While it does require a degree of sacrifice and work to lose weight, it doesn’t have to be a slow and onerous process. If you do things right, you can actually lose weight fast. When I say fast, I mean really fast, like 2-3 pounds or more every week.
The faster you can safely lose weight, the better. Seeing the pounds coming off and your clothes fitting better each week will really help you stay motivated to stick to your diet and workout plan. Plus, it’s a lot easier to stick to a weight loss diet if you know that you’ll only need to be really strict for a month or two.
Most people start their weight loss regime but can’t continue it in the long run. And that’s the major reason most people find it difficult to lose weight. It doesn’t matter the extent to which you are prepared but rather how dedicated you are to losing your excess weight.
1. Don’t Diet
When clients come to me, many of them have been through the diet wringer. They’ve tried every fad and gimmick and, of course, they’ve failed to maintain long-term success. The key to weight loss is to never feel like you’re on a diet, because diets don’t work. If you feel deprived, you will never make it past a few weeks. The only way to achieve long-term weight loss is to learn to appreciate food as fuel and slowly replaced processed food that cannot properly energize the body with real food that can. After a while this will become second nature and won’t feel like a daily struggle.
2. Sip The Black Dragon
Oolong, or ‘black dragon,’ is a kind of Chinese tea that’s packed with catechins, nutrients that help promote weight loss by boosting your body’s ability to metabolize fat. A study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine found that participants who regularly sipped oolong tea lost a pound a week, without doing anything else to change their diet or exercise habits.
3. Work In Burpees
Burpees are such a great way to activate multiple muscles, get the heart rate up and burn mega calories. In one single burpee, you work your legs, arms and abs and you also elevate the heart rate to increase cardiopulmonary strength. If you’re looking to lose weight, incorporating them into your workout routine is a must.
4. Track Your Diet
Before you begin to change your diet, spend a week recording everything you eat—and I mean everything. Before I made any changes to my diet, I journaled everything I ate each day for a week, including little things like gum or breath mints. If you have a piece of candy from your coworker’s desk, snag a few spoonfuls of your boyfriend’s ice cream, or finish the few bits of grilled cheese your kid left on her plate, write it down! It all adds up, and you just don’t realize how much you’re eating until you actually see it all on paper in front of you. I, for one, was stunned.
5. Spread Things Out
Spread your protein requirements evenly throughout the day, over three meals and two snacks. Think of your total protein requirements as protein blocks, each block consisting of 7 grams of protein. Too much protein at one time will increase insulin levels, which leads to fat storage.
6. Climb Into Bed
Everyone is overly focused on food, water and exercise, all of which are extremely imperative to weight loss and optimal health. However, without proper sleep, all of these the other factors are null and void. When you don’t get enough sleep, levels of the hormone leptin drop, which increases appetite. This surge in appetite makes comfort food more appealing, which can derail weight loss efforts.
7. Ditch The Junk
The best thing you can do for your belly is to give up processed foods. A study in the journal Food Nutrition Research found that our bodies burn only 50 percent as many calories digesting processed foods as they do real foods. So it’s like eating twice as much, even if the calories are the same!
8. Never Miss Breakfast
Don’t skip breakfast—it really is the most important meal of the day. Eat breakfast within 90 minutes of waking, and then have something healthy to eat every three to four hours after that. When we skip breakfast or wait too long to eat in the morning, our bodies start to conserve energy and our metabolism slows down. Skipping breakfast also leads to overeating throughout the day.
9. Dial Down Portions
One of the keys to long-term and sustainable weight loss is to cut total calorie intake, and there’s no better way to do that than by eating just a little bit less of what you currently eat. Once you get into a habit of reducing portions—especially of sugary, fatty and other nutrient-poor foods—you can fine tune your diet to incorporate more nutrient-rich foods. But paring portions is still the best first step.
10. Eliminate Anxiety
When you’re anxious, your body feels like it’s under a tremendous amount of stress all the time. This is why anxiety is a powerful trigger for weight gain. Two of the most proven cures for anxiety are exercise and spending time in nature. Combine both with an outdoor run or bike ride and race away from the anxiousness. Making this habit part of your lifestyle can help you stay lean for life.
