Maybe you have decided to get in better shape to improve your overall health, gain more energy, or in preparation for those Christmas parties that are just around the corner. Whatever the goal, you are certainly not alone. Most people in this world know what it’s like to live with extra body weight, and that it can be a struggle to sustain weight loss.
Assuming you’re not already underweight, and go about weight loss in a healthy manner, then there’s never a bad time to get fit and work on reaching a healthier weight.
But if you’ve ever tried slimming down in the past, you know that it’s not necessarily easy to just change your diet and squeeze in more exercise.
From exercising for short bursts of time, to making weekly menus, to even having a cheat meal here and there, the diet and lifestyle tips below can help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Just remember, this is not only about losing weight, but living a better healthier, happier life.
5 Keys for How to Lose Weight
1. Remove “Metabolism Avoidance Foods”
When it comes to learning how to lose weight fast and easy, some common issues may be getting in the way. For some, research has shown that one or more health issues may be what prevents them from losing weight (in addition to factors like physical activity, genetics, mental health status and socioeconomic status). First and foremost, try to identify any roadblocks that are keeping you from seeing results, such as:
· Thyroid issues
· Leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune diseases and inflammation
· Hormonal and adrenal issues (“adrenal fatigue”)
· Cellular toxicity
· Candida overgrowth
In order to address these obstacles and overcome them, consider avoiding certain foods that can contribute to over-eating and trigger inflammation by causing gut-related issues. I call these the metabolism avoidance foods, which you will want to remove and replace with healthy alternatives.
· Fast Food and Processed Foods: Unfortunately, foods for which studies show we have a high biological preference (those high in sugar and calories) and which contribute to overeating, are currently the cheapest and most accessible. It takes effort, but cut out ANY fast food, which relies on additives and excessive sodium to taste appealing, and foods with long ingredient lists that are hard to pronounce. Higher consumption of fruits and vegetables and lower consumption of fats/oils and sweets/beverages has been shown to help prevent obesity.
What to do instead: Eat minimally processed, whole foods that have ideally been cooked from scratch.
· Added Sugar: Contrary to popular belief, fat isn’t the first thing that will make you fat … it’s consuming too much sugar. Sugar can be hidden under names like corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, juice concentrate, maltodextrin, raw sugar and brown sugar. These sugars can often be hidden in things that sound like health foods, including fruit juice, granola bars, dressings and protein bars.
What to do instead: Eliminate and replace all of these types of sugar with natural sweeteners like green stevia and raw honey.
· Refined Grains: I know it may seem that “whole grains” like wheat bread are healthy, but most are far from helping your metabolism. Three of the main compounds in grains are gluten, starch and phytic acid, all of which can cause issues. Gluten can cause inflammation, starch turns into sugar quickly, and phytic acid binds to minerals, blocking some of their absorption.
What to do instead: Replace your daily intake of grains with fruits and vegetables, or consume up to one piece daily of a sprouted grain bread or sourdough. If you don’t want to totally eliminate grains, have sprouted and fermented grains instead, which contain fewer anti-nutrients and are more filling. When it comes to using flour, switch to almond or coconut flour…it’s the perfect flour for fat loss.
· Canola or Vegetable Oils: Canola oil or other vegetable oils are found in many processed foods that can slow down your fat loss.
What to do instead: Replace all vegetable oils with beneficial coconut oil and grass-fed butter to promote more rapid fat loss.
2. Eat These 4 Fat-Burning Foods Daily
Here are some of the top fat-burning foods that can help revive your metabolism:
· Quality Protein: If you want to turn your body into a fat-burning furnace, you’re going to need to eat plenty of quality protein. Proteins are the building blocks of muscles, which support a healthy metabolism. Also, protein is the least likely macronutrient to be stored as fat. Aim to get between 0.5 and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight a day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, shoot for around 80–100 grams of protein a day.
· What to eat: Grass-fed beef, organic chicken, free-range eggs, wild-caught fish like salmon, lamb, venison and bone broth are some of the best foods high in protein.
· Coconut: Coconuts contain MCF (medium chain fatty acids), a type of healthy fat that your body can easily burn for energy. You will want to replace most other sources of fat and oils with things like coconut oil. If you want to know how to steadily lose weight over a period of 30 days and beyond, this is a great start.
