Someone's legs with running shoes on getting ready to run.

Proven Strategies to Achieve a Healthy Weight this New year

As the New Year unfolds, many people embark on a journey of self-improvement, with one of the most common goals including weight loss, alongside improved diet and fitness (1). While achieving a healthy weight is a good idea for almost everyone – since it can result in better energy levels, mood, and overall well-being – research shows that most New Year’s resolutions fail within a few weeks (2). 

What’s more, while restrictive diets might result in short-term success, most adults soon regain weight (3,4). In fact, a review of 14 long-term studies showed that up to two thirds of dieters end up regaining more weight than they originally lost, explaining why so many adults in the US are stuck in a perpetual pattern of ‘weight cycling’ (5,6). 

This is all because traditional ‘diets’ focus so much on the sole goal of weight reduction, they neglect to consider all the other complex factors that influence not only weight, but other important aspects of health and well being too. Instead of focusing on short-lived wins, creating healthy and sustainable habits you can stick to consistently is the key to long-term success. Here are three scientifically proven strategies to help achieve – and maintain – a healthy weight and body composition:

Eat more plants

Pan roasted tofu and broccoli bowl

There is strong evidence that a varied and balanced diet centered around plant foods is conducive to reducing body fat and – importantly – maintaining these changes in the long-term (7,8). This is thanks to a whole host of reasons, ranging from the lower caloric density of plant foods promoting fullness, to the increased thermogenesis and improved hormone levels that result from whole food, plant-forward eating patterns (9). 

Incorporating more whole plant foods – including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds – into your diet is a great idea not just for improving body composition, but also for lowering risk of major chronic conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and type two diabetes (10,11). 

Monitor your protein intake

Tracking macros on a phone

Another proven strategy for reducing body fat is increasing protein intake above the recommended dietary allowance, which in the US is a modest 0.36g per pound of body weight per day. Large reviews of the literature have consistently found that increasing protein intake can help reduce body weight and measures of adiposity like waist circumference and fat mass (12,13). This doesn’t mean carbohydrate intake should be reduced - in fact, carbohydrate-rich diets, especially when sourced from whole foods like whole grains, legumes, and starchy fruit and vegetables, help preserve lean muscle during weight loss better than low-carb, ketogenic diets (14). 

What is it about protein that makes it so helpful for improving body composition? Taking in more protein than the recommended daily intake helps to preserve muscle mass during weight loss, which is important because muscle tissue is metabolically active, meaning it requires energy to maintain itself even at rest (15). It also helps to increase hormones that promote feelings of fullness and satiety, which leads to reduced food intake, while increasing diet-induced energy expenditure – the energy required for absorption, metabolism and storage of nutrients – which contributes to the body’s resting metabolic rate (16). Whole plant foods and high quality protein supplements like FȲTA Elite Plant Protein can all help meet the optimal protein levels required to achieve and sustain improvements in body composition. 

Regular exercise

Two people excersizing with medicine balls.

Research shows that exercise has a consistent effect on reducing total weight and body fat (17). While the effects are relatively modest compared to results that can be achieved by dietary interventions (like incorporating more whole plant foods and protein), regular exercise is particularly helpful for maintaining weight loss (18). As part of an exercise regimen, incorporating some form of resistance training is helpful for most, since it enables the preservation or even building of lean muscle mass while reducing body fat percentage (19). 

Just like focusing on eating more whole plant foods, exercise is highly recommended because it has so many other health benefits, ranging from reductions in cancer and heart disease risk to improved cognition, mental health, and bone strength (20). Finding a form of exercise that you enjoy and building it into your daily routine helps build habits that will stick long-term (21). 


Setting New Year's resolutions while enthusiasm and motivation are high can be a fun process. But as the initial excitement inevitably wanes, so too does our commitment to these goals. So instead of trying to stick to yet another restrictive diet, focusing instead on healthy behaviors like eating more plants, watching your protein intake, and incorporating regular exercise, will increase the odds of reaching – and sustaining – your goals. Better yet, it’s far more likely that you’ll actually enjoy the process. 


