7 Expert Weight Loss Tips You Haven’t Tried Yet (We Promise)

I’ve been writing about health for years, coached dozens of women through their health journeys, and have spoken to the top wellness experts in the country. And in my experience, I’ve learned that nothing is as clickable or buzzworthy as weight loss. No matter how much I try to promote body acceptance, it’s often the top concern of clients, readers, and listeners. The universal obsession with weight loss is not a sign that we’re prioritizing our health, but rather that we don’t feel worthy as we are.

But I also understand it: We’re bombarded with messaging that our “best selves” coincide with our “best bodies,” and in some instances, weight loss is a medical recommendation rather than an insecurity. I urge my clients and listeners to look at why weight loss is a priority, but I also trust you know what’s best for you. Our goal is to provide you with factual, positive, and (actually) helpful tips for reaching whatever your health goals–weight loss included. And with weight loss being such a popular topic, there’s a lot of advice out there that, at best, doesn’t work, but also can be harmful (juice cleanses, restricting food groups, overexercising, etc.). And in an Ozempic world where many people get their information from TikTok, the horrible weight loss advice available is getting worse.

The truth is that what makes headlines doesn’t usually pan out in everyday life. If you clicked on this article expecting the usual “Cut out sugar” or “Do a HIIT workout” tips, know that that is not what this is. This is not the typical weight loss article you’ll read through and feel discouraged by at the end or forget to actually apply to your life. I talked to one of the leading weight loss specialists in the country, Dr. Adrienne Youdim, to find out the real reasons weight loss hasn’t worked for you before, and tips you can apply to make some changes now; the insight that you probably have never heard or tried before. Read on for Dr. Youdim’s tips to (actually) achieve your healthiest weight. 

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Dr. Adrienne Youdim, MD, FACP

Dr. Adrienne Youdim is an internist who specializes in medical weight loss and nutrition. She served as medical director of the Cedars-Sinai Weight Loss Center before opening her own practice in Beverly Hills. She is also author of “Hungry For More,” an empowering memoir and how-to guide for women looking to reach their health goals and love their bodies. Listen to Dr. Youdim on The Everygirl Podcast.

Expert Weight Loss Tips You Haven’t Tried Yet

1. Start with mindset before anything else

When you want to change your weight, what’s the first thing you do? Do you start cutting out sugars or processed carbs or increasing your workouts? You’re missing a critical first step that can make the difference between successful weight loss and another unsustainable “plan” that didn’t last. Dr. Youdim recommends before any tangible habit or action, you must work on mindset first. “How we approach a habit is critical to our ability to change in a durable or lasting way,” she said. “Without a proper mindset to address the process, the ups and downs, the waning motivation, the negative self-talk, and all the other mental barriers we create, we will not be able to maintain the necessary changes that result in healthy weight.” 

First, identify why you want to change your weight. Is it to feel best in your body, to live a long and happy life, or to get more energy? Coming back to this core motivation frequently will help you stay inspired and make changes based on self-love instead of self-consciousness. But if your reasons have more to do with not feeling enough as you are, you won’t achieve what you’re looking to feel, no matter what pant size you get to. Approach all actions, plans, and decisions out of love for your body and knowing what it deserves, rather than hating your body and wanting to change it. This is not fluffy self-love advice; this is the crucial difference between successful and unsuccessful weight loss (that lasts).

2. Identify the emotional need behind eating patterns

If you feel disconnected from your eating habits, feel out of control with food, or eat more than you know you need, the problem is not “lack of willpower.” You’re suppressing an emotional need that you’re subconsciously using food to attempt to soothe (Dr. Youdim wrote an entire book about the emotional reasons behind cravings and overeating). “So many of us use food to soothe—this is actually hardwired in our neurobiology,” Dr. Youdim explained. You might think you’re craving a donut or need a slice of pizza, but your body is trying to tell you it needs something else, whether it’s a break, stress relief, emotional comfort, or something deeper. “Know what you are trying to soothe with food. We need to identify what is at the root of our ‘hunger.’ What are you truly hungry for?” 

“We need to identify what is at the root of our ‘hunger.’ What are you truly hungry for?”

3. Build routine and prioritize consistency

Imagine this: You’ve reached your goal weight, so you become less conscious about keeping up those healthy habits and then are frustrated when your body goes back to its old ways. Or maybe you eat more vegetables, exercise more, and prioritize sleep for a week, and then you get annoyed and stop because you saw no changes after those seven days. Or you’ve tried diet after diet for years, always hop onto different workouts, and never stick to your meditation practice. Sound familiar? The key you might be missing is routine. “Routine is critical. It allows us to show up for ourselves, even when we don’t feel like it.”