What to eat: Coconut oil for cooking, coconut milk in your morning smoothie and coconut flour can replace other flours when baking.
· Sprouted Seeds: Seeds that have been sprouted, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds, are loaded with healthy fibre that can support your fat loss efforts. Also, they are high in protein and contain Omega-3 fats, which can help your metabolism.
What to eat: Use chia, flax or hemp seeds in your morning smoothie and in baking.
· Nutrient-Dense Vegetables: In order to lose those unwanted pounds, you not only need to be aware of your calories but also focus on getting more nutrients. Vegetables are your highest source of vitamins and minerals, which regulate metabolic function and support organs like your thyroid.
What to eat: Green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables are at the top of the list. Other favorites are kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus and carrots. Steamed sautéed and cooked in coconut oil are all great choices.
What are some other foods to include in a healthy diet that may lead to weight loss? These include grapefruit and green tea. New research is revealing that consuming grapefruit may be beneficial due to an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) that helps your body utilise sugar. Additionally, nootkatone, a component found in grapefruit, has been shown to significantly increase fat-burning (AMPK) activity.
Drinking 1–3 cups of herbal teas such as green tea, white tea, black tea and rooibos tea daily may help amp up your metabolism. According to a study in the Clinical Journal, green tea is more effective than other teas at promoting weight loss because of its high levels of catechins.
Remember to have protein, fiber and healthy fat at every meal. When consuming carbohydrates like fruit, consider having them in the morning and around workouts.
Here is a One-Day Sample Eating Plan:
Breakfast: Coconut Berry Smoothie
· 1/4 cup coconut milk
· 1 cup berries
· 1 scoop protein powder from whey
· 1 tablespoon sprouted flax meal
· 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Lunch: Greek Salad
· 1 sliced chicken breast
· 1 cup spinach
· 1/4 cup sliced cucumber
· 1/2 tomato sliced
· 1 ounce goat cheese
· 1 tablespoon olive oil
· 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Dinner: Organic Meat (beef, salmon, chicken)
· 150g organic meat
· 1 serving sautéed kale
· 1 serving sautéed broccoli
Exercise to Lose More Weight
If you want to break through a weight-loss plateau, jumpstart your metabolism and burn belly fat fast, there is no better type of exercise than high intensity interval training (HIIT). Studies have shown that this type of exercise causes an after-burn effect in your body so you keep burning fat for hours after your workout.
I recommend doing HIIT training three to four days a week for between 20 and 40 minutes. Here is an example of a 4-minute HIIT workout with 40 seconds of exercise and then 10 seconds of rest. You would repeat this set 2 to 3 times for a complete workout:
· Sprint on Stationary bike // Rest
· Fast press-ups // Rest
· Pulsing squats with shoulder press // Rest
· Squat Jumps // Rest
· Squat thrusts // Rest
· Burpees // Rest
· High Knee Sprints // Rest
· Lunges with shoulder press // Rest
If you’re at a total loss as to how to begin a fitness routine, have an injury or other health issues or simply want to learn how to maximise your gym time, reach out to me and I will do my very best to help.
3. Take These Supplements That Support Fat Loss
· Quality Protein Powder: Protein is essential for building lean muscle and supporting a healthy metabolism. Because it can sometimes be difficult to get all the protein you need through eating food, protein powder is a great supplement for fat loss. You can add it to smoothies, baking or drink it in water or juice. One of the benefits of Whey protein is that it’s a fast acting protein, so I recommend that you consume right before or after a workout. Collagen is the most easily digested protein and can help heal your body in addition to helping your metabolism. Plant based protein powders are good options for people looking to avoid animal products or who can’t tolerate dairy.
· Green Superfood Powder: Quality greens powders contain fat-burning compounds like green tea, green coffee and rhodiola that can boost your energy. They also contain green foods like chlorella, wheatgrass juice and kale that may help improve digestion and bloating. Try taking one scoop before or after exercise. My own supplement called Fat Burn Juice contains the above mixture.
· Fish Oil with Vitamin D: Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA. These healthy fats can help reduce inflammation and may work to improve body composition and counteract obesity-related metabolic changes. Vitamin D is a vitamin and pro-hormone that can help balance hormones, which aids in fat loss. Take 1,000 milligrams of fish oil daily and 2,000 I.U. of vitamin D3.
