29 Diet & Exercise Tips to Lose Weight

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

When it comes to weight loss, there are hundreds of strategies, tips, diets, supplements, secrets and myths out there. However, if you are seriously wondering how to lose weight in a healthy way, it is important not to get overwhelmed and to follow a comprehensive program of lifestyle, diet and exercise strategies.

Simple Weight Loss Tips

The best tips for ‘how to lose weight’ include reducing your carbohydrate intake, consuming more fiber, walking or biking to work, taking the stairs, adding variety to your diet, going swimming, eating smaller and more frequent meals.

Reduce Carbohydrate Intake

If you are serious about your weight loss goals, cutting back on your carbohydrate intake is the key. When your body has more basic fuel than it needs (usually in the form of carbs), it will store them as fat. Only consume complex carbohydrates, but gear your diet towards protein instead. [1]

A woman with a muscular body, in gym clothes, lifting a kettlebell

Weight training is essential for weight loss. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Boost Fiber Intake

By boosting your fiber intake, you will not only help to lower your cholesterol levels and regulate diabetes, two complicating factors for obesity, but you will also feel full after your meals, says a report published in the Nutrition Journal by Dr. Joanne L Slavin Fiber, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, USA. Fiber can also help reduce tendencies to overeat and snack between meals. [2]

Eat Variety of Foods

You shouldn’t repeat the same food more than once each day. The more variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, seeds and lean meats you have, the more diverse your nutrient profile, and it will also keep your metabolism working properly.

Meal Size & Frequency

You can eat 5-6 meals instead of 3 meals per day, and ensure that they are smaller than usual. This will keep the metabolism running at a higher level all day, but more importantly, it will keep you satiated and less likely to turn to unhealthy snack foods, which can otherwise torpedo your weight loss goals. [3]

Cooking at Home

Eating out less means having more control over the nutrients and calories that you take in, so try cooking at home with fresh ingredients and you’ll be surprised at the clear weight loss you see. [4]

Taking the Stairs

Avoid escalators and elevators whenever possible, from your office building to the subway. Taking the stairs means a small burst of cardiovascular exercise and a few extra burned calories on every flight. [5]

Weight Training

Combining weight training with an increase in lean protein, you are able to build more muscle and improve your body’s fat-burning ability. This is an excellent way to burn calories fast and replace fat with muscle. [6]

High-intensity Interval Training

Few exercises burn as many calories or have as marked an impact on weight loss; short periods of high-intensity exercise followed by brief periods of rest is an excellent strategy to shed the pounds. [7]


Using every muscle group in the body, without the impact of running or more strenuous exercise, swimming is great for burning calories and losing weight, particularly for obese individuals. [8]

Walking & Biking

If you can walk or bike to work, or on some of your errands, you can burn more calories than usual and speed your weight loss efforts. The 1-mile rule is a popular one with weight loss experts – if you are closer than 1 mile to something, don’t drive. [9]

How to Lose Weight Fast?

If you’re wondering how to lose weight fast, try drinking more water, sleeping more, cutting out fast food, tracking your calories, eliminating alcohol, reducing screen time, allowing yourself a cheat day and doing yoga.

Water: If you drink water before and after every meal, you are more likely to feel full, which reduces your chances of overeating and blowing past your calorie limits. This will also increase your rate of urination, which eliminates excess salts and fats from the body. [10]

Sleep: Getting enough sleep is critical for your body to repair itself and build muscle. If you are combining proper dietary and exercise habits, your weight loss effort will be much more effective if you let your body rest. [11]

Fast Food: Avoid fast food at all costs, as it is typically packed with saturated fats and trans fats, which serve a very little purpose in the body while compromising your limited caloric intake. [12]

Calorie Tracking: Writing down or entering into an app every small morsel you eat will teach you to be accountable and you will begin to pay much more attention to the passing handfuls of snacks, helping to guide you to more successful weight loss. [13]

Yoga: Although it is not known to burn many calories, yoga can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and detoxify the body, which is important if you are going through a stressful time – like a weight loss diet. [14]

Wardrobe: If you buy yourself new clothes that will fit at your goal weight, it will serve as excellent motivation to stick with your strategy. Throwing out your “fat” clothes will also be a mental push in the right direction.