11. Sprint It Out
High-intensity sprints are my #1 go-to exercise to burn fat. It keeps the heart rate elevated and puts your body into what’s called an oxygen debt. This allows you to burn fat hours after your workout ends.
12. Ditch The Booze
When weight loss is the goal, I recommend avoiding alcohol … and drinking plenty of water throughout the day. I also recommend making time to complete intense full-body circuit workouts at least four times a week.
13. Move More
If a client has come to me looking to lose 10 pounds, I would tell them to simply move. Move more, and more often. Walk or bike ride to class or work, even park further away from your location in the parking lot. Take the stairs or take a walk during lunch. You don’t have to spend hours every day in the gym sweating, but you do have to make a conscious effort to move more, and sit less. This works great because it doesn’t feel like work and you’re burning more and more calories throughout the day.
14. Eat More Often
A study by David Jenkins, MD, PhD—the University of Toronto pioneer in low-glycemic eating — demonstrates that eating small portions at frequent intervals is good for your health in a number of remarkable ways. Within the study, they found that people who ate every three hours reduced their blood cholesterol by over 15% and their blood insulin by almost 28%. That’s key, because in addition to regulating your blood sugar level, insulin plays a pivotal role in fat metabolism, inflammation and the progression to metabolic syndrome. When your body produces less insulin, you’re much less likely to convert dietary calories into body fat.
15. Ditch Low-fat
Don’t buy low-fat dairy products. They’re usually loaded with sugar. Besides, a 2015 study found that the more high-fat dairy products a person ate, they lower their risk of diabetes; the more low-fat dairy products, the higher their risk.
16. Don’t Miss A Day
Every day, break a sweat, even if just for a few minutes—a bit of exercise is better than getting none at all. Regular physical activity and exercise is one of the best long-term solutions to weight maintenance.
17. Pencil In Your Workouts
Write down your workout and fitness class schedule before the week starts, and treat each workout like an important appointment. This will help you stick to a more consistent workout schedule, which can aid weight loss efforts.
18. Get Nutty
Nuts are a superior weight loss food in my book. They offer plenty of protein, healthy fat, and fiber that can really take the edge off hunger at any meal or snack. Nuts are also so versatile and convenient. They can be mixed into oatmeal or yogurt at breakfast, paired with fruit as a snack, or tossed into a hearty salad for a little satisfying crunch at lunch.
19. Go For Citrus
There are many foods that aid weight loss, but one that I often recommend to my clients and eat myself is grapefruit. Researchers at Scripps Clinic in San Diego found that when obese people ate half a grapefruit before each meal, they dropped an average of 3.5 pounds over 12 weeks. Apparently the tangy fruit can lower insulin, a fat-storage hormone, and that can lead to weight loss. Plus, since it’s at least 90% water, it can fill you up so you eat less. However, if you are on certain medications you should not have grapefruit or grapefruit juice, so check the label on all your prescriptions, or ask your pharmacist or doctor.
20. Eat With Your Eyes
Eating directly out of a box or bag (almost always leads to overeating. Serve your food on a plate or in a bowl to keep portion sizes in check and to get used to what one serving looks like. Also, when we take the time to sit down during meals versus standing or driving, we tend to feel more satisfied with our meal. In fact, research shows that you will eat up to 30% more food at the next meal if you ate standing up! Serve yourself, sit down, and enjoy!
21. Boil Some Water
Hard boiled eggs are easy to cook ahead of time, inexpensive, rich in the best quality, satiating protein there is, and they’re good for a snack or meal plus they’re portable. I recommend including them in any weight loss plan.
22. Use A Versaclimber
Use a VersaClimber or take a VersaClimber class. These machines are still not that common, but in my opinion they are far more effective for weight loss than other forms of cardio. They require you to use a large portion of your muscles and it’s functionally better for you than other forms of cardio like spinning. Everyone is talking about Rise Nation in LA at the moment as they are the first dedicated VersaClimbing studio. There’s no harder cardio workout I have tried. To lose fat you have to put in the work.
