Regardless of whether you’re aiming to lose just a few pounds or a significant amount, successful weight loss requires a holistic approach that addresses both your mental and physical well-being.
The tips we’ve provided for women seeking to lose weight take into account this comprehensive approach, recognizing that a whole-body approach is necessary for sustainable and healthy weight loss.
1. Track Everything
Weight loss isn’t too complicated a process, yet it’s challenging. Weight loss comes down to a simple equation: calories out must be greater than calories in. Keeping a food journal, especially in the beginning, is critical.
You may be surprised about the calorie content in each bite you take.
One study shows a direct correlation between weight loss and the time the participants spent tracking their diet. Interestingly, the participants required less time journaling between months one and six to maintain weight loss success
Many great apps track calories and sync with your smartphone.
I advise my clients to invest in a fitness tracker, a standalone, or a smartwatch. Along with a calorie tracker, you will get in-depth information on what calories you take versus the energy you are expending.
2. Don’t Fall For “Healthy” Labeling
Don’t take the manufacturer’s word on a healthy product; read the label and get to know and understand the ingredients.
A good practice is to look at the first three ingredients, look for whole foods, avoid labels that begin with refined grains, sugars, or hydrogenated oils, or have an ingredient list multiple lines long as this suggests it is highly processed.
Let’s look at a few terms you commonly see on product labels that manufacturers want you to believe are healthy.
- Low-fat: This may seem enticing; usually, something else is added, like sugar, and this also means healthy fats are not there either.
- Made with whole grains: The amount is minimal if these do not appear in the first three ingredients, and also, even these grains are still starchy, so this should factor in the diet equation, especially a low-carb one.
- A low-carb diet is excellent for weight loss; however, there are many highly processed or junk foods that say low-carb on the label so you should stick to whole fruits, vegetables, and grains.
- No-added sugar: Some foods are naturally high in sugar, so just because they contain no added sugar doesn’t make them healthy. You may also find added sugar substitutes in these products.
Water is critical to many body functions, including lubricating joints, aiding kidneys and liver, moistening tissues, and regulating body temperature.
Drinking more water is one of the best commitments you can make in your weight loss plan. There is a direct link between hydration and lipolysis, the body’s process of breaking down fat.
Studies show that if you drink more water before a meal, you are likely to consume fewer calories, helping create a calorie deficit that encourages weight loss.
So how much water should you drink?
There is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach to hydration; instead, it is calculated by body weight, half an ounce to an ounce per pound, and other factors.
For instance, an active person in a warmer climate will require more water than a sedentary individual in a cooler climate to keep sufficiently hydrated.
4. Cut your carbs
Your body uses carbs for energy, so selecting the right carbs is critical. Refined carbs are highly processed, resulting in a product not rich in fiber and nutrients.
Examples include white bread, pizza dough, pastries, white flour, some breakfast cereals, and pasta. These carbs increase hunger, blood sugar levels, fat stores, and weight gain.
A balanced diet rich in whole grains may offer many health benefits like lowering type 2 diabetes risk, reducing inflammation, and promoting weight loss.
5. Up Your Protein
Studies show a higher protein diet results in more significant weight loss, fat mass loss, and preservation of lean mass reductions in triglycerides, blood pressure, and waist circumference.
A high-protein breakfast can help you feel fuller longer, reducing the number of snacks you consume.
Some great protein choices at breakfast include:
- Turkey bacon
- Nut butter
- Black beans
- Greek yogurt
- Protein powder
Adding protein powder to a fruit smoothie made with Greek yogurt or an egg scramble with black beans, tomatoes, spinach, and feta are examples of how you can fuel your day.
Incorporating a bit of protein into meals and healthy snacks throughout the day can keep you on track. Nuts and cheese or celery or banana with peanut butter make great snack choices while choosing quinoa over pasta or rice can also up the protein content in a meal.
6. Fill up on fiber
Nuts, seeds, vegetables, fruit, oats, quinoa, and legumes are all great sources of fiber for a healthy diet.
Studies show that increasing fiber by 14 grams daily resulted in less calorie intake and weight loss in just over three months.
Fiber helps slow how fast your stomach empties, which may promote weight loss as you feel fuller and longer, reducing calorie intake.
7. Watch Out For Processed Foods
Processed foods are usually high in sodium, calories, and sugar but offer little nutrients like fiber and protein.
Eliminating processed foods can help you lose weight while replacing those foods with whole foods promotes a healthier lifestyle long-term.
8. Add More Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and veggies are an excellent way to get your body’s nutrients.
Fruits and vegetables contain water which helps keep you hydrated, which is highly important when it comes to weight management.
Fruits and vegetables are also a great source of fiber which, along with helping you feel fuller longer, helps keep your digestive system functioning correctly, keeping your body free of toxins.
Satiety directly impacts weight loss by reducing caloric intake, and it’s always a good idea to satisfy sugar cravings with a whole fruit than with candy.
9. Don’t Drink Your Calories.
The calories in drinks add up quickly. Even fruit, when it’s turned into a fruit juice and stripped of its fiber, can lead to blood sugar spikes and lead to weight gain.
A specialty coffee beverage from your favorite shop on your way to work each morning can also be a culprit because of the many calorie-dense ingredients it can come with.
Beer is also full of carbs and calories, and alcohol, in general, is no friend of weight loss as it can encourage junk-food overeating and lead to fatty liver and visceral fat build-up.
10. Add Strength Training
Cardio is excellent for burning fat and should be a part of your exercise routine.
Adding resistance training can help you build muscle and strengthen your bones. Lifting weights will help you improve your body composition, so you will probably feel and look different even if the scale isn’t moving.
11. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep affects many body functions, including the hormones that regulate hunger and stress. Regulating the hunger and thirst hormones allows the body to balance appetite and satiety, reducing the consumption of extra calories that could inhibit weight loss efforts.
Maintaining a proper sleep schedule results in feeling rested, giving you the energy to be more active and better able to make healthy choices.
12. Manage Stress
Stress can devastate our physical and mental health, significantly impacting weight loss. Being stressed raises cortisol levels, and chronically elevated cortisol may inhibit fat burning.
Also, have you heard of “stress-eating”?
There is truth in the name, as ongoing stress releases cortisol, which increases appetite, usually resulting in overeating .
13. Keep Moving
Incorporating an exercise routine on top of eating healthy foods and staying hydrated will ensure you keep a calorie deficit, resulting in weight loss.
Keep it fun and mix it up; exercise is a lot less burdensome if it is something you enjoy.
Aside from a consistent exercise routine, here are a few ways you can increase your movement every day:
- Park further away: don’t go for the closest parking spot; get in those extra steps.
- Lunch break workout: Taking 15 minutes to do a quick, higher-intensity exercise can benefit your weight loss efforts.
- Take the stairs: opt for the stairs over the elevator; stairs are one of the easiest ways to add movement to your day.
- Make leisure time more active: Rest and relaxation are essential for overall well-being. Adding a little movement to leisure activities can help you burn extra calories. Try a stationary bike instead of watching your favorite show from the couch.