The world of dieting and weight loss can be confusing, if not downright overwhelming for most women. Thinking of “dieting” in the first place has its pitfalls, and in fact research shows that upwards of 90% of dieters don’t keep weight off in the long run. Finding simple and effective strategies to help you make long-term change that feels sustainable and not overly restrictive is key, so we’ve provided 20 weight loss tips to do just that!
Without further ado, check out our top 20 weight loss tips for women:
Incorporate Strength Training
Not only is strength training (AKA resistance or weight training) fundamental for increased bone density and injury prevention, but it also raises your resting metabolic rate. This means that by regularly strength training, you’ll burn more calories all day long. You don’t have to log long gym sessions to reap the benefits, shoot for 2-3, 30-minute resistance workouts per week for starters, and bodyweight exercises from the comfort of your living room work perfectly.
Try HIIT Workouts
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) initially sounds daunting for a lot of women, but it’s completely adjustable to every fitness level. This training method is quick, effective and has been shown to seriously boost calorie burn and fat loss in a shorter period of time than steady state cardio.
HIIT can be anything from intense stair sprints to briskly walking, whatever gets your heart rate up. It refers to alternating between short bursts of all-out effort and short periods of rest. If you’re new to HIIT, start with just 10-15 minutes of alternating between 30 seconds of work with 30-60 seconds of rest, beginning and ending with a five minute warm-up and cool-down.
Contrary to popular belief, the body needs plenty of healthy dietary fat to lose body fat. Thankfully the nutritional myth that a low-fat diet is best for weight loss had been solidly debunked by many clinical studies, but so many years of living the low-fat diet paradigm can be hard to shift away from.
The combination of healthy carbs mainly from non-starchy veggies (more on this in a moment) and plenty of good fats has helped many women drop stubborn pounds. Focus especially on fats from coconut oil, olive oil, MCT oil, nuts and seeds, grass fed butter, ghee, wild caught fish, olives and avocado.
Don’t Go Overboard on the Carbs
There is probably nothing in the world of nutrition more confusing than carbohydrates, and they certainly have a place in your eating plan. The key is which carbs you choose, as those from refined sources have been shown to derail weight loss efforts and contribute to many modern day chronic diseases.
Refined carbs include processed grains like white flour, commercially prepared baked goods like cookies, cakes, white bread, pastries and the like. Instead, stick with nutrient dense sources that come from nature, mainly plants like vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Steer Clear of Refined Sugar
If you pick just one tip of these twenty for weight loss and overall health for women, avoiding refined sugar definitely packs the biggest punch. Well documented to cause weight gain and be a contributor to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, acne, depression and more, omitting refined sugar from your diet can make a world of difference.
White or “table” sugar lurks in many processed and packaged foods, so it’s important to be a nutrition label detective. Sodas, fruit juices and other sweet beverages are shockingly high in added sugars, too. In an ideal world you can make your own sweet treats once in awhile using natural sweeteners like raw honey, grade b maple syrup, green leaf stevia and pure monk fruit.
Don’t Shop Hungry
Going to the grocery store hungry is a recipe for impulsive purchasing decisions, ladies! Be sure to plan your grocery shopping outings within an hour of a healthy, balanced and satisfying meal or snack that contains a full serving of protein, healthy fat and fiber.
Share Your Goals
If you have family or friends in your life that can be supportive, sharing your health, wellness and weight loss aspirations is likely to help you meet your goals. Not only does it majorly increase accountability, but it also makes things far more logistically simple if the people you are sharing your table with understand the “why” behind your meals.
Hopefully your family can get on board and share in healthy changes that can benefit everyone. If not, find a friend to talk to, a workout buddy or even one of many amazing online support communities for weight loss and healthy changes for women. Having support from others can be paramount on your journey to health.
Staying well-hydrated works threefold as a weight loss strategy. First, the simple act alone of drinking water has been shown to boost your metabolism by a whopping 24-30% over a 1-1.5 hour period! Second, drinking a full glass of water before a meal can help you to feel fuller and eat less. Third, often times we mistake thirst for hunger, so next time you feel overcome by a craving consider how much water you’ve had that day. It could be that you are dehydrated and water will do the trick.
Get to the Bottom of Food Intolerances
Hidden food allergies and sensitivities cause inflammation, and inflammation is very likely a root cause of obesity. The most common food allergens include gluten, dairy, soy, corn and nuts, but you can be sensitive or allergic to a wide array of foods.
Food intolerances can be uncovered by working with a knowledgeable practitioner to guide you through an elimination diet, and considering food sensitivity testing.
Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting (IF) refers to restricting your eating to certain windows of time and fasting for other windows. Once on the fringe of nutrition research, it is now well documented to be an excellent weight loss tool, and its benefits don’t end there! Studies have shown promising results for IF as a tool to combat metabolic syndrome, diabetes and other chronic diseases.
