Losing weight can seem like a daunting task when you’re just starting out. With so many weight loss methods out there to choose from, it’s normal to feel a bit intimidated. And since you can’t simply snap your fingers and magically slim down to your ideal weight, we’re here to help with the best-ever weight loss tips, brought to you by the experts who work with clients every day to help them reach their weight loss goals.
Of course, everyone’s body is beautifully unique, so what works for one person might not be quite as effective for someone else. That’s why we curated a whopping 50 tips to choose from so you can see what works best for you. Implementing good-for-you habits into your daily routine is necessary when you want to shed unwanted pounds and reveal a healthier version of yourself. Just remember—taking the first big step is usually the most difficult part!
To put together this comprehensive guide, we delved deep into the latest research findings and enlisted the wisdom of registered dietitians and certified personal trainers. With their expertise, you can feel confident knowing that these weight loss tips are not only rooted in science but have also produced real-world results.
Keep reading to learn what the experts have to say about their best-ever weight loss tips, and when you’re finished, don’t miss out on The 20 Worst Ways to Lose Weight.
One of the best weight loss tips and most useful tools you can follow is listening to your body to understand its hunger and fullness cues. Doing so can ensure you’re consuming enough food, eating before you’re “hangry,” and finishing meals when you feel satisfied (before reaching the point of being way too full).
“Learning and honoring these cues takes practice, so be patient with yourself,” Ashleigh Kidd, RD, LDN, a registered dietitian with the F45 Challenge Team, stresses. “If you don’t know where to start, check out a hunger/fullness scale and consider journaling your hunger/fullness feelings to explore what those feel/look like for you.”
Instead of thinking about items you should take out of your diet, Kidd suggests asking yourself what nutrients you should add to it. “When we eliminate foods or put ‘food rules’ into place, it often leads to increased consumption of the very food we’ve put off limits,” she explains. “Not to mention, heavily restrictive diets may lead to obsessive thoughts about food, food guilt/shame, disordered eating patterns, overeating and/or binging, weight cycling, low energy levels, and a poor relationship with food.”
Figuring out the areas of your diet where you can add nutrition and greater satisfaction to snacks and meals is key. You can do this by asking yourself what you already have on your plate and what’s missing, then add whatever’s missing!
“For example, if you have tortillas, you have carbs. What’s missing? Protein, fat, veggies/color. [So,] what can [you] add? Ground turkey/lean ground beef (protein); cheese and/or avocado (fat); and bell peppers, onions, shredded lettuce, or cabbage (color and fiber),” Kidd explains.
Protein-packed foods help you feel full and satisfied. Kidd recommends incorporating protein into the majority of your meals, ideally filling up one-quarter of your plate with it, which usually amounts to 20 to 40 grams of protein.
“Try to include protein in snacks, and pair with a carbohydrate source (i.e. Greek yogurt with fruit and hemp seeds),” Kidd recommends. “It’s important to remember that nutrition isn’t one size fits all. Protein needs are unique based on things like body weight, activity level, medical history, and more. If you’re not sure how to determine your protein needs or want to make sure you’re consuming enough, reach out to your medical provider.”
Another one of the best weight loss tips from Kidd? “Aim to eat a balanced meal most of the time”—with an emphasis on “most” of the time. “Not every meal will be perfectly balanced and that’s okay,” she says. “Strive for balance overall.”
For example, a well-balanced plate would typically include protein on one-quarter of the plate, fat (through sauces, cooking oils, animal protein, or avocado), starchy carbs on one-quarter of the plate, color on one-quarter of the plate (veggies and fruits), and items you actually enjoy eating. If you don’t include foods you genuinely love, this could result in overeating or unhealthy snacking later on, Kidd cautions.
Adding a mindfulness element to your snacks and meals can help you truly listen to the hunger and fullness cues we spoke about before.
Kidd encourages you to eliminate unnecessary distractions while you’re eating; assess how hungry you are before, during, and after consuming a meal; and reflect back on your meal time. (For instance, do you feel like you ate enough? Are you happy with the foods you chose? How did this meal make you physically feel?)
“Take a moment and ask yourself what sounds good to eat and what will make [you] feel good,” Kidd suggests. “For example, if an apple sounds good but you know you won’t be eating a full meal for a while, honor your hunger by enjoying the apple, but add some nut butter (fat and some protein), to keep you satisfied until your next meal. It’s difficult to eat mindfully when we’re under-fueled!”
Skipping meals deprives your body of necessary fuel and nutrients. It’s a major no-no if you want to lose weight. Rather than skipping out on meals, it’s important to think about adding healthy foods to your diet that will leave you feeling satisfied.
