Any search online for healthy weight loss tips will yield a lot of empty promises.
Excess weight is an issue many people struggle with. It’s something I used to struggle with too when I was obese.
Unfortunately, a lot of ill weight loss advice is having people do all sorts of crazy things. It’s also creating an unhealthy perception behind body image.
What’s lacking are effective weight loss tips backed by actual evidence.
Since losing over 70lbs I’ve been passionate about helping others become their best. These weight loss guidelines are straight from my Beauty Body Plan. They worked for me, and they can work for you too.
Here are 29 healthy weight loss tips backed by evidence and results.
1. Drink Water
Water is an essential element for life. Yet many of us are walking around without drinking enough.
It’s recommended for women to drink 4-7 cups of water per day. Men should drink 6-11 cups.
On top of weight loss benefits, drinking water can also help prevent chronic illnesses like heart disease.
2. Stop Drinking Soda
Tempting as it may be, soda doesn’t constitute as water.
You won’t get the health benefits you get from water by drinking soda. You have to actually drink water.
Soda is essentially a pure form of liquid simple carbohydrates (a.k.a. sugar). And basically nothing else (like healthy nutrition). If there’s one thing soda is great for, it’s unnecessarily creating an excess of energy. This can lead to unwanted weight gain.
If you love soda, and don’t like water, try tea or flavored waters instead. I like making a big batch of tea every morning. I then sip it throughout the day.
3. Eat Salads First
Or an apple.
Like apples, salads tend to be low in caloric density. Which is great, because they’re nutritious and can be filling.
When you eat a salad before your main meal, you’ll tend to eat less of the main meal. This means you’ll consume less calories. Less calories means more weight loss.
Be full for longer by starting meals with a salad. Eat more volume, but less calories.
4. Cut out the Oil
It seems to be a current health craze to add oil to everything. Especially coconut oil.
The fat you eat is the fat you wear … there is nothing attractive about wearing olive, flaxseed, or corn fat — Dr. John McDougall
Oil is 100% fat. 1 tbsp of oil provides almost no valuable nutrition but is packed with almost 120 unhealthy calories.
Fat has approximately 9 calories per gram. No oil is an exemption from this rule.
If you want to increase your weight, one of the quickest ways is to add oil to everything. If you want to lose weight, adding oil can work against your goals.
It can be difficult to adjust to an oil free diet. It took me some getting used to. But you need to realize that oil just provides unnecessary calories to your diet. And those calories quickly add up.
5. Eat More Fiber
There is basically a nationwide crisis of fiber deficiency.
Really, 80g or more should be the target for optimal health.
By definition, fiber is only found in plants. This means you can’t get fiber from butter, cheese, meat or eggs. You get fiber from fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds.
You should try to gradually increase your fiber intake by 5g each week. And increase your water intake while you’re at it. Because increasing fiber too quickly can … er … you know, lead to gassiness.
How do you eat more fiber? By eating more plant foods, of course.
6. Stop Eating Sugar
What can be so bad about a white powdery substance?
Look at most nutrition labels for foods on supermarket shelves, and one of the first listed ingredients is sugar. On labels sugar can be identified as:
- Anhydrous dextrose
- Cane crystals
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Crystal dextrose
- Evaporated cane juice
- Malt syrup
Just to name a few.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with sugar. If that sugar is packaged in a whole fruit or vegetable.
If you want some sweetness, try adding succulent dates to recipes. Or use an artificial sweetener like I do — I like to use Splenda.
7. Eat More Fruit
But isn’t fruit full of sugar?
Yes, it is. That’s why you love it. And you should eat more fruit if you want to lose weight.
Fruit can curb your sweet tooth while keeping you full. Contrary to popular belief, adding more fruit to your diet will not cause you to gain weight.[29, 30, 31] Eating more fruit can actually result in greater weight loss.
You see, when we start looking at isolated elements (like sugar) instead of looking at whole packages (like fruit), we start being mislead about what’s healthy and what’s not.
Fruit is loaded with healthful carbohydrates (a.k.a. sugars), plus antioxidants, fiber and water. Remove antioxidants, water or fiber, and you’re going to have a potential problem. That’s why you need to eat whole fruits, not fruit juices, and not extracts of fruits added to packaged foods.
8. Eat Less Refined Carbs
White bread is like white sugar.
Sugar is extracted from sugar cane or sugar beets by first juicing, straining then evaporating to form crystals. Likewise in order to make white flour, wheat is separated into its three components:
The wheat bran and wheat germ are removed and go on to be reformulated and resold as other food products (usually promoted as healthy when in reality they’re not). The left over endosperm then goes on to become white flour.
From a commercial perspective, it makes a lot of sense. Wheat can be separated and sold three times. Unfortunately for us, this refinement process turns a healthy grain into junk.
Refined carbs like white bread and white pasta provide little satiety but a lot of calories. Reducing these foods can aid in your weight loss efforts.
While more nutritional than sugar, eating white bread is not nutritionally worthwhile. White bread, compared to brown bread, has a relatively high glycemic load.[35, 36] Eating refined carbohydrates can lead to unnecessary weight gain.
