Weight loss without surgery is achieved primarily through a rational diet and the use of sports nutrition , while training , pharmacology , daily regimen and other factors that play a role in the treatment of obesity make a secondary contribution . This article summarizes modern scientific knowledge, on the basis of which clear recommendations are given to effectively reduce weight. Also read: ” Why Can’t I Lose Weight .”
A weight loss diet is a personalized meal plan designed to help you lose weight . Studies show that the best efficacy comes from a low-carb , low- fat, and low-calorie diet. Having studied many diets for weight loss, scientists from the Weizmann Institute came to the conclusion that there is no universal diet, because, which is good for one person, it can spoil the figure for another. Therefore, when deciding to lose weight with the help of any particular diet, it is necessary to strictly monitor changes in fat mass and hormonal levels.
This article focuses on the evidence that has been proven in practice and controlled studies to achieve the best weight loss results. Before you, rather than even a specific diet, but an accessible guide to drawing up an individual program that is right for you. Without a doubt, you can successfully apply other diets, but ignoring the recommendations below will reduce the effectiveness of the weight loss program.
Who is this diet for? Anyone who is overweight, regardless of gender, age and activity, can reduce fat mass to the desired level if they follow the recommendations. The article provides universal advice that has a solid evidence base, while paying great attention to safety. The diet can be continued indefinitely, depending on your baseline and goals.
Beware of Quackery
Currently, there are a huge number of illiterate and fundamentally absurd diets, which are composed only as an attempt to bring something new to nutrition, and to attract the attention of the reader. The very history of attempts to lose weight is instructive. Sometimes there is a uniform idiocy: a diet of only purple vegetables, garlic diets, and even enemas with laundry soap. Do not trust authors who recommend very complex cycles, ridiculous combinations of products, various complexes, “cleansing” and other pseudoscientific approaches. Do not be trusted even in cases where it is argued that the elimination of a certain product will lead to significant weight loss. Remember that short weight loss diets (three, two days, and so on) are hazardous to health with little or temporary results.
There are also no effective nutritional programs for eliminating the abdomen, sides or other parts of the body, since local fat burning cannot be achieved using dietary methods. Another important note: do not try to achieve quick weight loss. Only with systematic and methodical progress is the best result achieved.
- The Hollywood Diet is an unbalanced eating plan with excessive weight loss, which ultimately leads to weight gain and metabolic dysfunction.
- The Kremlin diet creates unnecessary difficulties in calculating conventional units, points and weight in grams, while not showing good effectiveness. In fact, this is the Russian analogue of the Atkins diet , but it is less balanced and significantly simplified to the detriment of the result.
- The Japanese Diet – Avoiding meat and unpolished rice will not make you slimmer. Minimal cooking of food can lead to digestive upset. Recommendations for consuming large amounts of green tea are also unfounded. Named Japanese only for the sake of advertising, since the menu of the inhabitants of Japan is considered one of the healthiest and most useful in the world, otherwise no original solutions are offered.
- The buckwheat diet is a completely unbalanced diet, as a result of which a deficiency of vitamins and protein develops rapidly, which will affect the skin, hair, nails and overall health. Despite the fact that buckwheat is a very useful cereal, it does not contain the entire spectrum of essential substances.
- Rice Diet – As in the previous example, an unbalanced mono diet with a number of flaws. It should be noted that very often rice contains an increased amount of arsenic. If, with a varied diet, this is not so dangerous, then during a mono-diet, an excess of rice in the diet can pose a serious threat to health.
- The grapefruit diet has become popular due to the discovery of the substance naringin , which helps burn fat. Of course, grapefruit is a good product for losing weight, but excessive consumption can lead to the development of gastritis and indigestion.
- Kefir diet is not balanced enough. Moreover, kefir can be replaced and supplemented with other fermented milk products and probiotics .
- The Blood Type Diet is an absolutely anti-scientific diet, not backed up by any serious research.
- The diet of Elena Malysheva, Larisa Dolina, Nicole Kidman and other programs with the names of famous people, which are added to the name only as marketing tricks, do not give the best results, as shown by a large independent study.
- A marketing gimmick on the label of a product that is sold as a “snack” leads to increased consumption and continued overeating, according to a new study in the journal Appetite.
Of course, there will be supporters of one or another nutrition plan listed above who were able to achieve the goal. However, this was done to the detriment of health or the quality of the results.
