Weight loss ultimately comes back to the concept of calories in, calories out: Eat less than you burn and you’ll lose weight. And while it’s possible to lose water weight quickly on a low-carb diet, I certainly wouldn’t advocate for it. The diet itself can trick you into thinking that this eating style is working — when really, you might gain back what you lost as soon as you eat carbs again. That can feel incredibly dispiriting if you want results that last longer than a week.
There are many reasons why you might want to lose weight. If you have been significantly overweight or obese for a long time, then you might have concerns about what the extra weight could be doing to your health. Obesity increases your risk of many health problems, including diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, gallbladder disease, and some types of cancer. If you have recently gained a bit of weight, then you might just want to lose some weight to fit back into your old jeans. Whatever your reason for wanting to lose weight, there are some important strategies that you should know about.
Resist the urge to wind down before bedtime by scrolling through Facebook on your phone. Not only do you not want to dream of your ex’s fabulous vacation (and why are you still following him anyhow?), but the blue light from your phone, tablet, or TV screen is messing up your circadian rhythm; this will, of course, make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep per night is one of the easiest ways to lose weight, according to several studies.
You may find it motivating to measure your waist or weigh yourself once a week. This will help you to monitor your progress and check if you're a healthy weight. But as well as monitoring how much weight you have lost each week, also consider how you feel. Look for other positive changes as a result of your new healthy diet, such as feeling more toned or having more energy. And remember that eating a healthy diet will also reduce your risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Dairy products contain varying amounts of lactose (milk sugar), which slows down weight loss. What’s more, part of the protein in milk generates a significant insulin response, which can have the same effect. Consequently, cutting back on dairy products may accelerate weight loss. This applies especially to dairy products typically lacking in fat, such as regular milk and various yogurts, but be careful with full-fat dairy such as cream and cheese all the same. And don’t forget whey protein powder, which is pure milk protein.
This technique is a great way for the digestive system to catch up and burn calories, says Patrick. He believes it can help teach the body to use its stored fat for energy. “I myself practice intermittent fasting by finishing my last meal of the day no later than 8 p.m. and then fasting until noon the following day. This gives my body a full 16 hours to totally process everything in my digestive tract and rely on my stored fat for energy,” he shares. “Disclaimer: Everyone’s body is different. You should assess your own response to this with regards to energy levels. It gets easier with practice.” Be sure to check with your doctor before trying any type of fasting. You’ll also want to try these 42 fast, easy tips to lose weight fast.
Do you mindlessly sprinkle salt on your food without even tasting it first? Stop it! Seriously. Extra sodium can lead to water weight gain and bloating, which will make your pants fit tighter (and the number on the scale tick up). Be sure to read your labels, too; sodium is typically lurking in in processed foods, even “healthy” ones like frozen dinners and canned soups.
You probably know high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is the basis of most exercise classes. This type of workout challenges you to give full energy for short periods of time interspersed with active rest to allow you to recover. On a walk, every three minutes you could run for a minute, then walk for another three minutes to catch your breath. Then run for a minute again. Not only is this effective for burning fat and calories, but it keeps your metabolism revving for hours after you finish. “To fully reap the benefits of this style training, this cycle should go on repeatedly for 20 to 50 minutes. The body will burn calories during the workout, but will also burn fat post workout due to post-exercise oxygen consumption,” explains fitness expert and professional Cody Patrick.
Sure, 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.
Naturally losing weight is a healthy and safe method of weight loss. It generally involves making small tweaks to your diet, exercise routine and lifestyle. In addition, when you're making small lifestyle changes (typical in natural weight loss), you're more likely to continue these habits long-term. A combination of these factors can help you lose weight naturally and in safe and healthy manner. However, talk to your doctor if you aren't losing weight or need help losing weight.
But one clarification: Our focus will be primarily on long-chain n-3 PUFAs, commonly known as omega-3s. Researchers theorize that the weight-loss benefits of omega-3s may be a result of their anti-inflammatory effects (inflammation in the body has been strongly linked to obesity). I also love the fact that these healthy fats are associated with protection from cardiovascular disease and enhanced mood.
