Lose Weight – Ultimate Guide to Losing Weight
1. Part One – The Beginning
You’ve made the decision to lose weight. That’s great! But, as you may know, that decision can be an overwhelming one. Whether you want to lose ten pounds or a hundred, weight loss means significant changes to your lifestyle and, quite frankly, to the way both your body and your mind work!
Have you ever tried to lose weight? Maybe this is your first time – after all, sometimes your body changes as you go through life.
Whether you’ve gained weight due to a sedentary work life or you just want to get back down to a weight that makes you feel good about yourself, there’s one thing that’s for certain: sometimes the weight loss process can seem overwhelming!
Don’t worry, that’s why we’ve put together this guide. In this guide, you’ll learn:
- The foods to avoid if you want to lose weight
- Supplements and diet pills that may help you lose
- Whether exercise will impact your weight lossThe best way to lose weight… and keep it off!
As you begin to lose weight, you’ll find that the start of the process is the most difficult. Oh, sure. You’ll encounter hurdles along the way: holidays, stress and changes in schedule can all impact your weight loss efforts But it’s in the beginning that you’ll find that your weight loss is more of a mental challenge for you.
The most important thing for anyone who’s trying to lose weight to do is to make a plan. This guide will certainly help you develop that plan, but you should also talk the strategy over with your doctor. Consider your health concerns, if there are any, and talk to your physician about the reasons you desire to lose weight.
Once you’ve formulated a plan, you can begin to take steps to lose weight. As time goes on and you more toward your weight loss goal, you’ll find that lifestyle changes are now second nature.
Why Should I Lose Weight?
Many people choose to put off losing weight because they feel comfortable in their clothes. Some procrastinate because they’re in good health and have a healthy heart. Others choose to wait to lose weight because they just think it’s too hard.
If you’re overweight or obese, the time to start losing weight is, without a doubt, right now. Being overweight is proven to be linked to some very serious health conditions. Included among the plethora of diseases caused by those extra pounds are:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Gallbladder diseases
And that’s just a handful! Obesity can take a serious toll on your health, but it’s been proven that bringing your weight down into a healthy range for your body and your lifestyle can greatly help to reduce your risk for these diseases.
It’s not just adults, either! Kids who are overweight are at the same risk for the same diseases as their adult counterparts. So if your child is also overweight, maybe your plan should incorporate the whole family.
Aside from the health risks of obesity, when you make the decision to lose weight you’ll just feel better! You may be surprised to learn that obesity is directly linked to depression. Losing weight will make you (and those around you) happier. You’ll have more energy and you’ll feel more motivated to continue along your path to a healthy weight. Of course, you’ll also look better in your clothes, so that’s a definite plus!BMI (Body Mass Index)
So how do you know if you’re within a healthy weight range? The tricky thing about weight is that “styles” change over the centuries, and across different cultures. What was healthy looking in 1840 may not be considered attractive today!
Thankfully, scientists and doctors have developed a super-simple way to determine whether you’re in a healthy weight class. It’s called body mass index, or BMI, and it’s something you can calculate on your own!
To find your BMI, you’ll need to gather some stats about yourself. Two, in particular: you’ll need to know your height in meters and your weight in kilograms.
If your country uses imperial (sometimes called standard) units of measurement, you’ll need to convert your measurements to metric. There are online calculators that will help you do this, or you can do the math by hand.
Let’s learn a little more about how to measure your BMI, and what a body mass index means for your health.
How to Measure Your BMI
As mentioned, to get your body mass index you’ll need your height and your weight. If you use feet, inches and pounds, you can convert to metric in the following ways:
- Multiply your weight in pounds by .45 to get your weight in kilograms.
- Multiply “full feet” by 12, then add the “extra inches” to get your height in inches. For instance, if you’re 5 feet, seven inches, you’ll multiply 5 times 12, then add 7. You’re 67 inches.
- Take your height in inches and multiply by .0254 to find your height in meters. Someone who is 67 inches is 1.7 meters tall.
Once you have your measurements in metric units, finding your body mass index is easy! Simply take your weight in kilograms and divide it by your height in meters. Then, take that answer and divide by your height in meters once more.
The number that results is your body mass index. And, for weight loss, it’s your golden ticket to setting a weight loss goal!
What Is a Healthy BMI?
For the purpose of this guide, we’ll talk about adult body mass index. If you’re a child, or if you’re concerned about your children, it’s always best to consult with a pediatrician. Children’s nutritional and BMI needs differ slightly from adults, and your doctor can help you get on the right track to a healthy weight for your child.
If you’re an adult, however, you can determine a lot from your body mass index! BMI is measured on a scale, and there are healthy and unhealthy ranges within that scale.
Here’s how it looks:
- If your body mass index is under 18.5, you’re considered underweight. You obviously won’t need to loseweight if this is the case, but it’s certainly worth chatting to your doctor about.
- If your BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, you’re in a healthy range! Congratulations! Any weight loss you do within this range will solidify your “standing” in this healthy class.
- If your body mass index is between 35 and 29.9, you’re considered overweight. Once you reach this point, it’s time to take steps toward losing weight.
- Between 30 and 39.9, your body mass index classifies you as obese. This is a dangerous weight range, and you should begin to lose weight as soon as possible.
- Anything higher than a body mass index of 40 is called morbidly obese by doctors. When you’re morbidly obese, your mortality rate is much, much higher than if you’re within a healthy BMI range.
Why is it Important to Have a Healthy BMI?
As we mentioned earlier, the more excess pounds your body is holding, the more likely you are to be diagnosed with a serious disease. So, it naturally follows that remaining within a healthy body mass index range will greatly decrease your risk of these diseases.
As you lose weight and return to a healthy BMI, your body will be healthier. Your circulatory system and your heart will be stronger. Your respiratory system will, too. Your brain will function better and you’ll be happier.
If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight is the single most important thing you can do to improve your health aside from, arguably, quitting smoking.
Why is it Hard to Lose Weight?
As you now know, losing weight is good for you! You’ll see a ton of health benefits when you lose weight – and psychological benefits, too! So, if losing weight is so great, why does it have to be so darn hard?
In truth, there are a number of factors which can increase the difficulty you have losing weight. Let’s look at a few of these in turn.
Losing Weight is a Lifestyle Change
Are there “quick fixes” when you want to lose weight? Sure! But they don’t last. It’s entirely possible to drop ten pounds or so before a big vacation or a wedding. However, the weight will come right back if you don’t lose that weight the correct way.
Weight loss requires lifestyle changes. These changes may include adding more activity to your routine. They may include cutting alcohol from your diet. Or, these lifestyle changes may be as involved as learning to cook your own meals at home.
According to a 2009 study, it takes about 66 days to develop a habit. That’s a little over two months. Can you lose ten pounds in two months? Absolutely! But doing so without establishing habits as you go will ensure that the weight comes right back.
It’s an age-old story. Someone, let’s say a man, is trying to lose weight. His wife, however, seems to have a metabolism as fast as Usain Bolt. She manages to maintain a healthy BMI while he struggles to count every calorie.
Losing weight can be hard if those around you don’t support you. If your husband insists on deep frying supper. If your friends pressure you into that molten lava cake when you go out. If the guys expect you to have a few beers after work every night.
External influences can play a huge part in your weight loss success. It’s important that you make a plan and stick with it, and it’s also critical that others know of your efforts to lose weight. Informing others and creating a plan can help reduce the instances when you feel temptation from external influences.
As you age, your body changes. For one thing, you’ll lose muscle mass. Muscle naturally burns more calories than fat, so this can greatly impact your weight loss efforts. Your hormones, too, can change as you age, making it more difficult to lose weight.
Stress impacts people of all ages. However, as you get older, you’ll notice that you face a whole new set of stressors. Stress can make you gain weight, according to studies.
Overall, your physiology changes as your age increases. With that said, whereas it may have been easy for you to drop a few pounds in your twenties, it may not be so simple now that you’re in your sixties.
Unfortunately, your body can work against you as you try to lose weight. There are too many factors to go into depth here, but some of those factors include:
- The mishandling of insulin by your body
- Thyroid conditions
- Food intolerances
- Genetics (it’s unfortunate but true)
- Metabolic syndrome
Sometimes it’s just harder for one person to lose weight than another. For that reason, it’s important to speak with a physician before you lose weight. Together you can rule out any underlying factors through interviews and blood work.
Weight Loss and Psychology
We’ve already said it, but it’s worth repeating: weight loss is a lifestyle change. You’ll need to make conscious, specific steps toward reaching your goal if you’re ever going to achieve it.
Generally speaking, if you want to lose weight you’ll need motivation and will power. With these traits in place, you’ll be well on your way. However, sometimes there are other factors that can impact your weight loss efforts. Much of weight loss is physical… actual things you do that cause your body to shed pounds.
But there’s another side of weight loss – an underlying side, if you will – that can determine whether you’re successful in your attempts to lose weight or not. That’s the psychology side, and it’s just as important as using the treadmill or counting calories!
There’s one facet of weight loss that makes it extremely difficult. It’s a simple fact, but many people overlook it.