· Probiotic Supplement: Probiotics are involved in energy homeostasis, regulation of appetite, dietary intake and storage of lipids. Taking a daily probiotic can support digestion and may also help manage blood sugar, particularly when combined with prebiotics and a high-fiber diet.
5. Intermittent Fast
Intermittent Fasting, also known as cyclic fasting, helps to stop you from eating mindlessly, can crank up your metabolism and is beneficial for hormone production, digestion and more. Research has shown that fasting can stabilise blood sugar levels, help reduce inflammation and help keep your heart healthy.
You may want to try fasting approaches like “Time-Restricted Feeding,” where you fast for 16 hours every day and limit your eating to eight hours (often this involves not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast the next morning), or “Alternate Day Fasting”, in which you eat no food at all or only a very small amount on fasting days, and then eat normally on non-fasting days.
Best Diet Plans to Lose Weight Fast
1. Keto Diet
Want to know how to lose weight in 7 days or less? One option is trying the ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet is an extremely low-carb diet in which you drastically reduce or completely eliminate the amount of glucose you eat. Once glucose has been eliminated from the body and there are no carbs available for your body to use for energy, the body will turn to stored fat instead, putting you into the metabolic state called nutritional ketosis.
· Research has shown that you will experience weight loss, particularly in the first few weeks and months. When we eat foods with sugar and carbohydrates, our bodies release insulin, the “fat storage hormone.” It sends a signal to your cells to store as much energy in the form of glycogen, i.e., fat. By drastically reducing our intake of carbs, our bodies release less insulin. Less insulin in our bloodstreams means glycogen is used by our bodies as energy and not stored, and when that supply is over, it turns to fat next.
· You might lower your risk of diabetes, neurological issues, metabolic syndrome and other health concerns. When you switch to a low-carb diet, you naturally take in much less sugar and starch. Diets high in refined carbs can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity, which means a keto diet may be protective against these conditions.
· Because you will be replacing grains and other carbohydrates with more protein-rich foods and healthy fats, you will be more full and less hungry. Fats and proteins are known for their satiating effect, while reducing insulin intake helps turn off ghrelin, the “hunger hormone.”
· Reducing or totally eliminating carbs can result in a lack of energy and feelings of fatigue, which isn’t exactly the motivation you need for hitting the gym. If you’re especially active, a low-carb diet might not provide you with the stamina you need to keep going.
· The keto diet may feel restrictive for some and make it hard to eat out or socialise.
2. Low-Carb Diets
If you’re looking for how to lose weight fast in two weeks or so, but don’t want to fully go keto, then a low carb diet is a good option. A low-carb diet is a diet that limits carbohydrate foods such as foods with added sugar, grains, starchy vegetables and fruit and emphasises foods high in protein and fat.
There are various types of low carb diets in existence, one of which is a high-protein diet. Low-carb diets tend to be either very high in fat or high in protein. If you choose to follow a high-protein diet, which is what the Atkins diet could be considered, your diet will be roughly distributed as 30 to 35 percent calories from protein, 20 percent or less from carbohydrates, and about 45 to 50 percent from fat. With every meal you’ll want to incorporate 1–2 palm-sized portions of protein, such as fish or meat.
Many people will still experience great results when eating a modified keto diet that is a bit higher in carbs, or “keto-cycling” or “carb-cycling” in which they boost carb intake on certain days of the week.
· There’s no need to count calories or go hungry. Low-carb diets tend to be filling due to their high protein and fat content, which means reduced hunger and cravings (and an easier time fasting if you’d like to incorporate this).
· This type of diet can improve health markers such as blood sugar levels, neurological health, hormonal balance and more.
· Eating lower-carb means focusing on eliminating major sources of added sugar and carbohydrates, especially from sugar snacks, sweetened drinks, refined grains and possibly legumes and conventional dairy, too.
· Carbs lurk in unexpected places, like fruits, legumes and whole grains such as quinoa. Totally kicking them out of your diet might mean missing out on essential vitamins and minerals.
· Low-carb diets may increase symptoms like fatigue, constipation, brain fog and irritability in some people, plus hormonal issues in some women. These side effects usually clear up within 1–2 weeks, although some people will ultimately feel better eating a more moderate-carb diet.