Consistency may not be as sexy as a supplement or treatment with before-and-after photos, but it is the sustainable truth. This means showing up for your body even when it’s not easy or exciting; showing up for the workout when you know it will make you feel good, and canceling the workout when you know your body is asking for a rest day. Be patient with your body. Know that physical changes take time, and find comfort instead of frustration in the rituals you do for your body. Turn practices that make you feel good into habits. And once you start seeing some results, keep up the consistency. “Every practice that helps us achieve a goal weight helps us maintain a healthy weight.” Dr. Youdim advised.

4. Stop restricting

In the past, you might have restricted calories or food groups to lose weight. You might have tracked macronutrients in an app or cut out dairy or sugar, all in the name of losing a few pounds. Maybe your doctor or nutritionist even told you to restrict, so you were convinced it was a healthy way to lose weight rather than a detrimental practice that could cause weight gain or disordered eating. In reality, restricting and limiting might be stopping you from achieving your health goals. “Restriction invariably makes us want to do the very thing we are trying to restrict: It focuses attention on scarcity, which makes the body think it needs more of that food. Restriction also causes hunger, which is not sustainable,” Dr. Youdim said.

So how do you eat for weight loss instead? “I tell my clients and patients to eat in terms of abundance. Eat so much of what serves you, so that you have less room for what doesn’t.” That means adding more fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates to every meal. You’ll be subconsciously crowding out the foods that don’t make you feel good. Most importantly, eat intuitively rather than based on numbers or percentages.

5. Eat even more protein than you think you need

Between Keto Diet, low-carb, high-fiber, and everything in between, there’s a lot of confusion over the best type of diet and what percentage of macronutrients is best for reaching a goal weight. While the most important step for actually being healthy is to stop worrying so much about dieting and percentages (see #4), Dr. Youdim said that a common issue she sees with her patients is not enough protein. “Protein is the most satiating macronutrient and also helps preserve muscle mass, which then preserves a healthy metabolism,” she said. But before you pull out your macronutrient-tracking app and load up on protein powders, Dr. Youdim recommends eating clean protein sources like fish, chicken, eggs, tofu, chickpeas, and lentils. For exactly how much protein you need to aim for, click here and talk to your doctor for personalized recommendations.

6. Improve your sleep and stress levels

If the only factors you’ve considered in your weight loss journey are nutrition and fitness, you’re missing out on key players that can make or break reaching (and keeping) your goal weight. You may have tried cutting out carbs, you may want to cut out toxic relationships and late-night TV binges instead. Stress levels and sleep are just as important as food and exercise when it comes to being healthy and reaching a healthy weight. Some research shows that stress and sleep may play an even bigger role than diet and exercise. “Sleep is crucial. Countless studies show that sleep deprivation results in surging hunger hormones, greater appetite for calorie-dense foods, and weight gain. Stress is also a huge contributor, and it affects our hunger too, both physiologic and emotional.” Translation: waking up at 6 a.m. to squeeze in a workout or stressing over the way your body looks in a swimsuit may be hindering your weight loss goals, not helping.

A 2022 review explains that stress can cause weight gain by interfering with cognitive processes such as self-regulation and increasing hunger hormones. Chronic cortisol levels can also slow down your metabolism, making it difficult to lose weight. According to a 2014 study, women experiencing stress had higher insulin levels, a hormone that contributes to fat storage. Bottom line: Your “weight loss plan” will not work if it’s not centered around getting more sleep and reducing stress. Incorporate a sleep-care routine and stress-relief plan (whether it’s daily meditation or weekly therapy).

“You don’t accept your body once when you reach certain health goals. You can reach health goals because you accept and love your body.”

7. Love yourself as you are now (no, really–hear me out!)

While this might sound like some fluffy self-help advice your mom used to tell you in middle school, it is the best tangible, concrete advice to reach your goal weight. “We can want to change our bodies and still accept ourselves as we are in this moment,” Dr. Youdim explained. “This is critical because we’ll sabotage ourselves if we don’t accept ourselves. Imagine you get on a scale and are disappointed at the results. If you accept yourself and hold that disappointment with compassion, you’ll be able to focus your attention on the habits you want to adopt. If you don’t accept yourself (you get mad at yourself, put yourself down, or feel hopeless), you’re more likely to throw in the towel.” 

In other words, you don’t accept your body once when you reach certain health goals; you can reach health goals because you accept and love your body as it is right now. Love yourself first, and then make changes or form habits because you know what your body deserves. For tips on where to start with self-love and body acceptance, click here for expert advice or here for 10 ways to love yourself more. 

This article is intended to provide inspiration to help you reach your health goals, not as a treatment for an eating disorder. If you are struggling with an eating disorder or with disordered thoughts or behaviors regarding food and eating, please seek help. Call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 for support, reach out to a qualified medical professional, or, for a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.

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