As we begin 2017, one of the most common New Year's Resolutions is to lose weight. While many might fail in accomplishing this goal, here are five scientifically proven tips that can help you succeed.
Cut Out Processed Foods
Processed foods, including chips, crackers, candy, and other snacks made with refined grains, tend to be much higher in calories and sugar than whole foods. These also tend to raise your blood sugar very rapidly, which then leads to a crash, triggering cravings and messing with your metabolism. Having whole foods will keep your blood sugar more stable and reduce cravings.
Increase the Protein in Your Diet
Protein is very important in helping keeping you full and satisfied. This in turn allows you to reduce hunger between meals and eat less over time. Having more protein at your regular meals and in your snacks will help you to manage your appetite better and promote weight loss. Increasing protein can also help reduce obsessive thinking about food and cravings, as shown in this study.
Drink More Water
Surprisingly, this simple change can help with losing weight. Many people are slightly dehydrated without even realizing it. Aiming for at least 1-2 L of water per day is a good goal and was shown to lead to about 5 pounds of weight loss for overweight women in this study, even though the women did not change their diet or exercise at all. The timing of water intake also matters - research shows that having a glass of water before meals also leads to eating less and consuming fewer calories overall.
Get More Sleep
Sleep deprivation is something that most people don't realize actually plays havoc with your metabolic and appetite hormones like leptin and ghrelin. Therefore, getting adequate sleep is vital to making sure that your weight loss regimen is likely to succeed. Insufficient sleep will sabotage any efforts to lose weight.
Stress directly impairs your digestion and absorption of important nutrients and also promotes weight gain and belly fat deposition through hormonal effects. Chronic stress raises levels of cortisol, a hormone that makes the body hold onto weight. Therefore, attention to stress reduction is critical. To learn about specific tools and apps for stress reduction check out this upcoming event in January, which you could view either in person or via free live stream.
The most important thing to remember is that eating healthy should be a long-term plan. Trying to make drastic changes to lose weight quickly rarely works. Instead, focus on making sustainable health-promoting changes like the ones we discussed and weight loss will be a natural side effect.
Best wishes for the new year!
For more weight loss tips (and 53 recipes) please refer to my book “The Paleovedic Diet: A Complete Program to Burn Fat, Increase Energy, and Reverse Disease.”
Akil Palanisamy, MD, is a Harvard-trained physician, author, speaker, and holistic medicine expert in integrative and functional medicine. His new book, “The Paleovedic Diet”, integrates the best of conventional and holistic medicine. Dr. Akil seamlessly blends the Paleo diet with Ayurveda and the latest research in nutrition and medicine to present a customized roadmap to perfect health.