Lose Weight Naturally

Naturally losing weight is a healthy and safe method of weight loss. It generally involves making small tweaks to your diet, exercise routine and lifestyle. In addition, when you're making small lifestyle changes (typical in natural weight loss), you're more likely to continue these habits long-term. A combination of these factors can help you lose weight naturally and in safe and healthy manner.


Practicing the Right Eating Habits

  1. Write up meal plans. When you're trying to change your diet and eat more healthfully, planning out your meals can be helpful.
    • Many times when you have a meal plan, you may not be so tempted to grab a quick bite at a fast food drive through, or find yourself somewhere where you don't have those healthy options.[1]
    • Write out your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options for a week at a time. Note if you'll need to have a day of meal prep set aside to help make meals quicker.
    • For breakfast you might have 1/2 grapefruit with a bowl of oatmeal, or you could have a scrambled egg with sauteed vegetables and low fat cheese.
    • For lunch you could have a large salad with lettuce, spinach, beets, carrots, a handful of walnuts, 1/2 avocado, and beans (black or garbanzo). Drizzle a little balsamic vinegar over the top.
    • For dinner you might go for grilled salmon (with a little dill and lemon), a serving of brown rice, and grilled zucchini.
    • If you need a snack, go for protein and a fruit or vegetable. Try a hard-boiled egg and an apple or greek yogurt with blueberries and ground flax seed.
  2. Measure your portions. Calorie counting, limiting certain food groups or restricting carbs or fat isn't always an easy diet plan to follow or all that natural. Consuming all foods and keeping an eye on portions is an easier and more natural way to help start weight loss.
    • When you're measuring and monitoring your portion sizes, you will naturally cut out some calories which can help you lose weight.
    • Invest in a food scale, measuring cups or measuring spoons to help keep you on track. You may also want to measure any bowls, cups, or containers you have at home to see how much food they hold.
  3. Eat a balanced diet. Eating the right foods will go a long way towards helping you lose weight and keep it off.
    • Eating a balanced diet means that you're consuming adequate amounts of each nutrient your body needs to function.[2]
    • You'll need to consume the recommended servings of each food and food group to help you meet your daily nutrient needs. Measuring your portion sizes can help you manage this.
    • In addition to eating foods from each food group, it's wise to each a large variety of foods within each food group.[2] For example, every vegetable offers you a different array of healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
  4. Consume 3-4 oz of protein at each meal.[3] Protein is an incredibly nutrient in your diet. It also helps keep you satisfied which may help support your weight loss.
    • Keeping your portions of protein to 3-4 oz per meal will help to keep calories in check.
    • You should focus on the leaner meats to assist with weight loss. Go for fish, lean beef, poultry, eggs, low-fat dairy products, as well as different kinds of seeds and nuts.
    • Include one serving of protein at each meal and snack to help you meet your daily minimum.[3]
  5. Aim for at least 5 servings of veggies and fruits. These will provide you with many of the nutrients you need for very few calories.[4]
    • Although both fruits and vegetables are low in calories, it's still important to measure your portions. Keep your portions of fruit to 1 small piece or 1/2 cup chopped and keep vegetables to 1 cup or 2 cups of leafy salad greens.[4][5]
    • Since it's recommended to get a fairly large quantity of fruits and vegetables in each day, it may be easier to eat a serving or two at each meal and snack.
  6. Go for whole grains. The grain group includes a large variety of foods. Choosing 100% whole grains can add fiber, protein and other essential nutrients to your diet.
    • Whole grains contain the germ, endosperm and bran.[6] They include ones like: brown rice, whole wheat, millet, quinoa, and whole grain oats.
    • One serving of grains is about 1 oz or 1/2 cup. It's recommended to make half of your grain choices whole grains if possible.[6]
    • Keep grains to 1-3 servings daily.[6] This will help support your weight loss.
  7. Indulge in moderation. Don't start obsessing about counting calories and punishing yourself by never eating any sweets or fatty foods again. Instead, opt to eat fewer of the less healthier things and less frequently.
    • Losing weight naturally means to never forbid certain foods or avoid them all together. Include your favorite foods in moderation. This might be once a week or 2 times a week or just a few times a month.
    • If you eat a meal that's high in fat or sugar (like you go out for dinner, or go to a fast food place) compensate for that by eating meals that are low-fat and low in sugar for the next few days or hit the gym a little harder.
  8. Drink water. Keeping hydrated has many benefits when it comes to losing weight. In addition, stay well hydrated helps support a healthy body.
    • Drinking the recommended 8 -13 glasses a day will support your weight loss and may make you feel energized.[7]
    • Stick to sugar-free, decaffeinated beverages as often as possible. Try: water, flavored water, decaf coffee or decaf tea.
    • Skip sweetened beverages (like soda or sports drinks), highly caffeinated beverages (like energy drinks or shots) and fruit juices.

