Losing weight is tough, both mentally and physically. New science shows that when the body starts to lose substantial amounts of weight, it fights viciously to gain it back. But despite the biological roadblocks, plenty of people are successful at losing weight and keeping it off over the long term.
But how? As part of its recent exploration of the new science of weight loss, TIME asked 9 weight loss and obesity experts their best advice for people who are trying to lose weight. Here are their top tips for what works when it comes to slimming down.
Cut out soda
“Avoid all sugary drinks, as they provide ’empty calories’ that don’t fill you up. The sugar may uniquely act on the liver to produce belly fat.”
—Dr. Dean Schillinger, chief of the University of California, San Francisco Division of General Internal Medicine
Don’t focus on calories
“The ‘calorie in, calorie out’ approach fails, because it disregards how food affects our hormones and metabolism. Pay attention to food quality.”
—Dr. David S. Ludwig, professor of nutrition at Harvard Medical School
Keep it basic
“The simple message is to eat a healthful diet and to engage in more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. The challenge is how to actually accomplish that in an environment that seems to push us constantly in the wrong direction.”