As far as studies on it go, here are some that I mentioned in The Everyday Roots Book. In 2002 the Journal of Nutrition concluded that it can aid weight loss when used in place of long chain triglycerides. It was also shown to strongly curb appetite and it appeared to increase the burning of calories. In 2003 Obesity Research found that it may help burn calories, probably due to the fact that it boosted energy. In 2010 the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition also found that it could help boost metabolism and reduce appetite.
Attend a weight loss camp. Sometimes sticking with an exercise routine and diet plan is too challenging. Old habits and daily routines will steer you back to your old foods and activities at every turn. To combat this, many people enroll in residential weight loss programs that remove them from their daily lives. Sometimes called fitness retreats, these programs come in dozens of different styles, and are available for youth, adults and seniors.
If you’ve been eating fast food for years, get real about your approach: You’re probably not going to stick to an organic, gluten-free, paleo overhaul for very long. "You want to change as little as possible to create calorie deficit," says Dr. Seltzer, who insists the best way to support sustainable weight loss is to incorporate small changes into existing habits. So instead of giving up your daily BLT bagels in favor of an egg-white wrap, try ordering your sandwich on a lighter English muffin. Or say you eat a snack bar every afternoon: Swap your 300-calorie bar for a 150-calorie alternative. "Your brain will feel the same way about it, so you won’t feel deprived," he says.
Spoon Guru nutritionist Isabel Butler (MSc, ANutr) recommends that “the best way to reduce weight and maintain the weight loss is by simply eating a balanced and healthy diet, without refusing yourself particular foods… If you do cut out foods, you need to make sure your diet is still balanced and you are getting the nutrients your body needs from other sources.”
The biggest impact on weight loss comes from shifting your eating habits, says Lobert. She recommends shaping your diet to feature whole foods only: fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, poultry. “Whole foods have not been stripped of their nutrients the way processed foods have been, and this gives your body and metabolism the tools it needs to run optimally,” she explains. Check out these inspiring weight-loss secrets from people who lost over 50 pounds.
One easy trick if you're a pasta fan is to swap out white pasta for the wonderfully named courgetti (spaghetti made from spiralizing courgette). You’ll hardly notice the difference when you’re eating it, but you’ll be fuller for longer despite consuming fewer calories. When you consume fewer calories, your body can go to your fat reserves for energy, rather than just burning off the food you’ve eaten.
We are too busy to cook. Sometimes just doing nothing makes us feel tired. Right? Well, of course, some of you are really busy and always on the go. But you must know, you can cook at home without having to make an elaborate lunch or dinner. It can be simple and quick. What about a salad or a stew? What about brown rice and oven grilled mushrooms and veggies? What about boiled lentils with sauteed veggies? I strongly advise you to cook your meals at home because restaurant foods contain invisible calories in the form of sauces, taste additives, etc. Moreover, eating out every day ruins the once-in-a-while eating out experience. If you don’t get time during the weekdays to cook, make your home cooking easy by storing chopped veggies or homemade sauce or salad dressing in air-tight containers or ziplock bags.
The surprise here? The vinegar that comes along for the ride in salad dressing also helps you feel full. Research has shown that vinegar can lessen the glycemic effect of a meal (meaning it tends not to spike your blood sugar), which has been linked to satiety that reduces food intake. Vinegar may also prevent body-fat accumulation, according to a 2009 animal study by Japanese researchers. Mice that were fed acetic acid, the main component of vinegar, for six weeks accumulated less body fat.
A 2012 study also showed that people on a low-carb diet burned 300 more calories a day – while resting! According to one of the Harvard professors behind the study this advantage “would equal the number of calories typically burned in an hour of moderate-intensity physical activity”. Imagine that: an entire bonus hour of exercise every day, without actually exercising. A later, even larger and more carefully conducted study confirmed the effect, with different groups of people on low-carb diets burning an average of between 200 and almost 500 extra calories per day.
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.