The most effective way to achieve rapid weight loss varies depending on your current situation, desired outcome, and lifestyle. This article presents practical and achievable techniques that can work for anyone, regardless of whether you’re new to fitness or need a boost in motivation.
In general, the key to successful and sustainable weight loss is to follow a steady and manageable diet plan. According to the NHS, it’s advisable to lose no more than 2 lbs per week to avoid burning out and giving up.
With this in mind, here are 13 strategies related to nutrition and fitness that can help you lose weight quickly and safely.
1. Eat more vegetables, all of the time.
It’s that simple, I promise!
If you think about making any meal mostly veggies (at least 50% of anything that you’re having), you’re on the right track to better health and weight loss.
2. Eat a better breakfast.
All meals are important, but breakfast is what helps you start your day on the right track.
The best, heartiest breakfasts are ones that will fill you up, keep you satisfied, and stave off cravings later in the day.
Aim to eat anywhere between 400 and 500 calories for your morning meal, and make sure you’re including a source of lean protein plus filling fat (e.g., eggs, unsweetened Greek yogurt, nuts, or nut butters) and fiber (veggies, fruit, or 100% whole grains).
Starting your day with a blood sugar-stabilizing blend of nutrients will help you slim down without sacrifice.
3. Limit your salt intake
Since salt is a preservative, packaged and processed foods are often highest in sodium — something to keep in mind when planning your meals.
When it comes by buying snacks, a “low sodium” product has to be 140 mg or less per serving — so if you’re REALLY in a bind, you can follow that guideline for what to put in your cart.
4. Drink more coffee.
Start your day with a cup of joe. Caffeine is a natural diuretic and an excellent source of antioxidants, which protect your cells from damage. You can have up to 400 mg — about a venti Starbucks coffee — daily, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Not much of a coffee drinker? Tea is also a natural diuretic, and types of herbal tea such as dandelion or fennel root can also lend a hand.
In fact: When a recent study compared the metabolic effect of green tea (in extract) with that of a placebo, researchers found that the green-tea drinkers burned about 70 additional calories in a 24-hour period.
5. Skip sugary beverages
We just don’t feel full by liquid calories in quite the same way as we do real food.
Drinking a juice or caramel coffee drink just isn’t as satisfying as eating a bowl of veggie- and protein-packed stir-fry.
So monitor your intake of juice, soda, sweetened coffee and tea, and alcoholic beverages.
If you consume each of those beverages during the day, you’ll have taken in at least 800 extra calories by nighttime — and you’ll still be hungry. (Incidentally, alcohol may suppress the metabolism of fat, making it tougher for you to burn those calories.)
6. Buy a set of 5-pounds weights
It’s a one-time investment you’ll never regret.
Here’s why: Strength training builds lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories — at work or at rest — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The more lean muscle you have, the faster you’ll slim down. How do you start strength training? Try some push-ups or a few squats or lunges.
Use your free weights to perform simple bicep curls or tricep pulls right in your home or office. Do these exercises three to four times per week, and you’ll soon see a rapid improvement.
7. Eat spicy food
It can actually help you cut back on calories. That’s because capsaicin, a compound found in jalapeño and cayenne peppers, may (slightly) increase your body’s release of stress hormones such as adrenaline, which can speed up your ability to burn calories.
What’s more, eating hot peppers may help slow you down. You’re less likely to wolfed down that plate of spicy spaghetti — and therefore stay more mindful of when you’re full. Some great adds besides hot peppers: ginger and turmeric.
8. Keep a food journal
Loads of research demonstrates people who log everything they eat — especially those who log while they’re eating — are more likely to lose weight and keep it off for the long haul. The habit also takes less than 15 minutes per day on average when you do it regularly, according to a 2019 study published in Obesity.
Start tracking on an app like MyFitnessPal or use a regular notebook. It’ll help you stay accountable for what you’ve eaten. Plus, you can easily identify some other areas of your daily eats that could use a little improvement when it’s written out in front of you.
9. Take a walk
Don’t get me wrong — exercising at any time is good for you.
But evening activity may be particularly beneficial because many people’s metabolism slows down toward the end of the day.
Thirty minutes of aerobic activity before dinner increases your metabolic rate and may keep it elevated for another two or three hours, even after you’ve stopped moving.
Plus, it’ll help you relax post-meal so you won’t be tempted by stress-induced grazing that can rack up calories.
10. Don’t skip meals
Skipping meals will not make you lose weight faster. If a hectic day makes a sit-down meal impossible, stash a piece of fruit and pack of nut butter in your car or purse and keep snacks in your office desk drawer — anything that will keep you from going hungry!
Going long periods of time without food does double-duty harm on our healthy eating efforts by both slowing down your metabolism, and priming you for another binge later in the day.
Think: You’ve skipped breakfast and lunch, so you’re ready to takedown a whole turkey by dinner! Make it your mission to eat three meals and two snacks every day, and don’t wait longer than three to four hours without eating. Set a “snack alarm” on your phone if needed.
11. Eat High Water Content Foods
You certainly need to drink plenty of water to help combat bloating. You can (and should!) also consume high-water content foods.
Reach for cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, asparagus, grapes, celery, artichokes, pineapple, and cranberries — all of which contain diuretic properties that will also help you stay full due to their higher fiber content.
12. Munch on mineral-rich foods
Potassium, magnesium, and calcium can help to serve as a counter-balance for sodium. Foods that are rich in potassium include leafy greens, most “orange” foods (oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, melon), bananas, tomatoes, and cruciferous veggies — especially cauliflower.
Low-fat dairy, plus nuts, and seeds can also help give you a bloat-busting boost. They’ve also been linked to a whole host of additional health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, and reducing risk of chronic disease overall.
13. Get proper sleep
Numerous studies have shown that getting less than 5–6 hours of sleep per night is associated with increased incidence of obesity. There are several reasons behind this.
Research suggests that insufficient and poor-quality sleep slows down the process in which the body converts calories to energy, called metabolism. When metabolism is less effective, the body may store unused energy as fat. In addition, poor sleep can increase the production of insulin and cortisol, which also prompt fat storage.
How long and how deep someone sleeps also affects the regulation of the appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin sends signals of fullness to the brain while ghrelin tells your brain you’re hungry.
Without a properly functioning leptin and ghrelin, you’re constantly hungry and nothing you eat will ever make you full – double whammy.
So, sleep more and sleep well.