Have you spent months, maybe even years working toward your weight loss goals? You have tried many different diets, meal plans, and programs but no matter what you do you can’t seem to stick to your plan. In fact, you are finding yourself back in the same place you started or maybe even worse off. The truth is, there are many plans out there all with different rules, guidelines and philosophies but in order to reach your weight loss goals it boils down to these three things. 

If you look closely at any diet program or meal plan they actually have these three things in common and may be giving you more similar advice than you realize. These three things are common among all healthful weight loss and dietary approaches. So if you’re looking to reach your weight loss goals it is encouraged you focus on them.

Increase the Amount of Vegetables You Consume 

You may be surprised to hear that 9 in 10 Americans fail to meet their produce needs which is why this is the first thing you must focus on in your weight loss journey. Regardless what diet plan or philosophy you want to stick with, adding vegetables to your day will be part of the plan. Vegetables are a high volume food, meaning they will fill you up for very few calories and they give you all the nutrients your body needs to fight diseases. There are no specific vegetables you have to eat to reach your produce needs, you just want to focus on having some variety and choosing the ones you enjoy. There are also many ways to enjoy vegetables and add them to your diet in a simple and quick way. If you don’t enjoy raw vegetables, try them roasted, sauteed or mixed into another dish you’re preparing! 

Decrease the Amount of Sugar you Consume 

According to research, we are hardwired to have a preference for sweets from a very early age. Sugar makes food taste good and so food companies add it to many more items than you may imagine-bread, soups, salad dressings, cereals, yogurts and so much more! This adds up and can leave us consuming a lot more sugar in our diets than we need. The average American consumes more than 19 teaspoons of sugar per day, exceeding the American Heart Association’s 6 teaspoon limit for women and 9 teaspoon limit for men. This is why any time you follow a plan or program for weight loss a common theme is decreasing the added sugar you have in your day. One thing to be mindful of as well is the amount of names for sugar you may see on food labels. Agave, cane juice, maple syrup, fruit juice concentrate and date sugar are all examples of names for sugar that when consumed, will make reaching your weight loss goals more difficult.

Increase Whole Foods and Decrease Processed Food Consumption 

Eating overly processed foods have been linked to weight gain, perhaps because many unhealthy packaged foods such as ice cream, potato chips, and frozen pizza lack the fiber found in many whole foods and contain lots of added sugars and fat. Fiber helps keep us full and helps keep our digestive systems working properly. Research suggests that adding fiber to your diet by choosing whole foods can help you lose weight more effectively than more complicated diets and programs. During an experiment, it was found people ate about 500 calories more per day when eating heavily processed foods and gained more weight than those who focused on eating whole foods. Whole foods include vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, eggs, seafood, chicken and so on. Whichever diet appeals most to your appetite and lifestyle, focusing on increasing the amount of whole foods you eat is a crucial part of your success.