. But losing weight isn’t always about cutting things out; in fact, it might be about adding more foods into your lineup, says Stefani Sassos, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian in the Good Housekeeping Institute.
The best diets on our list may not be as trendy as the worst diets on this list, but Sassos says they’ll set you up for success when it comes to maintaining healthy weight loss over a longer period of time (and possibly, for good!). Regardless of which diet you choose to try this year, you need to practice the following advice in order to truly reap all the benefits that sustained weight loss can offer:
“It’s the very first thing you can do for your body, and believe it or not, being dehydrated could tie into why you’re having issues on a diet in the first place,” Sassos says. “Hydration might be the key because it keeps you full, expands in your stomach, and helps with satiety overall.” Much in line with current recommendations, Sassos says you’ll need to work your way through at least six to eight cups each day, and you may need more depending on how active you are.
- Eliminate added sugar: Per the American Heart Association, women shouldn’t consume more than 25g of sugar each day (it’s 35g for men), but Sassos says the average American eats around 77g of sugar each day. Keep sugar levels in check by focusing on your coffee order, what you eat for breakfast, cutting out soda and other sugary drinks, and choosing smart desserts.
- Double down on veggies: The benefits of eating more cruciferous vegetables are too numerous to list, but Sassos says focusing on eating more vegetables will help you up your fiber intake, keeping you full longer. Plus, you’ll reap the benefits of antioxidants galore.
- Hit the gym: Supercharging your diet to run on the leanest sources of fuel (i.e. less empty calories) is only half the battle. “I like to tell my patients to break a sweat every day: Whether it’s walking or running or simply using the stairs all day, make your version of a workout efficient and keep it moving, ” Sassos says. Aim for at least 30 minutes of heart-pumping activity each day.
- Eat mindfully: Unlike many of the fad diets that we call out on this list, Sassos says it’s important to eat when you truly feel hungry. “It’s about listening to your body. Ask yourself, ‘Is this a hunger cue … or is this a habit that I’ve created, and I should stop?’ If you eat cookies everyday at 3 p.m., that might be a habit, but if you’re hungry before bedtime, it may be time to reach for a protein-rich snack because you didn’t eat well that day.”