You need to eat.
You can not go on a “cold turkey” diet to lose weight. In that way, losing weight is different from, say, quitting alcohol or smoking cessation. You can’t stop eating or you will literally die.
Our bodies were programmed to eat and to enjoy the foods we consume. Our cultures have programmed us to associate eating with a plethora of emotions: happiness, sadness, stress, depression, sleepiness and even feeling energetic can all trigger a response to snack.
Losing weight is just as much psychological as it is physical, and it’s important to remember that everyone makes mistakes. If you feel that you may have issues with depression or another psychological factor, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor or to schedule an appointment with your psychologist.
Finding Your Weight Loss Motivation
You can’t stop eating cold turkey. But you can change the way your brain thinks about weight loss in order to boost your weight loss success. Finding the right motivation is usually enough for most people.
What’s Your Motivation?
Most people have a reason they want to lose weight. What’s yours? Over the years, dieters have come up with quite a few great reasons to lose. Here are a few:
- To spend less money on medications
- To ensure you’re around for your child’s wedding
- To revive the spark in your marriage
- To look better in your clothes
- To spend less on clothing (plus sizes often cost more!)
- To fit in a standard airline seat
- To complete your bucket list – skydiving, scuba diving – whatever it may be
- To increase energy
- To run a 5k for your favorite charity
- To keep up with your children
- To get better sleep
- To improve your job performance
- To wear those skinny jeans
- To not feel embarrassed at the water park
You get the idea! There are tons of reasons to lose weight, and they don’t all have to be health-related! Maybe you just want your wife to look at you the same way as when you got married!
Whatever your motivation, it’s personal to you. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not a good reason, or that it’s silly. It’s your body, it’s your goal and it’s your motivation.
It’s no lie – weight loss is not easy. Everyone’s weight loss is different, and sometimes it’s a matter of trial and error. What works for some may not work for others.
In fact, many people who try to lose weight fail. There are many reasons for this, including:
- Peer pressure to stray from the plan
- Health conditions left unchecked
- Loss of motivation due to a weight loss plateau
- Inability to break a habit, like drinking alcohol
It’s absolutely critical that you stay motivated to achieve weight loss success. There are a few things you can do to keep yourself on track.
First, keep a visible reminder of your weight loss goals. Whether that’s a few written words on your refrigerator or a magazine cutout on your bathroom mirror, be sure you can see it every single day.
Secondly, weigh yourself. Daily. Studies show that you’re more likely to lose weight if you weight yourself each morning. Keep in mind that the numbers will fluctuate – hormones and other factors can impact your weight – but weighing each day will provide ample motivation.
You could also find a weight loss buddy! Find a partner at your work, your gym, your church or even online. This accountability will help you lose weight faster and with fewer “mistakes.”
Finally, be sure your weight loss goals are realistic. If you just want to lose fifteen pounds, that’s a great goal, and achievable. It’s also achievable to lose more, but you should do so in smaller milestones. Set mini-goals as you go to help you stay on track.
Tools to Keep You on Track
It’s worth mentioning in passing that there are tools you can use to help you stay motivated and on track toward your weight loss goals. Here are a few examples of those tools.
- Apps for your mobile phone or computer are available for free and can be extremely useful! You can find calorie trackers, fitness trackers, food diaries and even social sites geared toward weight loss. One of our favorites is MyFitnessPal – this social app allows you to track your daily exercise, water, food and more. Using the app, you can connect with others who have similar goals to yours.
- A food diary is a critical part of your weight loss success. Often, people eat without realizing it – a pretzel here or a soda there. Keeping a food diary will make you more conscious of what you’re eating and get you into the habit of mindfulness. You can find an app online or use a physical notebook you’ll carry with you.
- You must have a scale to weigh yourself. No questions – it’s a must.
- A food scale is handy, too. You probably won’t need it forever, but in the beginning a food scale will help you with portion control and caloric intake. There are often more calories in a serving of food than you think!
- It’s a great idea to order an insulated water bottle. After all, drinking water is essential to weight loss success. Find one that’s BPA-free and easy to carry.
- Finally, get a good quality insulated lunch box! If you’re prone to eating out at lunch on work days, a lunch box will help you steer clear of fatty restaurant foods during the work week.
Weight Loss Myths
In the United States alone, 77 percent of all adults say they’re trying to lose weight. Most of those people could tell you: losing weight isn’t easy!
There are common myths associated with losing weight. Don’t be fooled by these myths and allow them to get you off track. Here are a few of the most commonly perpetuated myths regarding weight loss.
Weight Loss is Consistent and Constant
This is by no means true. For just about every body type, weight loss is almost never consistent. Some weeks you’ll lose and some you may even gain. Your weight can be impacted by silly things – hormones, red meat and water weight are just a few of these.
Diet Pills Will Make You Lose Weight
Okay, we’re going to talk a little more about diet pills later. But there’s one thing you need to know as you plan your weight loss strategy: diet pills, on the whole, don’t work. Some may assist the weight loss process and others may help you, say, digest your food. But diet pills should not be used as a crutch for your weight loss. Ever.
Carbohydrates Cause Obesity
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Now, it’s true that low-carb diets are effective. However, whole-grain foods are very good for you – your energy levels and even your brain function depend on them. We’ll talk more about foods and carbs later. For now, though, don’t plan to cut carbs out completely.
You Can Lose Weight Without Exercise
Nope, nope, and nope again.
Well, okay, sort of. If you were to spend the next six months on your couch, consuming just a few hundred calories each day, you’d likely lose weight. But we really don’t recommend it – it’s just not healthy.
Exercise is very important to weight loss, as it increases the number of calories you burn even if you are just watching Netflix. You’ll lose weight faster with exercise, and you’ll also be less likely to gain those pounds back. Exercise is strongly recommended to take off weight and keep it off.
Part One: In a Nutshell
Once you’ve made the decision to lose weight, you’ve already taken an important step to improving your health – and your life! But weight loss isn’t easy. To be successful, you should first understand your body mass index and the health implications of falling outside the healthy range. Then you should talk to your doctor about what kind of weight loss plan is healthy for you.
Once your plan is in place, it’s time to get started! Gather a few tools of the trade, find your motivation and begin your journey!
2. Part Two – The Medical Side of Weight Loss
For some people, weight loss is a breeze. Those lucky few have no health conditions, have a very strong will and don’t have genetics working against them.
However, those people are extremely few and far between. For the majority of us, weight loss is much more difficult and involved than simply cutting a few calories and jogging a few miles. There are medical factors to consider before you begin to lose weight. Those factors can affect your weight loss strategy as well as your results.
In part two, we’ll look at some of the medical conditions and concerns that impact your weight loss. Some are easy to change – no problem! Others may need the input of a medical professional like a physician or a dietician.
It’s true for almost everyone: there’s stress in your life! Unfortunately, if you’re trying to lose weight stress can be extremely detrimental to progress. There are actually several reasons for this.
First, when you’re stressed your body releases hormones. One of these hormones is actually a type of steroid called cortisol, and it’s one of the “fight or flight” mechanisms your body uses to keep you safe during stressful situations. Cortisol’s job is to help you replenish energy after your body responds to one of these situations. In other words, it’s a very helpful hormone.
You may be surprised to learn, then, that cortisol has been directly linked to weight gain. Cortisol levels that stay elevated are also linked to high blood pressure, an ineffective immune system and even diabetes. If you want to learn more about cortisol, there are plenty of studies published online. Suffice to say, though, that the increase in cortisol caused by elevated stress levels can impact your weight loss program greatly.
Another reason stress causes weight gain is simple: overeating! When we’re stressed, many of us have a tendency to eat more. You may be one of these people. When the going gets tough, you may choose to reach for a bag of chips or a bowl of ice cream. Or, stress may cause you to overeat at meals.
There’s actually a medical reason for this. When you’re stressed, it throws your insulin levels out of whack. Your blood sugar plummets, causing you to crave fatty, sugary foods. This is a natural response, but it can be combated by reaching for a healthy snack instead of sugary sweets.
The final way stress impacts your weight is because stress also impacts your sleep. Sleep is vital to your weight loss efforts; we’ll take a look at that in just a bit.
Managing Your Stress
To effectively lose weight, you must manage your stress. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but there are a few things you can try out to lessen your stress and increase your weight loss.
- Get a massage. No joke! Massage, even just once a month or so, can help alleviate your stress and improve your weight loss success.
- Go outside. Studies show that getting outside in the sunshine can reduce your stress. That’s true even if you’re not exercising!
- Which brings us to exercise. Did you know exercise is a great way to manage your stress levels? Plus, you’ll burn calories too!
- Go out with friends. An outing with your best buds can lower your stress and improve your weight loss success.
- Take a sick day. In most countries, there’s no law dictating that you actually have to be sick to take a sick day. That said, if skipping work is going to cause you more stress, don’t do it.
- Take a break from alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. All can increase your stress levels in an unhealthy way.
- Get more sleep. Yes, there’s that sleep thing again!
