- A 7-Step Plan to Lose 10 Pounds in Just One Week
- How to Lose Weight Quickly and Safely
- How to Lose Weight Fast – 14 Ways to Drop 5 Pounds in a Week
- 1. Choose quality over quantity.
- 2. Track your diet.
- 3. Focus on plants
- 4. Opt. for low-glycemic carbs
- 5. Make super small food swaps.
- 6. Don’t skip meals
- 7. Get your protein from lean food sources.
- 8. Pair protein with sweets.
- 9. Opt for higher-fiber carbs.
- 10. Drink more water.
- 11. Imbibe just a little bit less.
- 12. Make a real effort to manage stress.
- 13. Sleep an extra 30 minutes a night.
- 14. Exercise—but not excessively.
- 15. Have all the sex.
- How to lose weight fast: 9 scientific ways to drop fat
- 1. Trying intermittent fasting
- 2. Tracking your diet and exercise
- 3. Eating mindfully
- 4. Eating protein for breakfast
- 5. Cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates
- 6. Eating plenty of fiber
- 7. Balancing gut bacteria
- 8. Getting a good night’s sleep
- 9. Managing your stress levels
- How to Lose Weight Fast – Quick & Easy Weight Loss Tips
- 1. Eat more vegetables, all of the time.
- 2. Build a better breakfast
- 3. Know your limits with salt.
- 4. Drink more coffee.
- 5. Skip sugary beverages.
- 6. Buy a set of 5-pound weights.
- 7. Eat spicy foods — seriously!
- 8. Go to bed.
- 9. Keep a food journal.
- 10. Take a walk!
- 11. Resist the urge to skip a meal.
- 12. Eat your H2O.
- 13. Munch on mineral-rich foods.
- 14. Ignore the gimmicks
- 15. Let yourself off the hook
- 16. Look for our emblem on food labels.
A 7-Step Plan to Lose 10 Pounds in Just One Week
If you want to lose 10 pounds (4.5 kg) in one week, then you need to follow an effective plan.
I've tested this plan on clients who were looking to lose weight fast before an event a vacation or photo shoot, and it works wonders.
In fact, some of my clients who use this look they've been on a three- or four-week diet after just one week.
Although it's not a long-term fix, this can kick-start your weight loss journey and motivate you for more sustainable long-term changes.
This plan is not recommended if you have a history of eating disorders anorexia.
While it's certainly possible to lose 10 lbs in one week, it won't be pure body fat.
Due to the calorie deficit needed to burn each pound of fat, it's simply not possible to safely burn 10 pounds of pure body fat in just one week.
However, this isn't to say you can't lose that much weight and still look leaner.
While a lot of the weight loss will certainly come from body fat, you will also drop pounds by losing excess water weight (1).
This is partly because this plan lowers your insulin levels and makes your body get rid of stored carbs, which bind water.
Although your body can only store about 300–500 grams of carbs in a form known as glycogen, stored glycogen does hold around three times that weight in water (1, 2).
Reduced insulin levels will also make your kidneys shed out excess sodium, leading to reduced water retention (3, 4).
Along with reduced body fat and water weight, you may also lose some weight due to less intestinal waste and undigested food and fiber in the digestive system.
Here are the 7 steps you should follow in order to lose 10 pounds in a week.
You can lose several pounds by following a low-carb diet for just a few days.
In fact, lots of research has shown a low-carb diet is a very effective way to lose weight and improve health (5, 6, 7).
A short-term decrease in carb intake can also reduce water weight and bloating.
This is why people who go low-carb often see a difference on the scale as early as the next morning after starting the diet.
Additionally, making sure you eat plenty of protein can help reduce your appetite even further while boosting your metabolism (8, 9).
Try eliminating or drastically reducing all starchy carbs and sugars for the week. Replace these with low-carb vegetables, while also increasing your intake of eggs, lean meats and fish.
Check out this article to learn more about how to set up a low-carb diet and which foods to include.
Bottom Line: Reducing your carb intake can lead to a significant amount of weight loss, from both body fat and excess water weight. Eating more protein also helps.
When you're trying to lose weight quickly then it can be helpful to eat a simple diet whole foods.
These foods tend to be very filling, and make it easier to eat fewer calories without getting too hungry.
During the week, you should make sure to eat mostly whole, single-ingredient foods. Avoid most foods that are highly processed.
Eating mostly lean proteins and low-carb veggies can be incredibly satisfying even if you're not getting that many calories.
Bottom Line: In order to help you achieve the 10 pound goal, then you should try to eat only whole foods during this week. Base most of your diet on lean protein and low-carb veggies.
Reducing your calorie intake may be the most important factor when it comes to weight loss.
If you aren't eating fewer calories than you expend, then you will not lose fat (10).
Here is a calculator that shows you how many calories you should eat to lose weight (opens in new tab).
Here are a few simple tips to reduce calorie intake:
- Count calories: Weigh and log the foods you eat. Use a calorie counting tool to keep track of the amount of calories and nutrients you are taking in.
- Eat only at meals: Reduce all snacks and don't eat anything after dinner.
