Women try all kinds of crazy things to lose weight, but most of them don’t really work. Diet and exercise really are the best ways to shed pounds and keep them off, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few science-backed weight loss tips for women to help you out.
Weight loss is big business and obesity is an equally big problem, so you can bet there’s plenty of research out there to point us in the right direction. There are many weight loss tips that don’t add up to much, though, and will end up being a waste of time trying them.
Here are 17 weight loss tips for women backed by new scientific studies and proven to work.
P.S. If you’re a guy reading this, most of them will work for you too!
- Take your time eating.
There’s a reason why most skinny people don’t usually wolf down their food, and it’s not because they’re politer than the rest of us.
Studies show that when you eat slowly, it gives your brain time to catch up with your mouth, so it sends the signal that you’re full to your belly regardless of how much food you’ve eaten. (1)
- Pay attention to how you’re feeling when you eat.
Do you ever really enjoy what you’re eating? Were you stressed out and in a rush, or bored, or depressed the last time you ate something?
When you become mindful while eating, there are a couple of things that will happen; you’ll start to notice if you’re using food to comfort yourself, and you’ll also notice how much food you eat when you’re emotional. (2)
- Use smaller plates and bigger utensils.
You’ve probably heard this before, but there are multiple studies that prove it! One study in Japan found that the bigger the set of chopsticks participants used when eating, the less they ate. It’s safe to say that the same holds true for forks and spoons. (3)
The eyes are easily tricked, so having the same amount of food on a smaller plate (vs. a larger one) will make you think that you’re eating more than you are.
- Drink lots of water.
I know you’ve heard the rallying cry to stay hydrated when you’re trying to lose weight, and it really does make a big difference.
Researchers split a group of overweight women in half and had one half drink 16 ounces of water before they ate a meal, and the other half didn’t. After 12 weeks, the women who drank the water lost an average of 4 pounds more. Even though they were all on the same diet. (4)
Staying hydrated also helps you keep from eating mindlessly and feeling like you’re hungry when you’re really just bored!
- Cook with coconut oil.
A common mistake that dieters can make is cutting healthy fats out of their diet.Coconut oil has triglycerides in it, which are fats that help with metabolism.
Coconut oil use in weight loss is backed by science with multiple studies. It increases your metabolism by at least 120 calories a day, and it also reduces your appetite. (5)
- Drink green tea.
Green tea has so many amazing benefits, that you should be drinking it right now while you read this. It’s got powerful antioxidants and healing compounds.
The mixture of catechins and caffeine in green tea work together to help you burn off fat, and it’s got other compounds that can normalize blood sugar levels. (6)
Taking a green tea supplement can also help if you aren’t a big fan of drinking green tea (it can be a little bitter).
- Sniff peppermint to control cravings.
Peppermint has health benefits in its own right, but sniffing the oil extracted from it can help you lose weight!
Peppermint oil seems to be able to distract you from your hunger pains and tricks your brain into thinking you’re not very hungry if you sniff it every couple of hours. (7) It’s been used for centuries as a natural remedy for belly aches and nausea, so it makes sense it would get rid of the muscle cramps that hunger causes.
- Avoid drinking empty calories.
If you’re dieting and haven’t given up your morning latte yet, it’s probably time to address your Starbucks addiction. Sugary drinks are scientifically proven to contribute to obesity.
One study showed that just drinking sugary drinks with no change in diet increased the risk of obesity in kids by almost 60%! (8)
A 16-ounce latte can have up to 300 calories in it, even if it’s nonfat, and a soda of the same size can have around 185 empty calories that your body can’t really use as fuel.
Opt for black coffee or add just a splash of cream instead!
- Load up on fiber with fresh fruits and vegetables.
Fiber is the part of a plant that takes a while to digest, so it can make you feel fuller longer. Studies show that when you eat high fiber fruits and vegetables, your appetite decreases by 22%. (9)
It’s important to eat your greens anyway because they’re packed with nutrients that you need to keep you healthy.
- Steer clear of processed foods.
There is a huge difference between the prepackaged turkey slices you buy at the store and a freshly cooked bird. They might have the same calories and the same ingredients, but that’s where the similarities end.
When food is processed and sits on the shelf for a while, it can lose fiber and other nutrients. Studies show that they don’t satisfy hunger as well as fresh food and can make you gain weight. (10)
The best way to lose weight is to stick to fresh whole foods that are as close to their natural state as possible.
- Cut down on the carbs.
It’s a fact that when you eat a high-carb meal, it makes you want to snack. When researchers had one group of people eat a high carb diet and another eat a low carb diet, the high carb people voluntarily ate 81% more than the low carb folks. (11)
Participants of a study in the UK found that people who eat healthy lose more weight when they eat fewer carbs. (10) They lost an average of 6.39 more pounds than the other groups.
Weight loss apps are the easiest and cheapest way to hire a weight loss coach without having to talk to anyone. They’ll track your food, calories, exercise, create meal plans, and even connect you with other people who are on the same path.
Using a smartphone app will help you lose weight and keep it off better than using website support or keeping a weight loss diary. Participants in a study comparing the three saw an average weight loss of 6.4 pounds more in the smartphone group. (12)
- Eat at home more.
We all love going out to eat, but it’s easy to sabotage a diet with restaurant food. We eat bigger portions when we’re out, and we don’t pay attention to what we’re eating because we’re too busy chatting with the people we’re with or we’re in a rush.
Women tend to give in to cravings and temptations 60% more often when they eat out than when they’re at home. (13)
- Have a protein snack before going to a party.
Speaking of going out, some of us are not so good at controlling our urge to nosh when there are hor d’oeuvres involved. If this sounds like you, have some protein before you go out.
A small serving of protein before you eat anything is actually a great idea (try a weight loss smoothie!). A metanalysis of 28 studies all agree that people who do this eat less at meals and lose weight.
They get full faster and don’t have as many cravings. (14)
- Don’t sleep with the light on.
According to Psychology Today “sleep is an underrated tool in the weight-management arsenal.” Poor sleep is one of the biggest risk factors for becoming overweight.(15)
Women have it worse than men in the sleep department, so this puts them at a greater risk for obesity. They already require at least 20 more minutes a night than men do, but they report sleep troubles more often. (16)
Sleeping with the light on decreases your ability to produce melatonin, and the less you have, the worse your sleep quality is.
- Start a weight loss journal.
Keeping track of your weight loss journey will help you lose weight and keep you on track. Food journals and exercise logs can show you where, when, and why you might be falling off track.
They can also remind of what’s working well and how far you’ve come. Sometimes we forget to support ourselves by celebrating our wins. (17)
- Drink hot water before a meal.
It might seem weird but drinking hot water before a meal instead of cold water can increase your metabolism by up to 30%! (18)
Drinking water before eating makes you feel fuller no matter what the temperature, but it helps you burn carbs better for up to 40 minutes after you drink it. The water temperature doesn’t need to scald your tongue, though. Heat it up to 98.6 degrees for best results. (18)
- Have a PLAN!
Remember that when it comes to weight loss, dieting is always the most important factor driving your results. Having a solid plan in place and a great support system will go a long way towards helping you reach your weight loss goals.