How long have you been dieting to try and lose weight? Chances are, it’s been a while—weeks, months, or even years of trying various diets and eating plans, none of which seem to really work. Well, maybe it’s time to try a new approach, one backed up by science. Below are a few science-backed diet rules that can definitely increase your chances of losing weight the healthy, effective way:
Try Skipping Breakfast
This one may go against everything you know, all the accepted wisdom that said you need to start the day with a healthy breakfast. You DO need a hefty dose of calories and nutrients to jumpstart your metabolism in the morning, let’s get that clear. But you don’t need to eat first thing in the morning. If you eat at 7 AM and continue eating until 8 or 9 PM, that’s a 14-hour eating window, a long time for your body to be processing all those calories. Try eating your food within a shorter eating window—say 9 AM for breakfast, with your last meal between 3 and 5 PM. That’ll shorten the amount of time your body spends digesting food, increasing the amount of time it spends tapping into fat stores for fuel.
Snack as Needed
You don’t need to treat snacks as unhealthy. Instead, think of them as a way to keep your body fueled up and energized between meals or around your workouts. Have a hefty breakfast, then a mid-morning snack, a light lunch, an afternoon snack, and a small dinner. As long as you’re getting the right number of calories per day, a snack can actually help to keep you awake and your brain working well in the long gaps between your meals.
Use Carbs for Activity
Don’t be afraid of carbs; they’re your body’s primary fuel source, and they’re vital for good health. Instead, treat carbs as the source of fuel for your exercise. On the day you’re not going to do a workout, stick with more lean proteins, fats, fruits, and veggies. But on the day you can hit the gym or go for a run, make sure to include decent-sized portions of carbs to fuel your muscles and keep your energy levels up.
Get Out in the Sun
Did you know that Vitamin D is one of the most important fat-loss nutrients? People with higher levels of Vitamin D tend to have higher body fat, but those who spend more time out in the sun tend to have lower body fat. Why is that? Simple: Vitamin D increases the production of leptin, which triggers weight loss. It also decreases the parathyroid hormone and reduces the amount of fat stored, and it can prevent the stress hormone cortisol from storing fat.
Fasting isn’t the same as starving yourself—on the contrary, it’s eating around a very specific schedule. Intermittent fasting involves eating for just 6 to 8 hours per day, then fasting (water only) for 16 to 18 hours. Or, you can try fasts that last 24, 48, or even 72 hours. It can help to reset your metabolism, encourage fat burning, and regenerate your body at a cellular level.
Load up on Protein
It’s nearly impossible for you to overload on protein if you’re following a healthy, balanced diet. Increase your protein intake to 35% of your daily calories, and balance it out with enough healthy whole carbs and plant-based fats. The more protein you eat, the more energy you produce for your muscles to burn.