- Cut your condiments: Eliminate calorie-dense condiments and sauces.
- Fill up on veggies: Fill your plate with vegetables and limit starchy carbs and added fats for the week.
- Choose lean proteins: Choose lower-fat proteins, such as chicken and fish.
- Don't drink your calories: Instead, opt for water, zero-calorie drinks, tea or coffee. Protein shakes are fine if you count them as a meal.
Bottom Line: Reducing your calorie intake is a vital factor for weight loss. You may need to do this aggressively in order to lose so much weight in just one week.
Exercise is one of the best ways to burn fat and improve your appearance.
Resistance training, such as weight lifting, can lead to a similar amount of weight loss as regular aerobic training. It also helps you add or maintain muscle mass and strength (11, 12).
Full-body resistance training workouts are also a great method to lower your body's carb stores and water weight, which can lead to a sharp decline in weight (13, 14).
Lifting weights can also protect your metabolism and hormone levels, which often decline during dieting (15, 16).
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is another very effective training method.
Research suggests that 5–10 minutes of HIIT can lead to similar or greater benefits for health and weight loss as five times that amount of regular exercise (17, 18, 19).
weight lifting, it can quickly reduce muscle carb stores and also boost other important aspects of weight loss, such as your metabolism and fat-burning hormones (20, 21).
You can perform HIIT three to four times a week after a workout or as part of your normal training regimen. It is very important to do this with 100% effort or intensity. Most sprints should not last more than 30 seconds.
Here are a few protocols you can try. These can be done running in place or outside, or applied to a cardio machine a bike, rower or treadmill:
- Session 1: 10 x 20-second sprint with 40 seconds rest
- Session 2: 15 x 15-second sprint with 30 seconds rest
- Session 3: 7 x 30-second sprint with 60 seconds rest
- Session 4: 20 x 10-second sprint with 20 seconds rest
Bottom Line: Lifting weights and doing high-intensity intervals are among the best ways to lose weight and deplete muscle glycogen stores. They can also boost your metabolism and provide other benefits.
In order to burn extra calories and lose more weight, you can also increase your daily activity.
In fact, how active you are throughout the day when you aren't exercising also plays a very important role in weight loss and obesity (22, 23).
For example, the difference between a desk job and a manual job can account for up to 1,000 calories per day. This is the same as 90 to 120 minutes of high-intensity exercise (24).
Simple lifestyle changes such as walking or biking to work, taking the stairs, going for walks outside, standing more or even cleaning the house can help you burn a lot of calories.
Bottom Line: Increasing your daily activity is a great way to burn extra calories and lose more weight.
Intermittent fasting is another effective and proven tool for dropping fat (25, 26).
It forces you to reduce your calorie intake, since you are limiting your eating to a short window of time.
There are many different protocols, such as a 16-hour fast with an 8-hour feeding window, or a 20-hour fast with a 4-hour feeding window.
If you're combining fasting with exercise, it may be wise to do the fasting at a different time than your workout.
Bottom Line: Intermittent fasting is an excellent method to reduce calorie intake and lose weight.
Several other methods can help you drop water weight and appear leaner and lighter. These include:
- Take dandelion extract: A supplement called dandelion extract can help reduce water retention (27).
- Drink coffee: Coffee is a healthy source of caffeine. Studies suggest that caffeine can help you burn more fat and lose excess water (28).
- Mind your intolerances: Eating things that you are intolerant to, such as gluten or lactose, can lead to excessive water retention and bloating. Avoid foods that you think you may be intolerant to.
Here are 13 more ways to lose excess water weight.
Bottom Line: Other ways to lose water weight include supplementing with dandelion extract, drinking coffee and avoiding foods you are intolerant to.
By optimizing your diet and training regimen you can lose a large amount of weight in just one week.
Although this won't be pure fat loss, it may give you the kick-start and motivation you need to follow a more sustainable diet.
You do not need to follow all of these steps, but the more you apply, the more weight you will lose.
Keep in mind that people who go on “crash diets” often end up gaining all the weight back when they're done.
When the week is over, you should switch to a more sustainable plan so that you can continue to lose weight and keep it off.
How to Lose Weight Quickly and Safely
You want to drop pounds, now. And you want to do it safely. But how?
First, keep in mind that many experts say it’s best to lose weight gradually. It’s more ly to stay off. If you shed pounds too fast, you’ll lose muscle, bone, and water instead of fat, says the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The academy’s advice: Aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week, and avoid fad diets or products that make promises that sound too good to be true. It’s best to base your weight loss on changes you can stick with over time.
For faster results, you’ll need to work with a doctor, to make sure that you stay healthy and get the nutrients that you need.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “calories in, calories out”; as in, you just need to burn more calories than you eat and drink.
But it’s not that simple, as many people can tell you from their own experience.
Your metabolism — how well your body turns calories into fuel — also matters. And if you cut too many calories, it’s bad for you. You slow down your metabolism, and that can make you fall short on some nutrients.
There are many ways you can do this, without cutting calories too much. You could:
- Cut back on portions.
- Figure out how many calories you get in a usual day, and trim back a bit.
- Read food labels to know how many calories are in each serving.
