Weight loss ultimately comes down to burning more calories than you take in. But if you've ever tried losing weight, you also know that this seemingly simple formula isn't always easy to put into practice. And that can be downright frustrating.
Of course, weight-loss tips are everywhere you look, but how do you know which are safe, legit and will actually move the number on the scale? You could spend days researching and still not be totally sure — so we went ahead and did the legwork for you.
Here's what you need to know about weight loss, including all the research-backed advice that really works.
The Science Behind Successful Weight Loss
To start, you're going to need to separate the facts from the heard-it-through-the-grapevine fodder. What worked for someone else — or even a group of people — may not be your ideal approach, and for many different reasons. But having a good grip on the basics, such as knowing exactly how to calculate and track your daily calories, will help you spot a fad from a mile away and create a personalized weight-loss regimen that delivers results.
Here's what's actually happening in your body when you lose weight — and how to get started.
What to Know About Short-Term Weight Loss
With their promise of lightning-fast results, fad or "crash" diets may be tempting, but they often do more harm than good by slowing your metabolism and causing you to lose lean muscle mass (which makes it harder to both maintain the weight lost and to drop pounds down the road). While it is possible to lose pounds fast, there's definitely a right and a wrong approach. The best way? It starts with setting a realistic goal weight.
Get the full picture on losing pounds quickly, including how to do it the healthy way.
All About Overeating
When it comes to common roadblocks on the weight-loss journey, overeating is one of the biggies. Even if you know all about serving sizes and portion control, it can sometimes be a challenge to get your eating under control and stick to a calorie count that will result in weight loss. The good news? It's probably all in your head (hello, emotional eating) — and there are concrete steps you can take to tame this bad habit.
Hear from experts on what causes overeating in the first place, and then learn how to quash it.
Science-Backed Weight-Loss Hacks
While there's no magic bullet when it comes to losing weight, research has uncovered many small tweaks that can make the process a lot easier. For example, did you know that distractions while you're eating could cost you extra calories? Or that simply drinking two cups of water before a meal might help you shave off pounds — without any other changes to your diet?
Take a peek at 11 more tricks that go far beyond the "eat less, move more" mantra.
Breaking Through Weight-Loss Plateaus
Nothing is more frustrating than watching the number on the scale steadily fall for weeks, and then suddenly — nothing. The truth is, even when you're sticking to your diet and exercise plan like glue, it's totally normal to experience a plateau at some point. The key: Don't get discouraged, because you're still on the right path. And know that, with just a few adjustments, you can get the scale moving in the right direction again.
Learn why plateaus happen, and get six tips on what to do when weight loss stalls.