You will find unlimited “miracle diets”, questionable laxatives, and steroids on the market along with bizarre workout plans that claim to help you lose weight rapidly. However, it’s important to distinguish facts from social rumors. You can lose weight fast if you keep your expectations realistic. Research suggests that losing weight at an abnormally rapid rate can bring long-term health risks in the future including weight regain and obesity.
Instead, you should keep practical expectations. According to health experts, losing 1 to 2 pounds of your body weight each week is the safe limit. Anything beyond that puts you at numerous risks, including feeling tired and malnutrition. Now that you know what to expect, let’s check out how you can lose weight fast within safe boundaries.
Change your diet
1. Say no to refined carbs and added sugar – This is the primary dietary change you need to make to lose weight fast. Refined carbohydrates are inexpensive and make your food taste good. That’s why fast food joints and the food packaging industry loves it. However, it’s extremely bad for your health and your weight.
Refined pasta in the form of white bread and pasta is digested easily by your body and turned into glucose. When your blood has more glucose than it should, your body uses insulin to store that glucose as fat in your adipose tissue and makes you gain weight.
Replace refined carbs with a healthy alternative like whole grains. Whole grains have fewer carbs and have a better macronutrient balance that keeps you full for a longer time. That means you also consume fewer calories when your body has fewer carbs. Apart from the natural flavors of whole grains, they are also full of fiber that keeps your hunger in check and keeps you from reaching for snacks. A randomized study last year shows that older adults who were on a low-carb diet had an effective weight loss rate.
2. Eliminate added sugar from your food – Added sugar is another adversary when you want to lose weight. Research has linked added sugar to obesity. You should be especially careful about added sugar in beverages. Beverages aren’t solid food and hence you don’t feel as full as a regular meal even when you drink two large bottles of sugary soda. Moreover, sugar neurologically affects your brain, like drugs. That addictive rush from sugar makes you crave more of it and you end up overeating.
If you have a sweet tooth, replace sugary junk food with honey and fruits. You can make amazing and healthy sweet snacks with nuts, fruits, yogurt, and seeds. Swap out your sugary beverages with fruit juice or whole fruit smoothies. Herbal teas also work great.
3. Increase protein in your diet – When you are working out to lose weight, it’s important to preserve and add muscle mass. Ideally, you want to lose fat when you lose weight. Moreover, lean muscle helps to increase your resting metabolic rate. That means you burn more calories even when you aren’t doing any exercise. That further aids you to lose weight. A high protein diet helps you with that.
Apart from aiding in weight loss, research suggests that a diet high in protein also helps you mitigate cardiometabolic risks. That kind of diet helps you to control your blood pressure and reduce the most common type of fat in your body, triglycerides. The same study also found that protein gives you a better feeling of satisfaction and fullness compared to carbs. It reduces your cravings and thoughts about food. In a study, they found people on a high protein diet had better control over their appetite and consumed fewer calories daily.
Healthy sources of protein include meat, egg, fish, and seafood. If you are vegan you can opt for plant-based protein sources like tofu, legumes, tempeh, beans, and quinoa. While the daily intake of protein differs for each individual, generally it’s around 56 to 91 grams for males and 46 to 75 grams for females.
4. More fat and veggies – Unlike popular belief fat isn’t your enemy. Healthy fats are great for your body. However, you should avoid saturated fat. Healthy fat from dark chocolate, avocados, greek yogurt, fatty fish, nuts, olive oil, and avocado oil would be a great addition to your diet. They also add rich flavor to your food.
Veggies are healthy and also have a lot of essential nutrients. Even when you eat a lot of veggies you don’t consume too many calories compared to carbs. So, they are great for snacks. Stick carrots, leafy greens, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli can be bite-sized snacks that can keep you munching without guilt during your Netflix binge-watching sessions.
5. Fiber is essential – Fibers are a very important component of your weight loss journey. They can’t be digested by your small intestine and keep you full for long hours. This can help in weight loss. Whole grains, veggies, and fruits contain a lot of fibers. Legumes and nuts are other sources of fiber that are easy to pack into snack-sized portions.
Now that you know the changes you need to make to your diet, here’s how your meals should look like:
- A protein source should make the bulk of calories
- A small source of healthy fats
- Veggies on the side
- A small portion of complex carbs, preferably something made from whole grain
Track your diet and workout routine
To lose weight fast, you need to optimize everything. That means you should track what goes into your body every day and the effect of physical exercise on your body. Fortunately, this century has nifty things like food tracking apps that can help you. Statistics show that the mobile health app market is set to balloon to around $800 million within the next decade. Google Play Store alone hosts over 47,000 mHealth apps. You can find apps that will track your diet, weight loss, sleep activity, and physical activity.
When you get access to all that data, you can make necessary corrections when required and tailor your weight loss plan to be more effective. Research also correlates weight loss with tracking of food intake and physical activity. The more you monitor yourself, the higher your chances of losing weight quickly.
You can also try intermittent fasting. The eating pattern requires you to conduct short-term fasts and eat your meals within a shorter time during the day. Numerous studies back up the positive effects of short-term intermittent fasting on weight loss. It usually lasts for half a year and has brought significant results for those who are overweight.
Among several types of intermittent fasting methods, ADF or Alternate Day Fasting is very popular. In this method, you fast on alternate days and eat your regular fill on non-fasting days. However, it’s not for everyone since fasting for a whole day can be very extreme. It’s unpleasant and has been unsustainable for many. That’s why most people on ADF prefer the modified version where you eat around 500 calories on fasting days. You can also try the 5:2 diet that requires you to fast 2 days every week and consume the same amount of calories on those fasting days.
Take care of your gut
Your gut microbiome also plays a major role in weight loss. Research shows that a less diverse gut microbiome may lead to obesity. Another study found that gut bacteria can digest fibers and create chemicals that positively affect weight loss. Apart from that your gut microbiome also influences your hunger and feeling of fullness. Research shows that your gut bacteria can influence hormones like ghrelin and leptin that give you that feeling of being full or hungry.
That’s why it’s important to take care of your gut. You should eat food that helps to promote your gut bacteria diversity and a healthy gut microbiome. Nuts, seeds, fruits, veggies, whole grains, and food rich in polyphenols like red wine, green tea, and dark chocolate are great for your gut. Fermented foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, and yogurt are also good for your gut.
Sleep more and Stress less
Research shows that when you don’t get enough sleep, at least 6 hours every night, you expose yourself to a greater risk of obesity. When you don’t get enough sleep, your metabolic rate is reduced and your body produces more cortisol and insulin that promotes fat storage and adds weight.
Stress is another factor that increases cortisol in your body and decreases your appetite initially. However, if you’re under constant stress, cortisol builds up in your body and increases your appetite that in turn makes you overeat. If you want to lose weight fast, it’s crucial to manage your stress levels. Try relaxing activities once in a while. It can be gardening, taking a walk, or going on a small weekend trip to be in nature. For daily stress management, you can do breathing exercises in the workplace and meditation or yoga for half an hour at home.