Restricting yourself from eating foods and counting every single calorie till your face turns blue? Sorry, folks. That’s just not how weight loss works. In fact, restricting yourself and giving in to toxic diet culture has never been the solution for sustainable long-term weight loss—even science says so.
So what does work for weight loss? While you likely imagine food restriction and eating bland food is the solution to losing weight, in reality, the actual journey to sustainable weight loss is a lot more freeing (and surprising) than that. What you think “shouldn’t” work actually does, so it’s time to get rid of that toxic dieting mindset once and for all!
Here are a few of the weight loss tips that “shouldn’t work” but actually do, straight from registered dietitians who have seen this happen before. Keep these tips in mind the next time you find yourself listening to toxic dieting beliefs, and let yourself enjoy eating all kinds of foods in your diet. And why not whip up one of these 100 Easiest Recipes You Can Make!
Think you need to be eating less to lose weight? Think again! In fact, according to the National Institute of Aging, food restriction hasn’t actually been scientifically proven to work for weight loss long term. Plus, it can even slow down your metabolism because your body is trying to conserve energy for later—making it harder to lose weight, according to the UK National Health Service.
“While portion control is super important and is my specialty, practicing portion control does not mean you have to eat tiny portions,” says Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim. “In fact, oftentimes, you could enjoy more to lose weight. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber as well as vitamins and minerals and can help you to feel full. So, the more the better!”
“No one got fat from bananas and carrots so don’t worry about the ‘sugar’ content,” says Young. “Also, sometimes it’s best to create the perfect pair for a satisfying snack. Adding a teaspoon or two to an apple is often more filling than just having the fruit. Having a 1/4 cup of hummus along with your veggies will keep you full longer which will ultimately help you lose weight. It’s not just about the calories—it’s about enjoying foods that are healthy as well as filling.”
Contrary to popular belief, eating fat does not make you fat. There are quite a few fatty foods that are actually healthy for you and are even considered an essential part of a healthy diet. The types of fats you find in foods such as avocados, nut butter, fish, and even olive oil, can actually help slow down digestion and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
“So often people wanting to lose weight cut out fat to lose weight—unless they go on keto and that is a completely different problem,” says Young. “Even though fat has more calories than protein and carbs, it is filling so you ultimately eat less. So, enjoy a handful of nuts as a snack to lose weight.”
Yes, eat carbs. Carbs are great for your body—especially complex carbohydrates that are full of dietary fiber! Resistant starches are some of the best carbs you can have, which are full of fiber and keep you feeling full.
“Adding in prebiotic resistant starch-rich foods, such as green banana flour, resistant potato starch, uncooked oats, legumes and lentils, and even cashew nuts, have been shown to both help you feel fuller for longer, reduce your appetite at your following meal, as well as help your cells become more responsive to insulin—meaning you don’t need to have as much circulating insulin in your blood in order to regulate your blood sugar levels,…