“When we skip meals, we’re more likely to eat past fullness at the next meal and not be as easily satisfied,” Kidd explains. “Skipping meals can also throw off your body’s hunger/fullness cues, leave [you] feeling out of control around food, and cause a dip in energy.”
Opt for minimally processed foods a good chunk of the time, as they’re packed with unhealthy ingredients and excess calories and don’t offer much nutritional value.
“Minimize ultra-processed food intake (please note that these can be enjoyed mindfully), and increase consumption of whole, nutrient-dense foods, providing more nutrition and keeping you full and satisfied longer,” Kidd says. “Did you notice I didn’t say to cut out all processed foods? Having some ‘convenience’ foods on hand can actually make it easier to maintain healthy habits and help us balance our meals (like frozen veggies or canned tuna), especially when we’re lacking time.”
Making healthy meals at home puts you in charge of all the ingredients that go into them, something you can’t do when eating out.
“You don’t need to skip out on date night, girls’ night, or social events, because these are important, too,” Kidd points out. “But try to plan for more meals at home if you’re someone who dines out frequently. This doesn’t mean you have to meal prep if that’s not your thing—maybe try ‘food prepping’ where you prep certain foods for the week so that they’re easy to grab and add to a meal (i.e. washing and chopping your produce so that part is already finished when you’re preparing your meal).”
When it comes to fitness, nutrition, and overall health, Kidd says to nix the “all-or-nothing” mentality. “Quick-fix diets can be appealing with their dramatic ‘results’ and promises, and they give the illusion that we have the control,” she explains. “But in reality, those fad diets aren’t sustainable and are designed to fail you (notice I didn’t say for you to fail them). If they truly worked, we wouldn’t be trying them over and over again, right? Improving your nutrition and relationship with food takes time and support, remember to give your grace and patience.”
Setting short-term and long-term goals for yourself is a smart habit to consider. Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN—the founder and director of Real Nutrition, a New York City-based private practice dedicated to healthfully and successfully guiding clients to their optimal nutrition, weight, and overall wellness, explains, “Weight loss takes time, and it can be frustrating when you’re not losing as many pounds as you expected. Having and achieving small, short-term goals brings you the sense of accomplishment that will motivate you to continue working toward your long-term goals.”
Losing weight takes hard work, dedication, and time. It’s important to understand what works and doesn’t work for your body, and have patience with the process.
“Everyone is built differently, and some people may lose weight faster than others,” Shapiro explains. “Looking for quick results and going too hard and fast (e.g. extreme detox or Whole30 program) can have adverse effects such as binging, regain of water weight.”
Good old H2O is crucial for many things when it comes to your health, including boosting your weight loss efforts. “Hydration is an often overlooked step in weight loss,” Shapiro tells us. “Studies have shown that drinking enough water plays a role in weight loss through reduced calorie intake and increased breakdown of fat.” So fill up your water bottle, and drink up!
Not all carbs are bad! As a matter of fact, some of the best healthy carbs for weight loss—such as bean pastas, high-fiber crackers, chickpeas, and oats—are an excellent addition to your diet.
“Don’t be afraid of carbs or fat,” Shapiro stresses. “Avoiding or restricting one specific food group can result in overeating other foods. Not all carbs and fats are created equal. Adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates and healthy fats are important for sustaining energy and satiety.”
Make “treat meals” your indulgence rather than a full day of “cheats” when it comes to eats. “[Opt for] treat meals instead of cheat days, because restricting yourself from your cravings can lead to extreme overeating and excessive caloric intake on a cheat day,” Shapiro says. “Fitting in a treat during a meal or anytime in a day/week/month can be more sustainable.”
Controlling your portion sizes is another crucial healthy eating habit for weight loss you should stick with. “Portion control is equally important as what you are eating,” Shapiro says. “Excessive intake of any food, even protein, can turn into fat.” You can practice portion control by using smaller dinner plates or not finishing all the food that’s on your plate.
Tracking your eating habits, meals, calories, and even your favorite healthy recipes in a food journal is the name of the game. In fact, it’s a tip experts swear by. “A food journal helps you see your dietary pattern and keeps you accountable,” Shapiro says. “It is also a low-cost weight loss strategy.”
Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, a registered dietitian, certified specialist in sports dietetics, and member of our Medical Expert Board, agrees the power of the food journal is real, noting, “Tracking your meals and snacks can help you become more aware of your eating habits, identify problem areas, and make necessary adjustments. You can’t manage what you’re not aware of!
