I’ve been coaching clients looking to achieve weight loss for years and writing about weight loss for even longer, and here’s what I know to be true: The tips or fads that make headlines typically don’t work in real life. Weight loss often feels frustrating and impossible, and the fact that we relate weight to self-worth makes it emotionally exhausting. Just like you, I am so over the confusion around weight loss and tips that never work. So to help you achieve your healthiest weight once and for all, I’m asking top experts for what they (actually) recommend.
A brief prelude: Your weight says nothing about your health or worth. There are lots of ways to feel healthy (instead of just look healthy) and improve your self-love that have nothing to do with changing your appearance (because that’s kind of counter-productive). However, if weight loss is a goal because you feel out of touch with your body, lack energy, or because it was recommended by your doctor to improve your health, that’s OK too. Let’s stop judging all women for the health goals they have and instead focus on what will make us feel best, whether that means weight gain, weight loss, or no weight change at all. If your 2023 goals do have to do with weight, read on for sustainable tips for reaching your weight loss goals from a celebrity weight specialist.
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I’ve been lucky enough to interview some of the coolest health experts around the world, but I’ll be honest: This one had me a little star struck. Corey Calliet is a personal trainer for Hollywood’s biggest stars, was a leading trainer on E!’s Revenge Body by Khloe Kardashian, and is best known for transforming Michael B. Jordan for the Creed trilogy as well as Black Panther (I think I can speak for all of us when I say thank you, Corey). Here are six things he swears by for reaching a healthy weight:
1. Keep yourself nourished
While some weight loss experts may rely on what not to eat (which is just damaging, BTW!), Corey focuses on what to eat. To keep it simple, he recommended basing meals off of a simple formula to get a wide variety of nutrients in your diet. “Eat to fuel your mind and body. Aim for three quality, nutritionally dense meals per day. Think: colorful, balanced, and fulfilling,” he said. “When constructing your plate, be sure to get a good source of protein, accompanied with an energy-enriching carbohydrate (whole grains, sweet potato, etc.), colorful veggies (not only great for much-needed nutrients, but also to add quality volume to your meal), and a healthful source of fats (avocado, nuts, omega-rich oils, etc.).” Corey also recommended having high-quality snacks on hand if hunger or cravings strike. Try fruit and veggies that are easy to eat on the go, nuts or seeds, or a whole-food protein bar.
2. Hydrate (more than you think)
You already know drinking water is important for your health, but proper hydration affects weight goals more than you think. “A majority of the population in the U.S. is estimated to be chronically dehydrated,” Corey explained. “The body often mistakes hunger for a need for hydration, so if you are behind on your water goal for the day and catch a craving, make sure you drink some water before reaching for the food.” In other words, dehydration can be responsible for many symptoms, but one of them is hunger or cravings when the body does not actually need or want food. Corey also suggested to start water consumption as soon as you wake up and steadily drink throughout the day. If plain water is boring or you want to make it more exciting, try adding fresh fruit or unsweetened cold-tea infusions for natural flavor.
3. Eat mindfully
Weight and overall health are not just about what you eat but also how. If you’re eating all your fruits and veggies but still eating lunch at your desk or downing food on the go, you’re missing a major piece of the puzzle. “First and foremost, enjoy eating your food,” Corey said. “Mindful eating allows us to be more in-tune with our bodies and know when we have eaten what we need. Mindless eating happens when we are distracted, and it can lead to overeating.” When we mindlessly eat, we’re unable to actually feel when we’re full, which can lead to overeating. Also, if we’re not truly enjoying every bite or not mindful about the deliciousness on our plate, we won’t be satisfied, which can lead to more cravings later. You don’t need to measure out your food or look to serving sizes for portion control. Instead, you just need to eat more mindfully—your body will tell you the portion it needs.
4. Find hidden ways to move
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but there are lots of ways to work out and get in shape that do not entail a two-hour weight lifting session or intense HIIT workout. In fact, Corey’s main focus as a trainer is not just about where to fit in time at the gym or workout classes but where to move more throughout our lives. He suggested parking farther away from the entrance, taking stairs instead of the elevator, or taking your next conference call standing up or walking, if possible. In general, add more non-exercise movement to your life. Walk your dog more often, stand while working, try gardening if you have a yard, clean your house more, walk everywhere you can, dance while cooking or getting ready, stretch while watching TV, and get outside to take conference calls.
5. Stress less
Yes, stress over weight gain is worse for your body than the actual weight gain. It sounds like an unfair cycle that stress about our bodies can actually prevent us from losing weight, but it’s also an important reminder that the way we feel emotionally is more important for our health than what we eat and how we move. And not just stress over appearance but chronic stress in general—whether it’s about work, relationships, or what to eat for dinner—can affect weight. “Stress hormones wreak havoc on our bodies, especially our immune and metabolic functioning,” Corey explained. “Take care of your mind. Take the time to reflect and release at the end of each day while giving yourself the time to unwind (even if only for a few minutes).”
6. Prioritize sleep
Bad news for those of us who stay up way too late bingeing Netflix: Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight. “Don’t underestimate the power of quality sleep,” Corey said. “Find your best routine to ensure good, consistent sleep hygiene.” Not getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep a night can make you eat more than what your body needs because the body releases hunger hormones when it doesn’t get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can also affect how your body stores fat, which can make maintaining a healthy weight more difficult. Revamp your nighttime routine to help you fall asleep faster and make sure to always get at least seven hours of sleep.