Want to lose weight? Try these evidence-based weight-loss strategies

Do you find yourself short on time between a packed work calendar and social commitments? If burning a couple of hours at the gym to shed some kilos is not plausible, read these clever tips to circumvent food cravings, slim down meals without compromising on flavour and workouts that actually work for you.

Here is some science to use to our advantage. Once we understand how our body works, it is easier to make it work for us.

Hack your neural pathways to control sugar craving and therefore craving for excess food:

You may have the resolve of steel to be on a calorie-deficient diet, but if this little animal called ghrelin (the hunger hormone) isn't tamed, you are bound to feel hungrier and less satiated. As a general rule, sugar, especially refined, is to be avoided. Because simply put, sugar is the food for our neurons and it changes our hormones and neuropathways. As humans (and all species including a fruit fly) we are hardwired to be drawn to sweet foods over bitter foods because of their nutritional value. Having eaten sugary food, our brain craves more sugar in specific and more food in general. Learn how to work on regulating this pathway.

  • Combining high-fiber and high-fat foods with sugary foods lowers the glycemic load and how it affects our body.

  • Adding omega-3-rich foods to the diet can help in lowering sugar cravings.

  • Consumption of lemon and cinnamon has a similar beneficial effect.

  • Anecdotal evidence suggests that getting a good nights sleep also reduces sugar cravings.

The weighty issue of weight loss is resistance training.

While running, swimming and cycling are great for cardiovascular health, adding strength/weight training to an exercise plan has immense benefits. Boosting muscle mass speeds up metabolism and therefore burns calories even after workouts; even meals eaten after an intense workout are efficiently utilised by the body. Hence don't let your fear of injury hinder your progress. Meet an expert to decide the type, weight, sets, repetitions and frequency for a safe workout plan.

Behaviour and weight loss are connected.

How do you keep yourself from comfort-eating? Changing tableware to smaller bowls or quarter plates is just scratching the surface. And blaming it on willpower is putting a little too much strain on it. Smart eating is about intention, awareness and planning. Identify where you start and note down a goal. Weigh yourself and maintain a journal. Identify your barriers and find ways to overcome them. Is it eating out? Or lack of time to work out? Do you unwind by snacking and binge-watching? Go slow with the changes. Add one small change at a time.

  • Control your portions. Eat small but frequent meals.

  • Replace simple carbs with complex carbs.

  • Opt for early dinners.

  • Replace the snack cabinet with foxnuts, trail mixes, roasted seeds and other healthy munchies.

  • Eat slowly and mindfully.

  • Include huger-fighting proteins at every meal.

  • Don’t deny yourself rewards, just delay them and ration them.

  • If you are on a low carb diet, make your meals interesting with healthy flavouring agents like homemade tamarind and green chutney or store-bought but healthier garnishings like bonito flakes and nutritional yeast for your stir-fries as opposed to fish sauce and tasting powders.

Use the 5% rule. Losing half a kilo per month is also fine till you lose 5% of your total weight. This itself will give you and your health a great boost.


According to the Sage journal May 2021 report, the prevalence of obesity in India is 40.3 %. This means the odds of being obese depend on physical activity. WHO had estimated that in 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults worldwide (39%) were overweight and over 650 million were obese. Zonal variations were seen as South being the highest at 46.51 % and East lowest at 32.96 %. Obesity was reported to be higher among women than men (41.88% vs. 38.67%), urban than rural (44.17% vs. 36.08%) and over 40 than under 40 (45.81% vs. 34.58%).

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