. Use the USDA’s MyPlate as a visual guide on how to fill your plate with vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein foods.
A huge key to successful weight loss and weight maintenance is portion control. Following the USDA’s MyPlate, showing correct portion sizes on a plate is invaluable for weight loss.
Your brain takes about 20 minutes to get the message you are full when eating. People who eat slowly taking their time, tend to feel fuller sooner, and end up eating less. The process of chewing itself may also stimulate satiety signals. In addition, eating slowly makes you more aware of the foods’ smell, taste, and texture, which can lead to greater satisfaction with fewer calories.
Control your food environment by not having high-calorie, high-sugar, or high-fat junk foods in your home or keeping them out of sight. If your willpower is tested away from home, such as stopping to get fast food on your way home from work, choose a different route. Avoid eating directly from the bag or box of food – always portion snacks into small bowls or bags.
Have you ever eaten food to soothe yourself? Emotions of anger, stress, depression, loneliness, or boredom are emotional triggers leading to emotional eating. Learn to distinguish between real hunger and emotional eating. Ask yourself, am I really hungry, or am I doing this to soothe an emotion? Excess weight gain is likely when you eat for reasons other than hunger. To reduce emotional eating, find pleasurable non-food-related activities to do instead.
Research has found protein increase satiety more than carbohydrates helping you fill up quicker and remain feeling full for longer periods. Sufficient protein at each meal also helps maintain muscle mass when losing weight. Aim for between 25-30 grams of protein at each meal. Choose sources such as beans, poultry, lean beef and pork; fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, and eggs; and low-fat dairy foods such as milk and Greek yogurt.
A consistent meal-timing pattern is very helpful for weight loss. Have a breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Going for long stretches throughout the day without eating will likely make you overeat later on in the day. Feeding your body at regular intervals throughout the day, you will have more energy and better hunger control than if skipping meals.
Beverages containing calories – sugary soda, juices, alcohol, sports drinks – add up quickly and are a major source of weight gain. Drinking a beverage is not as satiating as eating food. Stick with water or other non-caloric beverages like unsweetened tea or coffee. Milk is also a nutrient-dense beverage good choice; aim to drink two cups or 16 ounces of milk each day.
Eating out frequently is difficult to support weight loss or maintenance. Plan to eat 90% or more of your meals at home for improved weight loss and weight maintenance success. Home cooking means you control the amount of oil, sugar and other high-calorie ingredients added to recipes. You decide what portion size you will eat. However, avoid over-dependence on packaged meals like TV dinners. They may be easy to prepare but are often loaded with too much sodium, fat, and calories. Instead, bring out your inner cook and look for healthy recipes to try.
Frequent weighing increases self-awareness and can provide encouragement when the numbers are going in the right direction. Or it can motivate you to get back on track if you’ve gained a few pounds. Regular self-weighing is an effective strategy for maintaining long-term weight loss. Weigh yourself once daily, first thing in the morning, after using the restroom. Ideally, weigh wearing little to no clothes. If your weight increases, make lifestyle adjustments by tweaking your eating or exercise habits.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.