“I refer to sleep as the third pillar of weight loss,” Dr. Apovian says. “Receiving fewer than seven to nine hours of sleep per night ramps up the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreases the satiety hormone leptin.” Sleep deprivation also torpedoes your impulse control, making it less likely that you will stick to healthy food choices and portion sizes the following day, she adds. This is just one of the 50 things your doctor wishes you knew about losing weight.
In another study, 24 women ate breakfast, lunch and dinner in a laboratory. Shortly before lunch, they were served either chicken rice casserole, chicken rice casserole with a glass of water or chicken rice soup made from the same ingredients. They could then eat as much as they liked from a lunch buffet. Those who ate the soup consumed significantly fewer calories at lunch than the other two groups and did not compensate by eating more calories at an all-you-can-eat dinner.
Giving up sweetened beverages like juice, soda, and even “healthy” sports drinks is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lose weight, says Holly Rilinger, a Nike Master Trainer and author of Lifted: 28 Days to Strengthen Your Body, Focus Your Mind, and Elevate Your Spirit. “Don’t drink calories; drink water,” she says. “Save your calorie-packed drinks for when you really want them—like at a party or celebration.” These are the 9 sneaky signs you’re drinking too many calories.
Basically, everyone's different, so it's hard to nail down a guideline that applies to everyone, says Sara Gottfried, M.D., bestselling author of The Hormone Cure and The Hormone Reset Diet. But if all else fails, remember this: Something is better than nothing. That's why Dr. Gottfried suggests incorporating 30 minutes of moderate intensity movement daily, devoting five minutes before your workout to an active warm-up, then another five minutes to cool down and prevent injury. Once you've got that down, you can layer on time and intensity. "After two weeks, add 10 minutes so that you're exercising moderately for 40 minutes, four days per week, or increase intensity," she suggests.
Here's an interesting thought to keep in mind. If all you do is fast just one day a week, it adds up spectacularly. In seven years, you will have fasted for one entire year. For the average person, that represents 1.5 pounds saved every two weeks—39 lbs in body weight at the end of the seven years! What do you think a year of fasting every seven years would do to optimize your health—let alone slow down any weight gain you might otherwise have experienced?
It's also important to identify the strategies that feel right for you. A tactic like intermittent fasting may work for some, for example, but others may feel loopy come 11 a.m. without an energy-boosting breakfast. Check out the tips below to help you figure out how to lose weight naturally, in a way that feels totally customized to you and your body. That way, once the pounds peel off, they can stay off—for good.