If it feels like almost everyone around you is constantly trying to lose weight, you’re not imagining things. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 70 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese, and predictions show that number will continue to increase. The reason is that no matter how big the weight-loss industry gets, the amount of people who are successfully able to lose weight (and more importantly, keep it off) is relatively small compared with the number that actually tries.
In an effort to understand the science behind how to effectively lose weight, POPSUGAR spoke with industry expert Dr. Justin Holtzman of the Holtzman Medical Group. “The most effective way to lose weight, and studies have shown this, is that you need to limit your total calories per day,” Dr. Holtzman explains. “The most effective way to do this for long-term success is to track everything you eat every day, have a calorie limit, and don’t exceed that limit”.
Along with using this practice as a way to eat more mindfully, it also offers an excellent way to gauge how much you’re really consuming on any given day. “If, for breakfast, you’re having one cup of cereal and a half a cup of milk, measure each and write that down in a journal,” Dr. Holtzman continues. “The beauty of the world we live in now is that we have apps that measure everything for us. I personally like Weight Watchers to track points for caloric intake, because it steers you toward foods that are less calorie dense. And by steering you toward foods that are less calorie dense, you stay fuller longer. You still have the volume of food, but you’re not storing those calories as fat. This leads to long-term success in weight loss.”
Rebecca Lee, registered nurse and founder of the natural health resource RemediesForMe.com, also offers excellent food suggestions to help with weight loss. She recommends apple cider vinegar (known to stimulate weight loss), coconut oil (which is a healthy fat that’s metabolized differently in your body than other fats), probiotics (to help protect the natural flora in the gastrointestinal tract), water (which helps boost the metabolism), fiber (which adds bulk to food without an increase in calories so you stay full longer), and green tea (when digested, it signals stored body fats to be released into the bloodstream to be used as energy).
POPSUGAR also spoke with Jill McKay, certified personal trainer and founder of Narrow Road Fitness, about her tips for effectively losing weight. She explains that when it comes to diets, it’s not one size fits all. McKay encourages people to “set yourself a plan that works for you. Not all plans works for all people — if there was a way to eat healthy, everyone would be doing it!” She also explains that you have to “stick to the boundaries you set for yourself. Remember, you are the ONLY one responsible for your eating (and exercising) habits. Your body is different from others’, so your metabolism may be faster or slower than someone else’s. You may respond better to a Paleo style of eating, whereas someone else may have more success at a vegan lifestyle.” McKay also cautions that you should give yourself a reasonable amount of time to lose weight, saying, “Weight creeps on slowly, but it also takes a long time to lose. Consistency over time is important.” It’s also important to note that you should always seek medical consultation before starting or drastically changing any diet plans.