Weight loss guidelines
1. Gradual reduction in calorie intake
Human psychology is such that in order to take a decisive step, he needs a certain push. Another failure in personal life, another kilogram on the scales, another centimeter of fat folds on the abdomen, the need for a larger size of clothing or the influence of a loved one – it doesn’t matter. After this above-threshold stimulus, a powerful dominant is formed to achieve the goal – weight loss, and the person begins to rather not even go on a diet, but to exhaust himself with hunger .
You cannot do this, because it is fraught with serious metabolic disorders and powerful stress for the body, which in a few days will force you to give up losing weight. You need to tune in to a long and consistent program that doesn’t have to be based on emotions. So, in a 2017 study conducted a randomized study in which it was proved that daily restriction in calorie intake is more effective than alternative nutrition. In another study by a group of researchers from the Center for Physical Activity Research (CFAS), it was shown that the Ramadan model of fasting food does not statistically significantly affect indicators of body composition, glucose metabolism and cognitive function in healthy people.
If you decide to reduce your weight, then reduce the calorie intake gradually, no more than 10% per day. You can give up sweet and fatty foods right away, and then reduce the amount of other foods.
2. Gradual exit from the diet
Completing the diet is even more important. Remember that after prolonged fasting, your body thinks that you are in difficult conditions of existence, so it tries to reserve “for a rainy day” in the form of fat at any convenient situation. If you have achieved the desired result, in no case do not sharply increase the calorie content of your diet, otherwise your body will begin to actively replenish its fat reserves. You should gradually increase your portions until the weight becomes stable, it is better not to consume sweets at all, since it is fast carbohydrates that are most susceptible to conversion to fat. Limit the amount of fat and continue to follow the rest of the rules. Try to form your diet entirely from the foods listed in the table. Returning to your previous diet will lead you back to excess weight.
3.5-6 meals a day
This may sound strange to many, but when you lose weight, you need to try to eat more often. This is due to the fact that rare and larger portions will be spent by the body not only for energy, but also for the formation of fat as a reserve, thus, the process of burning fat will be intermittent, forcing your metabolism to work in different directions, which is not good. If you eat more often, 5-6 times a day in small portions, all food will be continuously converted into energy to support life, while energy deficiency will force your body to constantly expend fat. In addition, with frequent meals, the feeling of hunger decreases, and the risk of developing diseases of the gastrointestinal tract is eliminated.
This principle has not found reliable scientific confirmation, therefore, it is not required to be observed.
4. Low-calorie food
Your diet should be 80% low-calorie foods. This helps to reduce hunger and keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy. Some foods can be consumed in unlimited quantities. Foods rich in plant fiber are especially beneficial – they tend to be very low in calories and support bowel function. In addition, fiber reduces the absorption of other nutrients (fats and carbohydrates), and ensures their gradual entry into the blood. At the same time, you do not need to restrain yourself in choosing, you can eat almost anything, as long as it does not contradict the rules.
In a 2017 study, scientists from the United States proved that a low-calorie diet increases the duration and quality of life in rhesus monkeys, which, in a prognostic sense, will have the same effect on humans.
5. Eliminate fast carbohydrates and reduce fat
Many people, especially women, are in awe of confectionery. Therefore, you need to decide what is more important to you – a beautiful figure, attention of the opposite sex and high social adaptability, or satisfying your lower biological needs for sweets. Fast carbohydrates are dangerous when losing weight in that they are absorbed very quickly. A powerful flow of nutrients leads to the start of the process of fat deposition, which means that the process of losing weight slows down. Use foods with a glycemic index below 60.
Fatty foods should also be limited due to their high calorie content. A 2015 study found that eliminating fat leads to more body fat loss than eliminating carbohydrates alone. Saturated fats of animal origin after thermal processing (eg, frying) and margarine are especially undesirable , as they contain a large amount of trans fats.
6. Drinking regime
Drink plenty of fluids. The optimal volume is 3 liters per day, including the water contained in the products. Losing weight requires more fluid as it is used in the fat burning process. Water is not conducive to weight loss, however, the process of losing weight slows down with a decrease in fluid intake. Also, lack of water can cause metabolic and electrolyte disturbances. It is also necessary to remember about the drinking regime because during a strict diet the feeling of thirst decreases, so the volume of the supplied fluid must be kept under conscious control. Read more: water for weight loss .
7. Distribution of portions
- 80% of all daily food should be eaten before 6:00 pm. It is believed that in the first half of the day food is spent more on energy, and in the second half it is converted into fat. In a recent study, late meals have been shown to slow resting metabolism, decrease carbohydrate oxidation, impair glucose tolerance, and decrease the thermogenic effect of food. In a study by scientists from the Autonomous University of Chile, it was found that late dinners (after 8 pm) increased the waist by 5 cm compared to the control group. Another study found that eating for a strictly limited period of time (for example, from 9 to 18 hours or from 11 to 20 hours) helps to lose weight faster, reduces the risk of diabetes and normalizes cholesterol levels .
