Tips for weight loss on the Mediterranean Diet
The amount of weight you lose and how easily you keep it off depends on several factors. For best results, it helps to get guidance from the professionals in your care team and to adopt a slow and steady approach that embraces lifelong changes instead of a quick fix.
Diet is just one part of the weight equation. Other things to control include your sleep, physical activity, stress levels, hydration, and habits.
1. Aim to eat a little less than you need
On its own, the Mediterranean diet plan isn’t designed for losing weight. In fact, you can gain weight on almost any diet if you eat more calories than you can burn.
To lose weight while following the Mediterranean diet, you must eat fewer calories than your body needs daily. You can estimate your calorie requirements with a calorie calculator. And use calorie counting apps to help you get an idea of how many calories each food type has.
However, you should not eat too little to avoid lowering your metabolism and encouraging your body to preserve your fat stores. Eating about 10-20% less than you need is enough to help you lose weight safely. A diet that’s too low in calories can make you feel hungry all the time and have cravings, which cause overeating and bingeing.
2. Get enough physical activity
Physical activity such as walking, gardening, swimming, and playing sports does your body a world of good. It may not help you lose much weight on its own, but as part of a holistic weight loss plan, it’s indispensable.
You can aim for 30–60 minutes of activity five days a week or 22 to 44 minutes daily. Experts also recommend two strength building sessions a week.
3. Plan your meals ahead of time
Planning your meals can help you stick to the nutritious food you want to eat, not the fast food that is available or easy to get. Some ways to plan your meals are:
- Sorting out mediterranean diet recipes for weight loss and learning how to cook new meals if necessary
- Having a menu or meal plan for the week
- Shopping for ingredients in advance
- Measuring your food portions
- Substituting food types for what’s available
- Cooking some meals in advance
4. Track your meals and progress
Tracking what you eat by keeping a food journal and also noting your weight loss progress can help you stay focused and notice the foods/habits that are more helpful than others.
For instance, you can notice foods that make you feel bloated or weakened and those that make you feel energized. You can also see how well your current diet is helping you meet your weight loss goals.
5. Limit or avoid processed food
The Mediterranean diet doesn’t forbid any food types but instead allows occasional red meat, sweets, pastries, and saturated butter. However, processed foods are likely to increase your risk of being overweight.
Processed foods are high in calories and low in nutrients. You can easily eat more than your entire daily needs in a single setting.
Also, processed foods can increase your risk of getting chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Added sugar increases your risk of illness
Keeping processed foods out of your diet can reduce your chances of overeating and help you meet weight loss goals.
6. Sleep 7–9 hours every day
Getting enough sleep helps to keep your hormones balanced and helps your body heal. Without enough sleep, hormones responsible for appetite like ghrelin can be raised and make you likely to overeat.
Experts advise that adults get at least 7 hours of sleep a day. And cool, dark rooms are generally better for a deep, restful experience. Keeping electronic devices away from your sleeping area and keeping regular sleep-wake hours can also help you rest properly.
7. Use herbs and spices liberally
Herbs and spices are a better option for flavoring your meals than liquid coloring, salt, or sugar. Although food dyes aren’t linked with any serious health issues (yet), they add zero health benefits and may increase your food cravings.
On the other hand, herbs and spices make your meals more delicious—and even have health benefits. Research shows spices like chili can help you lose weight, while onions and garlic contain compounds like quercetin that help you fight inflammation and improve your immunity.
8. Eat slowly, mindfully, and with your loved ones
Studies suggest that people who wolf down their food are 115% more likely to be obese than slow eaters. Slow, mindful eating, where you savor the taste of meals and focus on your plate, can help you eat less and weigh less.
Also, the Mediterranean diet encourages you to eat with loved ones, which can boost mood, reduce loneliness and encourage you to spend more time at the dining table. This can make you less likely to attempt comfort eating, which can lead to unwanted weight gain.
9. Choose long-term change, not quick fixes
Most weight loss plans fail. Studies show that up to 80% of people who lose weight can’t keep it off for up to one year. The main reason? Quick fixes and approaches they can’t sustain in the long run. Instead of that, choose a long-term lifestyle choice you can stick to.
Give yourself enough time to get results and stay committed even if you meet hiccups along the way.
10. Consider getting professional help.
Weight loss is harder for some people than for others. Apart from the inconvenience of not fitting into your favorite shirt, it can also affect your health.
Professional healthcare workers such as your doctor, nurse, or dietician can help you get additional support toward meeting your goals. This can be particularly helpful if you have plenty of weight to lose or existing health conditions.