- Try mindfulness practice, yoga or meditation. You can do this by following along with a YouTube video or downloading an app to your phone – you don’t have to be a yogi to do a few poses!
Whatever relaxes you, do it! Stress impacts your weight loss and makes you feel generally bad. Take the time for a little self care and improve your weight loss while you relax.
Poor Sleep Habits
Alright – we’ve mentioned it a few times now. It’s true: a lack of sleep can be hugely detrimental to your weight loss efforts. Numerous studies have been conducted on the subject and it’s been proven that, in both men and women, healthy sleep habits equate to healthy weight loss.
To summarize these studies, you must get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Sleeping less than five hours each night will drastically reduce your weight loss success. To be more specific, a study showed that when sleep was limited to five and a half hours each night, fat loss was reduced by 55 percent.
There are quite a few scientific reasons for sleep’s impact on weight loss. Some of these reasons are actually quite simple, though. For instance, when you’re short on sleep you may tend to grab an extra latte to keep you going. You also may be more inclined to snack during the day, or begin eating earlier in the morning.
There’s another reason, too. Have you ever “pulled an all-nighter?” If so, you may have noticed that you began to feel hungry around two or three in the morning. That’s because your body’s blood sugar levels dip drastically overnight. When you’re sleeping, that doesn’t matter. But when you’re awake, you’re going to feel the need to start snacking.
In addition to blood sugar, there’s a hormone responsible for your hunger at night. Ghrelin is secreted by your stomach every five to six hours. That’s the natural hormone that makes you feel hungry, and it’s typically released several hours after your last meal. If you had dinner at, say, six in the evening, you’re likely to begin to feel the need to snack around midnight or one.
You can combat the effects of a lack of sleep on weight loss simply by improving your sleep habits. Here are a few tricks you can try.
- Talk to your doctor about a natural sleep supplement like melatonin. In extreme cases, he may be willing to prescribe you a sleep medication.
- Set your alarm for the same time every morning, and begin to get to bed at the same time each night.
- If you work a night shift, be sure to get errands done when you leave work, then get home and go to bed!
- Ensure your sleep environment is conducive to rest. Room darkening curtains and temperature control can help.
- Try aromatherapy. Lavender and chamomile are very good for relaxation and sleep promotion.
Unfortunately, if you’re taking prescription medications they may interfere with your weight loss. Most commonly, drugs that cause weight gain are in the following categories:
- Mood disorder drugs
- Blood pressure meds and beta blockers
- Birth control
- Steroids, for example in asthmatics
- Diabetes medications
- Anti-seizure medications
If you’re taking medications for a serious health concern it’s usually not possible to just quit taking those medications. After all, you need those drugs to keep your body healthy while you take other steps to improve your health!
That said, you can talk to your doctor about the possibility of adjusting your medications. In some cases there may be alternatives to the meds you’re currently prescribed, and those medications may not impact your weight quite so much.
There is good news, however! As you progress in your weight loss journey, it’s likely that you’ll be able to gradually stop taking medications altogether! For example, you may find there’s no need to take a blood pressure medication or an antidepressant once you’re at your ideal BMI. Remember: losing weight is great for your health, and may end your need for medications.
Especially in women, hormonal fluctuations can cause changes in your weight. Menopause, your period and some health conditions can cause your hormone levels to shift, and this can be very discouraging when you’re trying to lose weight.
Why do hormones impact you so much? Well, it all boils down to estrogen. Estrogen is linked to the way your body controls weight loss and gain. During your period, menopause and any other time that your estrogen levels drop, your metabolic rate drops, too. You’re more inclined to eat (yes, period cravings are a ‘thing”) and, unfortunately, your body uses starches and sugars less effectively.
Men, you’re not exempt from the effects of estrogen levels on your weight! Yes, men have estrogen, too, and as you age dips in this hormone will occur. Middle age, in particular, is a time when you’ll see estrogen levels drop, which may cause weight gain.
There’s not much you can do about fluctuations in your estrogen levels. Unless your doctor thinks you’re in need of hormone therapy, you’ll simply have to remember one thing: hormonal fluctuations are normal! Everyone has them, so just take care to reach for healthy snacks instead of empty calories.
Your Weight as You Age
As you get older, your weight is going to shift. Does that mean that, as an older adult, it’s impossible to lose weight? Of course not! However, there are some considerations you’ll need to keep in mind – losing weight in your twenties is much different than when you’re in your fifties!
If you’re trying to lose weight as an older adult, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. One reason for this is that your ideal BMI may actually change. Recent studies have shown that adults over 65 years of age may be at lower risk for health conditions with a body mass index that’s slightly higher. To summarize the studies, older adults with a BMI closer to 25 had the lowest mortality rate. Those with a BMI on the lower end of the spectrum had the highest mortality rate.
Several factors impact your weight as you age. Of course, there are those hormones. Then, it’s been shown that your metabolic rate slows as you age. Your body produces insulin differently, and your muscle density decreases.
Older adults who are trying to lose weight should consult with a doctor. Together, you can determine how your health concerns, lifestyle, medications and body composition will affect the way you lose weight.
Part Two: In a Nutshell
No matter who you are, there are biological and medical factors that will impact your weight loss strategy. Your medications may cause your loss to slow, and so will stress and a lack of sleep! Even your hormonal cycles and the natural aging process can impact your weight loss efforts.
It’s important to remember that everyone loses weight differently. If you’re affected by one or more of these factors, talk with your doctor about developing a weight loss plan that’s suitable to you. Natural and medical influences don’t have to mean you can’t have weight loss success!
3. Part Three – The Quick Fix
We’ve touched on it several times in this guide: there’s really no such thing as a “quick fix” for obesity. Can you lose a few pounds in a week or two? Sure! Is that weight loss sustainable? Usually not.
That said, there are circumstances which certainly warrant this type of weight loss quick fix. Frequently cited reasons for wanting to lose weight quickly include:
- An upcoming wedding
- High school or college reunions
- Those jeans that got just a bit too tight
- A blind date
- Bikini season
- A bloated, full feeling
As you can see, the reasons for a quick weight loss are varied – and often fun! If you want to lose weight quickly, read on. Let’s take a closer look at fast weight loss, and whether it’s right for you.
What is the Best Way to Lose Weight Quickly?
The best way to lose weight quickly is, in short, by making healthy choices. There are a few things you should not do in order to lose weight fast, no matter how motivated you may be.
First, don’t rely solely on weight loss pills. That’s especially true for pills that contain dangerous ingredients like ephedra. We’re going to look more closely at weight loss pills in a later section of this guide. For now, suffice to say that most diet pills don’t work, so it’s best not to use them for quick weight loss.
Secondly, don’t resort to cutting your calories to an unhealthy level. Unnecessary fasting (or even starvation) are very dangerous and can cause long-term changes to your metabolism. The weight loss you experience through fasting is not sustainable – you’ll gain weight right back once your resume eating normally.
Third, it goes without saying that anorexic and bulimic tendencies are not safe, nor are they healthy. In fact they’re extremely dangerous, and carry severe health risks. Bulimia and anorexia impact your heart, your nervous system and other bodily functions. They’ll also cause cosmetic issues with your skin, hair and teeth.
Finally, don’t rely on fad diets. There are some diets out there that advertise a quick fix weight loss – the cabbage soup diet, for instance, or “detox” diets. Some of these are safe, others are not. If you want to try a fad diet, talk to your doctor before you begin. And, above all, use common sense. The cotton ball diet is one example of, for lack of a better word, a stupid decision made in an effort to lose weight.
So, what is the best way to lose weight quickly? By making good choices! Of course, there are a few ticks you can hold up your sleeve to help the process along. Let’s take a look.
How to Lose Weight Quickly
Doctors and scientists agree: a one to two pound weight loss each week is healthy. There may be special populations in which this is not the case, including postpartum women, heavily obese people and the senior population. However, if you’re otherwise healthy, a pound or two per week over the long term is perfectly healthy.
That said, you can lose weight more quickly than that in the beginning. In fact, a faster weight loss is likely during the first few weeks of your program. There are two very good reasons for that.
First, given the same amount of exercise, a heavier person has a higher metabolic rate than a lighter person. Naturally, as you begin to lose weight your metabolic rate will decrease. What does this mean? It means if you’re overweight you’ll literally burn more calories just by sitting on the couch than a person with a healthy BMI. As you slim down, this will level off.
Secondly, much of what you’ll lose in the first few weeks of your program is fluid, also known as “water weight.” As you cut your calories and carbs, your body will use glycogen more efficiently. Cutting down on the carbs you eat will cause you to feel less bloated, which is natural: two cups of water weighs a whole pound!
With that in mind, it’s possible to lose as much as ten pounds in just a few weeks by following a very healthy nutritional plan and participating in healthy levels of exercise. If you’re in a hurry, though, there are a few things you can try.
How to Lose Weight in One Week
First things first: if you want to lose weight in a week be sure you clear any lifestyle changes with your doctor. Fast weight loss is not healthy for all people, particularly those with diabetes or heart conditions.
Now! Once you’ve done that, it’s time to get started! Here’s how to lose weight in one week.
