Several ideas are in circulation on how to lose weight fast.
Problem is, many of them leave you feeling hungry all day resulting in deal-breaking side effects like moodiness, slow cognition, and low energy.
Even if you set out with iron-clad willpower, you are soon derailed by hungry pains urging you to fill up on those same go-to comfort foods that are keeping you from your goals.
But what if you had a plan that would keep you satisfied and upbeat while still dropping the weight fast?
Bring it on, right?
Well this plan does just that:
- It will reduce your appetite by keeping you full longer
- Keep you from storing excess fat
- Improve your overall health
- Help you lose weight fast
The 3 Simple Steps To Lose Weight Fast Are:
1. Go Low-Carb, by cutting down on Starches and Sugars
Breads, pastries, muffins, and sugar-filled cereals are so easy to grab in the morning. Breads particularly make for a quick sandwich, but when eaten day after day carbs add on pounds.
Rice, potatoes, and pastas are also easy go-to foods that quickly break down into sugar.
Sugar, as irresistible as it is, has the down side of stimulating the secretion of insulin … a hormone that makes your body store fat.
Fat stays stored in your body as long as you keep supplying it with sugar.
Fat and sugar can both be broken down to make energy to fuel your body, but your body uses sugar first because it is the easiest and fastest source.
When sugar and insulin are low, your body has no alternative but to use the fat as its source of energy …which is great because less fat is what you want.
Within the first week of eating low carb, it’s possible to lose upwards of 10 pounds of both body fat and water weight!
In fact, a randomized clinical study published in the Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism compared low-carb diets with low-fat diets and found that over 24 weeks the low-carb diet group consistently lost more weight. The low fat group lost an average of only 4.4 lb while the low-carb group lost on average 17.6 lbs (3).
The wild part about cutting carbs, is that you suddenly notice a decrease in the amount of calories you eat. Without feeling hungry, you just automatically cut back on calories. Other sources of food that are healthy alternatives to carbs, which we will talk about soon, fill you up more because they are more densely packed and full of nutrients (4).
Keeping your insulin consistently low, also means you are steadily losing weight without doing anything other than cutting carbs and sugar.
The Sum Up: One of the fastest ways to lose weight is to cut carbs (sugar and starches) from your diet which lowers your insulin levels, makes your body burn fat, and reduces your appetite. Plus you aren’t so hungry that you give up.
2. Instead of carbs, add more protein, fat, and veggies to your diet
So if you cut the carbs, what are you going to eat to stay full?
Eating more protein, fat, and low-carb vegetables will fill you up longer and automatically put you in the recommended range for carbohydrate intake which is 20-50 grams per day. To give you an idea that’s about 1 to 2 sweet potatoes, 1 to 2 bananas, or 1 cup of cereal.
- Meats – Chicken, lamb, beef, turkey, pork, bacon etc..
- Eggs – cage free contain Omega-3 which is good for faster cognition
- Fish and Seafood – Tuna, lobster, whitefish, salmon, shrimp, etc
Proteins can also come from other sources such as lentils, seeds, spirulina, beans, legumes, protein shakes, and nuts. These sources are slightly higher in grams of carbohydrates but still better than sugar and starches.
Munching on proteins can help you overcome the hardest part of eating low-carb, which is obsessing over the foods you are trying not to eat.
If you start your day with a high protein meal you can reduce those obsessive thoughts. The desire to snack is reduced and you eat around 400 fewer calories per day (8).
Now that you know protein is the key to fast weight loss, challenge yourself to rethink your current food choices and replace them with proteins. For example, eat nuts as a snack instead of chips or eggs for breakfast instead of cereal.
Fats are another filling food that help you fight off hunger. For decades fats have been blamed for obesity, but recently studies have shown that carbohydrates are the true culprit. Even some saturated fats aren’t as bad as we once believed (9,10).
Still you want to eat healthy sources of fat and not those found in packages of processed foods.
So still no Little Debbies … sad face.
Healthy Fat Sources:
- Oils – Olive and Coconut
- Full-fat yogurt – sugar free
- Dark Chocolate … Surprise!
Eating fats that have the added benefit of Omega-3 fatty acids also help you to balance out the high amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids we get from a traditional Western diet. Many processed foods contain soybean oil which is high in Omega-6 (11).
When your fatty acids are in balance you are much healthier and mentally focused. You don’t get the infamous “brain fog” that slows you down as you cut out carbs.
Eating fats can actually help you lose weight fast (who knew). The key is to fill up on the right fats so that you stay full longer and provide your brain and body with the essential fatty acids you need to perform.
Low- Carb Vegetables are next on the menu. Challenge yourself to fill up on a variety of nutrient-rich vegetables (even if they are your least favorite food). You can pretty much graze all day on low-carb veggies without going over your daily 20-50 net carb allowance.
