Losing weight is a difficult and often frustrating task, made such an issue thanks to a multitude of factors that many people struggle with. Whether that be depression, a lack of time, or a lack of healthy food options, it’s way easier for many people to put on pounds than it is to keep them off. Even worse, many of the methods purported to melt fat off the body turn out to be too good to be true, which only makes people feel more discouraged.
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So how can you reliably lose weight according to science?
We know how hard it is, so we prepared a guide on some weight management techniques to help you out. Not ones that will work overnight, but ones that actually have scientific backing.
1. Track your intake
If you don’t know what you’re eating and how much, it can be hard to notice whether you’re keeping up with your diearyt goals. Whether you are tracking how many calories you put in your body from day to day or the number of nutrients you’re getting, understanding your diet is an important part of weight management. It is essential to be aware of the kind of food you eat, how much of it you eat, and whether you’re keeping up with your nutritional needs.
However, there is something to be said about over-tracking. Focusing too much on calorie counting alone can actually be a major setback for your diet. It’s not exactly feasible to keep track of your calories every single day. For example, what if you don’t have your phone on you? That’ll just be an added stressor to remember what you ate and how much. And if you forget to use your calories for the day, you may well feel guilty for failing to do so, which can cause your diet to backfire.
Honestly, a good idea for keeping track of your food intake is to not be so precise, and understand that missing a day isn’t the end of the world. So, for instance, you can allot yourself many calories in a day, and then make a rough ballpark estimate of what you took in. Rather than using this as a goal to achieve, you’d be better served using it as a frame of reference.
2. Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a type of eating plan that works for some, but not for all, though more for preference than efficacy. Not only can intermittent fasting help you manage weight, it can also help avoid or deal with certain diseases. But what does intermittent fasting involve, exactly?
In order to do intermittent fasting, the idea you’d need to execute focuses more on when and how often you eat, rather than what you eat. When doing this, you only eat during specific times, or you may have days where you only eat one meal a day at most. It’s argued by neuroscientist Mark Mattson that, because we evolved as hunter-gatherers, we’ve also evolved to be able to go without food for extended periods of time.
3. Sleep well
Sometimes, the best thing to do for your weight is to just lie down for a spell. It’s understandable that, during an era with so many stressors and so little time, we end up sacrificing our quality of sleep. However, if you’re trying to lose weight, putting more time into your sleep schedule is an important step.
Not only should you try to get a decent amount of sleep every night, but you should also make sure that you go to sleep around the same time (if possible). A good way to do this is to reduce the number of distractions around you.
First, make sure that unnatural light is kept to a minimum, such as standby lights or the glow of the blue light from a phone or other device with a screen. Leaving these things on can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. Meanwhile, try to keep your bed as the spot where you sleep rather than the spot where you use your phone before sleeping.
4. Keep stress under control
Stress is a real pain in the butt for a variety of things, and stress can impact your weight management in multiple ways. The most common example is how people stress eat, which obviously leads to weight gain.
Aside from stress leading us into bad habits, stress actually causes a physiological response that leads to weight gain. What happens is that stress can cause your body to produce a hormone called cortisol. The reason this happens is because your body often has a fight or flight reaction to stress, producing multiple hormones, including cortisol for fast energy.
As a consequence of this fast energy, however, your body accumulates extra fat, particularly in the middle part of the body.
There are a variety of ways to reduce stress in general. The most obvious solution would be to avoid things that bring stress to your life (as well as you can at least). Some things are not as avoidable, such as if you have a stressful job, of course, but it’s less about eliminating stress and more about mitigating it the best you can.
For example, if you have someone in your life who is doing things that stress you out, you either need to establish boundaries or cut them off if the former cannot or will not fix the problem.
Another good way to manage your stress is to try some meditation. There are multiple kinds of meditation, with some of the most common detailed here.
5. Stay consistent
When all is said and done, the most important thing is to be consistent. Figure out what things you’re able to stick to and work hard on them. If you only intend to do a certain technique in the short term, that may result in yo-yoing. Whether that be a sleep schedule, using weight loss aids such as CBD, exercise, tracking your nutritional intake, or what have you, consistency makes a world of difference.