16 Practical Ways To Lose Weight Backed By Science

Here are 16 practical things you can do right now to help you be more active, lose weight and get fitter, I’ve included scientific studies and examples:

    1. Go For A Run. Well, it’s a running website so I had to put this first. Running is one of the most efficient ways to burn fat and lost weight. It’s also cheap and you could just go out and do it today.
    2. Stay away from tempting food… and put it out of sight. Studies have found that if you have food in your line of sight then you will feel more hungry and will be more tempted to eat it. Simply putting it out of your vision should help you feel less hungry and eat less. See more here.
    3. Walk And Work. I love this one – a study by Stanford university in 2014 found that creativity was greatly increased whilst you are walking and drops when you’re seated. I’m one of these people who has to walk whilst on the phone – I think better on my feet. So next time you have an important work call, take it whilst walking to improve your creativity and burn calories. Here’s more on the study.
    4. Get An Activity Tracker. There are lots of studies that suggest that these work to help people be more active and lose more weight. You can get them for very little money now too – take this example for just £12.99.
    5. Be Careful With Portion Sizes. A study performed in 2005 looked at how we know when we’re full. Basically they sat people down to eat soup. Some people had a normal bowl of soup, others had soup bowls which refilled without them knowing. Those with refillable bowls ate 73% more soup than those without, but when asked about how full they were they gave the same answer. It’s amazing that you can eat nearly double the food but feel just as full and it’s down to your eyes being vital to telling you how much you’ve eaten. More on this amazing study here.
    6. Cook Dinner. You can get a number of benefits from cooking rather than ordering take away or heating a ready meal. First off, cooking for half an hour burns around 40 calories. Secondly, you know exactly what is going into your food and you can control fat, salt and sugar which are often high in take away / ready meals. Thirdly, you’ll probably enjoy the meal more. Sure – it takes a little time, but there are so many awesome recipes out there to make…plus, people will be dead impressed. Try the runner’s world cookbook as a nice place to start.
    7. Walk / Run / Cycle To Work. I love this one – running to and from work has saved me so much money and time over the years – no travel costs, no parking fees, no crowded public transport and I’m getting really fit in the process. Obviously not everyone will be able to do this, but if you have showers in work or a gym near by that you can join to use their showers, for me it’s perfect.
    8. Do Yoga At Home For Free. Like the idea of yoga? Why not just do it at home? There are loads of free yoga videos out there, try these to start with. It will help burn calories but also adds strength, flexibility, better posture, etc etc. Great exercise.
    9. Mix Things Up. The best way to burn fat and build a better physique is to do some cardio, such as running and also some resistance training, such as lifting weights. There are many studies which support this, but I like this one from University of Ottawa.
    10. Sleep Less. For an 185lb person sleeping will burn around 85 calories per hour, being awake and sitting will burn around 185 calories per hour – roughly 100 calories per hour more. So, sleep 30 minutes less and you’ve burned an additional 50 calories even if you’re sitting down for that extra time. You can compare sitting and standing calorie burn here. The only issue with this one is that if you sleep too little you’ll have more problems!
    11. Eat Whole Grains. Yeah – kind of simple this one, whole grain consumption is linked with reduced obesity in a number of studies. Eat whole grain breads, brown rice, and whole grain pasta and you’ll lose weight compared with eating the non-whole grain equivalent – simple. There’s a really nice summary here
    12. Save Time / Burn Calories. Think of all the places you drive to regularly and assess if could you walk or even run any of those. I used to drive a mile to the shops each week, this burned off around 90 calories each way = 180 total. Then I started running to the shops, getting shopping and walking back. The running burned around 120 calories, plus 90 calories walking = 210 total. That’s about a plate of rice.
    13. Sniff Some Vanilla. A little odd, but the smell of vanilla has been shown to reduce cravings for sweet foods, especially chocolate. There’s a story from the BBC about it here. If you snack on lots of chocolate at night, why not get a vanilla scented candle and try it out? The worst that can happen is your house smells nice.
    14. Eat away from the TV. Eating whilst watching TV is linked to “mindless” eating where you don’t realise how much you’re consuming. In addition, studies seem to show that the more TV you watch, the more likely you are to be overweight. Here’s an example. 
    15. Eat Cayenne Pepper. Studies show that eating Cayenne can increase metabolism and reduce temptations for sweet snacks at the same time. It’s win-win, get it down you!
    16. Little changes add up. Be it walking around the office more, standing for more time, doing an extra walk a week, having one less sweet snack a week, etc – these things add up. Weight loss should be a gradual thing otherwise it will not be sustainable. You cannot lose 10lbs of fat in a week without serious health problems. If there are pills and diets which sounds like they might be too good to be true then, unfortunately, they are.


About Simon 126 Articles
Avid runner, cyclist and judoka.