- Determine how many calories you should consume each day. For some, tat number may be 1800 to lose weight. For others it may be as few as 1200.
- Find an online calorie counter or an app you can use to help you track your caloric intake. We like MyFitnessPal, but there are certainly others out there.
- Cut out carbs – not completely, but strive to eat more protein and lean meats. Increase your fiber and fill half your plate with vegetables at each meal. Great protein choices include eggs, chicken, tuna, nuts and turkey.
- Set an eating curfew – for example, don’t eat past 8 pm.
- Cut your sodium! Sodium will cause you to retain water, giving you a bloated feeling and look.
- Drink water! Half a gallon each day is a good amount of water. Add lemon if you like – lemon is a natural diuretic and helps flush the fluids from your body.
- Exercise! You don’t have to go crazy. Just taking a walk after breakfast or after supper will give your metabolism the boost it needs to help you lose weight quickly.
That’s it! That’s all you have to do to lose weight in a week! By the end of the first week, you should see a weight loss of around five pounds. Remember that most of this is fluid weight, and not actually a body fat loss. However, just those five pounds can give you more energy as well as trim your belly and help you look better in that dress!
How to Lose Weight in Two Weeks
If you’ve got a little more time, you can lose up to ten pounds in two weeks. Again, check with your doctor before beginning a new diet so as not to interfere with your medications or overall health.
To lose weight in two weeks, you’ll need to follow the steps outlined above. However, that additional week will give you a little wiggle room to take advantage of a few “secret weapons.”
Here are a few additions you can add to the one-week plan in order to lose weight in two weeks.
- Drink green tea. Green tea contains catechins, which are proven to help you lose weight. It’s okay to drink green tea cold! Just don’t add sugar to your tea.
- Amp up your workout. Again, you don’t have to go crazy. But, if it’s healthy for your heart and your health, try HIIT (high intensity interval training). HIIT is short, intense bursts of exercise followed by periods of “active rest.”
- Cut out sugar – completely. This doesn’t mean you should do away with carbs, as they’re essential to your health and energy. But cutting out the sugar in your coffee, carbonated drinks and other forms of refined sugar will greatly improve your weight loss.
- Change your sleep patterns. Plan to sleep for seven to eight hours every night. And set an alarm to wake at the same time each morning.
- Change the way you think of fat. By reducing saturated fats and switching to healthy fats, you can lose weight in two weeks. Try foods like nuts and avocado, and switch to cooking with olive oil.
Remember that weight loss varies from person to person. However, most individuals can lose up to ten pounds in just two weeks by making these changes.
How to Lose Weight in One Month
If you’ve for a whole month, you’re in good shape, both literally and figuratively! A month is ample time to begin establishing healthy habits that will stick with you for life.
By changing your habits as we described above, you can lose a significant amount of weight in just one month. Again, weight loss will vary from person to person, but most people can lose around 15 pounds in thirty days.
Here’s what’s important to remember about a one-month weight loss plan: it must be sustainable. Fasting, fad diets and diet pills are not healthy options for long term weight loss. They can cause damage to your liver, your kidneys, your heart and your brain function.
If you do find yourself with a whole month in which to lose weight, why not commit to making some long term changes? Gradually begin to:
- Eat refined sugars only in moderation.
- Drink green tea, but keep it unsweetened!
- Measure your food to familiarize yourself with portion sizes.
- Switch to whole grains and avoid processed carbs.
- Skip the soda.
- Take steps to lessen your stress.
- Get a healthy amount of sleep.
- Begin to incorporate regular exercise into your routine.
With a whole month to play with, you can see some drastic changes in your weight and your energy levels. But, what’s more is that you can also see significant improvements in your overall health.
How to Lose Weight as a Girl
If you’ve ever compared weight loss between men and women, you may have noticed that men tend to lose weight more quickly. Studies have shown it: men lose weight faster than women do … in the beginning.
Rest assured, women. Despite those pesky hormonal fluctuations and the fact that women carry weight differently than men, it all evens out in the end. Over a six month period, the weight loss results across populations of men and women was almost exactly the same. So while your husband may be dropping pounds like crazy, there’s no need to worry. You’ll lose the same amount of weight in the end.
Girls and women need to stay mindful of hormonal fluctuations. If you’re in menopause or on your period, you may find that you’re hungrier or more tempted to snack. By keeping only healthy foods in your home, you’ll eliminate the temptation to reach for unhealthy foods, which in turn will help you lose weight.
Part Three: In a Nutshell
Losing weight quickly is a great option if you’ve got a big event coming up, or if you just feel like your jeans are a little too snug. However, it’s critical that you do so in a healthy way.
Stay away from unsustainable fad diets. These diets are unhealthy and can be harmful to your body. In other words, they’ll cause more harm than good. Opt instead to choose lifestyle changes that you can stick with.
Whether you’re following a weight loss plan for a week, two weeks, a month or a lifetime, it’s essential that you keep your overall health front and center. Don’t make rash decisions, and use common sense. In doing so, you can lose weight quickly and in a way that’s good for your body!
4. Part Four – The Jungle of Supplements
There’s no doubt about it – you can lose weight safely and effectively through a solid exercise routine and a healthy diet. But what if you need a little boost?
There are oodles of nutritional supplements on the market. No matter where you live, there’s a good chance your drugstore is packed with fat burners, vitamins, metabolism boosters and appetite suppressants.
If you’re having trouble navigating the jungle of supplements, we’re here to help. Let’s look at what’s out there – the herbs, vitamins, supplements and more – and what works best.
Weight Loss Pills and Tablets
When you’re shopping for weight loss pills and nutritional supplements, there’s no lack of options. Several of the types you’ll encounter include:
- Weight loss pills and tablets
- Weight loss powders
- Appetite suppressants
- Fat burners
- Herbal products
In this part of our guide, we’re going to look at each of these in turn, then we’ll talk about the best supplements for weight loss.
Before we begin, though, we have two points for you to keep in mind. First, not all weight loss supplements are safe. There are many ingredients which have been banned by governing agencies because they’ve caused health complications, and in some cases have been fatal.
Prior to taking any supplement, bring the bottle to your physician. If you can’t make an appointment, that’s okay! Even your local pharmacist will be able to tell you whether your weight loss supplements are safe, or whether they’ll interact with medications you’re currently taking.
Secondly, weight loss pills aren’t miracle pills. You shouldn’t expect to rely solely on weight loss pills to reach your ideal body mass index. Instead, choose a supplement that works well with your lifestyle and use it as a tool to stay on track in your weight loss progress.
As you’ll soon learn, there are different pills for different purposes; let’s take a peek at what these supplements are, and who they’ll work best for.
Weight Loss Powders
First, let’s talk about weight loss powders. Generally speaking, weight loss powders are protein powders. People who are trying to lose weight mix these proteins with their shakes or smoothies to add a low-calorie, lean protein source to their diet.
There are pros and cons to weight loss powders if you’re trying to control your weight. In many cases, these powders and shakes can provide a nutritious alternative to fast food – within limits. Here’s what you need to know about weight loss powders.
- Some weight loss powders are high in sugars. This is great if you’re about to work out, but may cause setbacks if you’re trying to lose weight.
- Weight loss powders must usually be accompanied by a vitamin, as they don’t contain the daily nutrients you need.
- Weight loss powders made from whey protein are designed to build muscle and may cause you to gain weight.
- Using a weight loss powder is not a sustainable choice. After all, you can’t live on protein shakes forever!
- Weight loss powders are easy to prepare and very versatile. There are dozens of flavors available, too.
- There are many low-sugar weight loss powders as well as powders for diabetics, lactose intolerant people and more.
If you’re considering using a weight loss powder to help you reach your weight loss goals, excellent! Just remember that they’re not a long term solution, and that you should check with your doctor to make sure the powders are a good fit for you.
Weight Loss Appetite Suppressants
Now, let’s take a look at another common weight loss pill – the appetite suppressant. Appetite suppressants come in two forms: herbal and pharmaceutical. The pharmaceutical variety of appetite suppressants are becoming fewer and farther between. Many have undergone studies which have proven that they’re harmful, and some have been shown to be ineffective.
Because not all brands are available in all countries, we’re going to stick with herbal appetite suppressants in this guide. There are a few well-known herbs which are used as appetite suppressants. Let’s look at a few of those.
Garcinia cambogia is one of the most well-known herbal appetite suppressants. It’s been used for years in combination with other diet supplements, and is generally considered to be safe for daily use.
Garcinia cambogia is an herbal product, and therefore is not evaluated by governing agencies like the Food and Drug Administration. However, several studies have been done. In one study, overweight women were given either the herb or a placebo. Those who took garcinia cambogia showed triglyceride levels decreased by a third after just 60 days!
While garcinia cambogia isn’t a proven appetite suppressant, many men and women have had positive reviews of the supplement.
Green tea is another supplement commonly found in herbal products. It’s not strictly an appetite suppressant, but has been proven in studies to help accelerate weight loss.