23. Eat Oatmeal
If I had to pick one food for weight loss, I would choose oatmeal. It’s a whole grain, high-fiber carbohydrate that sticks to your ribs, so it keeps you full and satisfied. Eating it also leads to a slow rise in blood sugar, which has been shown to keep insulin levels from spiking, leading to less fat storage. The key with oatmeal is how to make it so it’s not a calorie bomb. I recommend making it with nonfat milk in place of water, stirring in chopped raw nuts or natural nut butter, and topping with fresh or frozen fruits. If you need some added sweetness, a drizzle of maple syrup should do it.
24. Make Meal Prep King
It’s far more difficult to eat a healthier diet and fit in exercise if you don’t plan ahead. Plan out your meals for the week ahead and go grocery shopping over the weekend to ensure you have the ingredients you need on hand. If you can, do some meal prep in your down time—cut fresh veggies, marinate your protein, cook up a batch of whole grains in advance. When you’re prepared you’re far less likely to order takeout.
25. Step On The Scale
Stepping on the scale frequently makes you aware of small changes and helps you quickly react to those changes. The National Weight Control Registry, a large group of people who have successfully lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for 5 years, found that successful ‘losers’ weigh themselves often and make adjustments accordingly. When you begin to understand that sodium, carb intake, hormones and alcohol intake can impact weight and that it isn’t possible to gain 2 pounds of fat overnight, you will begin to better understand your body. The key is to pay attention to overall trends; don’t obsess over day-to-day numbers!
26. Stop Counting Calories
Stop focusing on calories and start focusing on the quality of the foods you eat. High-quality diet options are natural, whole, minimally processed foods, like vegetables, fruits, nuts or seeds that offer a lot more nutritional value in the form of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats and fiber. These foods help tame hunger naturally and nourish our cells at the deepest level so that we aren’t left with constant cravings.
27. Set A Date
You can’t just say, ‘I want to lose weight…someday.’ It’s that kind of loose talk, without a fence or guideline, that discourages you from getting started and prevents you from succeeding. The way I did it was by tying it to an upcoming event in my life. I never focused on a number and I didn’t set out to lose a certain number of pounds per week or overall. I merely found a target date a year away and I proclaimed to myself that I’d be in better shape by then.
If weight loss is the goal, I recommend learning how to properly deadlift. Deadlifting recruits more muscle fiber at once than any other exercise. More muscle working equates to more blood flow, an increased heart rate, more metabolic demand and output. It’s compound, multi-joint and more bang for your buck, not to mention you’ll develop an excellent posterior from them.
29. Stop Cheating Reps
When clients skimp on their reps or don’t complete their full workout routine, they’re only hurting their own end results. It doesn’t matter how long it takes or if you need to rest in between exercises, what matters is completing the full workout.
30. Eat More Plant Proteins
Research continues to support the role of a high-protein diet and weight loss, however, we don’t want to reach those protein needs exclusively with animal proteins. Plant proteins found in beans not only help us feel full and stablize blood sugar but beans are associated with longevity. Who cares about being skinny if you die young?
31. Eat More Veggies
It’s no big surprise, but my go-to weight loss tip is to eat more vegetables. They are the most low-calorie food you can consume, and they’re filled with health-boosting, satiating nutrients. From smoothies and eggs to soups, main and side dishes, they can fit in anywhere and boost volume and nutrition. If you want to eat more while still losing weight, veggies are your answer.
32. Fill Up On Water-based Foods
No one food will help you lose weight, but eating more fiber-filled and water-rich foods like apples keep you hydrated and satiated.
33. Get Watered Down
Drink more water. Doing so keeps you more energetic, hydrated, fuller, and can even boost your metabolism. Drink water before a meal to avoid overeating, and replace other beverages with water for immediate results, including weight loss.
34. Clean House
Whether you have ten pounds to lose or 100, the first thing you should do is create an environment for success. That requires removing all temptation from your kitchen. “Collect all of the processed, sugary and fatty foods from your house, and bring them to a local food bank for donation. Then restock your kitchen with healthy groceries—real, natural, whole foods—like fresh fruits and vegetables, almonds and lean proteins like turkey, chicken, fish and eggs.
35. Ditch Carbs After Dark
The one trick I use now, which I should have been using all along, is the make dinner a no-carb meal. I’ll do a vegan protein and vegetables, and no bread. I think carbs are important and good energy, but when I don’t eat them at night, I wake up and I feel like my belly’s flat first thing in the morning.