- Drink more water, so you’re not so hungry.
Whatever method you use, you’ll need to favor good-for-you foods vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein so you keep up good nutrition. Working with a dietitian is a good idea, so you make a plan that covers those needs.
Many apps can help you track your eating. Since you probably have your smartphone with you all the time, you can use it to keep up with your plan. Or keep a pen-and-paper food journal of what you ate and when.
You’ll also want to have people on your side to help you stay motivated and to cheer you on. So ask your family and friends to support your efforts to lose weight.
You might also want to join a weight loss group where you can talk about how it’s going with people who can relate. Or talk with someone you know who’s lost weight in a healthy way. Their encouragement is “contagious,” in a good way!
At the most basic level, food is fuel. It gives you energy to do things. But very few people eat just for that reason. It’s at every social gathering. And it’s where a lot of us turn when we have a rough day.
You’ll need to know what makes you want to eat when you’re not hungry, and have a plan for those moments.
The first step is finding out what your triggers are. Is it stress, anger, anxiety, or depression in a certain part of your life? Or is food your main reward when something good happens?
Next, try to notice when those feelings come up, and have a plan ready to do something else instead of eating. Could you take a walk? Text a friend?
Lastly, reward yourself for making a different choice. Just don’t use food as the reward.
You don’t have to go vegan, gluten-free, or quit any particular food group to lose weight. In fact, you’re more ly to keep the pounds off for good if it’s something you can live with for the long term.
But it does make sense to cut way down on, or totally cut out, empty calories.
Limit added sugars. These are the sugars in cookies, cakes, sugar-sweetened drinks, and other items — not the sugars that are naturally in fruits, for instance. Sugary foods often have a lot of calories but few nutrients. Aim to spend less than 10% of your daily calories on added sugars.
Be choosy about carbs. You can decide which ones you eat, and how much.
Look for those that are low on the glycemic index (for instance, asparagus is lower on the glycemic index than a potato) or lower in carbs per serving than others.
Whole grains are better choices than processed items, because processing removes key nutrients such as fiber, iron, and B vitamins. They may be added back, such as in “enriched” bread.
Include protein. It’s satisfying and will help keep up your muscles. There are vegetarian and vegan sources (nuts, beans, and soy are a few), as well as lean meat, poultry, fish, and dairy.
Most Americans get enough protein but could choose to get it from leaner sources, so you may already have plenty in your diet. Your exact protein needs depend on your age, gender, and how active you are.
Make friends with good fats. Small amounts of fat can help you feel full and less you’re on a diet. The better choices are those in fish, nuts and seeds, and olive oil. Those have unsaturated fats — polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats, specifically.
Fill up on fiber. You can get that from vegetables, whole grains, fruits — any plant food will have fiber. Some have more than others. Top sources include artichokes, green peas, broccoli, lentils, and lima beans. Among fruits, raspberries lead the list.
Eat more often. If you eat 5-6 times a day, it could keep hunger at bay. You could split your calories equally across all of those mini-meals, or make some bigger than others. You will need to plan portions so that you don’t end up eating more than you bargained for.
What About Meal Replacements? These products will control your calories. They’re convenient and take the guesswork dieting.
Again, though, you’ll need to change your eating habits to keep the weight off if you go off the meal replacements.
Watch your drinks. One easy way to lose weight quickly is to cut out liquid calories, such as soda, juice, and alcohol. Replace them with zero-calorie drinks lemon water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee.
Diet drinks will save you calories, compared with sugary beverages. But if you then reach for a cookie or other treat because you’re still hungry or you think you saved enough calories for it, that plan backfires.
You might think that fasting is a quick way to drop pounds. But experts don’t recommend it, because it’s not a long-term solution. It’s better to have an eating plan that you can stick to over time and fits into your lifestyle.
All fasts aren’t the same. Some involve skipping all food. There are also fasts where you eat every other day. There hasn’t been a lot of research on how well off-and-on fasting works in the long run.
During the first days of your fast, you may feel hungry and grumpy. You may also get constipated. And you won’t have the energy to do much, physically. Drink lots of water and take a daily multivitamin. You should also tell your doctor, especially if you take medications that will probably need to be adjusted.
Remember that if you do fast, you’ll still need to change your eating habits once your fast ends.
No matter how you kick-start your weight loss, the best way to keep it off is with long-lasting lifestyle changes, a healthy eating plan and physical activity. If you’re not sure where to start, how many calories to cut, or how to do it safely, you might want to consult a registered dietitian.
Caroline Apovian, MD, Nutrition and Weight Management Center, Boston Medical Center.
Monica Auslander, registered dietitian, Essence Nutrition, Miami.
Alison Borkowska, PhD, WeightNot.
Jewels Lett, registered dietitian.
Jessica Levings, Balanced Pantry.
Dana Simpler, MD, Mercy Medical Center.
Adrienne Youdim, MD.
Robert Ziltzer, MD, Scottsdale Weight Loss Center.
International Journal of Behavioral Medicine: “The association between rate of initial weight loss and long-term success in obesity treatment: does slow and steady win the race?”