- Some sources indicate that eating before bedtime does not contribute to obesity : only the calorie content, quality of food and the frequency of its intake matter. You can eat before bed, but only healthy food, and dinner should contain fewer calories than breakfast and lunch. The optimal choice in the evening is protein food ( protein shake , vegetables, salads, cottage cheese , etc.).
- Do not eat anything 2 hours before and 2 hours after training. Studies show that fasting before exercise increases fatty acid mobilization and brown fat activity. Small amounts of protein or amino acids are acceptable if it is important to maintain muscle mass. If you eat before exercise, the body will not use fat for energy, but food. After training, there is a large amount of free fatty acids in the blood, and the metabolic rate is very high. If you eat right after training, then all free fats will return to adipocytes, if you are hungry, then these fats will be destroyed.
- You can take amino acids before and after training, they can protect your muscles, while they will not interfere with the breakdown of fat.
8. Proportions of proteins, fats and carbohydrates (in% of calories, not by weight)
- Carbohydrate content – 40-50%
Try to consume only slow carbohydrates.
- Protein content – 25-35%
Ideally, 50% of the protein comes from food, the rest from sports nutrition.
- Fat content – 20-30%
Do not limit the amount of fat below 15%, this will cause unwanted changes in metabolism. As evidence for these recommendations, at least 3 modern meta-analyzes of studies can be cited , according to which fat without harm to health can be the source of more than 35% of the calories that we consume (previously it was considered the highest mark). Eat fatty fish. Fish oil is very healthy.
It should be remembered that there is no ideal BJU ratio that would suit absolutely everyone. Here are the average numbers that will work for most people, this is where you start, and you can experiment. The ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates is not much different from the recommendations of nutritionists for ordinary people, and this is not surprising, since it is these proportions that are best suited for both an ordinary person and during weight loss.
9. Hormonal background
It is known that the body’s metabolism is controlled by hormones. Therefore, hormonal disorders can often be the cause of excess weight. In addition, calorie restriction can lead to serious hormonal changes in the body that need to be detected and prevented in a timely manner.
10. Smaller crockery
Plate size can really affect the amount of calories you eat.
Using smaller cookware and smaller portions results in lower calorie intake. This simple recommendation is supported by data from real studies. A large portion will not always correspond to the maximum saturation level. In other words, if the subject is in front of a large portion of food, he tends to ignore the signals of satiety and consume more food than it should. In particular, one study noted that subjects consumed 31% fewer calories when they were offered a sandwich half the size of their food, compared with those who ate large sandwiches… Increased portions of food clearly correlate with an increased risk of obesity. A systematic review of over 72 randomized controlled trials has shown that people tend to consume more calories when their daily diet is divided into larger portions .
11. Get enough sleep
Scientists have found that restricting sleep leads to metabolic changes aimed at conserving energy. After 5 days with sleep restriction to 4 hours, the basal metabolic rate decreased by 2.6%. Another 2016 study concluded that sleep deprivation leads to increased food intake.
12. Consume Fiber First
It is best to start your meal with a salad of herbs, tomatoes, onions, raw and boiled green vegetables, and heat-treated mushrooms. The foods you start your meal with affect how much and what you eat next. Fiber-rich meals will fill your stomach quickly and slow down the absorption of fast carbohydrates.
The main principle of the diet
Body weight begins to decrease only when the amount of energy supplied in the form of food is lower than the amount of energy consumed by the body. In addition, it must be remembered that the body always tries to maintain homeostasis (constancy of the internal environment), therefore, sometimes it is necessary to significantly reduce the calorie content of the diet so that body weight begins to decrease. Don’t be surprised if you eat 5%, 10% or 20% less than before, and your weight is kept at the same level. Often, progressive weight loss requires a gradual decrease in calories by 50 or even 90% in order to achieve good results. Determining this percentage is quite simple, for this you need to follow a simple rule:
Gradually reduce the calorie content of the diet until the weight loss begins to be 800 – 1000 g per week. If the weight does not decrease, then you need to eat even less, if the losses exceed the indicated numbers, slightly increase the calorie content.
