With endless numbers of diets, supplements, and exercises, it’s pretty hard to get a straight answer on what it really takes to lose weight. Some say that exercise should come first, and others say that diet is the key. Regardless of who is right, there is a myriad of philosophies and strategies, most of which seem to be based on faith and emotion, not science and fact. Thankfully, there are some guiding scientific principles that can help us on our quest to a better body. Here are seven of the most undisputed facts that the scientific community has provided on weight loss. 1. Eat Three Meals Every Day Don’t starve yourself in an attempt to lose weight. Not only is this strategy unhealthy, it is also ineffective for weight loss. When you deprive your body of nutrition, it produces hormones that cause you to crave high-calorie foods. This is because when proper meals are absent in your daily routine, your body thinks that it is in a survival situation where food is scarce. In addition to causing you to crave fattening foods, skipping meals also slows down your metabolism, making it harder for your body to burn fat and become lean. To keep your metabolism running strong, eat three healthy and hearty meals every day. Be sure to eat especially well at breakfast, because it is the meal that will set the pace for your body’s blood sugar levels and metabolism for the rest of the day. Eating a good breakfast is one of the most important steps to being energized and thin. 2. Use a Food Journal Keeping track of your food intake, while taking into account your calorie, protein, fat, and carbohydrate consumption, will help you discern between healthy choices and diet blunders. When you’re forced to analyze the nutrient density of every food you eat, you will begin to see just how unhealthy seemingly innocent foods can be. Even if you aren’t able to document the exact figures of every food you eat, do your best to analyze the basics of each meal and snack. 3. Use Smaller Serving Containers Our bodies are driven by instinct. And part of our instinct is to consume food when it is in front of us. As a result, portion control is often a difficult aspect of dieting to master. However, research has shown that by reducing the size of the container that food is served in, eaters can reduce their caloric intake by as much as 22%. 4. Stay Well Rested and Avoid Stress The amount of sleep that our bodies get, as well as our levels of stress, have a huge impact on our appetite and desire for food. When we are unrested and stressed, our bodies will crave junk food, and lots of it. Make it easier on yourself to make healthy choices. Get at least eight hours of sleep every night, and do your best to keep your stress levels at a minimum.