Obesity Reviews: “Lessons from obesity management programmes: greater initial weight loss improves long-term maintenance.”
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Staying Away from Fad Diets.”
CDC: “Losing Weight.”
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Healthy Eating Plan.”
Mayo Clinic: “Chart of High-Fiber Foods.”
USDA: “All About the Protein Foods Group.”
© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.
How to Lose Weight Fast – 14 Ways to Drop 5 Pounds in a Week
If you want to lose five actual pounds by next weekend, listen up: Losing weight fast, though possible, is almost always unhealthy. That's because aiming to lose five pounds in a week can set you up for binge-eating and fluctuations that interfere with long-lasting results, which basically defeats the whole point, right?
It’s also super hard! “For most people, it’s very, very difficult to lose more than one to two pounds of body fat in a week,” says Philadelphia-based weight-loss physician Charlie Seltzer, MD.
Instead, you're more ly to shed water weight before actual fat. And while a decrease in water weight translates to pounds lost, the change is temporary, says Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, Ph.D.
, a registered dietician and chair of the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Hey, FYI, we're doing this SUPER IMPORTANT survey on anxiety. Do us a solid and check it out here.
Even if you do meet your goal by Friday, it's nearly impossible to keep the weight off over the long term, says Dr. Seltzer. He explains that the intense calorie restriction required to lose that much fat would make you so hungry that you'd want to eat everything in sight…because survival.
And since calorie restriction can slow your metabolism, per research published in the journal Obesity, your body will be less prepared to burn the foods you (inevitably) binge on, he adds. That could mean gaining more than you lost in the first place.
Still, there are effective and healthy ways to kick off your weight loss—and, yes, it will take time!—all without starving yourself, wasting money on sketchy supplements, or punishing your body with exercise.
Instead, try a few of these safe, proven tips. And remember: You’ll get the best, longest-lasting results from changes that don’t leave you exhausted and dreaming of pizza.
1. Choose quality over quantity.
“If you expend more calories than you take in, you should lose weight,” says Alicia Romano, RD, LDN, a clinical registered dietitian at the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. But you don’t want to be so hyper focused on calories that you skip out on a wholesome diet, she says.
If you focus on the quality of food, there’s a good chance you’ll eat more nutrient-dense options that leave you satiated, says Lauren Sullivan, a registered dietitian with Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition.
2. Track your diet.
First, remember that no food is inherently good or bad, Dr. Seltzer says. And if the idea of jotting down everything you eat in a day makes you feel guilty or anxious, just skip this entirely.
That said, people who track what they eat tend to be more successful in losing weight because it raises awareness about what they're noshing on, says Dr. Mayer-Davis. In fact, a series of studies published in the Journal of Personalized Medicine suggest that those using apps to monitor their diet and activity were more ly to experience an increase in weight loss.
Obviously, these apps (you know the ones) aren’t going to work if you don’t input everything you eat, says Dr. Mayer-Davis. You've gotta be consistent and honest about what you consume.
3. Focus on plants
A 20-year study of more than 100,000 people, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found those who ate more whole grains instead of refined grains, incorporated more fruits and veggies than sweets, and preferred tea and coffee to sweetened drinks and juices, gained less weight long-term.
In another (small-ish) study of more than 1,000 people, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers found those following vegetarian and vegan diets, rich in whole grains, fruits, produce, nuts, and legumes, lost more weight than dieters on other plans—even the low-carb Atkins diet—over the same time span.
Because fiber ( protein and fat) slows the digestion process and optimizes fullness and nutrient intake at mealtime, a plant-based diet can help you feel satiated longer after eating, says Romano.
4. Opt. for low-glycemic carbs
A food’s glycemic index (GI) refers to how quickly sugar from food enters the bloodstream and how slowly the food is digested. Foods with a glycemic load measuring less than 55 (i.e.
green vegetables, most fruits, raw carrots, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils and bran breakfast cereals) enable your metabolism to run at a more consistent pace, which can positively impact weight loss, says Sullivan.
Foods that rank 70 or higher (potatoes, white bread and short-grain rice) potentially slow your metabolism, which may make it harder for you to shed weight.
In a study of more than 100,000 people, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers linked diets with a high glycemic load to increased weight gain.
5. Make super small food swaps.
The best way to support sustainable weight loss is to incorporate small changes into existing habits, according to The European Journal of Obesity.
So instead of giving up your daily BLT bagels in favor of an egg-white wrap, try ordering your sandwich on an English muffin. Or say you eat a snack bar every afternoon: Swap your 300-calorie bar for a 150-calorie alternative.
“When we commit to small food swaps, we actually adapt new behaviors,” says Romano.
Whatever you choose, just make sure your focus is on “small manageable changes,” that way you’re more ly to follow through for an extended period of time, rather than just a few days or weeks, says Romano.
6. Don’t skip meals
Eating at regular intervals during the day optimizes your blood sugar control, meaning you avoid the spike and crash that comes with eating a big meal on an empty stomach, says Romano. When you avoid eating when you're hungry, you’re welcoming hunger pains, food cravings and drowsiness—all of which can lead to snacking on foods high in fat and sugar.
