The #1 Weight Loss Secret No One’s Talking About, According to an Obesity Doctor

Woman standing on scale at night

Whenever you see someone looking great, happy and healthy, confident in their relationship and killing it at work, the first question that usually comes to mind is: What’s your secret?

Of course, there has to be some unbeknownst-to-us reason for how they’re holding it all together and living their best life. Being the creatures of curiosity we are—we want in on how they do it.

While it comes as no surprise that the anti-obesity medication Ozempic is responsible for the downsizing of America lately, what if we told you there is another secret to weight loss that no one is talking about?

We asked a doctor who specializes in obesity and weight loss thoughts on the subject. Here’s what he had to say. 

Related: How Many Calories Should I Eat To Lose Weight?

The #1 Secret to Weight Loss That No One’s Talking About

According to Dr. Nikhilesh R. Sekhar, MD, FACS, FASMBS, a board-certified surgeon who specializes in bariatric surgery at New York Bariatric Group, the #1 secret to weight loss that no one talks about is (drumroll) consistency.

“No one talks about it because it’s boring,” he explains. “It isn’t flashy or social media worthy. Your favorite celeb isn’t touting consistency. But consistency means eating a little less and moving a little more every single day.”

He says it also means eating healthy meals every day, and not starving yourself one day and bingeing the next, or starving yourself all day long only to overeat at night because you’re so hungry. “Consistency is creating an exercise plan that you can stick with daily, not crushing it in the gym one day and then not stepping foot in it for a week,” he adds. “Consistency is the key to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.”

The Most Effective Weight Loss Treatment for People Who Are Obese

If you’ve tried eating healthy and working out consistently but find yourself facing an unmanageable number on the scale, Dr. Sekhar says weight loss surgery is proven to be the most effective treatment for the extremely obese. “Studies have shown that weight loss surgery produces greater weight loss in a year than diet alone,” he explains, “And while weight regain is possible with surgery, the total amount of weight loss is still significant after five years.

Related: How Many Steps a Day Actually Lead to Weight Loss?

What Do Doctors Say Is the Best Way To Lose Weight?

“The best way to lose weight is to slightly decrease your calorie input and slightly increase your calorie output, shares Dr. Sekhar. This means keeping track of what you eat and how much you move daily. He also advises using a calorie-counting app like MyFitnessPal or BMR calculator to track your daily movement and food. “Better yet, consult with a registered dietitian to figure out exactly how many calories you need per day,” he adds. Finally, try to incorporate weight lifting or another type of strength training into your fitness routine to increase your daily calorie burn—even at rest.

While Dr. Sekhar is a big proponent of apps to keep track of your calorie intake and stay within that calorie level, he does acknowledge counting calories doesn’t work for everyone. If that’s the case for you, he also suggests dividing your plate in half at every meal. “One half of your plate you fill with vegetables and fruits, one-quarter of the plate is protein and the other quarter of the plate is high-fiber carbohydrates,” he says. 

By using this plate hack, increasing your activity level incorporating a strength training (muscle building) activity into your weekly fitness routine, you’ll start to see progress. “Get off the diet roller coaster and don’t starve yourself either,” he warns. You’re only setting yourself up for a binge later. “Eat healthy foods daily, manage your stress levels and get adequate amounts of high-quality sleep, which means waking up and going to bed around the same time each night.”

What Is the 80/20 Rule for Weight Loss?

If you’ve ever heard someone say they live by the 80/20 rule for weight loss but have no idea what this means, allow us to explain. “The idea is that you eat healthy 80% of the time and 20% of the time, you can eat whatever you want, says Dr. Sekhar. 

All foods can fit into a healthy diet, but some should be the primary focus and some should be eaten in lesser amounts. He also notes the theory of 80/20 is rooted in some truth, but it can lead to binge eating and other disordered eating patterns if not approached properly.

How Can I Lose Weight Fast and Permanently Naturally?

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Dr. Sekhar says fast weight loss is neither healthy nor permanent. “Aim to lose no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week by eating a little bit less and moving a little bit more every day,” he advises. And one more time for the people in the back: Stay consistent! 

Up next: This Morning Habit Will Help You Lose Weight Faster