The popularity of diets often comes and goes quickly, but should our eating habits be as fickle as fashion trends? It’s time to focus on what really works for long-term weight loss. We’ve compiled a list of 20 timeless tips from top health and nutrition experts that will help you get back to basics. These tips may not be as trendy as the latest fad diet, but they have stood the test of time and are sure to never go out of style.
1. Don’t skip breakfast
Eat breakfast. It’ll energize you for the day and keep your diet in check.
2. Nibble, don’t gobble
Use the three-bite rule with dessert: Have three small bites and put your fork down. Give the rest to your husband.
3. Keep the burn going
During your workout, rest no more than 30 seconds between exercises. This will dramatically bump your calorie burn. You’ll be losing weight even when you’re not working out, all throughout the day.
4. Avoid late-night snacks
Finish eating three hours before bedtime. Your metabolism slows down when you sleep so you shift from fat burning to fat storage.
5. Don’t forget the dumbbells
Increase the strength component of your workout. Adding lean muscle to your body not only tones, it also increases your metabolism.
6. Question your cravings
Before you eat, ask yourself, ‘Am I hungry?’ Unless a craving comes from hunger, eating won’t satisfy it.
7. Don’t skimp on sleep
Get six to eight hours of sleep a night. Without it, the appetite hormone ghrelin increases, which could result in weight gain. And schedule at least two three-minute breaks during the day to practice deep-breathing exercises. It will reduce the stress hormone cortisol, which builds fat around your mid-section.
8. Make your own lunch
Brown-bag it. According to a 2012 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, dieters who eat out for lunch even once a week lose 5 fewer pounds on average.
9. Train your brain
Be specific about your weight-loss goal. The brain detects a difference between where you are and where you want to be, so when you’re specific, your brain throws resources like willpower at it.
10. Start with greens
Eat in the right order. Eat vegetables first to naturally have more of them and ultimately eat fewer calories.
11. Use tried-and-true methods
Take your cue from dieters on the National Weight Control Registry who’ve lost 66 pounds (on average) and kept it off:
- 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.
- 78% are breakfast eaters.
- 62% limit TV to less than 10 hours a week.
12. Snack away
Eat every three to four hours so you’ll be equipped to say no to temptations.
13. Be goal-oriented
Set a tangible goal with a firm deadline—for example, schedule an ‘after’ photo shoot. It will help you stay motivated.
14. Steel yourself
Expect some discomfort. You’re leaving your comfort zone of old eating habits. Knowing that it can be uncomfortable will help you get through it.
15. Schedule a cheat day
Resist cravings by postponing indulging to a future day when you’re free to eat whatever you want.
16. Take notes
Keep a food journal. Women who do lose six pounds more on average, according to a 2012 study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
17. Use your arms
When you are doing a treadmill workout, add arm exercises with light weights to increase your calorie burn.
18. Never shop hungry
Always grocery-shop on a full stomach with a written list and a cart (heavy baskets trigger instant-gratification decisions, research shows).
19. Say no to soda
Put the soda down, even if it’s diet or zero calories, and step away. Drinking soda regularly may make muscles less likely to burn fat.
20. Fill up on fiber and protein
Enjoy so many nonstarchy vegetables, nuts, seeds, and lean proteins that you’re too full for anything else.