Plus, when you run calories before going out to dinner with friends or satisfying a bedtime craving, you’re more ly to fall victim to what Dr. Seltzer calls the “f*ck it” effect—when you break one “rule” and give up for the rest of the night.
7. Get your protein from lean food sources.
Dietary protein is one of the most important tools in your weight-loss arsenal, partly because you expend more energy digesting protein versus carbs and fat, Dr. Seltzer says. But it’s often packaged with naturally-occurring fats that amp up the calories of each serving.
It’s why, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, leaner protein sources chicken breast, white fish, and low-fat dairy have fewer calories than alternatives bacon and burgers. Greek yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese also make smart choices.
8. Pair protein with sweets.
When you combine a carbohydrate ( toast) with protein and/or healthy fats (peanut butter), it slows digestion, which makes you feel fuller than you would eating the carb alone, Sullivan says. Next time you’re craving sugar, pair some dark chocolate with nut butter and call it a day.
9. Opt for higher-fiber carbs.
protein, fiber slows the rate at which your body plows through carb calories so you feel full for longer and maintain steadier blood sugar levels, one reason why research consistently links fiber intake to weight loss.
That means fibrous whole grain bread tends to be a better choice than white bread and also explains why fruits, which contain fiber and valuable vitamins in addition to sugar, beat straight-up candy every time.
10. Drink more water.
Skimp on fluids, and your body will release an antidiuretic hormone that leads to water retention that could affect the scale, Dr. Setlzer says.
While this sneaky effect is one reason why the scale is a poor measure of body mass loss, you can outsmart it by drinking more—particularly if you fill your glass with water or non-calorie alternatives unsweetened coffee and tea.
11. Imbibe just a little bit less.
Booze delivers seven calories per gram—more than carbs and protein (four calories per gram)—without filling you up or delivering essential nutrients. And because it chips away at your inhibitions, it makes those French fries at the bar look way better, and that late-night pizza stop a go.
In other words? “Drinking makes you more ly to eat sh*t,” Dr. Seltzer says, referring to drunk foods. At the same time, he stops short of asking patients to quit alcohol cold-turkey to lose weight.
Plus, research suggests you don’t have to, as long as your intake is moderate—i.e., less than about a drink a day. “If you drink a glass of wine every night and notice you eat more afterward, eat less early to account for this,” he says.
“Or, if you’re drinking four glasses of wine a week, drink three instead so you’ll won’t feel such a big difference.”
12. Make a real effort to manage stress.
“Anytime you’re stressed, you probably go for food,” Dr. Seltzer says.
(Have we met?!) That’s because cortisol, the stress hormone, stokes your appetite for sugary, fatty foods.
No wonder it’s associated with higher body weight, according to a 2007 Obesity study that quantified chronic stress exposure by looking at cortisol concentrations in more than 2,000 adults’ hair.
It’s why no weight-loss journey is complete without a stress-management tactic: Maybe it’s meditation, calling your mom after work, or chilling out with music. Just make sure it’s hunger, not stress, that leads you to the kitchen.
13. Sleep an extra 30 minutes a night.
“Por sleep is associated with slower metabolism, and the more you’re awake the more hours you have to eat,” Dr. Seltzer says. What’s more, the sleep deprivation activates the same brain receptors responsible for the marijuana munchies, according to a 2016 SLEEP study.
14. Exercise—but not excessively.
Although it’s way more fun to take up a tolerable activity (i.e., watching Netflix on the elliptical) than it is to drop tasty foods from your diet, “exercise won’t help you lose weight in one week,” Dr. Seltzer says.
After all, “resistance training might initially contribute a pound or two due to the body’s inflammatory response, and people who do low-intensity exercise might burn calories, but they often end up eating more or subconsciously moving less throughout the day to conserve energy,” he says—and research supports the theory.
Real talk: It could take weeks or months to see the metabolic effects of exercise on the scale, and even then, building muscle, which is denser than body fat, could lead to weight gain. “Do what you because it’s good for you,” Dr. Seltzer says, noting the way exercise is awesome for your heart, mental health, and more—and that not all measure of progress can be seen on the scale.
15. Have all the sex.
In what is perhaps the biggest buzzkill of all time, sex doesn’t quite count as cardio or burn a significant amount of calories: Women burn about 3.6 per minute. “It’s still a good idea,” Dr. Seltzer says, citing the activity’s other benefits, increasing the output of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which naturally reduce food cravings.
How to lose weight fast: 9 scientific ways to drop fat
While there are endless diets, supplements, and meal replacement plans claiming to ensure rapid weight loss, most lack any scientific evidence. There are, however, some strategies backed by science that do have an impact on weight management.
These strategies include exercising, keeping track of calorie intake, intermittent fasting, and reducing the number of carbohydrates in the diet.
In this article, we consider nine effective methods of weight loss.
Methods of weight loss that scientific research supports include the following:
1. Trying intermittent fasting
Share on PinterestSeveral research-backed strategies can aid weight loss, one of which is intermittent fasting (IF).
