Research-Based

How to Lose Weight and Still Eat

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By Meghan Stoops, RDN

Reviewed by Juliana Tamayo, MS, RDN - Last Updated

how to lose weight and still eat

Losing weight is hard, especially when it feels like all your favorite foods are off-limits. No one wants to spend their afternoon snacking on carrot and celery sticks while dreaming of potato chips. It just seems like trying to lose weight means always being hungry but is there a way to lose weight and still feel like you can eat? 

The answer is yes! Skip the bland diet food and learn how to eat and feel satisfied while still meeting your weight loss goals. Let’s take a deeper look into losing weight and how to find the best way for you.

lose weight in the healthy way

How to Lose Weight the Healthy Way

It can be confusing trying to navigate the world of weight loss. With so many books, blogs, TV shows, and radio stations advertising various diet plans, cleanses, and detoxes, it’s enough to make your head spin. So, how can you lose weight in a healthy way?

First, it’s important to note what approaches to weight loss should be avoided. Unhealthy approaches to weight loss include a lot of restrictions. For example, the keto diet. This diet restricts carbohydrates to an extremely low amount daily, typically under 50 grams. For most, this is incredibly unrealistic for the long term. 

You do not want to choose a diet that requires you to eliminate or dramatically reduce an entire nutrient group. Unless of course, you feel you can truly say goodbye to all carbohydrate foods from here on out.

Next, be sure to avoid any diet that requires you to eat foods you generally dislike. Of course, most weight loss plans will encourage more fruits and vegetables. However, any diet that tells you exactly what you should be eating is inflexible and likely not something you can continue for the long term. 

Healthy approaches to weight loss include a flexible diet approach that allows you to have the foods you love and focuses on moderation and balance. Instead of saying goodbye to potato chips, learn to have smaller portions less often and incorporate more healthful snacks that you still enjoy. 

Why Sustainability is Important

The key to a healthy diet is one that you can sustain. It’s important to work on sustainable habits that will carry you on far beyond your weight loss journey instead of those that require restrictions that can only last so long. This helps to keep the weight off and avoid any rebound weight gain or yo-yo dieting. 

You wouldn’t want to put in a ton of effort to be miserable for months only to have that weight and more come back with vengeance, would you? I didn’t think so. Of course, taking a sustainable approach is often not as quick as crash diets but, the results are not only healthier but long term.

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How to Lose Weight and Still Eat

Now, back to how to lose weight while still being able to eat foods you enjoy. To do this, you first want to find the best diet for you. Keep in mind that this does not always mean a diet plan or popular far diet and can include a mixture of multiple diets. 

Choose the Best Diet for You

Consider diets that have research to back them up, such as a low-carb approach, the Mediterranean diet, and intermittent fasting. Remember, what works best for you someone else, may not work for you. If you start a diet and realize it’s not what you think you can continue to do, it’s best to reconsider your options. 

intermittent fasting

You can also create a diet that is a mixture of these things if you feel that is more aligned with your eating preferences and health goals. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss. What is most important is that you are still listening to your body, honoring your preferences, and learning to incorporate healthy sustainable habits.

Choose the Right Foods

With any diet, your food choices are the focus. To be successful, you want to make sure you are choosing the right foods. Make sure you balance your meals and snacks by meeting your macronutrients. These macros include carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Avoid a diet that requires you to eliminate any of these important nutrients. 

Be sure to swap out those empty calorie foods for filling, satisfying replacements. For example, potato chips and candy are mainly carbohydrates, and maybe a little fat. They don’t do much to keep us hungry, and you probably already know we should be limiting them to moderation. Instead, choose a snack that is high quality, but also contains some protein and/or fiber to keep you full. This could be an apple with some peanut butter, Greek yogurt with berries, trail mix, and more depending on your preference. 

how to lose weight and still eat choose the right foods

These types of snacks will not only be more nourishing if consumed more often than those empty-calorie snacks, but they are also more filling. This means you are eating less and feeling fuller during your meals. If you are unsure if it is an empty-calorie snack, look at the level of processing. Highly processed snack foods tend to be empty-calorie foods, such as chips, cookies, crackers, and most things that come in a box or a bag in the snack section. Instead, swap for minimally processed, whole foods as often as you can. 

Always be sure to honor your cravings. For those sweet snackers out there, go for a sweet swap, such as fruit or low-sugar yogurt. Those salty savory snackers, try some mixed nuts, beef jerky, or a cheese stick. Work to incorporate more healthy swaps for your usual snacks but remember, you don’t have to give those up altogether. You can still enjoy potato chips, or whatever your guilty pleasure snack food is, in moderation. In fact, it’s important you do so to stick with your plan.

Reward Yourself for Your Efforts

Finally, remember to give yourself grace during this time. Dieting can be a challenge, but it does not have to be a miserable experience. Practice moderation with your favorite, but not so healthy, foods and work on incorporating more fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. When you meet a weight loss milestone, celebrate! You worked hard to get here, and every win deserves recognition. 

lose weight reward for effort

Conclusion

Dieting can be confusing and frustrating, especially when you aren’t sure what you should be doing. Everyone is different, therefore the diet that will work for you will be different from the next person. Focus your goals on moderating those not-so-healthy foods and incorporating better, nutritious, whole foods. 

If you choose to do a specific diet, make sure it’s researched-backed, and don’t worry if you prefer not to follow it 100%. Make it your own. A diet that is sustainable to you is a diet that will be successful.