13 Weight Loss Rules to Live By – Proven Guide for Success

Weight Loss & Diets | Written by Nathan Petitpas | Updated on 24 March 2023

A man pondering the best way to get in shape while looking at weight loss rules such as including more protein, drink more water, eat more veggies, and exercise. On the contrary, the rules also include to avoid sugar and high calorie treats.

Following firm weight loss rules might sound scary at first, but just know that weight-loss rules are not one size fits all. Losing weight is more about building good habits rather than following a strict playbook. Sure, you might see quicker results if you never deviate from the rules, but it’s more important to get back on the playing field anytime there may be a slip up and to not be too hard on yourself. 

While there is no quick fix weight loss plan, there are so many guidelines meant to help with successful and long-term weight loss. If you have weight to lose, the rules listed below are scientifically proven to help you achieve your goal weight and better health.

Consistency and dedication are key! That, paired with the adherence of these rules for long-term weight loss can lead you to a successful weight loss journey with lasting results! 

Weight Loss Tips and Rules For Lasting Results

A variety of different aspects of our lives impact our health. Our nutrition, food, and exercise level directly impact whether or not weight loss is in the cards for us. When researching for information on how to lose weight, it is important to remember that you need balance in all of these areas of life in order to lose weight safely. 

1. Choose Healthy Foods

While losing weight is affected by many different things, following a healthy diet is essential. These tips provide great guidance on creating a healthy diet to help your body lose weight. 

Contrary to popular belief, healthy eating does not have to mean boring food. Yep! You guessed it! Eating healthy is fun and if you put thought and effort into the foods you make, those healthier choices in meals can be quite delicious with endless options.

Always make sure you pay attention to your nutrition when building meals. Harvard University has published a Healthy Eating Plate for the public to use to help build healthier diets [1]. The Harvard Healthy Eating Plate says you should fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables, a quarter of your plate whole grains, and load the other quarter of your plate with your favorite protein [1]. 

California’s Let’s Eat Healthy group says healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, fruit, and vegetables are key groups to include in your weight loss rule book [2]. Avocado, nuts, and olive oil are all great sources of healthy fat and satisfy you longer after your meals. The lose weight fast articles may tell you otherwise, but healthy fat is good for you. Let’s take the trending and successful Keto diet into consideration. This diet includes high intake of healthy fat and has helped people lose weight. 

With many people promoting low-carb eating, complex carbohydrates are foods surrounded by a bad aura. While some carbohydrates are bad for you, complex carbs are high in fiber which results in feeling full after eating a small amount. With weight to lose, a low-carb diet should be low in refined carbohydrates, not complex ones. For complex carbohydrates, try some sweet potatoes, whole grains, or 1/2 – 1 cup of oatmeal a day for optimal weight loss results. 

Vegetables are foods chock-full of fiber and low in calories, helping you to feel full for longer and will help avoid those pesky post-dinner cookies calling out to you from the kitchen cupboard. But if you still get a sweet tooth once in a while, and let’s be honest, who doesn’t, fruits are a deliciously sweet source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help fight toxins. To lose weight, however, it is important to eat fruit in moderation due to their natural sugars, and as we know, too much sugar is bad for you. However, an apple a day can keep the doctor away better than a cookie can.

Now I’m starting to get hungry..what should I make for dinner tonight? Better yet, what will you cook for dinner tonight?

2. Prioritize Protein

Protein is the jack of all trades when it comes to diet and helps your weight loss goals in more ways than one. 

Eating protein makes you feel satiated, decreases your cravings, and helps you effectively form lean muscle mass. Lean muscle mass increases your metabolism [3] and is a great benefit that comes from eating protein and exercising. Including more protein in your diet can directly help you lose extra weight and the more lean muscle mass you have – the easier it will become to not only lose weight but to keep it off. 

It is crucial to include protein in all of your meals, but especially in your breakfast. When you have weight to lose, having a protein-rich breakfast gives you an energy boost at the start of your day. And with all that extra energy in the morning, what a great time for that morning run with your dog or gym session! Fido will thank you. 

The recommended amount of protein you should consume varies from person to person, depending on age, weight, height, and how much you exercise. To find out the right protein intake for your personal needs, the Harvard health blog says to use an online protein calculator. [4]

The calculator linked will trend on the far low end but in the fitness world it’s recommended to consume .7-1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight and some athletes such as bodybuilders may consume up to 2 grams of protein per pound. So for someone of 150 pounds, they should consume approximately 105-150 grams of protein per day.  However, dieters should note that there are health risk with consuming too much protein, just as there is with too little protein. 