A derivative of green tea, when injected in rats, caused the animals to lose 21 percent of their body weight. Green tea was also shown to reduce the size of tumors in rats.
reen tea is available in pill form and, of course, as a drink. It’s great iced, too – just add a splash of lemon for a refreshing drink that helps you lose weight.
Fiber is a proven appetite suppressant. As you know, fiber is found in many foods like broccoli and whole grains. However, it’s also available in tablet form.
Fiber is an awesome nutrient that naturally makes you feel full. When taken as part of a healthy diet, you may consume fewer calories and therefore make your weight loss efforts more effective.
Studies show that simply adding additional fiber to your diet may help you lose weight, improve your insulin response and even lower your blood pressure – even without other nutritional changes!
Fenugreek is a supplement that carries a one-two punch. First, it’s a great source of fiber! You already know the benefits of fiber added to your diet.
Secondly, fenugreek has been shown to help control your blood sugar. That means fewer cravings for carbohydrates and sugars. In animal studies, fenugreek has been shown to lower fasting blood sugar and maintain healthy lipid levels. Some of those studies have been conducted in humans with the same result.
Just as there are natural appetite suppressants, there are also natural fat burners. Once again, we’ll refrain from discussing brands. Instead, let’s look at some of the most common natural fat burners found in weight loss pills andtablets.
You’ll find caffeine in many fat burner supplements. Caffeine has actually been shown to increase the rate at which your body metabolizes fat.
Can you lose weight while drinking coffee? Well, sure. But taking supplements which contain caffeine is easier, and certainly gentler on your stomach!
Yohimbine isn’t the most well-known fat burners. However, it’s found in some fat burning weight loss pills and may help your body process the foods you eat.
The most convincing study was conducted among twenty soccer players. These athletes took ten milligrams of the supplement twice daily for three weeks. The result? An average of 2.2 percent body fat loss!
Yep! The stuff you put on your wings and in your chili can actually help you burn fat. Thanks to a natural chemical called capsaicin, cayenne pepper can help increase your weight loss.
Cayenne pepper is what’s called a thermogenic chemical, and can help speed your metabolism. At the same time, cayenne pepper can help to decrease your appetite.
Herbs for Weight Loss
As you can see, when you’re searching for weight loss supplements you’ve got plenty of options! We’ve only touched on a handful of herbs here – specifically for appetite control and fat burning.
Let’s take just a moment to consider a few other herbs for weight loss you may find in your over the counter products.
- Cinnamon is commonly used for weight loss. It’s said to boost your metabolism as well as lower cholesterol levels.
- Lemon, though not an herb, is a great addition to your weight loss program. Lemon is a diuretic and can help flush fluids from your body.
- Ginger helps improve your digestion, which means it’s a great addition to your diet. You can take ginger in capsule form or, if you like the taste, drink ginger tea.
- Cardamom is frequently used in India as a metabolic aid. It may help speed your metabolism.
- Ginseng is another herb that can accelerate weight loss. It’s been shown to alter the way fat is absorbed by your body.
Once again, be sure you clear any herbal weight loss products with your doctor. Some may interfere with medications your taking, while others may accelerate your heart rate or blood pressure. Always check the safety of your supplements before adding them to your routine.
We’re going to keep this short and to the point: everyone who’s trying to lose weight should take a multivitamin. As you reduce the number of calories you consume, it’s also likely you’re reducing the number of nutrients you consume. Be sure you’re taking a vitamin daily to maintain optimal health.
A good vitamin will contain, at the very least, the following seven ingredients:
- Vitamin D
- Folic acid
- Vitamin B
Depending on your lifestyle, it may also be necessary to incorporate other vitamins. Vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and others may be deficient in your diet, so be sure to – you guessed it – check with your doctor!
What is the Best Weight Loss Supplement to Lose Weight?
Most weight loss supplements haven’t yet been fully evaluated. There are some that have shown to be more effective than others – garcinia cambogia and green tea top the list – but they’re not guaranteed.
To determine which weight loss supplement is best for you, consider your lifestyle! Here are a few pointers:
- If you find yourself craving fatty foods, or if you frequently eat out, fat burners might be best for you.
- If you find yourself craving sugars and carbs, or if you snack frequently, an appetite suppressant could be a good choice.
- If you work out regularly and need an energy boost, try a weight loss powder for the stamina you need.
- If you’re looking for a “quick fix” weight loss plan, powders can work well for you. Just remember that they’re not a sustainable, long-term weight loss solution.
- No matter what you choose, it’s imperative that you take a multivitamin daily for optimal health.
Part Four: In a Nutshell
Navigating the jungle of supplements can be overwhelming! There are so many products on the shelves, and it’s hard to know what’s going to work.
In a consultation with your doctor, you can determine whether a fat burner, an appetite suppressant or a protein powder is best for your lifestyle. Remember that weight loss pills and supplements aren’t a one-stop solution. They’re great to give your weight loss a boost, but won’t work well on their own.
5. Part Five – Diets for Weight Loss
If you’re reading this guide from start to finish, you now know that it’s possible to lose weight quickly. It’s also possible to use supplements to enhance your weight loss efforts – they’re not miracle drugs, but they can certainly help!
Now we’re going to look a little further into weight loss – we’ll take a look at specific diets. Many people love to have a bit of structure in their weight loss. If that sounds like you, you’ve probably explored diet options.
There are quite a few diets out there – all you have to do is take a look at a Google search to see what we mean. Like diet pills and supplements, it can be hard to narrow down which plans are safe and which ones are just fads.
We’re here to make things simple for you! We’re going to go through some of the most popular diets today so that you can determine which is best for you.
Are you ready? Let’s get started!
Which Diets are Best for Losing Weight?
We’ve mentioned it elsewhere in this guide: a diet that works is a diet that’s sustainable. Fad diets and quick fixes may help you to lose weight over a short period of time. But a sustainable diet that you can follow for, literally, the rest of your life is the diet that’s going to work the best.
As with anything, be sure to check with your doctor to make sure that any specific diet is safe for your health. If you have diabetes, heart trouble, kidney issues or any other health concerns there may be exceptions to your dietary plan.
If you have the option, you may also choose to speak with a dietician. Dieticians are often accessible through your insurance, or even with a referral from your doctor. A dietician is someone who knows the ins and outs of food nutrition. He or she can custom-fit a dietary plan to your lifestyle. For example, a kosher or vegan diet.
Once you’ve cleared a diet with your doctor, it’s time to get started! Here are some of the most popular diets people are following today.
The Low Carb Diet
The term “lo carb diet” is kind of a catch all. There are many diets that fit under this category – the Atkins diet, the caveman diet and others – and all are slightly unique. However, all have one thing in common. As you’d expect, these diets limit the number of carbohydrates a dieter eats.
Generally speaking, a low carb diet focuses on proteins from eggs, fish, lean meats and even nuts. There are exceptions, though. For instance, the Atkins diet allows foods like beef and bacon, and the caveman diet (also known as the paleo diet) allows pretty much any meats at all, regardless of fat content.
If you’re considering a low-carb diet, remember that cutting out all carbohydrates is extremely unhealthy. A lack of carbohydrates causes a condition called ketosis, which comes with some nasty symptoms.
Symptoms of ketosis include:
- Bad breath
- Loss of concentration
- Memory trouble
In other words, it’s just not a good idea to cut out carbs entirely.
Are you considering a low-carb diet? Here’s what you need to remember.
- Your body does need a healthy number of carbohydrates in order to function properly. Don’t cut carbs out entirely, or you’ll be risking your health.
- The proteins you eat should be lean and healthy. Chicken, salmon, tuna, eggs, turkey, beans, nuts and soy are good choices. Limit your beef, bacon, pork and processed meats like sandwich meat.When choosing between farm-raised and wild caught fish, always choose wild caught. It’s more nutritious than its farm-raised counterpart.
- The carbohydrates in fruits and veggies are often from fiber. Fiber doesn’t break down in your body! While you should still count these calories, they’re a good alternative to grains and starchy carbs.
- Use common sense! If you begin to feel tired, cranky, dizzy or exhibit any other symptoms, talk to your doctor about whether a low-carb diet is right for you.
High Protein Diets
We touched on high protein diets when we discussed low-carb diets. However, there are some differences between the two. Many focus solely on the protein aspect of the diet, with little regard to nutrients and healthy carbs.
Dieticians, as a whole, consider many high protein diets to be unhealthy and unbalanced. There are also many health risks to a diet that focuses on protein. These risks include:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Kidney stress
- Kidney stones
It’s been proven that cutting the number of refined carbohydrates in your diet can help you lose weight. However, consult with a nutritionist to ensure you’re not doing more harm than good with your dietary plan.
The Paleo Diet
The paleo diet has become one of the biggest fads in recent years. The premise behind the plan is that cavemen (and women) were virile, strong and active. They thrived on a hunter-gatherer lifestyle, and it was somehow deduced that today’s humans would benefit from following their eating habits.
What’s often not considered is that cavemen had an average lifespan of a person in the paleolithic era was just 45 years. Now, these people didn’t have access to antibiotics, cancer treatments or other wonders of modern medicine. But it’s fair to say that if someone were to die at 45 years old today, it certainly would not be considered average.
