The 3 Best Tips to Lose Weight

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You don't have to read thousands of weight loss guides to find the best tips to lose weight. The smartest diet advice is shared by countless registered dietitians, doctors, fitness trainers and nutrition experts. In fact, the weight loss programs that have been proven to work have a few things in common. If you can master these three basic principles, you'll be on your way to losing weight.

Eat the Right Amount of Food

If you choose the best diet-boosting foods, but eat too much of them, your weight loss plan won't work. In fact, a common mistake often made by dieters is to overeat organic foods and foods that they think are healthy. Sadly, even some diet foods can be bad for weight loss.

To lose weight and keep it off, you need to learn how to eat the right amount of food. For example, chicken breast is great for you, but not if you eat too much of it. Almonds? Yep, they're healthy, but not if you eat more than you need. Do you eat healthy snacks? They are better for your body than junk food, but they will still cause weight gain if you consume too much of them.

Stick to these portion sizes when you plan meals for weight loss:

  • 1 serving of cereal = size of your fist
  • 1 serving of a starch (rice, pasta, potato) = half of a baseball
  • 1 serving of cheese = 4 stacked dice
  • 1 serving of fruit = baseball
  • 1 serving of margarine or butter = 1 dice
  • 1 serving of meat, fish, poultry = a deck of cards

Count Calories

Some weight loss plans advertise that calorie counting is not necessary. But the bottom line is that weight loss happens when you create a specific energy deficit and you need to count calories to make sure you reach it.

Proper calorie counting may seem like a time-consuming skill, but with the availability of mobile apps, it has become easier for people to keep track of what they eat. If you have a smartphone, calorie counting will take no more than a few seconds and your totals are stored so that you can review them at a later time.

After you start counting calories, you'll learn how many calories you consume in a typical day. Most people can reduce their daily intake by 500 calories per day to see a healthy weight loss of one pound per week.

Move More

Sounds obvious, right? But this doesn't necessarily mean that you have to exercise. For some people, exercise works against them. For example, if you complete a hard workout in the morning and then spend the rest of day laying on the couch, you will probably end up burning fewer calories from movement than a person who does not exercise and who makes non-exercise activity a part of their daily habit.

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the term used by scientists to describe the calories burned from your non-workout movement. Whether you exercise or not, be sure that your NEAT is maximized every day. Consider some of these activities. The calorie burn for each single item is small, but if you participate in some movement each hour, your NEAT at the end of the day will be significant.

  • Putting away laundry = 26 kcals/15 mins
  • Moving furniture, boxes = 100 kcals/15 mins
  • Playing/running with your kids = 40 kcals/15 mins
  • Walking while carrying a light load (<15 pounds) = 56 kcals/15 minutes.

Most people will achieve some results with these three basic tips for losing weight. Of course, there are some instances where underlying issues, such as a medical diagnosis, may make weight loss more complicated. But for most people, weight loss boils down to a simple equation: eat less, move more.

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  • James A Levine, Sara J Schleusner and Michael D Jensen. " Energy expenditure of nonexercise activity." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 72, No. 6, 1451-1454, December 2000.
  • Portion Distortion. Keep an Eye on Portion Size, What is the difference between Portions and Servings?
  • Veronique Provencher, Janet Polivy, C. Peter Herman. "Perceived healthiness of food. If it's healthy, you can eat more!." Appetite Volume 52, Issue 2, April 2009, Pages 340-344.