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a pattern of eating that involves regular short-term fasts and consuming meals within a shorter time period during the day.
Several studies have indicated that short-term intermittent fasting, which is up to 24 weeks in duration, leads to weight loss in overweight individuals.
The most common intermittent fasting methods include the following:
- Alternate day fasting (ADF): Fast every other day and eat normally on non-fasting days. The modified version involves eating just 25–30 percent of the body’s energy needs on fasting days.
- The 5:2 Diet: Fast on 2 every 7 days. On fasting days eat 500–600 calories.
- The 16/8 method: Fast for 16 hours and eat only during an 8-hour window. For most people, the 8-hour window would be around noon to 8 p.m. A study on this method found that eating during a restricted period resulted in the participants consuming fewer calories and losing weight.
It is best to adopt a healthy eating pattern on non-fasting days and to avoid over-eating.
2. Tracking your diet and exercise
If someone wants to lose weight, they should be aware of everything that they eat and drink each day. The most effective way to do this is to log every item that they consume, in either a journal or an online food tracker.
Researchers estimated in 2017 that there would be 3.7 billion health app downloads by the end of the year. Of these, apps for diet, physical activity, and weight loss were among the most popular. This is not without reason, as tracking physical activity and weight loss progress on-the-go can be an effective way of managing weight.
One study found that consistent tracking of physical activity helped with weight loss. Meanwhile, a review study found a positive correlation between weight loss and the frequency of monitoring food intake and exercise. Even a device as simple as a pedometer can be a useful weight-loss tool.
3. Eating mindfully
Mindful eating is a practice where people pay attention to how and where they eat food. This practice can enable people to enjoy the food they eat and maintain a healthy weight.
As most people lead busy lives, they often tend to eat quickly on the run, in the car, working at their desks, and watching TV. As a result, many people are barely aware of the food they are eating.
Techniques for mindful eating include:
- Sitting down to eat, preferably at a table: Pay attention to the food and enjoy the experience.
- Avoiding distractions while eating: Do not turn on the TV, or a laptop or phone.
- Eating slowly: Take time to chew and savor the food. This technique helps with weight loss, as it gives a person’s brain enough time to recognize the signals that they are full, which can help to prevent over-eating.
- Making considered food choices: Choose foods that are full of nourishing nutrients and those that will satisfy for hours rather than minutes.
4. Eating protein for breakfast
Protein can regulate appetite hormones to help people feel full. This is mostly due to a decrease in the hunger hormone ghrelin and a rise in the satiety hormones peptide YY, GLP-1, and cholecystokinin.
Research on young adults has also demonstrated that the hormonal effects of eating a high-protein breakfast can last for several hours.
Good choices for a high-protein breakfast include eggs, oats, nut and seed butters, quinoa porridge, sardines, and chia seed pudding.
5. Cutting back on sugar and refined carbohydrates
The Western diet is increasingly high in added sugars, and this has definite links to obesity, even when the sugar occurs in beverages rather than food.
Refined carbohydrates are heavily processed foods that no longer contain fiber and other nutrients. These include white rice, bread, and pasta.
These foods are quick to digest, and they convert to glucose rapidly.
Excess glucose enters the blood and provokes the hormone insulin, which promotes fat storage in the adipose tissue. This contributes to weight gain.
Where possible, people should swap processed and sugary foods for more healthful options. Good food swaps include:
- whole-grain rice, bread, and pasta instead of the white versions
- fruit, nuts, and seeds instead of high-sugar snacks
- herb teas and fruit-infused water instead of high-sugar sodas
- smoothies with water or milk instead of fruit juice
6. Eating plenty of fiber
Dietary fiber describes plant-based carbohydrates that it is not possible to digest in the small intestine, un sugar and starch. Including plenty of fiber in the diet can increase the feeling of fullness, potentially leading to weight loss.
Fiber-rich foods include:
- whole-grain breakfast cereals, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain bread, oats, barley, and rye
- fruit and vegetables
- peas, beans, and pulses
- nuts and seeds
7. Balancing gut bacteria
One emerging area of research is focusing on the role of bacteria in the gut on weight management.
The human gut hosts a vast number and variety of microorganisms, including around 37 trillion bacteria.
Every individual has different varieties and amounts of bacteria in their gut. Some types can increase the amount of energy that the person harvests from food, leading to fat deposition and weight gain.
Some foods can increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, including:
- A wide variety of plants: Increasing the number of fruits, vegetables, and grains in the diet will result in an increased fiber uptake and a more diverse set of gut bacteria. People should try to ensure that vegetables and other plant-based foods comprise 75 percent of their meal.
- Fermented foods: These enhance the function of good bacteria while inhibiting the growth of bad bacteria. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir, yogurt, tempeh, and miso all contain good amounts of probiotics, which help to increase good bacteria. Researchers have studied kimchi widely, and study results suggest that it has anti-obesity effects. Similarly, studies have shown that kefir may help to promote weight loss in overweight women.
- Prebiotic foods: These stimulate the growth and activity of some of the good bacteria that aid weight control. Prebiotic fiber occurs in many fruits and vegetables, especially chicory root, artichoke, onion, garlic, asparagus, leeks, banana, and avocado. It is also in grains, such as oats and barley.
