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15 Weight Loss Tips That Are Evidence Based, Say Experts


Fad diets come and go, but there are a few tried and true methods to losing weight that actually work—and don't involve unhealthy habits like not eating enough or working out too much. Adrienne Youdim, MD, FACP, an internist who specializes in medical weight loss and nutrition and author of the #1 Amazon bestseller Hungry for More: Stories and Science to Inspire Weight Loss from the Inside Out, offers 15 evidence-based weight loss tips to Eat This, Not That! that can help you achieve your weight loss goals the right way. 

Get Enough Sleep

woman smiling while sleeping

Sleep is crucial for weight loss, Dr. Youdim explains. "Sleep deprivation has been shown to increase hunger hormones as well as cravings for highly palatable (i.e. high fat, high sugar) foods," she says. She suggests shooting for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Reduce Alcohol Intake

woman refusing or saying no to being poured a glass of wine alcohol

Alcohol is a "double whammy" in terms of weight gain. "Alcohol is not only empty calories but also affects leptin —a hormone that signals fullness to the brain, and also has negative effects on sleep quantity and quality," she says. 

Eat Real Food

woman eating salmon and quinoa
Shutterstock / Marina Litvinova

Studies show that processed versions of whole foods don't suppress hunger hormones as well as the real deal, Dr. Youdim reveals. "For example, processed chicken (like the kind you get in frozen meals or fast food patties), will suppress hunger hormones less than a real piece of chicken breast."

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Eat More Protein

Pieces of fried chicken breast on a pan.

Amp up protein intake if you want to lose weight. "Higher protein intake helps preserve muscle mass (and therefore your metabolism) while losing weight so that you lose fat mass not muscle," says Dr. Youdim. She recommends 1-1.2 grams per kg body weight.

Start Your Day with Protein

person eating two eggs off a white plate

Dr. Youdim suggests eating a protein packed breakfast. "There is a lot of controversy around 'to breakfast or not,' but studies show that a high-protein breakfast (ie 20 grams) will suppress hunger hormones all day," she reveals. 

Practice Self-Compassion

happy woman sitting by the window

Having a good attitude and practicing self love is key to reaching your goals. "Often we bully ourselves into losing weight. This leads to sabotage, while self-compassion has been shown to be more effective in habit change," Dr. Youdim says. 

Manage Your Stress

stressed woman

Finding ways to de-stress can be key to losing weight. "Stress literally hijacks our hunger hormones, tricking us to feeling hungry when we are not," Dr. Youdim explains. She suggests managing stress with exercise, journaling, and mindfulness—not food.

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Practice Mindful Meditation

Middle aged woman sitting in lotus position on a carpet in his living room. her eyes are closed. she is in the foreground

Getting your zen on can be helpful on your weight loss journey. Practicing mindful meditation "has been shown to facilitate habit change."

Reframe Your Mindset

Portrait of happy mature woman wearing eyeglasses and looking at camera. Closeup face of smiling woman sitting in cafeteria with hand on chin. Successful lady in a cafe pub.

A positive mindset around and your habits is associated with greater weight loss and has metabolic benefits as well, according to Dr. Youdin. "In one study of hotel staff, those who were told that their labor was a form of exercise lost visceral fat and reduced blood pressure as compared to those who did not receive this guidance," she says.  

Start Strength Training


Building muscle will help mitigate the natural loss of muscle that occurs with aging, says Dr. Youdin. "More muscle means better metabolism and equals more calories burned."

Think Abundance, Not Restriction

Couple having lunch at rustic gourmet restaurant

Dr. Youdin maintains that restrictive mindsets around food backfire and can lead to binging. "Reframe restriction to a mindset of abundance," she suggests. "Eat so much of what serves you so you have less room for what does not. No one gained weight from too much chicken."

Track Your Mood

Frustrated sad woman feeling tired worried about problem sitting on sofa with laptop, stressed depressed girl troubled with reading bad news online, email notification about debt or negative message

Pay attention to your mental state before you reach for food. "We eat for so many reasons other than hunger, like sadness, frustration, anxiety, and boredom. Often, we are unaware of the trigger," Dr. Youdin points out. "Notice your patterns/triggers and find alternatives to food such as sunshine, nature, and heartfelt connection."

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Get a Pet

play with dog

If you live alone, Dr. Youdin suggests getting a pet. "Loneliness, whether due to social distancing or relationship disputes caused by the endless political drama and current events, has affected everyone this year," she says. "Connection with animals is a dopamine booster and an antidote to the dopamine we chase after with chocolate."


Woman holding a cup of coffee standing near window.

Consuming caffeine can help you lose weight. "This has appetite suppressant effects and can rev up metabolism," she reveals. "Just be careful but not to over-do it!"

Manage Dietary Setbacks with Kindness

Business People Having Meeting And Eating Pizza

"Those who manage dietary set-backs or weight regain with kindness were more likely to get back to their routines as compared to people who catastrophize weight gain," Dr. Youdin reveals. "The latter group were less likely to resume healthy eating patterns and physical activity." And now that you've got a great foundation, don't miss these additional 19 Weight Loss Foods That Really Work, Say Experts.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more about Leah