3. Avoid Empty Calories

Not all calories are created equal and hold different nutritional qualities [5]. Because of this, counting calories isn’t as important for weight loss as tracking your nutrition is. 

Let’s take  for example Person A.. Person A, who is consuming 2000 calories of fast food and processed sugars every day, will feel and look much different than Person B, who eats a diet made up of 2000 calories of vegetables, proteins, and whole grains. The common denominator here? 2000 calories. But not only is Person B eating much healthier, he/she also feels full for a longer period of time due to the calories consumed being packed with vital nutrients needed for a healthy diet.

When you eat processed foods with high amounts of processed sugar, saturated fat, and bad carbohydrates you are getting very little nutritional value, empty calories, and you are canceling out the other efforts you are putting into your weight loss. This makes it difficult to burn excess fat as your body is too busy burning unhealthy foods. Help your body help you. 

Avoiding processed foods like sugars, alcohol, fried foods, and processed or refined carbohydrates will help you achieve your goals faster and improve your health in the long run. Not to mention, learning how to lose weight gained from alcohol and junk food can be more difficult since it required a behavioral change. 

4. Stay Hydrated

Our bodies are roughly 60% water, so it’s a no-brainer that staying hydrated is an important weight loss rule. Aside from improving your ability to function, hydration has many weight loss benefits. 

First and foremost, it’s a natural appetite suppressant. Because it takes up room in the stomach, staying hydrated increases feelings of fullness. Drinking a glass before you eat can help lower your calorie intake and avoid overeating. A feeling of hydration and fullness also helps you to avoid unnecessary liquid calories like soda and juice. 

Studies have also shown evidence that water helps burn calories, which contributes to the ones you need to lose to be in a calorie deficit [6]. Talk about a great deal! Water helps you lose waste, weight and is the absolute best natural detox on the market. 

The amount your body needs to stay hydrated depends on a few different factors, like activity level, weight, and height. 

5. Beware of Fads & Long Fasts

Whenever you’re starting to feel down about your weight loss progress, it’s important to remember not to jump off the bandwagon. Patience is important, as losing weight isn’t something that happens overnight [7]. If you try to lose weight with quick-fix diets, juice cleanses, or water fasts, you will lose all of the progress you make after returning to normal habits. In order to see real, lasting change, make sure to choose diets that are tried and true. And if budget is an issue, you can always learn how to duplicate your own Medifast diet or try intermittent fasting without any additional costs. 

6. Eat Less, Do More

One of the most basic fundamentals is to enter a calorie deficit using diet and exercise [9]. In a calorie deficit, your goal each day is to eat and drink fewer calories than your burn. You can do this by lowering your food-based calories or losing them through exercise instead. Calorie deficits are one of the most important weight loss rules because weight loss is impossible without them. 

Even if you exercise and eat a healthy and balanced diet, being in a calorie surplus will cause weight gain. One of our best tips to keep track of your calories is to keep a food journal each day! Food journals help with calorie regulation. 

7. Eat With a Purpose

A lot of the eating people do if they don’t have healthy eating habits may be emotional eating, which is not productive when you have weight to lose [10]. If you aren’t sure if you’re experiencing hunger pangs, drink a glass of water and wait a while to make sure you really are hungry and not emotionally eating. Instead of perusing the pantry for snacks and sweets when you’re bored, sad, or tired, try doing something else for a little while. Exercising, walking, or reading a book are productive and healthy habits you can use to replace emotional eating and help you determine if you actually need to eat.

8. Avoid Eating While Distracted

Eating while distracted can lead to mindlessly overeating and not enjoying your food [11]. This can lead to lowered levels of satisfaction and heading back for seconds, which makes it difficult to lose weight. Eating should be a standalone task, not a multi-task or something you rush through. Make sure you eat slowly to best know when you are full. Additionally, it is best to avoid screens and activity during mealtime. Long gone are the days of TV dinners.. if you are trying to lose weight, anyway. 

9. Choose an Enjoyable Exercise

Exercise doesn’t have to be something that you dread doing. You might be thinking that it’s impossible that anyone looks forward to exercising, but in fact, many healthy people share that exercise is their favorite part of the day. The secret behind being excited to exercise is finding a type of workout that you enjoy to save yourself from your hating workout and hindering your journey to lose weight.