8. Getting a good night’s sleep
Numerous studies have shown that getting less than 5–6 hours of sleep per night is associated with increased incidence of obesity. There are several reasons behind this.
Research suggests that insufficient or poor-quality sleep slows down the process in which the body converts calories to energy, called metabolism. When metabolism is less effective, the body may store unused energy as fat. In addition, poor sleep can increase the production of insulin and cortisol, which also prompt fat storage.
How long someone sleeps also affects the regulation of the appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin sends signals of fullness to the brain.
9. Managing your stress levels
Share on PinterestOutdoor activities can help with stress management.
Stress triggers the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which initially decrease the appetite as part of the body’s fight or flight response.
However, when people are under constant stress, cortisol can remain in the bloodstream for longer, which will increase their appetite and potentially lead to them eating more.
Cortisol signals the need to replenish the body’s nutritional stores from the preferred source of fuel, which is carbohydrate.
Insulin then transports the sugar from carbohydrates from the blood to the muscles and brain. If the individual does not use this sugar in fight or flight, the body will store it as fat.
Researchers found that implementing an 8-week stress-management intervention program resulted in significant reduction in the body mass index (BMI) of overweight and obese children and adolescents.
Some methods of managing stress include:
- yoga, meditation, or tai chi
- breathing and relaxation techniques
- spending some time outdoors, for example walking or gardening
It is important to remember that there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss.
The best way to reach and maintain a healthy weight is to eat a nutritious, balanced diet.
This should include 10 portions of fruit and vegetables, good-quality protein, and whole-grains. It is also beneficial to exercise for at least 30 minutes every day.
How to Lose Weight Fast – Quick & Easy Weight Loss Tips
Lose 5 pounds in one week! It's a trope we see everywhere. And while it’s possible that someone can lose that much (if not more) in that time period, it really depends on your metabolism and loads of other factors, including physical activity and body composition, all of which are entirely unique to you.
Weight loss ultimately comes back to the concept of calories in, calories out: Eat less than you burn and you’ll lose weight. And while it’s possible to lose water weight quickly on a low-carb diet, I certainly wouldn’t advocate for it.
The diet itself can trick you into thinking that this eating style is working — when really, you might gain back what you lost as soon as you eat carbs again.
That can feel incredibly dispiriting if you want results that last longer than a week.
my experience in nutrition counseling, most of us tend to snack on foods that aren’t nutrient-dense, but are high in calories. For example, skipping sugary beverages is often the easiest way to lose weight faster.
You don’t feel full from drinks — even the ones that do contain calories — so swapping those out for sparkling water or unsweetened tea and coffee is the best place to start.
Other major culprits often come in refined grains cereals, chips, crackers, and cookies.
If you're looking to speed up weight loss, I'd also encourage you to be mindful of the foods you eat that you don't choose for yourself. Think: food pushers at work or your kids’ leftovers. Noticing where your extra calories actually come from is another step to making better choices in the short and long term.
In my experience, there are a few other tips that hold true for almost all of us across the board — and they’re concepts that we can put into practice beginning right now.
So, here’s where to start:
1. Eat more vegetables, all of the time.
It’s that simple, I promise! If you think about making any meal mostly veggies (at least 50% of anything that you’re having), you’re on the right track to better health and weight loss.
2. Build a better breakfast
All meals are important, but breakfast is what helps you start your day on the right track. The best, heartiest breakfasts are ones that will fill you up, keep you satisfied, and stave off cravings later in the day.
Aim to eat anywhere between 400 and 500 calories for your morning meal, and make sure you're including a source of lean protein plus filling fat (e.g., eggs, unsweetened Greek yogurt, nuts, or nut butters) and fiber (veggies, fruit, or 100% whole grains).
Starting your day with a blood sugar-stabilizing blend of nutrients will help you slim down without sacrifice.
3. Know your limits with salt.
Since salt is a preservative, packaged and processed foods are often highest in sodium — something to keep in mind when planning your meals. When it comes by buying snacks, a “low sodium” product has to be 140 mg or less per serving — so if you're REALLY in a bind, you can follow that guideline for what to put in your cart.
4. Drink more coffee.
Start your day with a cup of joe. Caffeine is a natural diuretic and an excellent source of antioxidants, which protect your cells from damage. You can have up to 400 mg — about a venti Starbucks coffee — daily, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Not much of a coffee drinker? Tea is also a natural diuretic, and types of herbal tea such as dandelion or fennel root can also lend a hand. In fact: When a recent study compared the metabolic effect of green tea (in extract) with that of a placebo, researchers found that the green-tea drinkers burned about 70 additional calories in a 24-hour period.
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5. Skip sugary beverages.
We just don't feel full by liquid calories in quite the same way as we do real food. Drinking a juice or caramel coffee drink just isn't as satisfying as eating a bowl of veggie- and protein-packed stir-fry.
So monitor your intake of juice, soda, sweetened coffee and tea, and alcoholic beverages. If you consume each of those beverages during the day, you'll have taken in at least 800 extra calories by nighttime — and you'll still be hungry.