Tip: Chop your veggies down as soon as you get them home from the grocery store. Put them in containers so you have quick access to a healthy snack. Yogurt ranch-flavored dressing is also a good substitute for regular ranch dressing if you must have a little “somethin-somethin” on your veggies. But keep it light … a little yogurt dressing goes a long way.
End result, you stay full and supply your body with the fiber, vitamins, and minerals your body needs to keep you looking and feeling your very best.
- Brussels Sprouts
The Sum Up: Instead of filling up on carbs, plan your meals to include a protein source, a fat source, and low-carb vegetables. This will help you stay full, lose weight fast, reveal your muscle tone, and give you loads of energy. You’ll automatically stay within the 20-50 gram carb range without starving. Your insulin level will stay consistently low, so over time your cravings for carbs will diminish thus helping you to stay on track.
3. Start lifting weights
If you really want to speed things up and lose weight fast, building muscle is the way to go.
Technically you could just eat a low-carb diet and lose lots of weight, however you won’t gain much muscle and you’ll probably lose lean mass.
Studies on low-carb diets do show a bit of muscle gain with significant fat loss, but it’s not enough to really look great fast. Adding a weight lifting routine really tones you up and speeds up fat loss (12).
If lifting weights is an option for you, it will only serve to sky rocket your efforts and also get your endorphins going so you feel and look great.
Ever heard the expression muscle burns more calories than fat?
Well according to the American Council on Exercise you can burn 15-20 more net calories per day if you trade in your fat for muscle. It doesn’t seem like much, but it adds up.
You not only burn additional calories, you prevent your metabolism from slowing down which is often what happens when your body realizes you are losing weight (13).
Lifting weights doesn’t have to be a mission. You only need a few weights in your home to get started. I recommend a couple of 10-15 pound hand weights and a weight bar with weights and clamps for doing squats. Kettle bells are also an option.
If you feel you need a little guidance, or prefer machine weights then going to the gym might be your best bet.
Starting out you might get really sore muscles, but over time, as you get stronger you’ll notice that it gets easier. It’s also important to warm up before lifting and to stretch before and after your work-out. This will minimize muscle soreness and prevent injury.
It’s best to lift every other day to give your muscles time to rest. Light cardio and stretching on your days off will also help with recovery.
There are other strength exercises you can do if lifting weights is not an option for you. Any resistance training will do. Many cardio work-outs include resistance training.
The Sum Up: To really sky rocket your weight loss efforts, do some weight lifting at home or at the gym. Start simple with a couple of weights and go from there. If lifting weights isn’t an option for you, you could try other forms of resistance training like jogging or swimming. If time is an issue, there are several 12 minute workouts that help do the trick.
10 Tips to make Weight Loss Faster and Easier
1. Sleep 8 hours a night, and wake up fresh. Lack of sleep or poor sleep is a risk factor for weight gain (14,15). When you are tired you are more likely to crave carbs in the morning to get a quick pick me up. You’re also more likely to skip your work-out.
4. Pass on fruit juice and avoid sugary drinks. Beware; liquid sugar will make you gain weight just as fast as you are trying to lose it. Check your labels for sugar. You may find that your favorite beverages are loaded with sugar. Avoiding sugary drinks makes a huge difference (21,22).
5. Drink 2 cups of water 30 min before meals. A 12-week study concluded that drinking 2 cups of water before meals increased weight loss by 44% (23).
6. Pick weight loss-friendly foods. Some foods are actually helpful for losing weight. Again choose from the low-carb list. Look here “10 Best Foods for Flat Abs” minus the Quinoa (or at least keep the portion down).
7. Add more fiber to your diet. While it’s true grains like oat bran and flaxseeds provide a great deal of fiber, if you are trying to cut carbs you can eat beans and vegetables instead which contain both soluble and insoluble fiber (24).
8. Eat your food slowly. Eating too fast or eating without thinking about portion size leads to weight gain. You may actually be full long before you realize it. If you wait and eat more slowly it gives your weight-reducing hormones more time to signal back to you that you are full (25,26).
9. Manage food portions. Eating whatever portion size you are served or grabbing a full-sized plate can give you a mental signal to finish all your food. Instead, grab a smaller plate and portion out a smaller amount. Studies show that people eat less when using smaller plates. It’s psychological thing (27).
10. Stay away from processed foods. Think of the way you find foods in nature, no salt, no sugar, not chemically altered in any way. These are what we call whole foods. Even canned vegetables, nuts, yogurts, cheese, and fruits, which we think of as healthy have usually been altered in some way that cuts out its vital nutrients or makes them down right fattening and unhealthy.
The Sum Up: Sticking to the first three weight loss steps are the most important, but it never hurts to have a few more tricks up your sleeve to speed things up even more.
Do I have to count calories?
Counting calories is not for everyone especially those of us already rushing around as it is.
Luckily, you don’t have to count calories on this plan. As long as you keep sugar and starches to a minimum and fill up on protein and low-carb vegetables, you will automatically lose weight without ever picking up a pencil and paper.