  1. Davis, S. (2023). New Year’s Resolutions Statistics 2024. Available at::
  2. Dickson, J. M., Moberly, N. J., Preece, D., Dodd, A., & Huntley, C. D. (2021). Self-Regulatory Goal Motivational Processes in Sustained New Year Resolution Pursuit and Mental Wellbeing. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(6), 3084.
  3. Flore, G., Preti, A., Carta, M. G., Deledda, A., Fosci, M., Nardi, A. E., Loviselli, A., & Velluzzi, F. (2022). Weight Maintenance after Dietary Weight Loss: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis on the Effectiveness of Behavioural Intensive Intervention. Nutrients, 14(6), 1259.
  4. Machado, A. M., Guimarães, N. S., Bocardi, V. B., da Silva, T. P. R., Carmo, A. S. D., Menezes, M. C., & Duarte, C. K. (2022). Understanding weight regain after a nutritional weight loss intervention: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical nutrition ESPEN, 49, 138–153.
  5. Mann, T., Tomiyama, A. J., Westling, E., Lew, A. M., Samuels, B., & Chatman, J. (2007). Medicare's search for effective obesity treatments: diets are not the answer. The American psychologist, 62(3), 220–233.
  6. Rhee E. J. (2017). Weight Cycling and Its Cardiometabolic Impact. Journal of obesity & metabolic syndrome, 26(4), 237–242.
  7. Chew, H. S. J., Heng, F. K. X., Tien, S. A., Thian, J. Y., Chou, H. S., Loong, S. S. E., Ang, W. H. D., Chew, N. W. S., & Lo, K. K. (2023). Effects of Plant-Based Diets on Anthropometric and Cardiometabolic Markers in Adults: An Umbrella Review. Nutrients, 15(10), 2331.
  8. Turner-McGrievy, G., Mandes, T., & Crimarco, A. (2017). A plant-based diet for overweight and obesity prevention and treatment. Journal of geriatric cardiology : JGC, 14(5), 369–374.
  9. Najjar, R. S., & Feresin, R. G. (2019). Plant-Based Diets in the Reduction of Body Fat: Physiological Effects and Biochemical Insights. Nutrients, 11(11), 2712.
  10. Wang, Y., Liu, B., Han, H., Hu, Y., Zhu, L., Rimm, E. B., Hu, F. B., & Sun, Q. (2023). Associations between plant-based dietary patterns and risks of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and mortality - a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutrition journal, 22(1), 46.
  11. Dinu, M., Abbate, R., Gensini, G. F., Casini, A., & Sofi, F. (2017). Vegetarian, vegan diets and multiple health outcomes: A systematic review with meta-analysis of observational studies. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 57(17), 3640–3649.
  12. Hansen, T. T., Astrup, A., & Sjödin, A. (2021). Are Dietary Proteins the Key to Successful Body Weight Management? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Studies Assessing Body Weight Outcomes after Interventions with Increased Dietary Protein. Nutrients, 13(9), 3193.
  13. Leidy, H. J., Clifton, P. M., Astrup, A., Wycherley, T. P., Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S., Luscombe-Marsh, N. D., Woods, S. C., & Mattes, R. D. (2015). The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 101(6), 1320S–1329S.
  14. Koerich, A. C. C., Borszcz, F. K., Thives Mello, A., de Lucas, R. D., & Hansen, F. (2023). Effects of the ketogenic diet on performance and body composition in athletes and trained adults: a systematic review and Bayesian multivariate multilevel meta-analysis and meta-regression. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 63(32), 11399–11424.
  15. McCarthy, D., & Berg, A. (2021). Weight Loss Strategies and the Risk of Skeletal Muscle Mass Loss. Nutrients, 13(7), 2473.
  16. Halton, T. L., & Hu, F. B. (2004). The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 23(5), 373–385.
  17. Bellicha, A., van Baak, M. A., Battista, F., Beaulieu, K., Blundell, J. E., Busetto, L., Carraça, E. V., Dicker, D., Encantado, J., Ermolao, A., Farpour-Lambert, N., Pramono, A., Woodward, E., & Oppert, J. M. (2021). Effect of exercise training on weight loss, body composition changes, and weight maintenance in adults with overweight or obesity: An overview of 12 systematic reviews and 149 studies. Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 22 Suppl 4(Suppl 4), e13256.
  18. Cox C. E. (2017). Role of Physical Activity for Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance. Diabetes spectrum : a publication of the American Diabetes Association, 30(3), 157–160.
  19. Lopez, P., Taaffe, D. R., Galvão, D. A., Newton, R. U., Nonemacher, E. R., Wendt, V. M., Bassanesi, R. N., Turella, D. J. P., & Rech, A. (2022). Resistance training effectiveness on body composition and body weight outcomes in individuals with overweight and obesity across the lifespan: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 23(5), e13428.
  20. Posadzki, P., Pieper, D., Bajpai, R. et al. Exercise/physical activity and health outcomes: an overview of Cochrane systematic reviews. BMC Public Health 20, 1724 (2020).
  21. Rodrigues, F., & Teixeira, D. (2023). Testing Assumptions of the Physical Activity Adoption and Maintenance Model: A Longitudinal Perspective of the Relationships Between Intentions and Habits on Exercise Adherence. Perceptual and motor skills, 130(5), 2123–2138.
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