9. Eat Whole Grains
If white bread is off limits, does that mean you have to forgo the comfort of bread? Of course not. Just switch to whole wheat bread instead.
Switching to whole grains is probably one of the most critical steps for weight loss. It likely is what contributed the most to my overall improved health.
On top of the health benefits of whole grains, seeking whole grain products changes your perspective on foods. You start paying attention to labels more. You read ingredient lists. You learn that what’s marketed as a whole grain product is rarely actually a whole grain product.
Keep an eye out for 100% whole grain products; these are the foods you want to eat.
10. Eat lots of Carbs
First there was Atkins. Now there’s the paleo craze.
It seems a war has been declared on carbohydrates. This is despite that for decades a high carbohydrate diet has been the recommended nutritional foundation.
If high carb has been recommended for decades, why then is obesity an epidemic? Because Americans aren’t eating a high carb diet. The American diet consists of about 35% fat. And unfortunately, the majority of the carbohydrates Americans consume are refined.
For high carb foods to be a culprit, Americans would actually need to eat them first.
It’s a ludicrous idea that Americans are getting fat by eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. For these high carb foods to be a culprit, Americans would actually need to eat them first. Yet these foods are virtually absent in the standard American diet. In societies where carbohydrates are the main fuel source, body weight tends to be much lower.
It’s true that a high fat paleo type diet will lead to weight loss. It’s also true that a high carb diet will lead to weight loss. So does it really matter?
The truth of the matter is that it’s really more complicated than low-fat vs. high-fat/low-carb. There’s an incredible amount of overlap between the paleo diet and a healthy high carb diet. Namely, reduced consumption of processed foods and greater consumption of whole plant foods.
No doubt this debate will continue to go on and on. Meanwhile, mainstream nutrition science will continue to be neglected.
11. Use Smaller Plates
Your eyes are bigger than your stomach.
Every heard of of that phrase?
Humans are visual creatures. We also have a habit of eating everything on our plates, even when we’re full.
12. Stop Counting Calories
Calorie restriction is an effective weight loss tactic. But it’s hard to do long term.
Counting calories sucks. Most of us don’t like doing it. Nor do many people actually count calories accurately.
You don’t need to count calories to lose weight. Just eat the right foods. Don’t over-complicate your lifestyle by continuously using scales and math to measure foods you put into your body.
13. Serve Meals at the counter, not at the Table
Eating should be an enjoyable experience. It can also be a social experience.
How many times have you eaten something just because it’s right in front of you?
If you’re like most people, then you’re prone to overeating. When food is right there, just a scoop away, it’s all too easy to add more to your plate.
Instead of having your pots and pans on the table, leave them at the counter. Serve your meals at the counter, then sit down and enjoy your meal at the table. When you finish your plate and want more food, get up and walk to the counter to fill up your plate again.
There should be no food on the table other than what’s on your plate.
If you’re too stuffed to walk to the counter to get more food, then you’re obviously not really hungry anyway.
14. Pack your Fridge with Healthy Food
You’re bound to get hungry sometimes. And when you do, you’ll usually open up your fridge or pantry for a snack.
It’s really difficult to resist a candy bar when you know it’s sitting there all alone in your fridge. So how do you overcome this craving? By not having the candy bar in your fridge!
If you have junk food around you all the time, you’re going to make your weight loss goals harder. Instead, pack your fridge with fruits and vegetables. You don’t need to feel guilty about snacking on a carrot or an apple.
Keeping healthy food close by can help prevent you from eating unhealthy junk. It can also help you from eating for the sake of eating. If you don’t want a sweet piece of fruit, then you’re probably not really hungry.
15. Weight Loss isn’t a Sprint
Did you gain 20lbs overnight? Of course you didn’t.
Weight usually builds up slowly over time. Sometimes we gain a little extra during the holiday season. But most of the time weight unnoticeably increases over years or even decades.
So don’t expect to lose all your excess weight overnight.
The longer you have excess weight, the more difficult it becomes to lose it. That’s why you need to start today.
16. Simplify your Diet
Don’t be afraid of simple meals. Or mono-meals.
When I first started my path to health, I ate lots of fruit. Usually entire meals of fruit. Like, over 8 bananas in one sitting.
Occasionally I still eat mono-meals. Life doesn’t need to be over-complicated. Try a big meal of oranges. Or even just have a nice freshly baked loaf of bread. Maybe add a simple spread.
You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen making elaborate multi-ingredient meals. Quick potato salads can be great too.
By simplifying your eating habits you can better ensure your weight loss success.
17. Eat Spicy Food
At the very least, it’ll make your meals taste better. If you can’t deal with hotness, use some milder spices like paprika instead.
18. Eat More Vegetables
You should know this by now. But people who eat more vegetables generally weigh less.
19. Chew your Food
If you’ve grown up with an eating disorder, you probably have a habit of eating too quickly. And sometimes you might forget to chew.
When food is excitingly tasty, I just want to scarf it all down as fast as I can.