Instead, it’s much easier to mentally keep track of the number of carbohydrates you are eating each day, so that you stay under 20-50 grams.
To give you an idea of how easy this is, check out this quick list:
Food and Number of Carbs:
- 6g = 1 cup of chopped broccoli
- 12g = 1 cup of chopped carrots
- 6g = 1 cup of chopped Kale
- 0.6g = 1 egg
- 0 g= 1 cup chopped chicken
- 121g = 1 cup of Pinto Beans
- 7g = 1 cup of Green Beans
As you can see, foods vary a great deal in the number of carbohydrates. Look at Pinto Bean verses Green Beans. You can eat twice as many Green Beans. The main idea is that it’s easy to keep track of your carbohydrates, because you only have to count up to 20 … or 50 if you prefer.
However, if you want to see how many calories you are actually cutting while on this plan here is a helpful calculator.
The Sum Up: If you want to lose weight fast but you’re sick of trying to keep track of calories, then this plan fits your needs. As long as you keep your carbs in the 20 to 50 gram range, you’ll be on the right track.
But what if I go off Track?
Cheat Meal – Optional “Carb-Reboot”
Some days you just fall off the wagon. Something emotional happens and then you have that candy bar you’ve been craving.
This isn’t the end of the world. You can chalk it up to your one cheat day.
In fact, after going without carbs for a while you can give yourself a “carb-reboot.” This is where your body up-regulates some fat burning hormones like leptin and thyroid hormones (28).
Cheat days certainly aren’t necessary, but they may keep you from obsessing over the foods you can’t have.
Just make sure you don’t do this more than once a week or eat several servings in one sitting. You can quickly sabotage your goals this way.
If you need to, you can schedule a day to do a carb-reboot. That way you have something to look forward to. By the time your cheat day rolls around, you may notice that eating something too sweet may upset your stomach. Or you may notice it’s too sweet for your taste buds.
Now fruits become a surprisingly good choice because they aren’t as sweet as ice cream or some other sugary food.
Be ye for warned, you may gain a pound or two on your cheat day, but it’s most likely water weight, so you can lose it in the next couple of days.
The Sum Up: Having a cheat day isn’t the end of the world, and it may help with obsessive food thoughts. If you can manage without a cheat day, that’s fine. If not, that’s fine too.
How Quickly You’ll Lose Fat (Plus other Benefits)
Initially you can expect to lose 5-10 pounds in the first week if not more. After your body gets used to the new diet, you’ll still lose weight, but it may slow down to 3 or 4 pounds a week.
This accelerated weight loss happens if you are new to dieting and for those who weight more. The less you weight, the slower it comes off. You’re body will try to preserve the fat because it senses fat reserves getting low.
In the first week, you may also get what’s called “ketosis flu.” This occurs when your body starts burning fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. The symptoms include irritability, fogginess, extreme cravings for carbs, and exhaustion.
You may mistake this flu like state for hunger, but if you are eating proteins, fat, and vegetables, you really are full…. you just feel like nothing will fill you up.
Once you get past this phase, which for some is only about 3 days … not even a whole week … you will start to feel positive, full, and energetic again. You’ll go from snappy and cranky to fit and fun.
Not to mention you’ll have crossed over into fat burning territory.
Tip: When you feel like you are going to break down and splurge on carbs, have something salty to get you through it. Ten salted mixed nuts is 2.9g of carbohydrate. This fits nicely into your budget.
You can also expect some added benefits of eating a low-carb diet.
For instance, you’re entire cholesterol panel improves along with your blood pressure and blood sugar:
- hdl (your good cholesterol) goes up.
- Triglycerides often go down.
- ldl (the bad cholesterol) goes down.
- Blood Sugar tends to significantly go down.
- Blood Pressure improves significantly.
The Sum Up: If you want to lose weight the fast and healthy way, then eating a low-carb diet is the fastest, healthiest way to get you there. Depending on the person, this plan can have you losing anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds a week (and maybe even more in the first week) while also improving your overall health.
Never Try To Lose Weight By Cutting Down To A Dangerously Low Calorie Level (And Starving Yourself)
It may seem like starving yourself is the easiest, fastest diet of all, if you just had the will power to actually do it.
But of course we all know that’s not the healthiest way. The body needs nutrients or your metabolism slows way down and you could even get sick.
On a low-carb diet that doesn’t happen. What does happen is that you get a drastically reduced appetite without starving yourself or making your body sick and unhealthy.
You also lower your insulin levels which changes the hormonal environment making your brain and body actually want to lose the fat.
That means no more mentally agonizing over food signals coming from your body.
Actually feeling full means you can lose 2-3 times as much weight as you would on a low-fat, calorie restricted diet.
Always inform your doctor before starting a new diet especially if you have a condition which could be affected by weight loss or appetite reduction.
I know you want results fast, but a low-carb diet can get you there without starving yourself and it has the benefit of shedding water weight that you can count on seeing day one.
Skinny jeans here we come!