Practicing the Right Weight Loss Habits

  1. Make slow changes. Trying to change everything at once is going to completely overwhelm your system and make it difficult to stick to the changes you're trying to make.[8] Losing weight naturally and keeping that weight off means making total lifestyle changes.
    • Start off with smaller changes. Add a 15 minute exercise routine to your day, or switch from using butter to olive oil when you're cooking.
    • Start shifting how you think about food, so that you stop using it as a comfort routine (like you eat when you're sad, or bored, or upset, etc.). Start thinking about food as something you're putting in your body to fuel you, which means you want the best fuel possible and that means the healthier eating options.
  2. Set achievable goals. Once you have made the decision to lose weight, set some realistic and achievable goals that you can follow.
    • Goal setting will help you to take action, and by taking that action you will start to see some weight loss results.
    • Typically with more natural weight loss, you can expect to lose about 1-2 pounds per week.
    • Keep track of your goals so that overtime you can see the progress you've made.
  3. Exercise regularly. Getting into a regular exercise routine can help support your weight loss and improve your overall health.
    • It's recommended to do about 150 minutes of cardio each week and include 2 days of strength training.[9]
    • Also increase your baseline or daily activities. Even doing things where you walk to the grocery store, or you take 15 minute breaks at work and go for a walk, can help with your weight-loss and your health.[9]
    • Exercise boosts your mood because it releases endorphins, which help make you happier, healthier, and more confident about yourself, which may help regulate your eating.[10]
    • Find exercise that you enjoy, that way you'll be excited for it rather than dreading it. Practice yoga, take dance lessons, go for a run in the prettiest neighborhood in your town or city. Don't think of it as a punishment, try to think of how you are benefiting your body and your health!
    • Get an exercise buddy. It is much more fun and easier to stay on track with someone else to help you monitor yourself and to talk to.
  4. Get enough sleep. Not getting enough sleep worsens your overall mental and physical health and may make it harder to shed pounds and to keep them off.[11]
    • In addition, those who are sleep deprived have increased ghrelin production. This is a hormone that makes you feel more hungry the next day.[11]
    • Try to make sure that you get about 8 hours of sleep each night if you're an adult (as a teenager you should get a bit more sleep).
    • Make sure to shut off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime. This means computer, iPod, cell phone, etc. The light from that messes with your circadian system, slowing your biological clock and making it harder to regulate your sleep appropriately.

Avoiding Common Weight-Loss Mistakes

  1. Skip fad diets. There are literally hundreds of diets and weight-loss schemes on the market promising quick weight loss in short periods of time. These can be unsafe, unhealthy and hard to follow long-term.[12]
    • Losing weight naturally is better for your overall health and you'll most likely keep your weight off long-term.
    • Remember that there is no magical diet that's going to wipe away those pounds and keep them away once you're done with the diet. True, healthy weight-loss requires a lifestyle change and hard work.[12]
    • This doesn't mean there aren't good things to be gleaned from certain weight-loss programs. Many of them do emphasize a healthy diet and exercise, but not many of them discuss real and continued lifestyle change.
  2. Ditch diet foods. Studies have shown that if you're craving a treat, eating the fat-free, sugar free or "diet" versions may trigger you to eat more.[13]
    • Many foods that are designed to be "diet-friendly" aren't necessarily lower in calories. In addition, when you take out the sugar or fat from items, companies replace them with highly processed ingredients.
    • Stick to your portion control and eat a small portion of the real deal. So instead of the fat-free, sugar-free ice cream bar, have a 1/2 cup of high quality, real ice cream. You'll be more satisfied in the end.
  3. Eat mindfully. People who are distracted while they eat (they're watching tv or reading a book, or surfing the internet) report being less satisfied than people who pay attention to what they're eating. Eating mindfully can help you focus and possible eat less. [14]
    • Make sure that you chew your food all the way and that you swallow before putting more food in your mouth. Eat deliberately and slowly.
    • Pay attention to the food you're putting in your mouth: What is the temperature? The texture? Is it salty? Sweet? Spicy?
    • When you're satisfied (not full), stop eating. If you're measuring and monitoring your portions, this will be a helpful guide to let you know when you've had enough to eat.


  • Always talk to your doctor prior to making any changes to your diet, lifestyle or exercise routine. They will be able to tell you if weight loss is safe and appropriate for you.
  • To achieve successful natural weight loss you will need to stay positive and committed. You are making changes to your lifestyle that will help you maintain your weight for life.
  • Patience is the key to realizing your weight loss goals.

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Sources and Citations

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