10 Time-Tested Weight-Loss Tactics to Try if You’re Not Losing Weight10/23/20
Almost 50% of the U.S. adult population tried to lose weight last year.
Anyone who has ever tried to diet for weight loss knows just how hard it can be to not only lose weight, but maintain those results for the long haul.
If you’ve struggled in the past, then we’re here to help as we present 10 easy, time-tested weight loss tactics you can try if you’re not losing weight.
Top 10 Weight Loss Tactics to Try for Weight Loss
#1 Track Your Food Intake
Losing weight is first and foremost about creating a calorie deficit. The only way that you can know with reasonable certainty that you are in a deficit is if you know how many calories that you are eating as well as how many calories you need to eat to maintain your weight.
In order for you to know how many calories you’re eating each day, you must track your food intake.
Research indicates that individuals who log their daily food intake are more successful with their weight loss ventures than those who either casually track or don’t track at all.[2,3]
Additionally, with the plethora of smartphone food tracking apps, logging your food has never been easier or more accessible. For most people, it takes less than 15 minutes per day to log their nutrition.
One other great benefit of tracking your nutrition each day is that it allows you to pre-program in your cheat meals for the day so that you can work them in while still staying on target with your calorie and macronutrient goals!
#2 Prioritize Protein
Consuming enough protein is essential to your results, regardless if they are to lose weight or build muscle.
Protein supplies our bodies with essential amino acids it needs to build and repair muscle tissue, synthesize hormones, support immune function, and fortify skin, hair, nails, and organs.
Protein also plays a key role in weight loss.
As we mentioned, our muscles need to protein to repair and grow. Any time the body is in a calorie deficit, protein breakdown (i.e. muscle loss) is a real concern.
Eating enough protein each day helps guard against muscle breakdown.
But, the benefits of protein don’t stop there.
Protein also helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. In fact, protein is the most satiating macronutrient of all. Furthermore, protein also has the highest thermic effect of any macronutrient, which means your body has to expend more energy (i.e. burn more calories) digesting and absorbing protein than it does for carbohydrates or fats.
Basically, make sure you have a quality serving of protein at every meal and you’ll be less likely to feel hungry, snack, or overeat during the day.
Some of our favorite protein sources are:
- Fish (salmon, mahi mahi, trout, snapper, etc)
- Greek yogurt
- Whey Protein
- Cottage cheese
#3 Eat Your Veggies
After protein, the next most important food to fill up on at meal time are non-starchy vegetables, including:
The reasons for focusing on non-starchy vegetables are that they are both low in calories and highly satiating (meaning they keep you feeling fuller for longer).
As you’re likely aware, one of the best “hacks” when it comes to weight loss are finding foods that keep you feeling full while not taking as big of a “hit” out of your daily calorie limits.
Vegetables also have the added benefit of being high in water and antioxidants, which support immune function, detoxification, and digestive health.
#4 Drink Enough Fluids
Hydration plays a key role in weight loss, and a number of studies have found an association between higher water intakes and lower body masses.
The reason for this, at least in part, is that by drinking water, you’re displacing other beverages that could contain calories (soda, sports drinks, smoothies, juices, etc.). Simply swapping water for these high-sugar, high-calorie, low satiety beverage options translates to huge calorie savings each day, which ultimately helps you lose weight!
If plain water isn’t your thing, you can also infuse your water with slices of cucumber, lemon, or lime. Another option is to try drinking some of the zero calorie carbonated water options on the market or other no-cal seltzers.
#5 Unplug at Mealtime
We are inundated by texts, tweets, DMs, IMs, phone calls, and emails, so much so that we even stare at our phones while trying to eat and enjoy the company of others at the table.
Distracted eating is known to increase your calorie intake during mealtime, but it’s also been shown to lead to increased calorie intake at subsequent meals, too! This is a double-whammy against your weight loss goals.
When you sit down to eat, keep your phone out of sight and out of mind. Practice being present and mindful. Focus on the food that you’re eating as well as enjoy the company and conversation of those around you.
You’ll be less likely to overeat, and get some much needed downtime from technology...which brings us to our next point.
#6 Chill Out
Stress is at an all-time high these days, in large part due to news outlets and social media. Additionally, a great deal of stress in our lives is also self-imposed as we constantly worry why our posts didn’t get enough likes, engagement, or comments.
Chronic stress does a number on your hormones, hunger/satiety cues, and sleep, all of which lead to increased calorie intake (especially of high-calorie, high-sugar foods), fat storage, and reduced physical activity.
While you may not be able to entirely remove stress from your daily life, you can limit your exposure to it, particularly from those “self-inflicted” sources like watching the news and obsessing over social media.
You can also practice relaxation techniques and breathing drills to improve your stress management as well as get outside and spend some time in nature (away from your phone). Research shows that even as little as a 20 minute “nature pill” does wonders to lower stress and cortisol levels.
#7 Be Reasonable with Your Diet
In the haste to accelerate weight loss, it can be tempting to adopt one of the extreme fad diets that’s prevalent these days (keto, carnivore, etc.).
We would suggest tapping the brakes on that dieting philosophy and adopt a more measured, reasonable nutrition plan.