If you haven’t performed high-intensity interval training (HIIT) before, now is the time to start. “These short, intense bursts of activity followed by brief rest periods can help boost metabolism and burn more calories in less time,” Goodson explains.
A weight loss journey is always much more enjoyable when you’re going through it with a friend, loved one, or group of individuals who share the same goal. Goodson encourages, “Share your weight loss goals with a friend or join a support group. Having someone to hold you accountable can boost motivation and commitment.”
Enjoying smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day may be the way to go. “Instead of having one big meal in the morning and one in the evening, have four smaller meals throughout the day,” suggests Richard Biglia, NASM CPT, iFIT and NordicTrack trainer. “Your body stores calories in order to hold onto energy. If you skip meals, your body will crave bigger portions, leading you to overeat and intake more calories than you need.”
Constantly reaching for snacks throughout the day is a surefire way to add unwanted, excess calories to your daily count, along with unhealthy ingredients. “Cut down on snacking throughout the day,” Biglia says. “I am a big snacker as well, and when you’re bored you tend to snack, consuming a lot of calories you don’t need. Many snacks contain a lot of sugar and calories that we don’t need to eat throughout our day.”
Small changes can make a big difference in the long run. Little things like opting for the stairs rather than taking the elevator or escalator, for instance, will help you increase your daily step count and burn more calories. “It’s a quick opportunity to get a few extra steps in, and those small changes add up when it comes to contributing to your fitness journey,” Biglia explains.
If you’re not already doing strength work in your fitness routine, it’s time to change that. “During a weight loss journey, many think you have to do a lot of cardio including cycling and running,” Biglia tells us. “There’s a misconception that sweating a lot leads to weight loss. Weight and strength training is very important for a fitness journey.”
Many individuals who want to lose weight also hope to achieve a toned, sculpted look, and to do so, Jason Grillo, NASM CPT a personal trainer and certified weight loss specialist, says it’s important to both strength train and incorporate cardio.
Melting fat while preserving lean muscle “will not happen without strength training (weights/bands/resistance machines),” says Grillo. “However, when a lot of trainers will say you need to ditch cardio and focus solely on lifting weights to lose weight, I am not going to say that. Your heart is still the most important muscle in your body, and your cardiovascular system needs to be trained. Cardio training a few times a week will also help you create that calorie deficit.”
Along with protein, fiber is a diet staple for weight loss. “Ensuring sufficient fiber intake makes you feel full and helps you avoid eating too much of the other things during a meal. It is also important for bowel movement,” Shapiro explains.
Some of the best high-fiber foods for weight loss include fresh figs, almonds, flaxseeds, blackberries, baked acorn squash, edamame, bulgur, and raw avocados. We’d say it’s about time to update your shopping list. (Just be sure to drink plenty of water when boosting the amount of fiber you eat!)
Indulging in a morning latte at your favorite coffee joint can cost you excess, unnecessary calories. Drinking your calories is something Grillo cautions against. This tip circles back to weight loss basics: calories in versus calories out.
“Dieters put themselves behind the eight-ball by consuming too many liquid calories,” Grillo explains. “Not only can these calories add up quickly, but they usually are not nutritionally dense, leaving a dieter remaining hungry after consuming. For example, a dieter with the goal of 2,000 calories a day can start the day at the coffee shop consuming a 500-calorie frappuccino, thinking, ‘I just had a coffee,’ but really, they just used 25% of their calorie budget on a coffee that left their stomach still feeling empty. Stick to low-calorie drinks such as water, regular coffee, tea, and diet beverages.”
Being sedentary for a good portion of the day can be toxic to your overall health and weight loss efforts, so incorporate more movement into your routine. “Changes such as parking your car a little further at work, taking the stairs up two floors at your apartment, and getting up for three minutes of jumping jacks in between your favorite TV show commercial break can help you burn a lot more calories during the course of weeks/months,” Grillo explains.
In addition, consider taking your work calls from the treadmill or while going on a brisk walk around your block. A walking pad is always a great investment, as you can tune into meetings and get some work done while raking in more steps!
Grillo encourages you to “dig deep” and “remember how capable you are.” Transforming your body through weight loss can be one of the most challenging and strenuous mental and physical milestones you may ever face in your life. “Remember why you started, remember you do not have to be perfect, and remember how great it is going to feel when you accomplish what you are looking to accomplish,” Grillo says.
