With 39% of adults globally being overweight, obesity is a major concern and a significant public health challenge. If you’re overweight, you could be at a higher risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, bone problems, sleep issues, and some cancers.
Besides, there’s too much confusion around weight loss and the right way to do it. Your diet, lifestyle, exercise, metabolism, and genetics all play a role in your weight loss efforts.
But here’s the thing. Losing weight doesn’t have to be that complicated, and you can lose weight easily by making a few changes in your diet and lifestyle.
So, let’s demystify weight loss with these easy and practical weight loss tips.
Table of contents:
- Track and manage your calories
- Say no to added sugar
- Don’t skip breakfast
- Reduce the consumption of junk food
- Exercise regularly and adopt an active lifestyle
- Include the right foods in your diet
- Eat smaller portions
- Practice mindful eating
- Practice fasting
- Live a healthy life
- Final thoughts
Track and manage your calories
If you want to take away one learning from this guide, let it be this. Be in a calorie deficit.
If you’re new to the idea of fitness and weight loss, terms like “calorie deficit” may sound complex to you. So, let’s simplify it.
A calorie (cal) is a unit of energy. When you eat something, it gives your body energy in the form of calories. For example, if something contains 150 calories per 100 grams, your body will get 150 calories of energy by eating 100 grams of it.
Our body needs energy – and thus, calories – to function well. However, if you consume calories and don’t spend them, your body will store them as glycogen. This glycogen is commonly known as “body fat,” excess of which causes obesity.
Calorie deficit and weight loss
According to the NHS, women need 2,000 calories per day, and men need 2,500 of them. However, your daily calorie requirements can vary depending on your lifestyle and other factors.
Use this calorie calculator to find your daily calorie requirements to maintain and lose weight.
Suppose you need 2,700 calories a day to maintain your weight. In that case, consuming fewer than 2,700 calories will trigger weight loss, as your body will start utilizing the stored body fat (glycogen) to meet the energy requirements. And when you stay in a calorie deficit consistently, you’ll start losing weight.
Say no to added sugar
Added sugar is the major source of calories. Just one teaspoon (4 grams) of added sugar has 16 calories. If you eat a lot of sweet foods or drink sweetened beverages, you’re putting a lot of calories into your system. These excess calories cause weight gain and obesity.
Therefore, if you’re trying to shed some pounds, reduce your sugar intake. This means limiting the consumption of sweetened beverages (sodas, sports drinks, etc.), desserts (ice creams, pastries, sundaes, etc.), and other foods containing artificial sweeteners.
If you crave sugar, opt for natural sweeteners like honey and stevia or less harmful added sugars like xylitol.
Don’t skip breakfast
A common misconception is that skipping breakfast helps you lose weight. There’s no evidence supporting this claim. In contrast, research shows that people who skip breakfast regularly are at a 21% higher risk of cardiovascular disease and 32% higher risk of all-cause death.
Breakfast is arguably the most important meal of the day, as the body gets food after a whole night (8-12 hours) of fasting. Skipping breakfast could stretch that interval to 13-15 hours, which could cause tiredness and low energy levels. You will also miss out on the essential nutrients your body needs to kickstart the day.
Moreover, you could be starving by noon if you miss breakfast and end up snacking more or eating a heavy lunch.
What you eat for breakfast is equally important.
You should have a protein-rich breakfast, as protein helps in weight loss and maintenance. Protein also supports healthy weight gain and improves hormonal balance. Therefore, have a high protein breakfast every day containing eggs, nut butter, oats, sardines, etc.
Reduce the consumption of junk food
Junk food essentially means food containing refined carbohydrates. Some examples are burgers, pizzas, pasta, french fries, and packaged foods like chips. Refined foods have no fiber, protein, and other nutrients, and thus, they have no nutritional value.
Besides, refined foods are quick to digest, so they quickly convert to glucose and increase blood glucose levels. High blood glucose levels dramatically increase insulin production, which promotes fat build-up in the body.
Therefore, reducing junk food consumption can go a long way in helping you lose weight.
Exercise regularly and adopt an active lifestyle
Exercising and staying active can expedite your weight loss efforts. Though you can lose weight by dieting only, your progress will be slow and limited.
Exercising will support your weight loss efforts by helping you burn more calories. For instance, 30 minutes of running can burn 280-520 calories.
The following table shows some popular exercises and the calories you can burn with them.
|Exercise||Calories burned per hour|
|Strength training||340-500 cal|
|Rowing machine||480-710 cal|
|Stationary bike||500-740 cal|
|Kettlebell circuit||550-820 cal|
|Running up sprints (hills or stairs)||640-950 cal|
|Jumping rope||660-990 cal|
Pro tip: Don’t choose an exercise just because it burns more calories. Instead, opt for an activity you enjoy doing. This way, you’ll be able to maintain consistency and lose weight fast.
