It’s commonly known that people try to lose weight through all sorts of manners – from water fast, soup or oatmeal diets, and other crazy unconventional methods (ever heard of the snickers diet? yikes!). Unfortunately, not every approach is created equal. In fact, some can be detrimental to your health. Take for example crash dieting, it’s been associated with gall stone formation due to extremely low-calorie approach for the sake of weight loss. Unbelievable, isn’t it?
Well, if you want to take the safest path, here are 3 proven strategies to successfully lose weight without the risking of jeopardizing your health.
Stick to whole foods
Mainly eating whole foods will make weight loss so much easier. This is because unprocessed meals contain higher fiber content and fewer calories. And with the right mixture of macronutrients, it’s possible to stay full and satiated at every meal.
Take for example potatoes and donuts. Eating roughly 300 grams of boiled potatoes is equivalent to 1 honey glazed donut. But guess which one satiates the best?
Obviously, the former. It contains higher fiber content, vitamins, and minerals to keep you full, satiated, sane and healthy.
So if the majority of your meals consist of processed junk, shift to whole foods. It will take hunger pangs off the equation.
Count Calories (Or Servings, If It’s Too Much Headache)
Calorie counting is the cornerstone of every weight loss program due to its near accuracy and efficacy. However, for some apparent reason (calorie counting can be a hassle for most people) only a minority of the population follows this approach.
A much easier alternative would be to manage food servings instead. For example, if to maintain your current weight requires 4 servings of chicken, 4 cups of potatoes, and 4 tablespoons of oil every day, then decreasing your current intake (especially carbohydrates and oil) will instantly solve the problem.
Here’s an example…
To Maintain Weight:
- 4 servings chicken
- 4 cups potatoes
- 4 tablespoons oil
To Lose Weight:
- 3 servings chicken
- 3 servings potatoes
- 3 tablespoons oil
However, for this approach to be effective, it’s important to be familiar with your average food intake and avoid over decreasing the deficit (weight loss can halt when calories are too low, ha! Guess you didn’t know that, did you?). Once you’ve figured out the number of servings needed to maintain your weight, then subtracting the right amount will be a piece of cake!
Do Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a new dietary protocol that’s been trending for the last decade. And while its main advantage is for health benefits, it’s also an effective method for weight loss.
IF works by allocating a certain time frame in a day (usually between 4 to 8 hours) to eat the necessary calorie requirement. This is done by setting a specific fasting (at least 16 hours) and feeding periods (8 hours).
The widely method used is the 16/8 fast, which works by fasting for 16 hours (usually from 8pm to 12 noon of the next day) and 8 hours of feeding (from 12 noon to 8pm)
Here is a one day example:
1.Fast starts at 8pm (no food allowed after this period except for water and sugar free coffee or tea)
2.Sleep at 10pm
- Wake up at 6am
- Skip 7am breakfast (still no food allowed)
- Eat lunch at 12 noon
- Eat dinner at 8pm
- Then rinse and repeat
This approach is effective for two main reasons: one, the prolonged fasting enhances fat burning effects, and two, establishing a shorter feeding window (especially a 20 hour fast) makes excess calorie intake quite difficult (cause gourging a 2,000 calorie worth meal in one sitting isn’t enjoyable for some), resulting in effective caloric deficit and greater weight loss.
However, it’s recommended to learn about its pros and cons first before choosing this method. This is because the majority of dieters tend to make common mistakes when trying IF for the first time, only to get frustrated when things don’t work accordingly.
In the end, losing weight doesn’t necessarily need to be difficult. And while it’s certainly not the most enjoyable journey, learning at least one of these methods will make it bearable and satisfying. Remember, what makes a weight loss diet healthy and effective is the caloric deficit and good macronutrient ratio. But most importantly, the ability to stay consistent day in day out.
Gebhard RL, e., 2020. The Role Of Gallbladder Emptying In Gallstone Formation During Diet-Induced Rapid Weight Loss. – Pubmed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8781321> [Accessed 19 April 2020].