Losing weight is already a challenge for many people—but keeping it off? That’s even more of a struggle. The main reason why some have a hard time losing weight for good, according to experts, is that they’re looking for “quick fixes” that might offer dramatic results in the short term but aren’t sustainable in the long term.
“Always be wary of fad diets and products that promise rapid weight loss in a short time frame,” says Allison Herries, MS, RDN, creator of Bite Out of Life Nutrition. “Many fad diets advocate very low-calorie meal plans. Due to the extensive calorie restriction, most people will lose weight, but they will also not consume enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients while on these plans. These ‘magic bullets’ can also lead to yo-yo dieting, which research has linked to increased appetite and more weight gain over time.”
Not only that, but according to Ashley Krautkramer, RD, a board-certified specialist in obesity and weight management, weight loss supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and some could potentially be dangerous to your health.
“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” she says.
Sarah Williams, MS, RD, owner and founder of Sweet Balance Nutrition, notes that not getting enough calories can actually backfire, slowing down your metabolism. The slower weight comes off, the more likely it is to stay off, says Williams.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends a gradual weight loss of one to two pounds per week—and RDs agree that if you stick to these guidelines, you’re more likely to be successful in keeping the weight off. But how do you accomplish that? We asked experts to share their top tips for sustainable weight loss. Here’s what they had to say, and for even more tips, be sure to check out our list of these Eating Habits to Avoid if You Want to Lose Weight, Say Dietitians.
“It sounds overly simplistic, but how all weight loss regimes work is through eating fewer calories than you burn,” explains Krautkramer.
Melissa Mitri, MS, a registered dietitian with Wellness Verge, says a calorie deficit of around 500 calories a day is a healthy benchmark for weight loss.
The average adult female needs between 1,600 to 2,200 calories per day, while the average adult male needs 2,200 to 3,000 calories per day — but this number can also depend on your activity levels.
To achieve a 500-calorie daily deficit, you can try replacing calorie-dense foods with lower-calorie alternatives and getting more exercise.
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“Protein helps boost your metabolism and keeps you full, making it easier to stick to a lower-calorie diet,” says Mitri. “Include protein at every meal and snack to support weight loss.”
Keep in mind that not all protein is created equal, however.
“The protein needs to be lean, but evidence from the W.I.S.E. study shows lean beef can …….