Include the right foods in your diet
Your diet is an essential element of your weight loss journey. If you stick to a proper diet, you’ll be able to lose weight fast in a healthy and hassle-free way.
Again, you should eliminate (or at least reduce) added sugar and refined carbs from your diet. Additionally, limit your intake of saturated fats and avoid consuming trans fats (found in processed foods like chips and fries).
That said, here are five ingredients to include in your diet:
- Protein: Lean meats, poultry, dairy, eggs, nuts, quinoa
- Healthy carbs: Quinoa, oats, whole grains, bananas, sweet potatoes
- Healthy fats: Avocados, cheese, whole eggs, nuts, nut butter
- Dietary fiber: Beans, broccoli, apples, whole grains, avocados
- Vitamins and minerals: Dairy, meat, poultry, fruits, vegetables
Eat smaller portions
Do you eat until you’re full? If yes, you need to stop doing that right now. Fullness is often a sign of overeating, and frequent overeating could lead to excess body fat. It could also cause stomach problems like gas and bloating.
You should eat smaller portions if you want to lose weight and maintain digestive health.
Here are some popular approaches to eat portion-controlled meals:
- The 80% Rule: Aim for 80% fullness to control your portions and avoid overeating.
- The Child Portion Rule: Serve the amount of food for yourself that you’d serve to a child.
- The 9 Inch Plate Rule: Use a smaller plate (9 inches) instead of a 10-inch or 12-inch plate.
Practice mindful eating
Mindful eating refers to paying attention to the food you eat.
Did your parents ask you to do nothing but eat at the dining table? No talking, no phones, no TV. That’s a real-life example of mindful eating.
People often pair eating with watching TV or Netflix, using their phones, or talking to others. They barely pay attention to eating. Hence, they gobble up large amounts of food without adequately chewing it. This results in overeating, weight gain, and digestive problems.
Eating mindfully means eating your food slowly, chewing it properly, and paying attention to how much you eat. This way, you eat less food and avoid overeating.
Being distracted while eating can also lead to dysphagia (choking), which could be hazardous and may require medical help.
Fasting is a traditional, science-backed technique with many benefits, like weight loss, blood sugar control, reduced inflammation, enhanced heart health, and improved metabolism.
The biggest advantage of fasting is weight loss. When you’re fasting, you enter a calorie deficit, which helps you lose weight.
Intermittent fasting is the most effective form of fasting to lose weight. Research shows that regular intermittent fasting can help you lose body weight by up to 9% in 12-24 weeks. In intermittent fasting, you follow cycles of eating and non-eating periods. You only eat in the eating period and don’t eat anything in the non-eating period.
Some popular intermittent fasting approaches are:
- 16/8 Fasting (most popular): In this daily intermittent fasting approach, you eat 2-3 meals in eight hours and then don’t eat for 16 hours.
- Full-Day Fasting: In full-day fasting, you fast for an entire day (24 hours) once or twice a week.
- 5/2 Fasting: In this weekly intermittent fasting approach, you eat normally for five consecutive days and cut your daily calorie intake to 500-600 calories for the next two days.
- Alternate Fasting: You fast for 24 hours on every alternate day.
There’s no right or wrong way to do intermittent fasting. Try all the methods discussed above, and stick to the one that best suits you. However, most people, especially beginners, find the 16/8 method the easiest and most sustainable.
Live a healthy life
As discussed, regularly exercising is crucial for weight loss. However, other lifestyle factors could also affect your weight loss efforts. These include:
- Sleep: Getting adequate sleep (7+ hours) every day can help you lose weight fast and avoid unwanted weight gain.
- Alcohol: Drinking alcohol, even in moderate amounts, can contribute to weight gain. So, avoid alcohol to expedite your weight loss efforts.
- Stress: Excess stress can spike cortisol levels, causing weight gain. It also leads to unhealthy food choices and overeating. Hence, keep your stress levels in check to avoid stress-related weight gain.
Losing weight requires effort and discipline, especially if you want to lose weight quickly. However, it’s not complicated. You need to follow a few rules, and if you do so consistently, you’ll achieve your weight loss objectives quicker than you think.
To sum things up, staying in a calorie deficit is the key to weight loss. Spend more calories than you consume. You can do this by eating less, exercising to burn excess calories, and combining the two for better and faster results. Lastly, you can enhance your weight loss efforts by eating a healthy diet and consuming less junk food.
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