By and large, diet and exercise remain the most effective weight loss tools out there. Meanwhile, stomach-reducing surgery will benefit you the most if traditional weight loss methods fail.
There are tons of ways to use diet and exercise for natural fat loss. However, it’s worth noting that what works for others may not work for you, and vice versa. Some are successful by swearing off carbs while others get impressive results by hitting the gym 4 times a week.
How do you know what will work for you?
There is no way you have the time to try every type of diet and fitness strategy. So, we’re going to break down 5 ways to lose weight naturally, all backed by science.
5 Ways to Get Slim Naturally With Diet and Exercise
Here are 5 scientifically-backed tips in both nutrition and fitness that have been proven to work in losing weight naturally.
1. Choose fresh, unprocessed foods as much as possible
If possible, try to stick to eating unprocessed, home-cooked meals and whole foods. Take food activist and author Michael Pollan’s advice, “Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.”
Besides the fact that whole foods retain more nutrients than its processed counterparts.
A study comparing the number of calories burned by your body after a meal between whole food (whole grain cheddar cheese sandwich) and processed food (white bread processed cheese sandwich) revealed an interesting find. The whole grain sandwich took 50 percent more energy from the body in breaking down and absorbing its nutrients.
Aside from making an effort to opt for whole food meals, get busy in the kitchen when you can. This will also help you avoid the hefty portion sizes served at restaurants.
2. Cut down on simple carbs to make room for protein and healthy fats in your life.
Instead of feasting on simple carbs such as pastries or anything made from refined sugars, make room for protein and healthy fats in your diet.
Protein has been shown to promote satiety (feeling of fullness) than carbs. The sooner you feel full, the less likely that you’re going to reach for a second helping.
As for fats, opt for healthy variety in your diet, such as avocados, fatty fish, and nuts. If you don’t want to cut down on meat and dairy, embrace quality over quantity. For instance, prepare smaller portions of grass-fed meat instead of having a large slab of grain-fed meat on your next weekend barbecue with friends. Like protein, combining fat with fiber from fruits and vegetables can also make you feel full without eating too much.
3. Try High-Intensity Interval Training.
Instead of slogging it out on the treadmill for an hour, consider HIIT or high-intensity interval training. The main premise of HIIT is to combine periods of intense, quick bursts of activity with periods of moderate-to-low effort.
Several studies have proven that HIIT is more beneficial than a steady exercise routine in terms of fat loss and improving overall endurance. So far, completing six, 3-to-5-minute intervals, with 2 minutes of active rest, has been shown to deliver the best results.
4. Get enough sleep.
What does sleep have to do with weight loss? It turns out that people who sleep fewer hours a night are more likely to be obese or overweight. It may have to do with sleep’s role in regulating appetite and how your body breaks down glucose (sugar).
Also, sleep helps promote muscle mass development because HGH, or human growth hormone production (responsible for tissue regeneration and cellular healing), peaks during stage 3 sleep. In fact, sleep debt has been shown to hinder muscle recovery after exercise and promote loss of muscle mass.
How much sleep is enough? For adults, getting at least 7 hours of solid sleep per night is the current recommendation.
5. Find a like-minded community.
For most people, finding a community of folks who have the same diet and fitness goals as theirs helps them lose weight quickly. The support and encouragement you get from like-minded individuals can have a profound impact on your weight loss goals.
To help you lose weight naturally before considering surgery, taking these additional tiny steps will eventually lead to big leaps in the long run:
- Balance your cardio with strength training/resistance/weights. Do exercises that combine both.
- Move when you can.
- If you have to choose between making changes in your diet or getting more exercise, diet trumps exercise in terms of weight loss. However, keep in mind that exercise has other benefits too such as improving sleep quality.
- Stop obsessing about your fitness numbers. Focus on how you’re feeling instead of relying too much on trackers.
- Cut back on alcohol and liquid calories like soda. Drink more water.
- Keep a food diary for a month or two. It will help you give a clearer picture of your eating habits and what needs to be changed.
- Avoid extreme dieting. It might initially work, but it’s not almost always sustainable.
The Best Time to Start is Now
Many would simply comb through the list above, and make a promise to start tomorrow. Excuses such as, “I’m not ready yet” or “I’ll do that when” are too common. Most of the time, you’ll always end up making the same set of excuses every single day.
Why not start now?
The sooner you cultivate the mindset of losing weight naturally now (and not tomorrow), the sooner you can live and enjoy the benefits of a healthier life.