For this, it is recommended to weigh yourself every three days. A study by Elina Helander showed that more frequent weighing increases the effectiveness of weight loss, while weighing less than once a week, the effectiveness decreases significantly, mainly due to inadequate nutritional control. After a month, you will be able to decide on the optimal diet and continue until the desired results are obtained. Do not lose weight more than 1200 g per week, otherwise metabolic disorders and toxic substances are formed. The skin will not have time to rebuild, and the muscles will begin to break down intensively, and by the end of the cycle you will get a flabby body that will look even worse than before you started losing weight.
I would like to repeat once again, especially for women: it cannot be that you do not eat anything, and the weight does not decrease! If your weight is stable, then you are eating more than you need! Or other dietary rules are not followed.
Or there are disturbances in endocrinology – with a lack of thyroxine (hypothyroidism, when the thyroid gland is poorly functioning) really “you can eat nothing” by cutting the diet to 800 kilocalories per day, and at the same time practically (and for a very long time) not losing fat mass (though at the same time, muscles can be destroyed, the skin can dry and crack, hair dull and fall out). If, while following the rules of the diet, a similar situation arose – do not delay and contact an endocrinologist. You may be prescribed medications such as L-thyroxine. Fat loss can also go very slowly if the diet is not balanced in terms of vitamins (it may be worth changing the vitamin complex or reconsidering the dosage).
- Fat Calculator – Shows the percentage of dry and fat mass in your body. Measure 3-4 times a month to assess progress and muscle loss (lean mass).
- Calorie Calculation – the system determines the daily calorie intake you need, with which you can start the cycle, and then change it depending on the results.
- Individual selection of sports nutrition
- Programs for calculating the calorie content of products
- Be sure to start keeping a food diary , recording the time, type, and amount of food you eat. Many girls claim that they practically do not eat anything, but still cannot lose weight. In fact, they don’t even notice how many calories they get with countless small snacks. The diary will allow you to control yourself, and will also help you analyze and correct the weak points of the diet later.
- Weigh yourself every day after sleep and write the result in a journal.
Menu while losing weight
A weight loss diet involves reducing the intake of nutrients, primarily fats and carbohydrates. However, along with this, the intake of protein also decreases, which is not good. Protein during weight loss should be consumed in sufficient quantities, because when it is lacking, the body’s immune defense decreases, the synthesis of proteins of the connective tissue of the dermis and its appendages is disrupted: the skin loses its elasticity, becomes dry and flabby, premature wrinkles form, hair becomes thinner and grow poorly. The menstrual cycle is disturbed. Psychological problems arise – asthenization. Feeling a lack of proteins, the body begins to destroy its own muscles.
Degradation of fatty acids: β-oxidation occurs with the participation of a large number of enzymes, that is, proteins. Roughly speaking, fat burning is impossible without the participation of proteins. Protein not only itself takes longer to assimilate, but also lengthens the process of assimilating carbohydrates. This reduces the total glycemic index of the food consumed and allows a sufficient blood sugar level to be maintained for a long time without insulin surges. And this makes it possible to effectively and without problems cope with the feeling of hunger.
Therefore, you should include in your diet small amounts of meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, seafood, legumes, and other protein-rich foods that you enjoy. Fermented milk products such as low-fat kefir, yoghurts or fermented baked milk are especially useful during weight loss. They are low in calories and normalize bowel function.
Protein foods should make up about 30% of your diet. As a protein, you can use sports nutrition, or rather slow (complex) proteins . They practically do not contain carbohydrates and fats, are slowly absorbed and well satisfy the needs of the body during weight loss.
See also: Protein dishes (recipes)
The diet should contain about at least 10-15% fat, otherwise the body’s work will be disrupted. Vegetable oil and seafood (fatty fish) are also suitable sources of fat and should be consumed in small amounts as they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Conjugated linoleic acid should be mentioned separately . Do not overuse animal fats, butter, margarine and foods that contain saturated fats (especially after cooking), but it is also not recommended to completely eliminate animal fats.
Good and bad fats. Research conducted in 2017 demonstrated that limiting fat intake does not cause positive dynamics in diseases of the cardiovascular system. In the course of a thorough meta-analysis of a large number of studies, scientists have come to the conclusion that there is no point in limiting saturated fats. they are neutral in relation to the risk of cardiovascular diseases, since they simultaneously raise the so-called. “Bad” (LDL) and “good” (HDL) cholesterol. This makes sense when you consider that until now, the alternative to fat has been low-fat, carbohydrate-rich foods, while modern science is proving that it is sugar and starch, not fat, that trigger obesity. In addition, a fear of saturated fat can lead to overconsumption of omega-6-rich vegetable oils and an imbalance of fatty acids in the body.
