9 Eating Hacks for Weight Loss

Use these easy-to-follow steps to achieve, and maintain, a healthy eating plan.

November 3, 2017
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Adapted from The Women’s Health Fitness Fix: Quick HIIT Workouts, Easy Recipes, and Stress-Free Strategies for Managing a Healthy Life

No matter your goal, hacking your way to success can help you hit the marker you've set for yourself, especially in a weight-loss plan.

More: 7 Days to Slim: A Practical Guide to Feeling Lighter in a Week

To get started, just use these easy-to-follow steps to achieve, and maintain, a healthy eating plan.  

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1. Keep that caffeine habit

Sip about 270 milligrams of caffeine—roughly the amount in a tall Starbucks coffee—before your workout to help raise the number of calories you torch afterward. When cyclists sipped espresso an hour before a ride, their resting metabolism—the number of calories they burned while not working out—leaped by 15 percent post-ride. 

More: 15 Coffee Recipes That'll Give You a Needed Caffeine Boost

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2. Pack on the protein

When you drop pounds, some of what you shed is calorie-burning muscle—a loss that can slow your metabolism. One fix: Double your protein. Study participants who downed twice the recommended daily allowance lost the same amount of weight—but much less muscle—as those who ate the RDA. Aim for 1.5 grams per 2 pounds of body weight per day to reap the results. 

More: 25 High-Protein Meals in 30 Minutes or Less

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3. Stack your day

A study in the journal Obesity found that women who ate a 700-calorie breakfast and a 200-calorie dinner shed more than twice as much weight over 12 weeks as those whose meal sizes were reversed. Your body clock is linked to hormone dips that rev metabolism in the morning and leave it feeling sluggish at night, say study authors. 

More: 50 Make-Ahead Breakfasts for Busy Mornings

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4. Drop the guilt

Twenty-seven percent of people associated chocolate cake with guilt. In a study from the University of Canterbury, those who felt bad about eating it were less likely to maintain their weight over a year and a half compared with the 73 percent of people who associate the dessert with celebration. 

More: 10 Simple Ways to Stop Emotional Eating

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5. Be wary of white bread

Limit your intake of white bread to less than 120 grams (four or five slices) a week. People are 40 percent more likely to be overweight if white bread is the only bread they eat, according to Spanish researchers. 

More: 5 Ways to Ease Wheat Withdrawal

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6. Power up with protein

Start your day with eggs and ham. Having a larger serving of protein at breakfast makes you less likely to overeat for the rest of the day, say researchers. Shoot for at least 20 grams. 

More: 20 Easy Egg Recipes You Can Make in Minutes

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7. Cut back on carbs

It's one of the most reliable strategies for short-term weight loss. Dutch researchers found that eating one carb-free meal a day over a 2-week period can increase your metabolic rate by 81 calories per day. The key is making the meal about 70 percent protein and, of course, zero carbs. Watch for sneaky carb sources like milk, sausages, and barbecue sauce, just to name a few.

More: 10 Rules for a Healthy Low-Carb Diet

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8. Replace don't remove

Cutting calories too drastically can feel taxing, mentally and physically. Instead, make one tweak during each meal to get more nutrients like healthy fats, fiber, and protein into your diet. It's as simple as sprinkling your yogurt with flaxseed instead of granola at breakfast or adding a handful of fresh spinach to your pasta sauce at dinner. 

More: 7 Fatty Foods That Blast Belly Fat

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9. Dine in

It should come as no surprise that weekends are the most popular days for dining out, according to the National Restaurant Association. But research has also found that eating dinner out adds 144 calories to your daily intake (but here's how you can stay lean while dining out). It may not seem like a lot, but if you also ate out for lunch, that's another 158 calories—plus, any away-from-home snacks tack on about 107 calories each.

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