Nearly one fifth of U.S. adults are on a special diet at any given time, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. However, countless individuals still find themselves struggling to shed those extra pounds, and with so many weight loss companies promoting so many different—and frequently expensive—ways to lose weight, it’s no wonder slimming down remains such a challenge.
That’s why we’ve reached out to registered dietitians to provide their best tips for healthy, sustainable weight loss you can start right now. Whether you’re eager to lose 10 pounds or 100, read on to find out what nutritional experts really recommend when it comes to losing weight. And for more great ways to slim down, check out these 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
Instead of simply focusing on what you’re giving up to slim down, try focusing on what you could be eating more of, like healthy, low-calorie vegetables.
“Vegetables help keep you full for longer due to the fiber and water in the vegetables,” says Courtney D’Angelo, MS, RD, registered dietitian and author at Fit Healthy Momma.
“If you struggle eating veggies in the first place, try making eating them more fun! You can try cooking spaghetti with spiral [veggie] noodles, or you can add greens to smoothies,” D’Angelo suggests.
While ketogenic diets may be having a moment, you may want to think twice before cutting grains from your diet if you’re trying to lose weight.
“Research supports that eating carbohydrates, or whole-grain wheat, can help with weight loss. Eating grains has been shown to increase your metabolism, which helps with weight loss,” says D’Angelo, who notes that a 2017 study published in Nutrients has linked consumption of whole grains to lower rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
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Even if you’re not big on breakfast, kicking off your morning with a few glasses of water can make it easier to avoid overeating throughout the day.
“Hydrating is a simple and effective way to promote weight loss. Water is also an appetite suppressant. Sometimes, you may feel hungry when you are, in fact, thirsty, especially in the morning,” says Kristen Fleming, MS, RD, a consultant for BetterMe. “Start your day with two glasses of water. This will help you stay hydrated, keep you from misinterpreting thirst for hunger and unnecessary snacking.”
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If you want to speed up your weight loss, try slowing down your meals by increasing how much you chew each bite.
“Putting in a conscious effort to chew your food more slowly can help increase weight loss,” says Fleming. “Slow eating has been shown to reduce energy intake during meals. According to a small study, caloric intake was higher with chewing 15 times per bite than with 50 times per bite.”
Eating meals that keep you full for a longer period is key when it comes to weight loss, so try making healthy fats a priority whenever you sit down to eat.
“Of all the macronutrients, fat takes the longest to digest and is the most satiating, so eliminating it sets you up to fail by inviting hunger to creep in shortly after a meal. Include a healthy fat source such as avocado, olive oil, nuts, cheese, etc. every time you eat to minimize hunger so you can get on with the rest of your day,” recommends Kayla Girgen, RD, LD, founder of Nutrition Untapped.
Losing weight isn’t only about what you eat or how much you exercise. Factors like sleep can play a major role in how quickly those pounds come off.
“Not getting adequate rest puts your body in a heightened state of stress, which negatively impacts hormones involved in weight loss. Dim the lights and ditch the screens about 30 to 60 minutes before bed. Try reading, gentle stretches, or having a cup of hot tea to wind down instead,” Girgen suggests.
If you’re looking for a flavorful alternative to those sugary coffee drinks you use to perk up in the morning, try adding some weight-loss-boosting green tea to your diet instead.
“Drinking pu-erh tea, a glass in the morning about an hour after breakfast, can be a great tool for weight loss. It speeds up your metabolism while also helping your body to eliminate excess fat, resulting in a slimmer waistline,” says Lauren Pimentel, RD, founder of The Cake Nutritionist, citing a 2012 review of research published in Dongwuxue Yanjiu.
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It can be easy to lose track of every bite of food you take over the course of the day but keeping a food journal can help you better gauge how much you’re really eating.
“A 2019 study found that keeping a food journal, especially one that allows you to upload photos, resulted in significantly greater weight loss,” says Sarah Williams, MS, RD, owner, and founder of Sweet Balance Nutrition. “This helps people understand how to get in a calorie deficit and stay mindful about food choices.”
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