When it comes to weight loss, everyone seems to have a new angle on the best way to lose weight. While there are often a number of effective ways to lose weight, results vary widely among individuals. Too many "gurus" promote diets that are either just wrong or not based on science. Here, I will list 5 science-based changes that you can make and sustain long-term to help you achieve better health.
Before you read this list, remember that committing to your health starts with taking the changes you should make and making them into changes you must make. You must be willing to seriously enforce the necessary changes and sacrifices to improve your health and quality of life. We are programmed to want immediate results, but the reality is that changes from healthy living are seen over extended periods of time! We are often good at finding excuses, but if you seriously decide to change and really commit to that change, then you can achieve amazing things. The solutions are often simple but rarely easy, and it really all comes down to how badly you want to accomplish your goal.
Drink at least 2 L water every single day to help boost metabolism and increase feelings of fullness. Drinking 8-12 ounces of water 30 minutes before a meal helps decrease the amount of food eaten during that meal. Try to avoid any beverage that has calories and these generally offer no nutritional value. Many of my patients have benefitted from using water bottles like this: https://amzn.to/3nWcZle
Start a daily soluble fiber supplement with your goal to take in an extra 20 grams every day. Fiber will help you feel fuller and aid in absorption. To minimize bloating and gas, start at 5g a day for the first week, then go to 10 grams a day for a week, then 15 grams a day for a week then the fourth week to the goal of 20 grams a day. Not everyone can make it to 20 grams a day, but even 10-15 grams a day is better than nothing. Benefiber (capsules and powder) and Metamucil (powder) are good ones to try; do not buy fiber bars/cereal as those add unnecessary calories for only a small amount of fiber. My favorite soluble fiber supplements: https://amzn.to/3qwIGmP or https://amzn.to/3oWEhJN.
Start both prebiotics and probiotics to help with ideal absorption of food and your metabolism. Our intestines (small and large) house more bacteria than our body has cells! The bacterial cultures in our gut are referred to as the "microbiome" and play an enormous role in absorbtion, among other things. If you have too many colonies of bad bacteria, you are more likely to improperly absorb nutrients and calories while having a more ideal balance of healthier bacteria can help ensure proper nutrient absorption. Prebiotics are nutrients that encourage the growth of healthy bacteria, while probiotic supplements and foods are bacteria that promote gut health. Think of prebiotics as "Miracle Grow" for probiotics. Several supplements contain both pre-and pro-biotics, and many can be affordably obtained on Amazon.
My favorites are: https://amzn.to/39YGluz and https://amzn.to/38V6dI6.
If you really want to take the absolute best probiotic on the market, I recommend VSL#3. The gold-standard probiotic is VSL#3. It is the ONLY probiotic considered a medical food. VSL#3 may have a therapeutic or preventive effect in various systemic diseases per a large number of studies, including digestive systemic diseases (gastrointestinal diseases and hepatic diseases), obesity and diabetes, allergic diseases, nervous systemic diseases, atherosclerosis, bone diseases, and female reproductive systemic diseases. This has been validated in independent clinical trials, and if you’re into science, here is a link to one of the articles: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7190945/
This medical food can be purchased without a prescription online. Here is a link to the product on Amazon. This is not cheap, but I genuinely believe that you will see a return on your investment. Buy on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3cy5fnu
Utilize Intermittent Fasting, which is a concept which is more of an eating pattern than a specific diet that doesn't specify what foods to eat but instead when you can eat. There are several types of fasting you can do, with the most common being the 16/8 method - it invovles skipping breakfast and restricting eating to an 8-hour period such as 12pm-8pm, with strict fasting for the 16 hours in between. You can easily find several good website and phone apps to help find a schedule that works best for you. Stay tuned for a dedicated blog that goes much more in depth on this weight loss method. Some of my favorite books on Intermittent Fasting are:
The three main food groups are fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. For many people, reducing carbohydrates is an incredibly effective way to lose weight. As this post focuses on long-term changes, I recommend doing a low carb diet (less than 100 carbohydrates a day) rather than Keto diet (less than 20 grams of carbohydrates a day) as a Keto diet is quite challenging to maintain long-term. I recommend 50-60 grams of carbohydrates a day as your goal. Visit www.dietdoctor.com for great information/tips - I recommend this website to all my patients as the content is mostly free, there are no ads, and the information is all science-based. If you're looking for a good low-carb cookbook, one of my favorites is https://amzn.to/2LJfPwZ
If you want help getting a personalized keto diet, this is an awesome program that I highly recommend: https://17e41ivd0jgnm6rtu2uj9r1va4.hop.clickbank.net/
Get used to feeling some hunger and know that feeling isn’t harmful when you are trying to lose weight. Many of us live with daily pain, but we have a hard time living with even a few minutes of hunger. It is ok and even normal to feel hungry when trying to lose weight!
If you are looking for a scale, this body fat monitoring scale is an excellent option for the tech-savvy user who is looking for both goal-setting assistance and a sense of accountability. It uses bioelectric impedance to analyze your full body composition, stores data for up to eight people, and automatically recognizes those people when they step on the scale. Then, it syncs with the Health Mate app, which tracks all of these wellness data points over time so you don’t have to record anything manually.
Connecting to the app and setting up the scale is simple and easy, and the app hosts a slew of special features for anyone interested in really digging into the many aspects of their health.
Dr. Jason Leonard is board certified in Obesity Medicine, and he has offices in Columbia and Sumter, South Carolina. Having a physician who is a board-certified expert in offering the support and medically sound therapies required to help you reach your weight-loss goals is essential.