Weightloss

5 Diet Habits for Weight Loss That Science Says Actually Work

How many times have you followed tips to shed extra weight and, well, gotten nowhere fast? Achieving little to no progress is frustrating when you’re putting in solid time and effort. Even worse is losing weight only to put it back on faster than you lost it. Chin up, because your scale’s about to move in a favorable direction, and so are you. We’re here with five diet habits for weight loss that science says actually work.

You’ve heard the classic expression that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is—and diet plans that purport to be quick and easy are no exception. The most important step to take before starting a successful weight loss journey is to identify and incorporate healthy changes in your daily lifestyle that you can reasonably maintain long after you reach your goal. This means eating well and staying active on a consistent basis.

Read on to learn five diet habits to adopt that will lead to results. And next, don’t miss You’ll Never Lose Weight if You Still Do These 5 Things, Expert Says.

Be 100% committed to your weight loss journey.

mature woman holding bowl of salad at home, easy ways to lose weight when you're just starting out
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Weight loss really is a “journey,” because it’s a long-term commitment that comes with its share of ups, downs, and obstacles. Succeeding requires you to embrace positive changes that you will actually stick to.

The Mayo Clinic suggests being 100% ready to commit to your diet. For example, are you willing to make time to switch up your eating routines? Are you ready to bump up your activity level? Do you have solid time to carve out in your schedule in order to make these tweaks to your routine? Being totally on board with doing whatever it takes for “team you” to succeed is a must.

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Plus, this approach is backed by science. Review articles support that “predictors of successful weight control” include motivating yourself and gaining that inner drive and commitment to dropping the weight, according to the Frontiers in Public Health.

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Have attainable expectations.

Sure, it’s great to be an overachiever in most situations. But when it comes to your health and weight loss, it’s important to have expectations that are reasonably attainable. Yes, it’s important to push yourself when you set a weight loss goal. But if your end game is too farfetched, you may be setting yourself up for failure from the get-go. You need to be ready to take responsibility for your dieting and stay motivated through the entire process.

It’s a great idea to set small targets to work toward and fully embrace each success. If you don’t reach one of your marks, don’t be too hard on yourself. Use it as a learning experience by reflecting on what went wrong. Stay positive and determine how you can reach your next goal. After all, research shows that just 19% of individuals reach their “resolution” goals over a two-year period.

Make healthy food choices.

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It’s typical to gain weight as you age. It might not be enough to stand out at first, but it accumulates fast if you don’t take the right steps.

Making healthy food choices is an oldie-but-goodie habit you’ve heard plenty of times before for a reason. Research shows that making healthy dietary choices can help avoid weight gain, and reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and more. It’s important to maintain a diet that consists of whole foods and grains, nuts, fruits, veggies, and healthy protein, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health explains. Cut back or exclude highly processed food items, sugary beverages, processed meat, red meats, and refined grains.

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Maintain a solid balance of diet and exercise.

A healthy diet and exercise coupled together is truly the healthiest marriage on earth. Maintaining a balanced lifestyle will provide you with the best results when trying to burn calories, according to George Washington University. Of course, the more you diet and work out, the quicker you will see a difference on the scale. Staying active will keep you healthy and feeling your best, help to relieve stress, and give your energy a boost.

When you’re trying to shed some pounds, the more the merrier when it comes to working out. The more active you are, the more calories your body will torch. Dieting and exercising together will allow you to establish a “calorie deficit,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s important to consume fewer calories than you torch away.

Make your journey a lifestyle.

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Don’t get things twisted: Getting fit and healthy doesn’t finish after you lose weight! In order to stay that way, you need to take the necessary steps to make your journey part of your everyday life. As a matter of fact, the CDC explains that losing weight in a healthy manner doesn’t revolve around a specific program or diet. It’s a “lifestyle with healthy eating patterns, regular physical activity, and stress management.”

Establishing good habits when it comes to eating and staying active will put you on the right path to reaching your goals and keeping the weight you lost off permanently. It’s all about making smart choices with food and staying active and on track.

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Think about adding little bouts of activity wherever you can each day. For instance, park further away when running errands, stand at your desk instead of sitting (or invest in a walking pad so you can get in some steps while you work), do simple exercises while completing household chores, be the one to take out the trash, and always opt for the staircase instead of taking the elevator. It will be important to continue to exercise and keep an active mindset to keep your weight off after you lose it.

Alexa Mellardo

Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa

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