Snack Foods: Purging your house of junk foods and snack foods is essential if you are serious about losing weight. Many processed foods are rich in sodium and high in calories, neither of which you want to include in your diet. [15]

Alcohol: There is a surprisingly high number of calories in beer, wine, and liquor, so be sure to monitor your alcohol intake carefully, and note how many calories your evening cocktail might be adding to your day’s total. [16]

Screen Time: Excessive use of tablets and phones leads to a more sedentary lifestyle, which can contribute to obesity and other issues that can negatively affect weight loss. [17]

Eating Location: Choose one spot in your house where you will eat, and prohibit yourself from snacking anywhere else – particularly in bed!

Foods for Weight Loss

When deciding how to lose weight, make sure your diet includes food like salmon, eggs, potatoes, beans, nuts, avocados, lean meats, yogurt, kale, and broccoli.

Avocados: These strange fruits are high in beneficial fats and can help to improve nutrient uptake from other common elements of weight-loss diets. [18]

Potatoes: Be sure to boil your potatoes before eating them, as this will provide high levels of resistant starch, in addition to the potassium content, which can protect heart health and help you shed the weight.

Beans and Nuts: High in fiber, beans, and nuts prevent overeating, while also lowering cholesterol levels and optimizing digestion. [19]

Chili Pepper: Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili pepper, and helps to speed the metabolism and reduce the appetite by releasing the satiety hormone in the body. [20]

Grapefruit: According to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal FoodSome of the enzymes found in grapefruit can stimulate the metabolism and increase your rate of losing weight, while also reducing the risk of diabetes. [21]

Yogurt: With its high levels of probiotics, yogurt is known to optimize digestion and improve the microbial balance in the gut, while also soothing inflammation and oxidative stress, which can increase fat deposition. [22]

Broccoli: This cruciferous vegetable offers surprisingly high levels of fiber and protein, which can make you feel full and provide your body with the energy resources it needs. [23]

Lean Meats: Turkey and other forms of lean protein are excellent for people wondering how to lose weight, particularly when combined with a regular workout routine, which turns that protein into muscle tissue, rather than storing it as fat.

Salmon: Excellent levels of protein, healthy fats and somewhat rare essential minerals make salmon and other fatty fish the ideal addition to a weight loss program. [24]

Myths about Diet Foods

There are countless myths about diet foods telling you how to lose weight and shed dozens of pounds is just a matter of weeks. However, when something sounds too good to be true, it typically is. Being able to recognize these common myths is important as you research your weight-loss strategy.

  • Eating at Night Makes You Fat – There is no difference in the quality of calories based on the time you eat them. The only important thing is the total number your body consumes each day.
  • Rice and Beans Must Be Eaten Together – There is no digestive partnership between rice and beans; the nutrients of these two can be absorbed both together and separately.
  • Gaining Weight due to Poor Digestion – If your body is unable to process something, it will actually lead to weight gain and nutrient deficiency, rather than losing weight.
  • Microwaving Eliminates Nutrients – The temperature at which you cook food can affect nutrient integrity, but not the tool you use. In fact, microwaves cook things so quickly that many of the nutrients are retained.
  • Gluten-free Diets for All – Gluten intolerance and sensitivity are real medical conditions, but for people without those issues, gluten is perfectly healthy, and has never been directly linked to any negative health issues.
  • Fasting is Good for You – Juice cleanses and physical fasting can be a good way to re-set your appetite, but its ability to detoxify the body is no better than normal food, considering that the body has very powerful organs that can detoxify the body without any help from your dietary choices.
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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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