Many diets are incredibly restrictive, which makes them unsustainable to maintain in the long term. (Not to mention, they can be all-around unenjoyable!) “For example, removing an entire food group such as carbs from your diet might lead to losing weight since carbs are not being overeaten, but eventually, it is going to be really hard for a dieter to not crave those foods that they have been missing and over indulge which will lead to gaining weight back,” Grillo tells us.
That’s why he suggests practicing “flexible dieting,” or following the 80-20 rule. This means consuming mostly “healthy foods” that are nutrient-dense 80% of the time and enjoying your favorite foods the remaining 20% of the time.
There’s no need to over-complicate things. Rather, keep it simple! Calories consumed, minus calories out, will result in fat loss.
“A major problem with losing weight is that the advice can seem overwhelming,” Grillo explains. “Thousands of different exercises. Hundreds of thousands of different supplements. Hundreds of different diets. The confusion can lead to analysis paralysis and a lack of action. The fact is that any plan that works is going to work because it is cheating a calorie deficit. Simply focusing on moving your body more and eating less will lead to inevitable fat loss over time.”
You won’t get anywhere in your weight loss progress—or any fitness goal, for that matter—without consistency. So focus on “consistent imperfection,” as Grillo calls it. “Consistent imperfection beats inconsistent perfection when it comes to weight loss,” he says. “If there is one ‘golden rule’ of losing weight and getting fit, it is consistency. Consistent imperfection allows a weight loss hopeful to still enjoy their life and make progress. For example, aim to work out three to four times per week and to eat healthy eight days out of 10 over the course of months, instead of trying to work out seven days a week and eat perfectly healthy every day, just to fall off in a week.”
Allowing your body to rest and recover is just as important as your time spent prepping healthy meals and working out at the gym. So be sure you’re getting enough solid rest, and if you aren’t, it may be time to reevaluate your bedtime routine and sleep environment.
“Weight loss hopefuls who believe they are dieting and working out correctly but not getting results, sleep is usually the missing factor,” Grillo says. “Your body needs to rest and recover and that does not happen without proper sleep. The lack of sleep will also play with your hunger hormones and cause you to become more hungry throughout the day. Your body also does not make its physical changes during the actual time of exercise, it only makes its changes when you are at rest.”
Establishing a purpose in each and every workout is the name of the game if you want to see noticeable results. “When it comes to exercise, intensity is everything,” Grillo explains. “Somebody can work out two times a week for 30 minutes and get better results than somebody working out four times a week for an hour. Make sure you walk away from each workout feeling challenged and accomplished.”
Allowing rays of sunshine to flow into your home gives you an instant happiness boost. It’s such a simple act you can start doing first thing when you wake up, and it can even positively impact your weight loss efforts. For instance, a study in PLOS One revealed that a minimum of 45 minutes of morning sunlight over a three-week span decreased body fat and lowered appetite in obese women. Needless to say, let the light shine in!
Along your journey, you should be your absolute best motivator. Some days you may see more progress than others, but it’s all part of the process. Thinking positively, celebrating little victories, and not letting yourself get down in the dumps will help keep you inspired. “Being too hard on yourself and letting external factors pressure [you] can result in us giving up, or overeating to cope with stress. It’s important to be gentle with yourself,” Biglia says.
Rather than a cup of joe (which typically comes with sugar and cream/milk), consider making green tea your go-to caffeine source in the a.m. and throughout the day. This soothing sip basically comes without any calories and is an excellent addition to your weight loss regimen—research says so. According to a 2008 study published in Physiology & Behavior, green tea proved to be an effective weight loss method among obese subjects. The participants who had green tea extract for 12 weeks ended up losing around 7.3 pounds.
We know that not all carbs are bad, but as with anything, it’s also important to not overdo it. So the next time you make yourself a sandwich, consider this little tweak: Ditch the bread on the top, and make it an open-faced sandwich! For instance, one slice of multi-grain bread contains 109 calories, so by eliminating the top slice, you are nixing 109 excess, unnecessary calories from your meal! Just be sure your sandwich contains plenty of protein and fiber so you stay full.
Let’s be honest: Pasta with sauce and a sprinkle of cheese is a household staple meal. But eating too many refined carbs isn’t doing your waistline or weight any favors. That’s why you should consider swapping out your go-to pasta, like classic spaghetti, for a healthier alternative, like zucchini noodles or a bean-based option. Two ounces (about one-fourth of a box) of Banza chickpea spaghetti, for instance, offers 14 grams of protein, along with almost 8 grams of fiber, and is 190 calories. It’s all about getting creative and making smarter meal choices.
