According to dietitians, there are 16 weight-loss tips and tricks that actually work.

It's not just about what you eat and how much you workout (though they do help).



We all know that in order to lose weight, we must burn more calories than we consume. While the formula can seem straightforward, it is often anything but.


Gale Maleskey, MS, RD, a private practice nutritionist in Bethlehem, PA, says, "It's not that people don't know what to do to lose weight; it's that they have trouble doing it." "It's what else we can do," she says, "because the people I see already know what they're supposed to eat." Maleskey and other licensed dietitians provide 16 weight-loss tips and tricks to make the process go more smoothly.


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Increase your sleep time. 

Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, a nutritionist in private practice in St. Louis, MO, says, "We prefer to place sleep on the back burner." "We think we have to get the washing done, or the house must be spotless, or we get lost in a TV show, but if people want to lose the most weight, they must be adamant about getting consistent, daily sleep." She cites studies showing that people who slept for 8 hours a night, compared to 6.5 hours or less, lost significantly more weight, especially in the abdominal area. Following a daily sleep schedule, according to a report from Brigham Young University.As a result, there was a reduction in body fat. People who are already on low-calorie diets are more effective when they get more sleep, according to McDaniel.


Don't forget to eat breakfast. 

"Usually people say they're not hungry for breakfast," says Jodi Greebel, MS, RDN, a dietitian in private practice in New York, "but I tell them they should train themselves to be hungry in the morning." "If you miss breakfast, you'll go 15, 16, 17 hours without feeding, and your body will almost think it's hungry," she explains. And when your body believes it is hungry, it will try to save calories. When you're fed, your body is more effective at burning calories, according to Greebel. "It's important and eat breakfast to get your metabolism going," she says. If you're still rushing in the morning, try one of these simple breakfast recipes.


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Give probiotics a chance to work for you.

According to Maleskey, "certain strains of bacteria present in certain probiotics may increase satiety and boost blood levels of mood-improving biochemicals including serotonin." "I always recommend probiotics to people who have tried and struggled with other weight-loss methods—and who have another cause for which probiotics may be beneficial (such as digestive issues)." Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus rhamnosus are two Lactobacillus strains.Various studies have shown an increase in cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as a decrease in BMI, belly fat, and food cravings by using plantarum. "You can't take a probiotic for a week and lose 5 pounds," Maleskey cautions, "but I think it can be good over time."

A strain of bacteria can also produce serotonin, the "feel-good hormone," according to research. It can help with food cravings and depression, so you could eat less as a result. "There's no question that your gut contains serotonin, and having more of it circulating in your body makes you less likely to get stressed," Maleskey says. Feeling bad can lead to poor eating habits and poor food choices in some people. She adds that a bad mood "certainly makes it more difficult for people to impose another type of self-discipline," such as a diet.

Eat more often.

According to Greebel, you can feed your body every 3 to 4 hours (except when you're sleeping, of course), but "more frequently" doesn't mean "constantly." It entails eating breakfast, perhaps a snack before lunch, lunch, perhaps another snack, and then dinner. It all comes down to the body's metabolism and how much you feed it. According to Greebel, the best snacks combine different food classes, so instead of just a slice of fruit, combine it with protein and fat. She says, "It's more filling." She suggests adding string cheese, yogurt, or a handful of nuts to an apple as a snack. Here are a few more high-protein snack combinations to try.

Make sure you don't go too long between meals.

"Hangry" can be a term you use to justify your bad moods, but it can have a negative effect on your waistline. "You eat too easily when you're really hungry," Greebel says, "and you don't listen to your body's cues when it's complete." You also make poorer decisions because "when you're hungry, you want the quickest food, which isn't always the healthiest." If you know you'll walk in the door after a long commute and eat a bag of chips before turning on the oven, prepare a healthy snack before getting in the car.

Practice self-control when it comes to hunger.

"There is a significant caloric difference between being energized and being stuffed," McDaniel explains. "I still tell my clients, 'Eat until you're relaxed, not until you're whole,'" she says. She recommends eating more slowly and paying attention to how you feel afterward. "This is especially useful when you don't have control over the food, such as in restaurants, on holiday, or at a party, where the food is right in front of you," she adds.

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In the morning, fill up on supplies.

"We're just not as effective metabolically at night as we are during the day," McDaniel says. "You're not sleeping well if you're still digesting at night," she says. McDaniel suggests consuming heavier, carbohydrate-rich meals early in the day and allowing 2 to 3 hours between your last meal and bedtime. She recommends taking the "king-prince-pauper" strategy, which involves eating a larger breakfast (high in protein), a smaller lunch, and a lighter dinner. This may result in less cravings and more effective appetite control during the day."Many people choose to save their calories for later in the day," says McDaniel, "because they miss breakfast." However, studies have shown that eating later in the day or at night can lead to weight gain.

Keep junk food hidden from view.

If you've ever used the phrase "out of sight, out of mind," it applies to unhealthy foods as well. You don't have to banish it from your home, but keeping it in opaque containers or a cupboard is important. If you see those foods in your line of sight—whether on the fridge, at your desk, or even in your car—you subconsciously tell yourself, "I'm not going to eat it." "You can pat yourself on the back for not eating the item 24 times today," Greebel says, "but you're most likely going to eat it the 25th time." She points out that it's difficult to avoid if you're constantly staring at it, yet once it's put away, you won't have to go through that practice.And cutting a few hundred calories a day can make a big difference: lose a pound in a week if you cut 500 calories a day. (If you really want the taste of fast food, try these healthier alternatives.)