(Incidentally, alcohol may suppress the metabolism of fat, making it tougher for you to burn those calories.)
6. Buy a set of 5-pound weights.
It's a one-time investment you'll never regret. Here's why: Strength training builds lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories — at work or at rest — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The more lean muscle you have, the faster you'll slim down.
How do you start strength training? Try some push-ups or a few squats or lunges. Use your free weights to perform simple bicep curls or tricep pulls right in your home or office. Do these exercises three to four times per week, and you'll soon see a rapid improvement.
7. Eat spicy foods — seriously!
It can actually help you cut back on calories.
That's because capsaicin, a compound found in jalapeño and cayenne peppers, may (slightly) increase your body's release of stress hormones such as adrenaline, which can speed up your ability to burn calories.
What's more, eating hot peppers may help slow you down. You're less ly to wolfed down that plate of spicy spaghetti — and therefore stay more mindful of when you're full. Some great adds besides hot peppers: ginger and turmeric.
8. Go to bed.
There's tons of research that demonstrates getting less than the desired amount — about 7 hours — of sleep per night can slow down your metabolism. Plus, when you're awake for longer, you're naturally more ly to snack on midnight munchies. So don't skimp on your ZZZ's, and you'll be rewarded with an extra edge when it comes to losing weight.
9. Keep a food journal.
Loads of research demonstrates people who log everything they eat — especially those who log while they're eating — are more ly to lose weight and keep it off for the long haul. The habit also takes less than 15 minutes per day on average when you do it regularly, according to a 2019 study published in Obesity.
Start tracking on an app MyFitnessPal or use a regular notebook. It'll help you stay accountable for what you've eaten. Plus, you can easily identify some other areas of your daily eats that could use a little improvement when it's written out in front of you.
10. Take a walk!
Don't get me wrong — exercising at any time is good for you. But evening activity may be particularly beneficial because many people's metabolism slows down toward the end of the day.
Thirty minutes of aerobic activity before dinner increases your metabolic rate and may keep it elevated for another two or three hours, even after you've stopped moving.
Plus, it'll help you relax post-meal so you won't be tempted by stress-induced grazing that can rack up calories.
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11. Resist the urge to skip a meal.
Skipping meals will not make you lose weight faster. If a hectic day makes a sit-down meal impossible, stash a piece of fruit and pack of nut butter in your car or purse and keep snacks in your office desk drawer — anything that will keep you from going hungry!
Going long periods of time without food does double-duty harm on our healthy eating efforts by both slowing down your metabolism, and priming you for another binge later in the day.
(Think: You've skipped breakfast and lunch, so you're ready to takedown a whole turkey by dinner!) Make it your mission to eat three meals and two snacks every day, and don't wait longer than three to four hours without eating. Set a “snack alarm” on your phone if needed.
12. Eat your H2O.
Sure, you certainly need to drink plenty of water to help combat bloating, you can (and should!) also consume high-water content foods. Reach for cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, asparagus, grapes, celery, artichokes, pineapple, and cranberries — all of which contain diuretic properties that will also help you stay full due to their higher fiber content.
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13. Munch on mineral-rich foods.
Potassium, magnesium, and calcium can help to serve as a counter-balance for sodium.
Foods that are rich in potassium include leafy greens, most “orange” foods (oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, melon), bananas, tomatoes, and cruciferous veggies — especially cauliflower. Low-fat dairy, plus nuts, and seeds can also help give you a bloat-busting boost.
They've also been linked to a whole host of additional health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, and reducing risk of chronic disease overall.
14. Ignore the gimmicks
At any given time, there are dozens of weight-loss hypes in the marketplace that claim to take off 10 pounds in 10 days, or whatever. Desperation can tempt us to try anything — from “clean eating” to cutting out food groups entirely.
Keep in mind: Just because an avocado-kale-salad dripping in coconut oil is deemed “clean” by a so-called “expert” on your Instagram feed does not make it an unlimited food.
Moral of the story? Avoid fads, eat real food, watch some Netflix, and unwind (perhaps with a glass of wine in hand). Now that's my kind of detox.
15. Let yourself off the hook
You already know that a perfect diet doesn't exist, but many of us still can't resist the urge to kick ourselves when we indulge, eat too much, or get thrown off course from restrictive diets. The problem: This only makes it more difficult, stressful, and downright impossible to lose weight.
So rather than beating yourself up for eating foods you think you shouldn't, let it go. Treating yourself to about 200 calories worth of deliciousness each day — something that feels indulgent to you — can help you stay on track for the long haul, so allow yourself to eat, breathe, and indulge.
Food should be joyful, not agonizing!
16. Look for our emblem on food labels.
Ultimately, long-term weight loss requires some short-term behavior change and healthier habit formation. That's why we created our Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem, which exists to help turn smart food choices into healthier eating habits.
All GHNA foods and drinks make it easier to find — and eat — good-for-you foods without additional time, effort, and cost.
We target the lifestyle-related factors that make healthier eating hard, and find simple but creative solutions that actually work! Look for the emblem on labels wherever you shop for food.