Dropping a couple of dress sizes seems to be on everyone’s agenda this year, but still, very few people manage to reach their weight loss goals. Out of those who do manage to lose a few pounds, many tend to gain it all back quickly once they go off their diets.
So, what is the secret to losing weight and keeping it off forever? Four health experts are weighing in with their number one full-proof strategy that can help anyone reach their fitness goals.
Plenty of researches in the past have shown that adults who get enough shut-eye time tend to maintain a healthy weight whereas those who get less than 7 hours of sleep at night make poor lifestyle choices which reflects badly on their waistlines.
Andrea Spaeth, a researcher from Rutgers University’s department of kinesiology and health, believes that sleep is one of the most crucial factors which affects your weight. Skimping on sleep can throw your hunger hormones out of whack and disrupt your inner clock which determines when to send hunger cues to your stomach. From Spaeth’s observation, people who aren’t well-rested snack more often and indulge in sugary, unhealthy foods to satisfy their cravings.
Spaeth believes that the rising obesity epidemic has a lot to do with the fact that at least one in three American adults don’t get enough sleep during the week. She recommends that people who have too much on their plate should plan their week’s schedule in advance so that they are able to dedicate 7-8 hours to slumber every night. Creating a healthy sleeping environment by dimming the lights, limiting sounds and shutting down all electronic devices can help you doze off quicker and get more hours of sleep.
Don’t Eat Too Late
The number one weight-loss tip according to PhD researcher Courtney Peterson is time-restricted eating, commonly known as intermittent fasting, which involves an 8 to 10-hour eating window followed by 14 to 16 hours of fasting (water, tea and coffee are permitted). Peterson says that she has been able to lose 30 pounds with time-restricted eating, and has also managed to keep the weight off with the unique eating approach.
Past studies have shown that time-restricted eating, when combined with fasted cardio or exercise, can have a number of benefits for fat-burning and weight-loss. A research involving over 400 participants showed that people who ate their meals at 3 p.m. were more likely to lose weight than those who delayed eating, despite eating the same number of calories and having the same exercise routine.
Courtney Peterson says that those who are new to the concept of time-restricted eating should start with 12 hours of fasting followed by 10 hours of eating window and slowly extend the fasting period to match their weight-loss goals.
Keep an Eye on the Scale
Weighing scale is a great motivational tool that can be used to assess your weight-loss progress and help you determine how much more effort you need to put into your diet and exercise to achieve your final goal. Dori Steinberg, Duke Global Health Science Center’s director, has conducted plenty of studies to determine what motivates people to lose weight. According to her experience, people who step onto the scale more frequently tend to lose more weight than others.
Steinberg says that most people believe that frequent weigh-ins can lead to over-eating, demotivation and depression. However, none of the participants in his study reported any downsides of regular weigh-ins.
Change Your Lifestyle
Lisa Zucker, MS, RD, has plenty of research experience under her belt, and she believes that an easy way to stick to a new diet or exercise routine is by changing your entire lifestyle instead of tweaking one or two aspects of it.
Zucker has been motivating her clients to lose weight and become more active for over a decade at University of Colorado’s health and wellness center. According to her, if people don’t change their behaviors forever, they will tend to lose weight only temporarily.
If you want to make a healthier change in your life, start by developing positive habits instead of getting rid of the negative ones. Ask around in your friend and family circle for support you and hold you accountable on your journey.