Make your room presentable.

According to McDaniel, having a well-organized kitchen will aid in weight management. People who have overly cluttered homes are more likely to be overweight or obese, according to one report. "It's easier to access nutritious foods and know where things are when we're organized," McDaniel says. "It's easier to make the right decisions when we're organized." But, before you go all KonMari on your kitchen, remember that this doesn't mean your cabinets need to be alphabetized; it just means they need to be straightened.

At meals, drink plenty of water.

Greebel points out that thirst and hunger are often misunderstood. "If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated," says the author. She recommends drinking water throughout the day because it's "healthy for you," but she particularly recommends it with meals because it "helps fill up your stomach and slow down your eating so you know when you're full." She goes on to say that "most of your calories should come from food, not drinking," so avoid the high-calorie drinks. Instead, she suggests pairing your meals with flavored seltzer (which is naturally sugar-free) or unsweetened tea.

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Intermittent fasting is a good option.

Fasting seems to stimulate something in the body that causes you to burn more fat for calories, according to some reports. "If not eating for a day is easier for certain people than tracking what they eat every day," Maleskey says, "then it seems to work for them." "It has to be normal, and a short quick probably won't work; studies show it has to be at least 12 hours," she adds. Fasting works by depleting stored sugar in the liver, forcing the body to turn to a different energy source, such as fatty acids. It effectively alters your fuel source, allowing you to burn more fat. In either case,"The body doesn't want to burn fat for energy," Maleskey says. "It prefers to use sugar because it is more convenient." Fasting also increases the production of the hormone adiponectin, which aids in fat breakdown. People with diabetes, according to Maleskey, should not fast without medical supervision.

Get the feet going (even a little bit).

We become "metabolically inflexible" when we sit for long periods of time, a term invented by Dr. James Hill. This means that we can store more food than someone who just moves about a little during the day. "It's the sitting disorder," McDaniel explains. She recommends that you find ways to move more during the day without breaking a sweat. "When I'm on the phone, I'm not just sitting or standing; I'm walking around," for example. When her husband tried it, she claims he increased his daily steps by 5,000. "It's important that we move our bodies," she says. A standing desk is beneficial.It is also beneficial to walk or ride a bike instead of driving. "People believe that after they've completed their 45 minutes of exercise, they're finished, but this is not the case. Your body will go into rest mode and will appear to be sleeping, which is not a good thing."

Consume the whole egg (not just the whites).

You know how you've had a carb-heavy meal, particularly for breakfast, and then found yourself fumbling for food 30 minutes later? It may be due to a lack of protein and good fats in the meal. The egg has arrived. "Egg yolks have gotten a bad rap," Greebel says, "but consuming the whole egg gives you protein and fat, which is a far more satiating combination." The yolk contains the fat, while the white contains the protein. In addition, the yolk contains almost all of the nutrients.

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Smaller plates can be included.

We eat with our eyes, whether it's at an all-you-can-eat buffet or a fine dining establishment with small portions on large plates. We determine if we'll be hungry at the end of the meal—and if we'll go back for seconds—subconsciously (or even consciously) from the first plate. "By using smaller, lunch-size plates and bowls, we immediately assume we'll be more complete," Greebel says. A large plate that isn't as full as it should be gives the impression that you aren't eating enough. "I don't think you'll ever need a 10-inch plate," Greebel says. She adds that this is also a great way to treat portions without having to measure them out.

Processed foods should be avoided.

According to Maleskey, "certain food additives appear to encourage overeating and weight gain by inducing insulin resistance." She cites Harvard University studies on propionate, a food preservative, anti-browning agent, and mold inhibitor commonly found in processed foods with long shelf lives. Bread and other baked goods, pizza dough, cereal, condensed and dry milk, pasta, and some processed meats all fall under this category. "It's a long list," Maleskey says, noting that it's also in sports drinks, certain diet foods, condiments, dried mushrooms, and other foods.Soups, beans, and nut butters are some of my favorite foods. Researchers discovered that propionate causes the liver to produce more sugar, which results in higher levels of insulin in the blood, and "insulin drives appetite," according to Maleskey. Although further research is needed to compare propionate to other food additives, look for these names on labels: calcium propionate, sodium propionate, proprionic acid, calcium salt, or calcium dipropionate, according to Maleskey. Maleskey says, "It definitely makes a compelling case for baking your own bread." Since not everyone has that kind of time, make sure to read labels carefully.

Self-compassion is a good thing to practice.

"A few studies have shown that when women are less harsh on themselves, or blame themselves less for 'blowing' their diet or not having enough exercise, they are able to get back on track more easily," McDaniel says. She goes on to say that people who roll with the punches are less likely to sabotage themselves. "Also, the negative talk that runs through our heads' mind loops—the negative talk causes inflammation in our bodies," she adds. "If you have more self-compassion, you would be happier."and enjoy the trip to where you want to go, because once you get there, you'll be thinking, 'Now what else can I do?' It's also less likely that you'll hit a snag or gain the weight back." This is sound guidance that we can all use.


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