In this article, we’ll explore the science behind what helps with weight loss and discuss evidence-based strategies that have been shown to be effective in promoting weight loss.
Weight loss is a complex process that involves the regulation of energy balance, which is the balance between energy intake (calories consumed) and energy expenditure (calories burned). When energy intake exceeds energy expenditure, weight gain occurs, while the opposite is true for weight loss.
So, what helps with weight loss? The answer lies in creating an energy deficit, either by reducing calorie intake, increasing physical activity, or a combination of both.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these strategies and why they work.
1. Reducing calorie intake
One of the most effective ways to create an energy deficit and promote weight loss is by reducing calorie intake. This can be achieved by making small, sustainable changes to your diet, such as:
Eating more fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied while reducing overall calorie intake.
Choosing lean protein sources: Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues in the body, and it can also help you feel full for longer periods of time. Choose lean protein sources, such as chicken, fish, and legumes, to keep calorie intake in check.
Cutting back on sugar: Added sugars contribute empty calories to the diet and can lead to weight gain over time. Try to limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, desserts, and snacks to reduce overall calorie intake.
Practicing mindful eating: Mindful eating involves paying attention to your food and eating habits, such as chewing slowly, savoring your food, and avoiding distractions while eating. This can help you become more aware of your hunger and fullness cues, which can prevent overeating.
2. Increasing physical activity
Another effective way to create an energy deficit and promote weight loss is by increasing physical activity. This can be achieved by incorporating more movement into your daily routine, such as:
Doing household chores, such as vacuuming or mowing the lawn
Using a pedometer or activity tracker to monitor your progress and set goals
Physical activity not only burns calories but also has numerous other health benefits, such as improving cardiovascular health, reducing stress, and promoting overall well-being.
3. Combining calorie reduction and physical activity
While reducing calorie intake and increasing physical activity are both effective strategies for weight loss, combining the two can be even more effective. This is because the energy deficit created by reducing calorie intake can be amplified by the additional calorie burn from physical activity.
In addition, exercise can help preserve lean muscle mass while promoting fat loss, which is important for maintaining metabolic health and preventing weight regain.
Other strategies that may help with weight loss include:
Getting enough sleep: Lack of sleep has been linked to increased hunger and appetite, as well as decreased energy expenditure. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to support weight loss efforts.
Managing stress: Chronic stress can lead to overeating and weight gain. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
Seeking support: Weight loss can be challenging, but having a support system can make a big difference. Consider joining a weight loss program or seeking support from family, friends, or a healthcare professional.
In conclusion, weight loss is a complex process that involves creating an energy deficit through calorie reduction, physical activity, or a combination of both. By making small, sustainable changes can in the long term make the biggest difference.