This study took 2 groups of women and put them on similar hypocaloric diets (meaning below maintenance level so that a caloric deficit was present). The only difference between the diets of the two groups is that 43% of one group’s daily calorie intake came from sucrose (aka table sugar), while just 4% of the other group’s daily calorie intake came from sucrose. Guess what happened? Despite one group eating a VERY high sugar diet and the other group eating a VERY low sugar diet, they both lost equal amounts of weight and body fat. Why? Because it’s NOT the source of your calories that causes fat loss, it’s the presence of a caloric deficit.
When it comes down to it, the things we know to be true about weight loss are relatively simple, and certainly few. They’re also extremely effective when actually carried out. So, from the researchers who have studied this stuff for decades, here’s pretty much everything we know about weight loss today, whittled down to six points about how the body actually gains, loses, and maintains its weight.
I mean, people lose fat on low carb diets, low fat diets, paleo diets, vegan diets, raw food diets, diets that involve eating “clean” instead of “dirty” or not eating after a certain time at night, and countless other types of diets that involve every gimmick, fad and method you can think of except the specific task of creating a caloric deficit. But yet, they have all caused people to successfully lose fat.
But you’ll likely experience some benefit before then. Fiber helps slow down your digestion and requires more chewing, which helps signal to your body that it’s full, keeping your hunger in check throughout the day. One small study published in Food & Nutrition Research actually found that men who ate meals rich in high-fiber foods, like beans and peas, felt more satisfied than those who focused only on protein-rich foods, like pork and veal. Adult women should aim to eat 25 to 28 grams of fiber per day.
Trying to lose weight is a lot like cleaning out the basement: It’s overwhelming and near impossible to know where to start—even when you don’t have a ton of weight to lose. But getting the body you’ve always wanted doesn’t have to be a source of stress. If the scale won’t budge and you’re looking to shed the last 10 pounds, there are plenty of ways to reach your goal. To help you get there, we spoke with a handful of celebs that have successfully slimmed down (and kept it off) and dozens of the fitness and diet industries top experts.
Second, weight is a weird thing that can go up or down for a dozen different reasons, many of which have nothing to do with fat or muscle being lost or gained. This is part of why I recommend weighing yourself daily and only paying attention to the weekly average (full detail here), not adjusting your calories based on what you see after 1 week (I suggest waiting 2-3 weeks before making changes to confirm that changes actually need to be made), and tracking your progress using more than just your weight on the scale (body fat percentage, measurements, pictures, mirror).
The body doesn't react to all fats in the same way. Research correlates high intake of saturated fat (the kind in meat and dairy) to increased visceral fat, says Patton. On the other hand, monounsaturated fats (the kind in olive oil and avocados) and specific types of polyunsaturated fats (mainly omega-3s, found in walnuts, sunflower seeds, and fatty fish like salmon) have anti-inflammatory effects in the body, and if eaten in proper portions may do your body good. But Patton warns that eating too much fat of any kind increases your calorie intake and could lead to weight gain, so enjoy healthy fats in moderation. More: Good Fats, Bad Fats: How to Choose
Start a calorie journal in which you write down the values of everything you eat. Creating a calorie journal and writing in it consistently will help you know when you've gone over your limit. It will tell you what foods worked when and whether they tasted good. It will give you a record of your struggles, which are always fun to look back on after the pain has passed!
All meals are important, but breakfast is what helps you start your day on the right track. The best, heartiest breakfasts are ones that will fill you up, keep you satisfied, and stave off cravings later in the day. Aim to eat anywhere between 400 and 500 calories for your morning meal, and make sure you're including a source of lean protein plus filling fat (e.g., eggs, beans, unsweetened Greek yogurt, nuts, or nut butters) and fiber (veggies, fruit, or 100% whole grains). Starting your day with a blood sugar-stabilizing blend of nutrients will help you slim down without sacrifice.
Putting aside time on Sundays to prep for the week ahead will not only save you countless dollars in last-minute takeout meals, but it will also save you a tremendous amount of excess calories in the long run. When we make decisions based on emotions and convenience we often find ourselves tied to less-healthy fare. White suggests getting in the kitchen, throwing on some good music, and preparing your meals for the days ahead. This way you can control ingredients, portions, and also free up time during the week to tend to your usual obligations. If you stick with it in the long-term, this will translate to less overall body fat as a result.
You already know to get your dressing on the side because restaurants tend to drown salads with too much. (Learn more ways a salad can make you fat.) But instead of pouring it on or even dipping the leaves in, do the “fork dip.” Stick the tongs of an empty fork into the dish of dressing before skewering any salad. You’ll be surprised by how much flavor you’ll get, but with way fewer calories. Next, check out some more weird ways to lose weight that sound odd, but totally work.
Ok, maybe not literally, because that may take some of the magic out of it. But when you have sex—and orgasms in particular—your body releases a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin chills you out and reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone that makes you hold onto belly fat. So not only will you feel amazing, you can write off time in the sheets as part of your weight loss regimen. (And don’t forget the fact that you don’t need a partner to take advantage of this happy tip.)
Sure, ketchup is tasty, but it’s also a serious saboteur when it comes your weight loss efforts. Ketchup is loaded with sugar — up to four grams per tablespoon — and bears little nutritional resemblance to the fruit from which it’s derived. Luckily, swapping out your ketchup for salsa can help you shave off that belly fat fast. Fresh tomatoes, like those used in salsa, are loaded with lycopene, which a study conducted at China Medical University in Taiwan links to reductions in both overall fat and waist circumference. If you like your salsa spicy, all the better; the capsaicin in hot peppers, like jalapeños and chipotles, can boost your metabolism, too.