That said, if you want to know more about the paleo diet, we’re happy to oblige. The paleo diet says you can eat everything the cavemen did, and nothing they didn’t. The diet certainly is a switch from what we eat today. Here are a few of the foods that are restricted on the paleo diet:
- Pasta and bread
- Refined oils like canola oil
- Peanut butter
- Refined sugar, like ice cream and candy
- Wine and beer
According to paleo fans, these foods weren’t eaten by cavemen and shouldn’t be eaten today. So what can you eat on the paleo diet?
- Grass fed meats
- Fish and shellfish
- Nuts and seeds, excluding peanuts
- Fresh fruit
- Fresh veggies
The paleo diet is restrictive, and it’s not for everyone. Some dieticians say it’s unhealthy, too, so it’s best to check with your doctor before diving in, caveman-style.
Another high-protein, low-carb diet is the ketogenic diet. Like the caveman diet, it’s very popular today, but doesn’t come without its risks.
The ketogenic diet allows, in most cases, no more than 50 grams of carbohydrates each day. That’s about the equivalent of two medium bananas. The premise behind the keto diet is that when your body runs out of carbs to burn, it will begin to burn fat.
That’s true, and a ketogenic diet can help you lose weight. However, there are two problems with this. The first is that the diet is not sustainable. You can not cut out carbs forever. The second is that there are severe risks associated with the plan. These risks include:
- The “keto flu” (vomiting, fatigue and lethargy)
- Ketoacidosis, which is the number one killer of those with Type 1 diabetes
- Kidney and liver damage
- Damage to the brain
Of course, not all who follow a ketogenic diet will experience these symptoms. It would be foolish, however, to ignore the risks.
Fasting serves many purposes. Some fasting is done for spiritual purposes. Some for religious reasons. Still other fasting is done for weight loss purposes.
So is fasting an effective weight loss solution? Well, no. And there’s one simple reason why: you can’t fast for the rest of your life. Your body needs food – it’s just a fact. You can’t skip food forever.
That said, fasting is sometimes limited to certain times of day. For instance. Certain religion groups, during a fast, will only eat after sundown. In that case, fasting is fine, provided you do it in a healthy way.
We’ve mentioned several times in this guide that setting a food curfew is a good idea to help you lose weight. You can fast by doing this! For example, you may choose to fast from sundown to sunup. If you’re a night shift worker, maybe you’ll fast from sunup to sundown.
A complete fast for a day or two – that is, avoiding food entirely – isn’t necessarily harmful. It’s not the healthiest choice, but may help to give your metabolism the initial kick it needs to begin a weight loss plan. It can also help you to break a plateau if your weight loss has slowed.
In short, there’s healthy fasting and there’s unhealthy fasting. Fasting as a diet is not a sustainable option and should not be considered.
Vegetarian and Vegan Diets
Some would argue that vegetarianism and veganism aren’t diets, but are lifestyle choices. Many people who choose these diets do so because of a concern for the welfare of animals more than because of a desire to lose weight.
However, even if you’re a carnivore, there are benefits to a vegetarian or vegan diet! Done right, there diets can greatly improve your health and assist you in losing weight. You may have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressureand a healthier heart and organs.
However, when not done right, you can actually gain weight on a vegetarian diet. After all, ice cream is technically vegetarian. So are M&Ms. As with any diet, it’s important that you eat the right foods on a vegetarian or vegan diet to lose weight.
There’s one other risk to a vegan diet: malnutrition. Many who are new to the diet aren’t sure exactly how to get the right balance of starches, proteins and other nutrients. If you need help, talk to a dietician. Or, simply order a vegetarian cookbook for some inspiration!
Which Diet Should I Choose to Lose Weight?
Not all diets fit all lifestyles. You’re going to have to consider many factors before you choose the diet that’s best for you.
- Your activity level
- Your willingness to give up meat
- Your willingness to give up carbs
- Your health conditions, especially diabetes, your heart and your kidneys
- Your family’s willingness to support you
There are more, of course. Only you can decide what impacts you most.
We would be remiss not to mention, though, that the best diet is a balanced diet. Include plenty of proteins, fruits and vegetables in your meals. Limit the refined sugars you eat. Eat consciously and limit your snacks. And be sure your meats are lean and light, like chicken and fish.
It’s long been known – it’s proven – that the best diet is one that includes nutritious foods in moderation and ahealthy amount of exercise. Losing weight isn’t an act of magic. In fact, it’s usually just an act of common sense.
Part Five: In a Nutshell
There are just about as many diets out there as there are dieters! It can be hard to choose which one will be the best, or the most effective for you.
Before you start a diet, talk with your doctor or a nutritionist. Together, you can decide which will be compatible with your lifestyle and any health conditions you may have.
Then, it’s time to lose weight! Above all, use your common sense, and if you notice any odd symptoms, talk to your doc right away. Your overall health is your first concern – don’t compromise that in favor of a smaller pant size.
6. Part Six – Food
You’re now familiar with weight loss supplements and the different types of diets you could choose from. You know that a healthy diet consists of a balance of veggies, proteins and carbohydrates.
People who have the most success in weight loss understand the foods they’re eating. That is to say, when you’re aware of what you’re putting into your body, you’re more conscious of the choices you make throughout the day.
In this section, we’re going to look a little more closely at your daily meals, and at the dos and don’ts of weight loss.
How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose Weight?
Perhaps the easiest type of diet is the one in which you track the daily calories you consume. In most cases, weight loss follows a simple formula: if you consume fewer calories than you burn, you’ll lose weight.
Your weight loss goals and your current weight will play a large part in the answer to this question. However, it’s assumed that most women need 2,000 calories per day to maintain their current weight. To lose one pound per week, which is a healthy rate of loss, she must consume 1,500 calories.
For men, the calories necessary to maintain weight are 2,500. To lose weight, he should consume 2,000 calories per day. That, too, amounts to around a one pound per week average.
Your health will play a role in this, too. If you’re diabetic or if you’re obese, for instance, your caloric requirements may be much different. As always, talk to your doctor before you set a calorie goal.
What is the Best Food to Lose Weight?
There’s no one magical food that’s going to cause instant weight loss. However, there are some considerations you should pay attention to when you’re choosing your weight loss foods.
Fiber is extremely important for weight loss. We discussed this earlier in this guide. If you missed it, the carbohydrates in fiber aren’t digested by your body. In that way, they’ll make you feel full and cause you to eat less while they pass through your digestive tract.
Lean meats are also important in weight loss. It’s better to choose proteins like eggs, nuts, chicken and wild-caught fish than the “heavier” meats like pork or beef. That’s not to say you can’t enjoy a steak now and then. Just do so in moderation, and watch your portions.
Your body does need carbohydrates for optimal performance! That said, you should avoid the refined sugars and processed grains. Choose whole grains instead, or get carbs from fruits and veggies.
Fat is also important. Fat protects your brain and keeps your nervous system healthy. when possible, opt for unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats.
Are you the type of person who needs a list? Here are some of the best foods, when eaten in moderation, to lose eight.
- Wild-caught salmon
- Fresh fruits
There are plenty more, of course, but these are nutrient-packed options that are easily digested by your body.
What Breakfast Should I Eat to Lose Weight?
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, that may or may not be true. Eating breakfast first thing in the morning is shown to boost your metabolism, meaning you’ll burn more calories throughout the day. However, eating bacon and fried eggs each morning isn’t such a great idea.
Keep your breakfast lean and keep your energy in mind. Eggs are a great choice; boil them or poach them. Yogurt,grapefruit, rolled oats, berries and bananas are also great breakfast foods.
Most people find that they’re just fine skipping the starch at breakfast. So we recommend you skip the toast and save that “splurge” for later in the day.
What Should I Eat for Lunch to Lose Weight?
Your lunch should be light, too! But that doesn’t mean you have to have a salad every day to lose weight. There are plenty of options you can choose from, and all are tasty and filling!
Skip the fast food. Fast food isn’t necessarily nutrient-poor, but it’s very fatty and salty. If you find yourself in a pinch, say you forgot to bring your lunch to work, you’d do better to go buy a pre-made grocery store sandwich or salad.
If you have time, prepare your lunches the night before. Buy a bento box or an insulated lunchbox so you can bring your food with you and ensure a healthy meal while you’re at work. If you don’t have time, your local smoothie bar or the salad bar at your local grocer provide great, lean options.
What you choose for lunch is up to you! But there are great, light and healthy options you can choose from. Here are a few examples.
Some people really enjoy beans! Kidney beans, in particular, make a great snack. Just a little bit of salt sprinkled on beans can provide a nutritious lunch when combined with rice and Cajun seasoning!
Soup is very filling, and many soups are quite nutritious. Opt for the soups that are in broth rather than cream sauce. Chicken noodle, split pea soup and lentils are all excellent choices.
If you’ve got a smoothie bar or a health club nearby, you’re lucky! You can pop over at lunch time and get a low-carb, high protein shake in just a few moments’ time. Watch the sugar, though!