Here is a rundown of a few various types of exercises to help you find what works best for you:

  • Cardio: There is a wide variety of types of cardio. Running, swimming, walking, and cycling are the most popular and well-known types, providing you with many different options to lose pounds. Pilates and HIIT are currently very popular and done often in group settings to provide people with a weight loss community and motivation.
  • Strength Training: Some people strength train using bodyweight, others with lighter weight, and some lift incredibly heavy weight. Regardless of your preference or ability, strength training is a great workout for building metabolism-boosting lean muscle mass. And just as weight loss has some basic rules to abide by, there’s deadly training sins that are best to adhere to as well. 
  • Yoga: If you have trouble with mobility and find yourself unable to do a lot of cardio or strength training when you first try to lose the extra weight, yoga is an excellent option with both mental and physical benefits. Yoga allows for the stretching of muscles as well as moderate strength training and muscle building with body weight. This is a great option for beginners and people who want to add variety to their weight loss routine.

10. Strive for Lifestyle Changes – Not Quick Fixes

When it comes to trying to lose your unwanted weight, it is critical to remember that doing so is  a long-term dedication. Consistency is key here. If you continuously show up for yourself and invest in yourself by keeping a good exercise and diet routine, you will see the changes slowly but surely. Weight loss is not one size fits all, so be sure to focus on your progress instead of comparing your progression to others. Remember that your goal in this journey is to lead a healthier and more balanced life, this is not something you’re doing not to please others. Take things one day at a time, as you won’t lose all the weight at once. 

11. Address Stress & Sleep Issues

New and old medical research have found that sleep schedules are just as important to weight loss as exercising and proper diet. Don’t miss out on catching those ZZ’s, and aim for 8 hours of sleep every night. It is much more difficult to stick to your good health habits each day when you are tired, and being tired leaves you more prone to injuries

Being well-rested also promotes lower stress levels. Lower stress levels have been proven by medical studies to be helpful with your weight loss goals. Higher stress levels can lead to unwanted weight gain and bad overall mental and physical well-being.

In conclusion…

If weight loss is on your mind, taking heed of these weight loss rules will greatly help you achieve your goals. There are no secrets when it comes to weight-loss and again, consistency is key. Eating right for your body, drinking enough water, choosing exercise that interests you, and getting adequate sleep are all crucial ingredients in your recipe for success. Don’t forget that this isn’t a race. 


[1] 2011. Healthy Eating Plate. Healthy Eating Plate Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 11/19/2021. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-plate/.

[2] 2021. Healthy Eating. Learn About The Food Groups. 11/19/2021. Dairy Council of California. https://www.healthyeating.org/nutrition-topics/general/food-groups.

[3] Tipton, K. D., & Ferrando, A. A. (2008). Improving muscle mass: Response of muscle metabolism to exercise, nutrition and Anabolic Agents. Essays in Biochemistry, 44, 85–98. https://doi.org/10.1042/bse0440085

[4] Pendick, D. 6/21/2019. How much protein do you need every day? Harvard Health. 11/19/2021.https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-much-protein-do-you-need-every-day-201506188096.

[5] Spell, C. S. 11/4/2016. There’s no sugar-coating it: All calories are not created equal. Harvard Health. 11/19/2021. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/theres-no-sugar-coating-it-all-calories-are-not-created-equal-2016110410602.

[6] Vij, V. A. K., & Joshi, A. S. (2014). Effect of excessive water intake on body weight, body mass index, body fat, and appetite of overweight female participants. Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, 5(2), 340. https://doi.org/10.4103/0976-9668.136180

[7] Why diets don’t work: how to avoid the dieting cycle & eat for your health. Why Diets Don’t Work: How to Avoid the Dieting Cycle & Eat for Your Health – Cedar Rapids, IA – Mercy Medical Center. (n.d.). 11/19/2021. https://www.mercycare.org/services/food-nutrition/why-diets-dont-work/.

[8] Kaiser Permanente. (n.d.). Healthy Eating: Changing Your Eating Habits. Healthy eating: Changing your eating habits. 11/19/2021. https://wa.kaiserpermanente.org/kbase/topic.jhtml?docId=ad1169.

[9] Clinic, Mayo. 12/8/2020. Counting Calories: Get back to weight-loss basics. Mayo Clinic. 11/19/2021. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/calories/art-20048065.

[10] Melinda. 9/13/2021. Emotional eating. HelpGuide.org. 11/19/ 2021. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/diets/emotional-eating.htm.

[11] Howard E. LeWine, M. D.. 3/29/2013. Distracted eating may add to weight gain. Harvard Health. 11/19/2021. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/distracted-eating-may-add-to-weight-gain-201303296037.

About the Author

Nathan Petitpas

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.