THERE ARE SO MANY DOCTORS, nutritionists, fitness experts and diet groups out there that claim they have the magic pill, potion, or the best recommendation for losing weight.
1. The most common weight loss adage:
Most of their recommendations are based on the old adage of “Eat Less and Exercise More”…you know, the calorie model. It goes something like this: “All you have to do is exercise so that you burn more calories than you eat and you will lose weight.” Or, “Just eat very low calorie and the excess weight will melt away.” This way of trying to lose weight is not sustainable and mistakenly treats everybody the same. Unfortunately, this is a recipe for metabolic disaster in your body. Doing this year after year, will create a body with more fat, less muscle, and one more prone to disease. It does the exact opposite of what you want. It actually causes your metabolism to slow down or push back against you.
“Eat less and exercise more… is a recipe for metabolic disaster.” — Dr. Jade Teta, ND (tweet this)
The research is very clear on this out-dated recommendation. This is an exact quote from two prestigious research journals: “The ancient prescription of Hippocrates that the obese should eat less & exercise more continues nowadays to be a widespread approach for weight management despite its well-documented failures.” 1,2
Not only that, there are hundreds of studies that back this statement up, with some of them going all the way back to the early 20th century. Without going into any detail on these studies 3-8, they are basically saying if you yo-yo diet (eat less and exercise more) you will probably gain weight, mostly fat, in the long run; not to mention that the next time you do a diet it will be more difficult to lose weight.
2. Another disappointing Rx
Now let’s talk about the other thing many weight loss experts do besides give you the “eat less and exercise more” prescription. They will also tell you, or at least imply, that if you take this particular pill, potion, shake, or do their detox program you will have the skinny, fit, sexy body you desire. Jade and I really wish for ourselves and our patients that sustainable weight lose is as easy as just taking a pill or drinking a special detox brew, but it is not. Losing excess fat is a lifestyle change that requires changes for the rest of your life. And, these changes will most likely even have to change throughout your life. In other words, losing excess fat is a process that has to be sustainable for you and your unique metabolism and needs. It is not, and never has been a one size fits all prescription or recommendation.
So, does science provide us any easy to do lifestyle changes that can help in our fat loss journey? Oh yes indeed it does, and this is what this article is about. So here are my top 25 fat loss tips that are evidence-based. Oh, and by the way, the best detox you can ever do if you have excess fat to lose is to make lifestyle changes that allow you to lose it. A good detox and fat loss are the same thing for most of us. If you have fat to lose then start there with your detox. So this list will help most people (approx. 95% in our clinical experience), but not all. Also, although this list is limited to just these 25 fat loss tips; there are many others, but Jade and I have seen these work clinically and know that they will work for most people. OK, so here they are:
- Do not diet (eat less and exercise more) and especially do not do it chronically (yo-yo dieting).
- Avoid or at least minimize the consumption of liquid calories (i.e. soda, alcohol, juice, and fruit smoothies).
- Prepare healthy meals for later.
- Get plenty of sleep and rest.
- Walk or move as much as you can.
- Exercise portion control and get an idea of many calories you are consuming. Sadly, most people have no concept how many calories are on their plate or in certain foods, but most people know how long a mile is or what 1 gallon of water looks like.
- Have a glass of water before each meal.
- Use an unsweetened fiber supplement before meals. There is lots of great research on using fiber to help with weight loss.
- Drink any or all of the following on a regular basis: unsweetened green tea, unsweetened black coffee, and unsweetened cocoa (1 tablespoon of organic cocoa mixed in hot water). Compounds in these beverages appear to help with fat loss.
- Use lots of vinegar. Vinegar has a satiating effect.
- Use lots of spices in your cooking, with the exception of salt. Many plant chemicals in spices help to make your body burn burn fat better, especially the spicy ones.
- Use smaller plates and utensils. It is interesting to compare the average plate sizes from the 1940’s and 50’s to the plate sizes today.
- Eat and chew your food slowly.
- Chose protein, fibrous foods (vegetables), and fatty foods over starchy foods. Try not to combine fat and starch together.
- For noodle based meals like pasta, stir-fries, or noodle soups use noodle substitutes like zucchini or shiratake noodles.
- Eat a protein and fiber based breakfast. Starting you day off with a muffin and coffee can lead to a blood sugar roller coaster ride the rest of the day, and should be avoided.
- Use your scale or tape measure on a regular basis to keep yourself honest.
- Minimize the use of the television.
- Exercise using weights. Aerobic exercise is healthy exercise, but weight training appears to be better for fat loss.
- Use a glucomannan fiber supplement. By the way, shiratake noodles are all glucomannan.
- Get a pedometer, like a fitbit or jawbone…and use it.
- Use protein dense and fiber dense convenience foods when in a pinch. These may include protein powders, jerkies, High fiber Quest bars, protein bars, etc.
- Eat lower carbohydrate meals. This does not mean to avoid carbs all together. Some people will need more, but most of us will need less.
- Minimize eating out as much as you can.
- Know the difference between emotional hunger and physical hunger. See the slide below. 9
Note: This fat gain effect of dieting and what to do about it is detailed more in Jade and Keoni’s new book: Lose Weight Here. It is the second book by Jade and Keoni Teta. It will assist the person interested in weight loss understand why 95% of dieters regain all their lost weight and why most of them end up fatter. It gives a common sense approach to avoiding the diet trap that most of us in by elucidating the key laws of metabolism; thus helping the dieter use their unique metabolism to burn excess fat in a sustainable and healthy way. It will give the reader the tools needed to help themselves and others lose excess fat. While this book is a stand alone book; it is also considered a companion book their first book, The Metabolic Effect Diet.
1. Nutr J. 2011 Jan 24;10:9.
2. Proc Nutr Soc. 2012 Aug;71(3):379-89.
3. Int J Obes (Lond). 2006 Nov;30(11):1639-44.
4. Metabolism. 2002 Feb;51(2):149-54.
5. Int J Obes (Lond). 2012 Mar;36(3):456-64.
6. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Dec;70(6):965-75.
7. Int J Sports Med. 1997 Jul;18(5):317-24.
8. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1998 Oct;85(4):1210-7.
9. Mindless Eating, Brain Wansink