Once you become a weight loss vet, you’ll be a pro at dressing up a can of tuna! Tuna is great with hot sauce, with light Italian dressing and with low-cal ranch. If you want to make tuna salad, add an egg! A large hard-boiled egg adds just 70 calories to your meal.
Sandwiches and Wraps
Generally speaking, sandwiches and wraps have the potential to be quite healthy. The trouble comes when people add strange things to their sandwiches. Keep your sandwich simple. Grilled chicken breast, a leaf of lettuce, some onion and a tomato slice is perfect. Add a bit of mustard and some pepper and you’ve got a filling lunch! Just make sure you use whole grain bread.
What Should I Eat Before Bed to Lose Weight?
In a word, nothing. Your dinners should be along the same lines as your lunch, except that you should fill about half your plate with veggies. Use fresh veggies if you can. Lean meats are essential to keep you feeling full all night.
It’s okay to sip a glass of wine (just a glass) with your supper. Remember, though, that alcohol changes the way your body metabolizes your food. Keep those calories in mind, too! Just five ounces (one serving) of red wine contains 125 calories!
After supper, set yourself a food curfew. This is especially helpful when you’re first beginning your diet. For example, tell yourself you’re not going to eat past 8 pm, then follow through! Set an alarm if you need to, or retreat to your bedroom where the temptation won’t be present.
The key point to remember is that eating at night interrupts your sleep and wake cycle, and can cause your body to store those calories rather than burn them. Limiting your food intake at night is very important to weight loss.
What Should I Not Eat to Lose Weight?
This is a very important question. There are some obvious food choices that are less healthy than others. Unhealthy food choices include:
- Fatty foods like bacon
- Refined sugars like in candy and ice creamExcessive alcohol
- Fried foods (chips, fries, fried meats)
- Soda and other sugary drinks
- White bread, to an extent. Opt for whole grain bread.
With that in mind, there’s something important you should remember: having that soda, or dessert with friends, is not a failure. Eating a bite of a candy bar today, while you’re craving it, can satisfy you enough to prevent you from eating two candy bars tomorrow.
You can cave in every now and then. But it’s recommended that you don’t indulge in a cheat day. Rather, choose to have a cheat moment. It’ll help keep you on track, so long as you don’t indulge too frequently.
What Carbs Should I Eat to Lose Weight?
Carbohydrates come in many forms. Carbs are much more than just bread! You’ll find them in pasta and rice, sure. But you’ll also find carbohydrates in vegetables like squash and peas, in corn and even in pumpkin. You can also get carbs from fruits like watermelon, strawberries and pears.
The key is to choose carbs that also provide nutrients to your body. The specific number of grams of carbohydrates you eat will depend on the diet you choose to follow, and your doctor’s recommendations.
What Proteins Should I Eat to Lose Weight
Like carbs, proteins come from many sources. You can choose to eat lean meats like chicken and fish. If you’re vegetarian, you can choose eggs and dairy. Vegan? No problem! You’ll get protein from beans, soy and other plant-based sources.
Avoid the fatty foods like bacon and limit your red meats like beef and venison. Keep your protein lean and light!
Can I Cut Fat from My Diet?
No! It would be almost impossible to cut fat from your diet anyway. But if you did, you’d be putting yourself at serious risk for some big health concerns. Fats are essential because:
- They keep your body insulated and warm
- They help protect your brain function
- They’re essential for healthy joints
- They keep your skin and hair healthy
- They’re important for proper organ function
Fats are essential to human health. However, you should be sure you’re consuming the right kind of fats. Choose foods like salmon, eggs, cheese, dairy and avocado. Cooking with olive oil instead of butter is also a great idea.
Part Six: In a Nutshell
Ask anyone who’s been successful in weight loss and they’ll tell you: much of the process is psychological. Willpower and the ability to make healthy choices will almost ensure that you lose weight, no matter which plan you choose.
Whether you’re on a vegan diet of a high protein plan, think about the foods you’re eating. Ensure that you’re getting ample proteins, carbs and necessary fats, and you’ll be losing weight in the healthiest way possible.
7. Part Seven – Training
Over the course of this guide, we’ve talked about the best foods to eat to lose weight. We’ve talked about diet pills and weight loss supplements, and how effective they are. And we’ve talked about the different things that may slow (or accelerate) your weight loss.
Did you think we’d forgotten about one of the most important parts of losing weight? Nope! We remember: it’s exercise!
Most people who are healthy enough to diet are also healthy enough to exercise. So how should you go about doing so? Let’s look at physical activity, or training, and how it can help you lose weight in the fastest way possible.
Training: What’s it All About?
We’ve mentioned in this guide that, in summary, weight loss is pretty much just expending more calories than you consume. But if you’re lethargic, either by choice or by profession, that can be easier said than done!
It’s recommended that healthy adults get 150 minutes of exercise each week. Does that sound overwhelming? It’s really not! That equals just thirty minutes, five times each week.
You can get exercise in many, many ways. You can walk, swim, run or jump rope. You can play with your dog or you can even just rake your yard! Exercise comes in many forms, and as long as you’re moving, you’re burning calories.
For the purpose of weight loss, it’s possible you’ll need to “up” the number of minutes of exercise per week. To begin, consider starting with six days per week or even seven. It doesn’t have to be strenuous exercise – just walking at a brisk pace is perfect!
So what should you do to exercise while you’re losing weight? Well, it depends on what you like! Let’s take a look! These figures were taken from a study by Harvard University.
200 calories per 30 minutes in a 185 pound person
Walking is one of the best exercises out there for those who are just beginning to lose weight. It’s easy on the joints, and it’s unlikely to leave you too out of breath. Plus, it’s free! You can literally walk anywhere. Walk around the block for thirty minutes or go to the mall and walk laps. It doesn’t matter – just keep moving!
266 calories per 30 minutes in a 185 pound person
Now, remember: by swimming, we mean actively moving – even just doggie paddling. This doesn’t include floating on your back! Swimming is an excellent exercise for those of you who suffer joint problems. The water makes you feel lightweight, taking stress off your bones and joints. Plus, it burns tons of calories!
266 calories per 30 minutes in a 185 pound person
Not a fan of the pool? That’s okay! You can burn the same number of calories hiking as you do swimming. Plus, you’ll get plenty of fresh air. Visit your local park or even take a trip to the mountains and go for a hike. You’ll burn 266 calories in just a half hour.
178 calories per 30 minutes in a 185 pound person
And you thought the horse did all the work! Horesback riding can actually burn a significant number of calories. As you ride, you’ll also be strengthening your core muscles – like those in your tummy and lower back – as well as your legs.
355 calories per 30 minutes in a 185 pound person
If you’ve been walking a while and want to step it up, you can try running. Running burns significantly more calories than walking, but it’s not as easy on the joints. Make sure your heart is in good health before you go running, and be sure to wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes.
355 calories per 30 minutes in a 185 pound person
If your area is bike friendly, take a ride! Cycling burns as many calories as running, and you’ll reach your destination faster. Once you get into the swing of things, you may even choose to commute to work on your bike. Cycling is fun and it’s a great way to train.
Raking the Lawn
178 calories per 30 minutes in a 185 pound person
We promised you could burn calories by raking the lawn. It’s true: you’ll burn just as many doing vigorous yardwork as you will riding a horse – and almost as many as walking. Your yard will look great and so will you!
222 calories per 30 minutes in a 185 pound person
Just for fun, we decided to throw this one in for the younger crowd. (Or the young at heart.) Hit the half-pipe, because skateboarding burns even more calories than walking will. Skateboarding is a great social activity. Learn a ew cool tricks and show off to your friends!
How to Lose Weight Without Training
Exercise is a great (and pretty essential) part of a healthy lifestyle. There’s no doubt about it: you’re going to accelerate your weight loss if you get some physical activity.
So can you lose weight without exercise? In a word, yes. You can. Remember that weight loss is simply burning more calories than you’re bringing in.
We recommend that, if you’re healthy enough to participate, you add a few hours each week of exercise to your routine. That said, some people just can’t’ get as much activity as others. This could be because of heart trouble, joint issues or even just working very long shifts.
When you exercise, you do more than lose weight. You strengthen your cardiovascular and circulatory systems. You release endorphins that make you a happier person. You improve your overall energy levels. And you’ll increase your resting metabolic rate, meaning you’re burning more calories even when you’re not exercising.
However, if you can’t get the recommended amount of physical activity, don’t worry! It’s actually simple. Just follow the steps we’ve outlined in this guide. These include:
- Getting more sleep (at least 7 hours)
- Adding whole, fresh foods to your diet
- Removing processed, sugary foods from your diet
- Tracking your calories
- Learning about portion sizes
- Drinking water
- If desired, drinking green tea or taking a weight loss supplement
If you can’t get out and about, all is not lost. You can absolutely, 100% lose weight without exercise. Just keep in mind that your progress might be slower than that of your exercising counterparts.
Part Seven: In a Nutshell
Exercise is a fantastic way to accelerate your weight loss. You can join a gym, go for a walk or swim, or even just improve your curb appeal!