The reason for this is that being overly restrictive to your diet can (and frequently does) lead to feelings of deprivation and the development of an unhealthy relationship with food. Ultimately this means abandoning your diet, binging, and gaining weight.
Losing weight (and keeping it off) doesn’t require extremes. All it takes is a few simple lifestyle changes, such as:
- creating a diet plan that suits your tastes and places you in a negative energy balance (calories in < calories out)
- Performing resistance training several times per week to preserve lean muscle
- Doing enough cardio to support your calorie burning needs
Do this consistently and you, too, can experience results like those of our transformation challenge winners!
#8 Take Sleep Seriously
Sleep is essential to success in life, be it in the gym, the office, or as part of a transformation challenge.
Sleep affects so many facets of life, it’s simply astounding.
Poor sleep is known to:
- Increase feelings of hunger
- Reduce feelings of satiety
- Decrease physical activity
- Impair cognitive function
- Slow reaction time
- Disrupt hormone production
- Impair energy metabolism
- Promote fat storage
Basically, everything that you wouldn’t want to happen during your weight loss journey can (and will), if you’re chronically sleep deprived.
As such, it’s paramount that you prioritize sleep each and every night. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep.
To help set the stage for a successful, restorative night’s rest, keep these tips in mind:
- Establish a time to start getting ready for bed
- Start a bedtime routine
- Limit blue light exposure 2 hours before bed
- Limit stress exposure in the hours before bed
- If you are sensitive to stimulants, cut off your intake by 3PM
- Limit alcohol in the hours preceding bed
- Make your room cool and dark
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes
#9 Take a Stroll
While it’s true that using exercise as the sole or primary means for facilitating weight loss is a futile endeavor, that doesn’t mean it can’t accelerate and enhance your results.
Diet is your biggest tool in your weight loss tool shed. Exercise (resistance training and cardio) are there to help boost metabolism, retain lean muscle, and increase energy output (which helps you achieve the required calorie deficit needed in order to lose weight).
Cardio doesn’t have to be anything crazy either for weight loss. Simply going for a leisurely walk a couple times each day can do wonders to increase your overall daily energy expenditure without it “feeling” like you’re slogging away the hours on the treadmill or elliptical.
What’s more is that low-intensity walking actually promotes recovery, improves insulin sensitivity, and aids fat loss![7,8]
#10 Calories Are King
Beware the common diet pitfall that just because a food is “healthy” doesn’t mean it cannot stall fat loss. It most certainly can.
Case in point, peanut butter.
It’s high in fiber and healthy fats. It’s also incredibly indulgent and downright delicious!
Peanut butter is also high in calories, and eating too much of it (or any other healthy food) can, and will, stall your transformation challenge progress.
The reason for this, is that at the end of the day, calories are king when it comes to weight loss.
What this means is that no matter how “clean” or “dirty” the foods you eat are, if they place you in a positive energy balance, you will not lose weight. In fact, just the opposite will happen -- you’ll gain weight.
So, even though you may be eating a diet rich in “healthy” or “clean” foods, you still need to be mindful of how many calories they contain.
The good news is that minimally-processed foods are typically hard to overeat due to their high fiber, protein, and water content.
Still, you should always be mindful of the calorie contents of the foods you eat, which harkens back to the very first point we discussed in this article -- tracking your food intake. Do that each and every day (and be honest with what you’re eating), and you will experience the results you want during your transformation challenge.
- Products - Data briefs - Number 313 - July 2018. (2019, June 7). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db313.htm
- Michele L Patel, Christina M Hopkins, Taylor L Brooks, Gary G Bennett. Comparing Self-Monitoring Strategies for Weight Loss in a Smartphone App: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR mHealth and uHealth, 2019; 7 (2): e12209 DOI:10.2196/12209
- Ingels, J. S., Misra, R., Stewart, J., Lucke-Wold, B., & Shawley-Brzoska, S. (2017). The effect of adherence to dietary tracking on weight loss: Using HLM to model weight loss over time. Journal of Diabetes Research, 2017, 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/6951495
- Muckelbauer R, Sarganas G, Grüneis A, Müller-Nordhorn J. Association between water consumption and body weight outcomes: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2013;98(2):282-299. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.055061
- Eric Robinson, Paul Aveyard, Amanda Daley, Kate Jolly, Amanda Lewis, Deborah Lycett, Suzanne Higgs, Eating attentively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 97, Issue 4, April 2013, Pages 728–742, https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.112.045245
- Hunter, M. R., Gillespie, B. W., & Chen, S. Y. (2019). Urban nature experiences reduce stress in the context of daily life based on salivary biomarkers. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00722
- Paul Menzies, Craig Menzies, Laura McIntyre, Paul Paterson, John Wilson & Ole J. Kemi (2010) Blood lactate clearance during active recovery after an intense running bout depends on the intensity of the active recovery, Journal of Sports Sciences, 28:9, 975-982, DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2010.481721
- Duvivier BMFM, Schaper NC, Hesselink MKC, et al. Breaking sitting with light activities vs structured exercise: a randomised crossover study demonstrating benefits for glycaemic control and insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes [published online December 1, 2016]. Diabetologia. doi:10.1007/s00125-016-4161-7