Losing weight is challenging, especially if you’re not sure where to start. The good news? You don’t have to be a personal trainer or physician to reach your goal; you just have to know one. INSIDER asked the experts to weigh in on their top weight-loss tips. Here’s what they had to say.
Don’t always trust the scale.
Depending on the day, the bathroom scale is either the most loved or the most hated item in your house. But what if the numbers staring back at you aren’t always a reflection of the shape you’re in?
“Just because the scale isn’t moving, it doesn’t mean that you’re making zero progress toward your fitness goals and dream body,” Dr. Mike Roussell, cofounder of Neuro Coffee and Neutein, told INSIDER. “The scale is a poor marker of short-term progress because it doesn’t differentiate between changes in water, fat, or muscle,” he added.
To avoid this false plateau, Roussell said to make to sure to track your progress through several different data points, including girth (chest, waist, and arm size) and body fat percentage.
“Don’t expect to lose two pounds per week every single week until you reach your goal,” he said. Some weeks you’ll lose less, and some weeks you’ll lose more; that’s just part of the natural process of weight loss.
Sleep to optimise fat loss.
Did you know that the amount of Z’s you’re getting each night could impact your weight-loss efforts? You might not think that getting an adequate amount of sleep would work to bust your weight-loss plateau, but Roussell said otherwise.
“Sleep is important for optimising multiple hormones, including a number of fat-loss hormones,” he explained. “You can, unfortunately, start reaping negative effects on these fat-loss hormones after just one night of poor sleep.”
In fact, research points to the need for adequate sleep when it comes to losing weight. Everyone’s sleep needs are different, but typically, Roussell said, you want to aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Get your mindset right.
When it comes to losing weight, you have two choices: go into it with a fixed mindset (you believe your thoughts and experiences about weight loss are fixed), or start your journey with a growth mindset (you’re eager to learn and explore new ways to lose weight). It comes as no surprise that losing weight requires a growth mindset, which will increase the odds of losing weight and keeping it off for good.
“Our thoughts about weight loss will influence our actions, and our actions lead to the result we obtain,” Keith Stafford, owner of Nashville Fit Body Boot Camp, told INSIDER.
If you go into your weight-loss journey with the thought that you’ll probably fail again, it’s very likely you’ll fail again, he said. That’s why he recommended you do the mental preparation first.
“Ask yourself why you want to lose weight and are you willing to start changing the lifestyle habits that got you to where you don’t want to be,” he said.
Watch your sodium and sugar intake.
Regardless of which diet program you follow, there are two ingredients you need to track. Dr. David Greuner of NYC Surgical Associates told INSIDER you should always inspect the labels of processed foods, frozen foods, canned foods, and jarred sauces to check the sodium content.
“These foods tend to be loaded with sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure and eventually cause heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease and dementia,” he explained. “Also, watch your added sugar intake, which leads to weight gain and heart disease, among other dangerous conditions.”
Eat healthy fats.
Fat. The three-letter word that many people fear when it comes to weight loss. But, as Greuner reminded us, not all fats are created equal.
“While you should avoid trans fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are actually good for you and should be incorporated into your diet,” he explained. For trans fats, look for the words “partially hydrogenated” on food labels. Monounsaturated fats include foods like avocados and olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats can be found in nuts and seeds.
Don’t forget to include the healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which you can find in fish like salmon and tuna.
Drink plenty of water.
The average American drinks only two to four cups of water a day, but Dr. Amy Lee of Lindora Clinic told INSIDER that the recommendation is at least 80 ounces. And depending on the weather and your activity level, you may need even more.
“In the human body, we lose about 1 litre of water just by breathing through our lungs,” she said. “Water is important for obvious reasons, but your metabolism, or the calories you burn each day, could also be optimised if you supply your body with adequate amounts of water.”
Plus, the sensation of dehydration can sometimes be confused with hunger and craving. Keep up your water intake in order to avoid craving those snacks.
Don’t let time be an excuse.
Your workouts don’t need to take hours to be effective. “Even just adding in 10 to 30 minutes a day of exercise can make a difference in both how you feel and how you look,” Nora Minno,Daily Burn trainer, told INSIDER.
If you want the biggest calorie bang for your time buck, Minno recommended trying high-intensity interval training workouts.
“This type of workout not only has you burning calories during the workout but long after – sometimes even up to 24 hours after,” she said.
Focus on strength training and cardio.
There are several ways to drop a few pounds, but one thing’s for sure: Exercise helps you lose the weight and keep it off. Carving out enough time for aerobic exercise and strength and flexibility training (including yoga and/or pilates) will help you increase lean muscle mass and get fit. Aim for five days a week of moderate to intense exercise for at least 30 to 60 minutes a day. To lose weight, make sure two to three of those workouts include strength training.
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