Speaking of making smarter, healthier choices, consider swapping out the cooking oil you typically use for coconut oil. According to one 2011 study published in ISRN Pharmacology, incorporating virgin coconut oil into the diet of obese male participants substantially reduced their weight circumference.
Above all, your mental health should come first. Where it makes the most sense, establish healthy boundaries, learn when to take a break to rest when you feel you need it, meditate, and find ways that can help you reduce stress, Kidd says. After all, according to Goodson, “High stress levels can lead to emotional eating.” She suggests, “Incorporate stress-reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine.”
The saying “you are what you eat” rings true. If your diet consists of a lot of highly processed foods and takeout meals, you will likely begin to feel tired and weighed down. That’s why eating more whole foods is good for the mind, body, and soul. “It can be hard with a busy schedule, but eating more fresh foods and cooking with more natural, whole ingredients will help you on your fitness journey,” Biglia says.
You may be surprised to hear that your bedtime and waking time can impact weight loss. According to a Northwestern Medicine study, night owls are at a greater risk of gaining weight. The research showed that individuals who hit the sheets late and slept in consumed a greater amount of fast food and had greater body weights. Those who slept in ate 248 more calories in a day, twice the amount of fast food, and only half the amount of fruits and veggies as those who went to bed earlier.
Having nutritious snacks and meal options readily available makes healthy eating much more of a seamless process. “Planning allows you to make healthier choices and avoid impulsive, unhealthy options,” Goodson tells us.
Mapping out snack and meal ideas before you head to the grocery store is a great habit to get into. This way, whenever the hunger kicks in, you know you’ll be reaching for something healthy in the pantry or fridge!
When in doubt, it’s always beneficial to seek support from a professional who can define the best course of attack for you, says Derek Pratt, ISSA elite trainer and C4 Energy ambassador. A fitness trainer can help come up with a personalized workout program, and a registered dietitian can help design a customized meal plan you’ll actually enjoy and stick with.
Rather than fully enjoying the morning, many of us rush through it to get to work on time. But skipping out on breakfast is a major no-no, according to Pratt. Starting your day with a well-balanced breakfast, along with other healthy habits, can really set you up for success throughout the rest of the day. For instance, consuming regular meals and not skipping breakfast can help you maintain stable blood sugar levels and decrease your urge to reach for the snack drawer, Pratt says.
If you need some inspiration, consider a weight-loss-friendly breakfast such as oats with veggies—such as shredded zucchini—blended in. This way, you’re killing two birds with one stone: You’re getting your fill of oats and veggies, which both offer healthy doses of fiber to keep you full. Top off your bowl of oats with nuts, seeds, and some fresh fruit.
Opening the windows to allow fresh air to flow inside or heading outdoors for a morning walk or jog in the cold can not only be beneficial for your mental health, but also your body weight. According to research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, being exposed to the cold in the morning could have a greater benefit at speeding up a man’s metabolism and torching fat than in the evening.
Getting engrossed in a drama-filled show is something many enjoy doing before heading to sleep, especially for those who have a TV in their bedroom. But exposing yourself to blue light doesn’t just wreak havoc on your Zzz’s—it can also be detrimental to your weight!
According to a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, those who slept in dark rooms experienced a decreased risk of being obese than individuals who slept in lighter rooms. So be sure to turn off your TV before snoozing into dreamland.
Working supplements into your diet is chock-full of health benefits from boosting the health of your bones to decreasing constipation and keeping you regular. But are you familiar with the best weight loss supplements out there? If not, it’s time to get familiar and add them to your diet. Take a closer look at vitamin B-12, inulin, probiotics, and green tea supplements to bring your weight loss to the next level.
If you really can’t live without your cup of joe, consider tweaking it. With coffee usually comes creamer, added flavoring, and sugar—all ingredients you want to avoid when trying to lose weight. Enjoying your cup of joe black and adding a natural bit of sweetness to it, like cinnamon, is a much smarter play. After all, sipping four cups of coffee per day could lower your body fat by 4%, according to a study conducted by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Grapefruit tends to get a bad wrap, but this citrusy fruit is chock-full of healthy goodness. As a matter of fact, it’s an excellent addition to your meals if you want to shed some points. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, enjoying half a fresh grapefruit before meals was associated with “significant weight loss.”
Finding the time to exercise amid an always-busy schedule can feel like a real chore. But setting aside just 30 minutes each day for an invigorating workout helps you stay consistent with your efforts—and it will pay off! “Consistently moving for 30 minutes a day is a standard, yet effective practice to incorporate into your wellness routine,” Biglia says.