If you want to lose weight quickly and safely, you’ve come to the right place.
This article presents our top 12 proven tips, based on scientific research and experience, to help you reach your weight loss goals quickly and effectively.
12 Science-Backed Tips for Safe and Sustainable Weight Loss
1. Log your food intake in a journal, or app for 3 days
When you track your eating habits with a food diary or calorie tracking app, even for a few days, it can be an eye-opening experience that can increase your body awareness and help you change your habits. Knowing your current habits will make changing them more manageable and can help you maintain your weight over time.
2. Calculate your target daily calorie intake
Once you have an understanding of your eating habits, you can calculate your target calorie intake to ensure you create a calorie deficit. Remember, if you don’t eat fewer calories than you burn, you won’t lose weight. Our recommendation is to multiply your weight by 10. If you are a man with more than 25% body fat, or a woman with more than 30% body fat, subtract 200 calories from your target calorie figure.
3. Follow a nutrition plan
You know your target calorie intake and you know your current eating habits, now it’s time to establish, or find a nutrition plan you can follow. You can use the tips in this article to help you create your own plan, or you can follow a plan from an experienced dietitian. Either way, you know what the goal is – to eat foods that fill you up without providing too many calories so you can reach your target daily calorie intake.
4. Fill half of your plate with colorful veggies
In addition to providing plenty of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, vegetables provide fiber and water.
Fiber is digested more slowly and helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. Vegetables are also a very low-calorie way to increase the volume of your meals, which makes you feel more satisfied. Increasing vegetable intake is also associated with lower blood sugar levels, lower LDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides and increased HDL (the “good” cholesterol). Vegetables also help promote liver detoxification.
5. Replace processed foods with whole foods
There are many causes of obesity, but its root cause can be attributed to the rise of processed foods. Processed foods such as cereals, cakes, doughnuts and French fries, to name a few, provide a lot of calories without filling you up. What’s worse, shortly after eating these foods, your hunger level increases, leading to a vicious cycle of weight gain. Eating foods in their natural state, or as close to their natural state as possible, such as apples, fish, lettuce, yams, eggs, etc., will help fill you up, stabilize your energy levels, and keep you in a large caloric deficit.
6. Don’t skip meals
When you skip meals or go too long between meals, you become overly hungry. This makes it harder for you to make healthy choices and makes it harder for you to not overeat later. Skipping meals can cause your metabolism to slow down and often leave you feeling fatigued, which can negatively affect both your exercise efforts and your recovery.
If eating consistently is difficult for you, try setting alarms and packing snacks. Set an alarm reminder on your phone or schedule a meal or snack time on your calendar so you don’t forget. Also, when you leave home, set yourself up for success by packing healthy snacks so you don’t get into a situation where you’re really hungry but can’t get healthy food.
7. Drink plenty of water
Studies have shown that drinking more water is associated with weight loss, independent of diet and exercise. Adequate water intake can help increase satiety and combat sugar cravings. Water is also necessary for lipolysis, the process by which the body burns fat for energy.
We recommend following the “eight-by-eight rule”-drinking eight ounces of water eight times during the day-as a minimum water intake. Once people add this rule to their routine, they’re usually surprised by how this simple thing can curb cravings and make you feel more full throughout the day.
Another water drinking tip? Try drinking two glasses of water before each meal. Studies have shown that this simple act can also increase weight loss.
8. Watch Less Television
Couch-surfers who want to lose weight should turn off the TV – in fact, the more TV people watch, the more weight they gain.
A study that collected data from more than 50,000 middle-aged women over six years found that for every two hours a day participants spent watching TV, their risk of obesity increased by 23 percent and their risk of developing diabetes increased by 14 percent.
Excessive television viewing is associated with extra weight, mainly because it is a sedentary activity that often leads to mindless eating as well. So, turn off the TV or change the channel to watch an exercise program..
9. Sleep more
Without sleep, maintaining your willpower and eating less can be a challenge. Lack of sleep can also interfere with your metabolism and hormones, especially those that signal to your brain that you need more food.
Try to get at least seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. This will also help you be less stressed and potentially less prone to depression. If you have to choose between exercise and a good night’s sleep, your body and hormones need rest more.
Follow an exercise program – More than 200 years ago, Benjamin Franklin advised, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” Obviously, if you have a good workout plan to follow, the likelihood of losing weight is greatly increased.
10. Do full-body workouts 3x per week
Training your entire body with each workout will help increase your metabolism and calorie burn while preventing muscle loss. Focus on multi-joint exercises that challenge large muscle groups, such as squats, bends, push-ups and pull-ups, to help maximize calorie burning.
11. Be patient
You may be reading this article because you desire to lose fat fast, but the truth is that losing weight – especially only fat – is not something that you can do overnight. While you can lose 10 pounds in a day just by dehydrating, that’s almost entirely water weight. On the high-end, you can lose 1.5% of your body weight in fat each week. More than that, you’re more likely to lose muscle and/or water. So a 200 pound person could lose 3 pounds of pure fat per week, which is a huge 1500 calorie per day deficit. Just because you want to lose weight faster, doesn’t mean you should, or you will. Be patient, follow your plan, and the excess weight will come off.
12. Check in With an Accountability Partner
Sometimes losing weight can feel lonely, but you don’t have to do it by yourself.
Research shows that being accountable works. In one study, two-thirds of participants who attended a weight loss program with a friend maintained their weight loss for six months after the session, compared to only a quarter of those who attended alone. Of course, many organizations also recommend having a sponsor or supporter on your weight loss journey.
Your accountability partner doesn’t need to be your BFF, favorite co-worker or partner. Just find someone who has similar weight loss goals. You also don’t need to talk every day. Just text each other and share that you are eating healthy foods and staying on track. You can also lean on your partner if you’re tempted by junk food. That’s when you might want to call them.
Whether you want to lose weight for your appearance or to improve your health, there are healthy and sustainable ways to make it happen. Modifying your diet to reduce calories while prioritizing protein is part of the equation. However, no weight loss effort will be successful or sustainable without other lifestyle habits such as regular exercise, portion control, stress management, proper chewing and quality sleep.