20. Sleep Well
People who sleep well are usually more slim. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep. Don’t put your health at risk.
21. Eat More Beans
96% of Americans don’t eat the recommended minimum intake of beans.
Legumes like split peas, lentils and beans are some of the highest sources of fiber. They have high satiety to keep you full for longer, helping you lose weight.
It’s really no surprise that bean eaters tend to have lower weight.[53, 54] Beans are a greatly undervalued nutritious food. With there being so many varieties, and being cheap and versatile, you really have no excuse to not eat more beans.
What? You’re worried about some gas?
Secondly, the idea that beans cause gas is mostly myth. The more regularly you eat beans, the less of a problem flatulence will be. Besides, if beans help you lose weight, does it really matter?
22. Drink Your Meals
Common touted advice for weight loss is to not drink calories.
If those “meals” constitute soda, fruit juices or protein shakes, then it’s good advice. But drinking healthy meals can actually be an effective tip for weight loss.
In a rush? Don’t skip breakfast. Take a smoothie on the go instead.
Pack as much fruit into a blender as you can and sip. Smoothies are a great way to encourage healthy eating habits. Just make sure to leave all the fiber intact — i.e. no juicing.
23. Eat More Raw
Cooked food is great. Most of my meals are cooked.
But you don’t have to cook everything. Raw meals can be equally as delicious and healthy.
Cooking is a great way to condense calories. Ever noticed how spinach dramatically shrinks when cooked? That’s because all the water is cooked out. For weight loss, condensing calories isn’t really what you want.
Raw food can be a lot more bulky than cooked. This means you can eat more volume yet less calories. Salad is one great example of a raw dish. You could also try yummy dishes like raw zucchini pasta.
Don’t be afraid of eating new raw foods. There’s really no limit to the dishes you can make.
24. Turn Everything into a Soup
Soups are fantastic for weight loss. Because they’re packed with water, they make you full more quickly.
Soups are also a great way to sneak in more vegetables. They’re super easy to make and especially comforting in the winter. Just chop up some veggies, add in a soup mix and fill with broth, then you’re good to go. Use a slow cooker or a pressure cooker for no-fuss one-pot meals.
Save time: See my 9 Top Tools for Healthy Food Preparation
25. Stop Dieting
This might seem a little surprising. But dieting isn’t a good way to lose weight.
Dieting can actually lead to more weight gain over time. Yo-yo dieting is an unhealthy practice. You’ve probably tried diets in the past. And failed. This is common for most people.
Eating broccoli doesn’t make you healthy. Just as eating chocolate doesn’t make you unhealthy.
What matters is your overall lifestyle. If you go on a diet for two weeks, you might lose a little weight. But when you go back to your original lifestyle, you’ll gain back that weight. You’ll be right back where you started.
Continuously weighing yourself won’t do you any good. Forget the scales. Forget the fads. Live healthfully instead. Your weight will drop naturally over time.
Most people who go on diets don’t keep weight off long term. You need to be committed to changing your life for the better. I didn’t lose 70lbs by going on a diet. I lost weight by correcting my lifestyle behaviors.
26. Watch Your Dressings
Salads can quickly turn from great to bad in a dash.
Many salad dressings are loaded with fat. Because of the high caloric density of dressings, and the low caloric density of salads, it doesn’t take much for the main source of calories to come from dressings opposed to healthful vegetables.
Honestly, you’re better off adding a few scoops of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream to your salad rather than olive oil. The ice cream will not only taste better, it’ll be more satiating and provide less calories.
Try flavoring your salads with vinegars. Sweet apple cider vinegar can work well. Blend up a tomato with lemon and black pepper. Or keep it simple with some mashed avocado. There are many ways to tastefully complement your salads without overdoing the calories.
27. Be Active
Notice how most of these healthy weight loss tips have been related to diet?
That’s because diet is the primary factor in weight gain or loss.
Exercise plays a small part in weight loss. For losing that last bit of weight, exercise shouldn’t be neglected.
You don’t need to do strenuous exercise to lose weight. Just be active. Instead of driving everywhere, take a walk. Instead of using the elevator, take the stairs. The little things add up, and they don’t cost a gym membership.
28. Make the Choice
Weight loss really comes down to a choice.
- Either eat junk; or,
- Eat healthy.
It really is that simple. At the end of the day, the choice is ultimately in your hands.
29. Eat the Rainbow
In case these weight loss guidelines aren’t enough, I’ve devised dietary guidelines for healthy living.
The basic premises are:
- START meals with staple sugars or starches (fruits, whole grains and legumes)
- ADD fruits and vegetables from the rainbow at least once per day
- EAT one serving of healthy fats (nuts, seeds or avocado) with nutritious additions every day
- CONSUME at least one serving of mushrooms each week
- DRINK at least 6 glasses of healthy fluids each day (e.g. herbal tea and water)
- GET 15 minutes of sun exposure every day
- LIMIT meat, dairy, eggs, mock meats, white bread, refined sugar, oil and junk foods
Your plates don’t have to be boring. Add some flare with color! Learn more about The Rainbow Plate.