Carbohydrates , fiber , vitamins and minerals
These components are not accidentally combined into one group, they are all found, as a rule, in the same products – vegetables and fruits. These foods should make up about 70% of all foods. Scientists have shown that vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids (apples, peaches, berries, onions , etc.) and anthocyanins protect a person from gaining weight. You can consume almost all vegetables: cabbage, beets, carrots, radishes, radishes, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, legumes, onions, and others. Make any dish of them: salads, soups, or consume raw. The consumption of potatoes should be limited, as they contain quite a lot of carbohydrates. Try replacing regular potatoes with small amounts of yams (sweet potatoes).
Fruits are not only low-calorie foods, but also important sources of vitamins and minerals that are required to burn fat. Choose unsweetened fruits such as apples or pineapple, which consume more calories (called the specifically dynamic action of food) than they contain. In fact, they contain a negative amount of calories. However, do not get carried away with fruits such as grapes, bananas, currants, avocados or dates, they are high in sugar.
While losing weight, you can cook small portions of cereals: buckwheat, rice, millet, oatmeal , etc. Semolina and wheat porridge, white rice, corn flakes are undesirable, since they have a high glycemic index . Use foods with a glycemic index below 60.
Avoid starchy foods, however, brown bread or durum bread or pasta can be eaten. Try to include steamed, baked or boiled foods on the menu, while fried foods should be avoided.
|70% of the diet||30% of the diet (protein foods)|
|Vegetables : cabbage, beets, carrots, radishes, radishes, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, legumes, onions
Fruits: apples, pineapples, orange, tangerine, nectarine, blackberries, melon, watermelon, pear, grapefruit, as well as juices and almost all slightly sweet berries.
Porridge: buckwheat, rice, millet, oatmeal
Flour: black, coarsely ground bread; durum wheat pasta and noodles
|Lean meat, fish (including fatty), dairy products: kefir, yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, cheese, etc., eggs, seafood, legumes|
|Meal replacement is a type of sports nutrition that contains a balanced amount of all nutrients. Meal substitutes can make up 50% of the total diet, consume them between meals for 0.5 servings. Keep track of your calories.
Top Products: Mega Shake by Dymatize, Performance RX by Performance, Fitness Shake + L-Carnitine by Multipower
|Protein shakes can provide up to 50% of the total protein you need. Give preference to complex (slow) proteins.
Top Products: Syntha-6 by BSN, Matrix by Syntrax, Probolic-SR by MHP
This article lists the most useful and popular foods for weight loss, you can only use them in food, as well as supplement your diet with other foods. Give preference to those foods that you like best, but remember that food should be balanced in accordance with the rules listed above.
- Fat burners
There are a number of supplements that can speed up your metabolism and thus boost your weight loss process. The most popular are thermogenics . It is best to take them before training, as it can increase your calorie expenditure by 80-100%. However, it makes sense to take thermogenics without physical exertion in the first half of the day, they increase thermogenesis, for which the body spends about 80% of all energy, suppress appetite, eliminate hypoglycemia to some extent and improve the psychological state.
Amino acid with unique properties. Carnitine accelerates the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondrial matrix, the site of their destruction. L-Carnitine helps burn fat while protecting your muscles. This supplement is not only safe but also beneficial to your health. L-carnitine strengthens the cardiovascular system, lowers cholesterol levels and improves tone. It should be noted that carnitine has a low level of evidence.
- Appetite suppressants
Appetite suppressants or anorectics are means to reduce hunger. Use them if you cannot control your appetite yourself .
- Calorie blockers
Fat blockers and carbohydrate blockers inhibit digestive enzymes or bind to nutrients, so most of the food you eat remains undigested. These drugs and supplements cannot independently solve the problem of excess weight, but they can reduce the negative impact of episodic errors in the diet. Calorie blockers are taken before meals that are high in carbohydrates or fats.
- Sugar substitutes
Sweeteners can be used to sweeten beverages and foods. The latest scientific data published in the International Journal of Obesity (2015) indicate that the use of sweeteners (saccharin, aspartame, sucralose, stevia) leads to a decrease in total caloric intake and body weight in children and adults.
Ineffective and dangerous means
- Enemas and body cleansing are pseudoscientific and often unhealthy.
- Laxatives – help to loosen stools, remove fluids and reduce nutrient absorption. May cause irreversible disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and digestion.
- Diuretics – cause short-term weight loss by excreting fluid. The use is fraught with a violation of water exchange .
- Activated carbon is a method with unproven effectiveness.
- Slimming tea usually contains laxatives and diuretics, or has no noticeable effect at all.
- Ginger – Suitable only as a weak aid.
- Liquid chestnut
- Goji berries
- Green coffee