Obesity is one of the most common and persistent modern-day health problems. In fact, obesity and heart-related diseases are among the leading causes of death in the US, according to data released by the World Health Organization.
Excess weight is associated with serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, fatty liver disease, sleep apnea and back and knee problems,
Most people, in their quest to lose the excess body mass, resort to weight loss drugs or surgery as last resorts. This is the most advisable way to handle the weight loss conundrum, as there are much safer ways to approach it, proper dieting and regular exercise is the number one way of shedding off the fat.
Here’s are some science-backed ways towards weight loss that works:
Laying down the plan
The first part of this plan is diet. You need to choose a well-rounded and nutritious diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats (very low in carbs) and lean proteins. You can pick from the variety of mainstream diets out there since they are fairly similar in nature. Just don’t buy any of their prepared foods. Rather, use their menus as a guide, substituting out whatever foods you feel necessary. You can check out this 15 Day Diet Plan.
Try the hardest you can to keep track of everything you eat. Get a small notebook and take notes, each page is as accurate a representation of the day’s food intake as possible. If you’re really in the zone, you may as well weigh yourself each time to note how much progress you’re making.
In the early days, don’t go too hard on yourself. A few push-ups, sit-ups and other similar in-place calisthenics at nighttime will do you a great favor in the process. Whereas not strictly necessary, it will definitely help quicken the process.
The occasional snack isn’t too big a deal. The only problem that often arises is over-indulgence. You can opt for a once-in-a-while cake, glass of wine or chunk of chocolate as a reward for hard work well done but be sure to check your calorie intake. Discipline is paramount.
Along the way, you’ll have ups and downs, and your weight graph (if you were to plot it) won’t exactly be a perfect negative gradient slope, but with time and a whole lot of determination, those pounds will slowly shed off as your body adapts to your new routine.
What science says about weight loss that works
At the beginning, we mentioned that these tips were backed by science, and true to our word, we consulted dietary specialists and compiled the following regarding weight loss that works.
How diet affects weight loss
Esteemed Yale physician and nutrition expert David Katz, in his 2012 experiment conducted research on 58 popular diets and found that the most successful of them, in terms of both weight loss and nutrition are those that consisted of mostly natural foods.
In other words, those diets’ main components were plants, nuts, whole grains (eg, quinoa, farro, rice or corn chips) and seeds, as well as meat (ideally from herbivores). Simply put, food closer to nature is more effective. The key is minimizing on processed foods, including sugars and flour.
How behaviour change affects weight loss
Keeping track of how many calories we take in a day is challenging, but research carried by Harvard students demonstrated that people who track what they eat, in the long run, eat far less.
This process is called self-monitoring and has been shown to take advantage of psychological processes to help in the process of weight loss. However, there are plenty of ways to keep track of your daily food intake other than the rather old school paper and pen method. There are tons of apps on the Play and Apple Stores that can help you out with that.
How exercise helps with weight loss
An observable trend is noticeable in a lot of people that manage to lose weight – they slowly revert to harmful old habits and regain the same weight they worked so hard to lose in the first place. Others, though, don’t. So, how do they do it?
Researchers have found that other than a simple healthy diet, self-monitoring and self-acceptance (this means being okay with the hurdles you run into along the way)m a high level of physical activity helps to keep off those pounds.
Exercise is a pretty important part of any weight loss program. Two or three intense workouts a week will help you maintain the all-important cardiovascular fitness you very much need and are deserving of.
If, for whatever reason, you can’t get to the gym, go take a short run. If it’s raining outside and you can’t run, make some space at home and do something – five minutes of kickboxing, dancing around the living room, running up and down the stairs – literally any and all physical activity counts.
Staying at a healthy weight for life
Once you’ve managed to make it to your ideal weight, all that’s left to do is to maintain it. There’s an old adage – eat less, exercise more. This should be your guiding principle, but of course, we are psychologically complex creatures, which makes following that adage a lot more complicated than it presents itself
For average adults, assuming no medical or psychological issues issues contributing to the weight gain exist, a nutritious plant-based diet that involves little to no processed foods and carbohydrates, psychological stability (self-acceptance), consistent self-monitoring of intake and weight-loss progress, and regular exercise, are the best science-backed ways to lose weight and maintain it for life.
However, if the above tips don’t work, consult your medical practitioner to take care of possibly pre-existing conditions that could cause weight gains such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, low thyroid function, and prediabetes. Alternatively, whatever could be hampering your weight loss could be psychological issues such as binge-eating disorder, bulimia, anxiety or depression.