There are many ways to go about IF, the most common and gentlest called the 16:8 method. This means you’ll fast for 16 hours and eat for 8 hours, for example having your last meal at 8pm and eating the next day at 12pm, essentially just skipping breakfast.
Eat Fat First and Carbs Last
This handy little tip can make a huge difference to any woman’s weight loss plan, as starting your day with a fat-based meal and saving more of your carbohydrates for later in the day helps you to ride the wave of ketosis that naturally occurs overnight.
At night your body is in a fasting state, where it not only gets to work on repair and rejuvenation but also taps into your body fat stores for energy. This is how blood sugar remains steady in a fasted state (similar to intermittent fasting) and in an absence of excess glucose (carbs) begins to produce ketone bodies. You don’t have to be on a full-fledged ketogenic diet to reap the benefits of nutritional ketosis, and having a breakfast rich in healthy fats can set you on your way to burning fat all day long.
This could look like 1/2 an avocado with eggs and dark leafy greens for breakfast, a big salad with chicken drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with nuts and seeds for lunch, and your favorite complex carb to accompany dinner, like 1/2 cup of whole grains or a baked sweet potato.
Drink Green Tea
This tasty tea is a nutrient powerhouse, as it’s loaded with unique antioxidants called catechins, which are thought to work together with caffeine to boost fat burning. While the caffeine content of green tea also aids weight loss, decaf versions can also be effective if you don’t handle caffeine well.
Coffee also has a similar effect, so enjoy your java in the morning and green tea throughout the day without guilt!
Start the Day With Ice Cold Water
A recent study found that exposure to extremely cold temperatures had a significant impact on activation of brown adipose tissue, also known as brown fat. Starting your day with a 16 ounce glass of ice cold water can increase your day’s overall calorie burn, as your body is required to work just a little bit harder to maintain its core temperature.
Take this to the next level with an ice cold shower in the morning for an even greater caloric burn, and an excellent way to achieve glowing skin.
Load Up on Fiber
Pretty much every healthcare professional will agree that getting plenty of fiber in your diet will support weight loss by increasing satiety (your feeling of fullness) and balancing blood sugar. Shoot for at least half of your plate at every meal filled with non-starchy vegetables (think leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and more) along with nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Heal Your Gut
Hippocrates wisely stated that: “all disease begins in the gut,” and obesity and being overweight are no exception. If you’ve been trying to lose weight with minimal success, gut health might be the missing link. Incredible, cutting edge research has come out in recent years linking a healthy gut microbiome with everything from weight gain to cognitive dysfunction, and studies show that something as simple as taking a probiotic supplement can reduce fat mass.
Simple strategies to promote gut health include eating fermented foods everyday like raw sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha tea, plain yogurt and kefir, avoiding refined carbs and sugars, eating plenty of fiber and including 5-7 servings per day of vegetables.
Use Smaller Plates
Believe it or not, something as simple as the size of your plate can make a big difference in weight loss! The brain automatically wants to fill up your plate no matter the size, and studies confirm that using smaller plates can help people lose weight. Keep salad-size plates on hand, or even consider storing your bigger plates away for company. Eat slowly and wait a while before going for seconds to decide if you’re actually hungry.
Keep a Diet Journal
Diet journals can be helpful for many reasons, weight loss being one. Using scratch paper, a digital document or an app, can help you ladies track not only the foods you eat but also how you feel afterwards. It’s easy to miss symptoms that can be caused by foods like headaches, anxiety or that “foggy brain” feeling along with digestive symptoms like bloating, gas, etc.
Remember that any and all of these symptoms can indicate foods that are causing inflammation, and inflammation can make losing weight a serious up hill battle.
Eat Mindfully and Intuitively
Mindful and intuitive eating practices are a beautiful way to stop worrying about dieting and getting in touch with your body’s natural hunger cues and needs. Mindful eating refers to eating slowly and staying present (try to minimize those meals on-the-go) and intuitive eating is the art of tuning into your hunger and satiety cues, and respecting them. Many times you feel the urge to eat due to emotions, boredom and pressure from others.
Some ways to begin could be turning off your phone while you eat, not having the television or music in the background, taking several deep breaths before eating and expressing gratitude for the meal in front of you.
Optimize Your Female Cycle
You can hack your female hormones to lose weight! During your follicular phase (the two weeks following your period) is when estrogen rises and peaks at ovulation. This spike in estrogen causes a natural decline in hunger, an increased pain tolerance and improved focus for many women, and you can use this to your advantage.
Perhaps this is a great time to experiment with intermittent fasting, or practice portion control. It’s also a perfect time to try a new activity, plan an outdoor adventure or learn a new skill!
Accept Yourself Just as You Are
Last but certainly not least, the beautiful act of self-acceptance and self-love is foundational to a healthy body and mind for any woman. Remember, there is no “on or off the wagon” and each day truly is a new opportunity to nourish your body, mind and spirit. Accepting yourself and giving yourself permission to be just as you are is perhaps the most important tip of all.