Diet and exercise may be key components of weight loss for women, but many other factors also play a role.
In fact, studies show that everything from sleep quality to stress levels can have a major impact on hunger, metabolism, body weight, and belly fat.
Fortunately, making a few small changes in your daily routine can bring big benefits when it comes to weight loss.
Here are the top 15 weight loss tips for women in addition to dieting and exercising.
1. Cut Down on Refined Carbs
Refined carbs undergo extensive processing, reducing the amount of fiber and micronutrients in the final product.
These foods spike blood sugar levels, increase hunger, and are associated with increased body weight and belly fat.
Therefore, it’s best to limit refined carbs like white bread, pasta, and prepackaged foods.
Opt for whole-grain products like oats, brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, and barley instead.
2. Add Strength Training To Your Routine
Strength training also known as resistance training builds muscle and increases endurance.
It’s especially beneficial for women over 50, as it increases the number of calories that your body burns at rest.
It also helps preserve bone mineral density to protect against osteoporosis.
Lifting weights, using gym equipment, or performing body-weight exercises are a few simple ways to get started.
3. Drink More Water
Drinking more water is an easy and effective way to promote weight loss with minimal effort.
According to one small study, drinking 16.9 ounces (500 ml) of water temporarily increased the number of calories burned by 30% after 30–40 minutes.
Studies also show that drinking water before a meal can increase weight loss and reduce the number of calories consumed by around 13%.
4. Eat More Protein
Protein foods like meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy, and legumes are an important part of a healthy diet, especially when it comes to weight loss.
In fact, studies note that following a high-protein diet can cut cravings, increase feelings of fullness, and boost metabolism.
One small 12-week study also found that increasing protein intake by just 15% decreased daily calorie intake by an average of 441 calories — resulting in 11 pounds (5 kg) of weight loss.
5. Do More Cardio
Aerobic exercise, also known as cardio, increases your heart rate to burn extra calories.
Studies show that adding more cardio to your routine can result in significant weight loss — especially when paired with a healthy diet.
For best results, aim for at least 20–40 minutes of cardio per day, or around 150–300 minutes per week.
6. Keep Track Of What You Eat
Keep track of what you eat with a food journal.
Using a food journal to track what you eat is an easy way to hold yourself accountable, and make healthier choices.
It also makes it easier to count calories, which can be an effective strategy for weight management.
What’s more, a food journal can help you stick to your goals, and may result in greater long-term weight loss.
7. Eat More Fiber
Adding more fiber to your diet is a common weight loss strategy. Fiber helps slow the emptying of your stomach and keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Without making any other changes to diet or lifestyle, increasing dietary fiber intake by 14 grams per day has been associated with a 10% decrease in calorie intake and 4.2 pounds (1.9 kg) of weight loss over 3.8 months.
Fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains are all great sources of fiber that can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet.
8. Squeeze in More Steps
When you’re pressed for time and unable to fit in a full workout, squeezing more steps into your day is an easy way to burn extra calories and increase weight loss.
In fact, it’s estimated that non-exercise-related activity may account for 50% of the calories your body burns throughout the day.
Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further from the door, or taking a walk during your lunch break are a few simple strategies to bump up your total number of steps and burn more calories.
9. Keep Stress Under Control
Some studies suggest that increased stress levels can contribute to a higher risk of weight gain over time.
Stress may also alter eating patterns and contribute to issues like overeating and binging.
Exercising, listening to music, practicing yoga, journaling, and talking to friends or family are several easy and effective ways to lower stress levels.
10. HIIT Up Your Workout
High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, pairs intense bursts of movement with brief recovery periods to help keep your heart rate elevated.
Swapping cardio for HIIT a few times per week can amp up weight loss.
HIIT can decrease belly fat, increase weight loss, and has been shown to burn more calories than other activities, such as biking, running, and resistance training.
11. Use Smaller Plates
Switching to a smaller plate size may help promote portion control, aiding weight loss.
A recent study showed that participants who used a smaller plate ate less and felt more satisfied than those who used a normal-size plate.
Using a smaller plate can also limit your portion size, which can reduce your risk of overeating and keep calorie consumption in check.
12. Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Enjoying a nutritious breakfast first thing in the morning can help start your day off on the right foot and keep you feeling full until your next meal.
In fact, studies find that sticking to a regular eating pattern may be linked to a reduced risk of binge eating.
Eating a high-protein breakfast has been shown to decrease levels of the hunger-promoting hormone ghrelin. This can help keep appetite and hunger under control.
13. Limit Processed Foods
Processed foods are typically high in calories, sugar, and sodium — yet low in important nutrients like protein, fiber, and micronutrients.
Studies show that consuming more processed foods is associated with excess body weight — especially among women.
Therefore, it’s best to limit your intake of processed foods. Instead, opt for whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins, whole grains, and legumes.
14. Cut Out Alcohol
You may not want to give up alcohol completely, but if you can ban booze for a few weeks, you’ll notice a difference on the scale. There are many different weight loss benefits that you’ll enjoy if you go sober.
First, if you drink water instead of wine at happy hours and other festive events, you’ll significantly decrease your calorie intake. A single glass of wine provides about 125 calories or more. Cocktails can provide 200 or more.
Next, you’ll also be less likely to munch on high-fat and high-calorie foods if you avoid alcohol. And lastly, you’re more likely to keep your workout plan on track if you don’t have to deal with a morning-after headache and exhaustion. Then end result? Fewer diet slip-ups and faster weight loss results.
15. Get Proper Sleep
Numerous studies have shown that getting less than 5–6 hours of sleep per night is associated with increased incidence of obesity. There are several reasons behind this.
Research suggests that insufficient and poor-quality sleep slows down the process in which the body converts calories to energy, called metabolism. When metabolism is less effective, the body may store unused energy as fat. In addition, poor sleep can increase the production of insulin and cortisol, which also prompt fat storage.
How long and how deep someone sleeps also affects the regulation of the appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin sends signals of fullness to the brain while ghrelin tells your brain you’re hungry.
Without a properly functioning leptin and ghrelin, you’re constantly hungry and nothing you eat will ever make you full.
So, sleep more and sleep well.