Remember that losing weight means a higher output of calories than input. And with every swing of the golf club or backstroke in the pool, you’re doing great things for your weight loss and for your overall health.
You don’t need to exercise to lose weight. You can do so by just cutting calories and making a few lifestyle changes. But for the best, fastest and healthiest weight loss, training is a great tool!
Bonus – Cooking for Weight Loss
Let’s face it. Not all of us can cook. In fact, that’s a frequently cited reason many people gain weight. The amount calories and fats in fast food and restaurant food, not to mention prepackaged food in the grocery store, is phenomenal!
You don’t have to be a Michelin Star chef to cook healthy foods and eat well. There are tons of recipes that are simple to follow and take very little time.
What are the Best Recipes to Lose Weight?
Doing a simple search online for “healthy recipes” will yield thousands of results. But if those recipes are truly healthy, they’ll have a few things in common.
First, those recipes will make use of fresh vegetables. Often the canned veggies you find in grocery stores are packed in a high sodium solution. This is horrible for water retention, and will leave you with a bloated feeling. Those same veggies also often lose valuable nutrients when they’re packed in a tin for so long.
Secondly, those recipes will make use of whole grain foods. Oats, quinoa and other whole grains are great choices.
Third, and you might already know this one, these recipes use lean proteins. You’ll choose from chicken, fish, shellfish, eggs, nuts and seeds, and beans. You don’t have to be afraid of eating grains with beans, either. When beans are mixed with corn, rice and wheat, they create a “complete protein.”
Finally, the fats in these recipes are from the best sources. Olive oil, avocado, nuts, chia seeds, fatty fish and other similar sources are ideal. Fats like mayonnaise, vegetable oils and butter are less than ideal.
In addition to using healthy ingredients, you should be sure your foods aren’t fried! Sauteeing in a bit of olive oil is fine, but deep frying should be reserved for very special occasions. Baking is great, and grilling is both healthy and fun!
Remember to use your imagination, but when all else fails, a little salt, pepper and garlic goes a long, long way!
Breakfast Recipes for Weight Loss
If you look in cookbooks, you’ll notice there are many fatty recipes in the “breakfast” section. French toast, even, is high in calories. That’s not even to mention the bacon, fried eggs and sausage!
For a healthy jumpstart in the morning, try one of these recipes instead, and get a fresh start to your day.
½ cup almond milk (unsweetened)
½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup Greek yogurt
½ mashed banana
The night before you want to eat it, add all ingredients to a plastic storage container or a Mason jar. Add chia seeds if desired. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 5 hours.
In the morning, you can warm them quickly in the microwave or even enjoy them cold! Add a handful of raspberries for extra flavor. If you need to add more liquid, a splash of almond milk will do.
1 large banana
½ cup almond or soy milk (unsweetened)
¼ cup plain or Greek yogurt
2 tbsp peanut butter
Break banana into pieces. Then, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Bananas can also be peeled then frozen – you’ll always have bananas on hand!
Toast with Avocado and Egg
Pinch of salt
1 slice whole grain bread
Combine avocado and salt, then mash. Toast bread, then spread avocado on toast. Cook two eggs sunny side up and layer on the avocado. Enjoy!
Lunch Recipes for Weight Loss
Earlier in this guide, we talked about how to keep lunch light and simple. You can prepare these meals ahead of time and either freeze or refrigerate until you’re ready to enjoy them!
Grilled Chicken Avocado Wrap
1 whole grain tortilla
1 five-ounce chicken breast, sliced into thin strips
Lettuce and tomato if desired
Mustard, light Italian dressing or low-calorie dressing to taste
Grill chicken breasts in a few tablespoons of olive oil. A light sprinkling of salt, some pepper and some garlic may be added to taste. Other seasonings are fine, but watch out for the sodium content!
Cut avocado into slices, then sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning.
On an open tortilla, spread dressing. Next, layer avocado slices in the center of the tortilla. Add chicken, then top with veggies to taste.
To roll your wrap, first fold up the bottom of the tortilla. Then, beginning on one side, roll the remainder into a tight “burrito.”
Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
1 29 ounce can tomato sauce (plain, no salt added)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
½ to 1 cup frozen corn
1 pound lean ground turkey
Minced garlic (or garlic powder)
¼ onion, chopped
Chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper to taste
Did you know that you can freeze chili? That means you can prepare this recipe well in advance. Portion into single servings, then thaw each portion on the day you want it! It seems like a lot of ingredients, but it’s so worth it!
In a large skillet, brown the ground turkey. If it’s still just a little pink, that’s okay.
In a stock pot over medium heat, add turkey, tomato sauce and spices. Allow to simmer until flavors are combined.
When your chili tastes just the way you like, add beans, corn and onion. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
If you want to get creative, there are other things that make great additions to chili.
- Diced tomato
- Diced green, yellow or red peppers
- Black beans
- Cayenne pepper
- Jalapeno pepper
- Sweet potatoes (though these don’t freeze well)
- Dried cranberries
Experiment and find a healthy recipe you love!
Ginger Chicken Soup
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 shredded carrots
6 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 tbsp rice or white vinegar
Soy sauce to taste (low sodium is best)
3 tsp fresh ginger, shredded or minced
2 cups frozen peas
2 ounces whole grain angel hair pasta
This recipe is great if you don’t have a lot of time in the evenings. When you get home from work, just put the ingredients in your slow cooker. In just a few hours, before bed, you can portion out or refrigerate. It’s very low calorie and extremely filling!
In a crock pot, combine all ingredients but peas and pasta. Cook on low until chicken is tender and no longer pink. This should take around 3 hours. Then, add frozen peas and pasta. Cook for 30 minutes more, then remove from heat.
Dinner Recipes for Weight Loss
It’s suppertime! But how will you please everyone? Just because you’re losing weight doesn’t mean your family can’t love what you prepare. Here are a few low-cal, non-fuss recipes to keep the whole family happy at dinner.
Garlic Shrimp with Angel Hair and Vegetables
1 pound peeled shrimp, any size your family likes
Minced garlic to taste
½ onion, sliced or diced
Whole grain angel hair pasta
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 green bell pepper, chopped or sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
This is a super simple recipe – it doesn’t take long at all! You should be boiling your water and cooking your pasta while your shrimp simmers, so have all your ingredients ready ahead of time. Easy peasy! You’re going to love this one… even the kids will!
As your water begins to boil, warm a large non-stick skillet on medium high with several tablespoons of olive oil, your minced garlic and salt and pepper if desired.
At the same time you drop the pasta, put your shrimp in the hot skillet. You’ll need to flip the shrimp after several minutes.
If you like your onions soft, you may choose to add them to the shrimp sooner than later. Otherwise, wait until the shrimp turn a rosy pink, then add he remaining ingredients.
Drain pasta fully, then add a bit of olive oil to prevent from sticking.
Portion into servings, then top with shrimp and veggie mixture.
6 large eggs
1 cup frozen spinach
1 cup milk (soy does not work well)
½ chopped onion
Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
1 ready-made pie crust (see notes)
This recipe does work better with a pie crust. That said, we’ve tried this as a “crustless quiche” and it works just fine! Just use a non-stick pan and spray with cooking oil before pouring the batter in.
Crack eggs into a large bowl. Add milk, spinach and onion and whisk well. Season your quiche with salt, pepper and garlic to taste. (It’s okay to taste, but just a little!)
Pour the mixture into the pie crust or your greased pan.
Cooking times vary anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. Cook for 30 minutes, then check every 15 minutes thereafter. Your quiche is done when a butter knife inserted in the center comes out clean, and your quiche is slightly springy to touch.
Supper of Opportunity
Anything that’s in your pantry
Spices to taste
Here’s where your imagination runs free
Look at your leftovers. What are they? Already-cooked frozen broccoli? Might-be-forgotten-about-tuna? Make a veggie tuna casserole!
You only eat a few ounces of whole grain pasta at each meal. But you’ve got all that leftover spinach from your quiche… Why not mix them with a few other fresh veggies and create a pasta dish all your own? Your neighbors will be begging you for the recipe!
If you keep your pantry stocked with low-fat, low-sodium and low-calorie foods, you’re never going to go wrong.
And remember: cooking is simple. If you’re afraid you might “burn water” just add a little salt, pepper and garlic to the pot. You’ll come out just fine.
Your Weight Loss Journey
When you decided to lose weight, you made one of the best decisions possible for yourself. Maintaining a healthy weight, and staying in a healthy range for body mass index, can mean great things for your health.
When you lose weight, you’ll:
• Experience a lower incidence of depression
• Lower your risk for some cancers
• Strengthen your heart
• Improve your respiratory health
• Be less likely to be diagnosed with diabetes
• Enjoy lower cholesterol
Losing weight isn’t always easy. Those pounds didn’t appear on your body overnight and they’re not going to disappear overnight, either. But with a bit of hard work, motivation and common sense you can achieve your ideal body mass index in no time at all.
We hope you’ve found this guide helpful, and we wish you the absolute best success in your weight loss journey.