The 10 Best Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work (2022)
Updated: Feb 20
Written by: Andrea Memon, RDN, CD, LD
Losing weight can be difficult. It might even seem impossible at times. If you want to lose weight, but are discouraged, stick with me. I recently completed a Certificate of Training course for dietitians in obesity management. I'm excited to share the evidenced based weight loss tips that I learned, which actually work. In an upcoming post, I’ll share my personal weight loss tips based on experience.
Most people recognize that weight loss improves health, but you may be surprised that you do not have to achieve an ideal body weight to experience health benefits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “even a modest weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight is likely to produce health benefits, such as improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars.” This means, if you are overweight or obese at 200 pounds, and you lose just 10 pounds (or 5 percent), you will likely experience improvements in health parameters. This is good news because small goals can be less overwhelming than large goals.
Comprehensive management of obesity has evolved. A cornerstone of management continues to be modifying eating habits, but current interventions also consider other lifestyle habits that impact body weight including physical activity, sleep patterns, screen time and behavior modification. We will discuss more about these later.
Before starting your weight loss journey, it is important to figure out your motivation and why losing weight is important to you. If you are clear on this, it will help you get through difficult and challenging moments.
Now, let’s dive in! Here are the 10 best weight loss tips that are proven to actually work:
1. Research indicates that a variety of eating patterns can support weight loss, regardless of which macronutrients are emphasized, as long as there’s a reduction in calories. So, the key to this weight loss tip is to pick an eating pattern that appeals to you. This is great because it gives you flexibility! If you want to stick with your current eating pattern, that's fine, but reduce your portion sizes. If you want to try keto, go for it. If you're curious about intermittent fasting, it can work! If you prefer low-carb, get started! If you like the Mediterranean diet, do it! If you want to try intuitive eating, go ahead! Consider your health conditions, food preferences, lifestyle, and budget when formulating a plan.
2. To lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit. This weight loss tip is absolutely key, but is tricky because as you lose weight your metabolism decreases. Smaller bodies require less calories. Additionally, recent research challenges “the commonly held belief that eating 3,500 fewer calories — or burning them off exercising — will always result in a pound of weight loss.” Regardless, to lose weight you need to create a calorie gap between what you eat and what you use. To do this, you can move more, eat less or use a combined approach. A combined approach is best for long term success. This calculator is a helpful resource. It estimates how many calories per day you should eat to reach your weight loss goal. The calculator provides an estimate based on your age, sex, physical activity, current weight, goal weight and weight loss time frame.
3. Increase your physical activity to meet or exceed the current recommendations. Monitor your screen time use and examine if it is an obstacle to achieving the following physical activity guidelines for adults, per week:
At least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, like brisk walking or fast dancing
At least 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, like jogging, aerobic dancing, active biking, singles tennis, or hiking uphill
At least two days of muscle-strengthening activity, like lifting weights or doing push-ups
4. Monitor your physical activity with a health information tracker, and compare your weekly activity to the recommendations above. The Apple Watch SE and the Apple Watch Series 7 are two health information trackers. To learn more about the best fitness trackers according to the New York Times and Wirecutter, read this guide.
5. Track your food intake. An example of this is writing down what you eat each day. This can be done with a paper and a pencil or through an app on your smartphone. Here is a list of smartphone apps to try.
6. Decrease the amount of sugar sweetened beverages (soda, juice, etc) you drink. Even better, stop drinking sugar sweetened beverages all together! This simple step you can start today and puts you on the path to shedding extra pounds. A friend stopped drinking sweetened tea and lost 15 pounds in 3 months after only making this one diet modification. How amazing is that?!
7. Try a meal replacement drink or a homemade smoothie to replace one meal per day. This is a convenient and effective tool to support weight loss, so if this appeals to you definitely try it! A list of the seven best shakes, according to dietitians is here. To try a homemade smoothie, blend together the following:
1 ½ cups of unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup of frozen berries
1 big handful of frozen spinach
2 tablespoons of almond butter
2 scoops of Vital Protein collagen peptide protein powder
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Sweetened with stevia or monk fruit as desired (optional)
8. Examine your sleep quality and quantity, and improve your sleep. Poor sleep negatively affects your metabolism and increases your risk for obesity. In fact, “if you are trying to lose weight, the amount of sleep you get may be just as important as your diet and exercise.” Most adults need between 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep per night. Tracking your sleep might be helpful, and many products including watches, rings, bed mattresses and under bed tracking pads can help you. You can read more about sleep tracker products here.
9. Pay attention to your portion sizes. Portion control is an effective tool to support weight loss. Resources for portion control are MyPlate and the Diabetes Plate Method. MyPlate was created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is built around five main food groups. The portion size within each group varies for individuals based upon your age, sex, height, weight and physical activitiy. There are interactive, online tools to personalize your plan and determine the right portion size for you. Alternatively, the Diabetes Plate Method, was created by the American Diabetes Association, to help individuals manage blood sugar. The foundation of this plan is to fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ of your plate with protein and the remaining ¼ of your plate with carbohydrates. Additionally, water or zero calorie drinks are recommended. I prefer the Diabetes Plate Method. It’s simple to follow and is almost certain to support weight loss. However, either of these portion control tools are a good place to start.
10. Working with a registered dietitian might be the best weight loss tip to guarantee success. A study published in the Journal of Family Practice found that people who worked with a dietitian lost about 3 pounds compared to those who did not and gained weight. You can find a registered dietitian here at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Edited by: Megan Mikhail