· Eating lots of protein from animal products raises environmental and ethical concerns, since these foods cost a lot of energy and resources to produce compared to most plant foods.
3. Vegan Diet
While there are different levels of vegetarian and vegan diets, most vegetarians steer clear of eating meats, including seafood and poultry. What do vegans eat? Well, they take it a step further and avoid all products that come from animals, including dairy and eggs.
If you’d rather be mostly plant-based but don’t want to totally eliminate all animal products, that’s a good option, too. Simply swap out meat, fish, etc. for clean proteins like legumes, lentils, quinoa, etc. several times per week or more. There are plenty of ways to get protein without consuming too many animal-derived foods, such as from nuts, seeds, beans, ancient grains or plant-based protein powders.
· You’ll be following a plant based diet that is naturally low in fat and high in fiber. No need to count calories.
· Vegetarian diets have been linked to lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. If you’re looking to control those conditions naturally, eliminating meats can help.
· Good, quality meat can be pricey and also takes a toll environmentally. Eliminating it from your diet can really save money in your grocery budget.
· What do meat-free, deep-fried burritos, crisps and French fries have in common? None of them are healthy, and they’re vegetarian/vegan. Simply eliminating animal products doesn’t guarantee you’ll eat wholesome, nutritious foods.
· High-quality animal meats provide nutritional benefits that are hard to replicate naturally. Vegans especially need to beware of serious nutritional deficiencies and should consider adding a supplement.
4. Mediterranean Diet
People who follow a traditional Mediterranean diet know how to lose weight naturally without going to extremes. Made popular by those living in the most beautiful regions on Earth, people on the Mediterranean diet enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, embrace fats like olive oil, and eat high-quality poultry and seafood, all in close-to-natural states.
· Because this diet focuses on foods found in nature, you’ll eat very little processed or sugary foods. It’s more likely you’ll snack on nuts, for example, than cookies.
· The abundance of foods rich in healthy fats helps reduce your risk of heart disease.
· It’s probably the most sustainable long-term. With the allowance of an occasional glass of red wine or steak, this diet allows you to enjoy food and the occasional indulgence.
· It’s easy to go overboard. While healthy fats are good for us, portion control still needs to be exercised, which can be difficult for some people.
· While eating this way is good for your body in the long run, if you’re looking to lose weight fast, this diet is probably not for you.
5. Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet has become popular these days, especially in athletic communities such as CrossFit. It’s modeled after what our ancient (specifically, Paleolithic) ancestors would have eaten thousands upon thousands of years ago.
· The paleo concept of going grain-free can be greatly beneficial, as you strip away nutritionally bankrupt, starchy calories that spike insulin levels and instead replace them with more vegetables.
· Following that hunter-gatherer lifestyle can aid in getting more minerals, more omega-3 foods, more protein and healthier fats overall in your diet. If you follow the Paleo diet in the right way, there’s evidence it can help improve autoimmune illness and support weight loss.
· Along with eliminating grain, sugar (a major inflammatory and disease creator) is forbidden. Instead, the diet relies on foods like wild-caught salmon, blueberries, leafy greens and nuts.
· Unfortunately, for many who follow the Paleo diet, they tend to consume too much meat.
· Additionally, I’ve known people on the Paleo diet where their diets consisted of consuming conventional butter and fried bacon, if you eat that every meal, it could be considered a Paleo diet.
6. Low Fat Diet
Low-fat diets reduce the amount of (you guessed it) total fat you eat in a day. The diet became especially popular in America following the release of the federal government’s dietary guidelines in 1980, leading to the proliferation of low-fat food availability.
· Foods high in fat are usually high in calories as well. If you play a strict numbers game, reducing high-caloric foods will usually help you lose weight.
· Cutting out sweets and sugary drinks can help you lose weight; plus, it’s great for your body.
· Low-fat foods are often processed foods that are filled with sugar and unnatural ingredients designed to make low-calorie foods taste like their full-fat counterparts. These added ingredients can actually cause weight gain.
· By choosing low-fat foods, it’s easier to overindulge. This happens for two reasons: The low-fat versions just don’t have the same satiating tastes and ingredients in them, and we’re more likely to reach for that second cookie when we think it’s lower in calories.
· Our bodies need fat! While foods like avocados or butter might have a high calorie count, they are filled with healthy fats our bodies crave and need to function properly.