By Dr Josh Axe
Maybe you’ve decided to get in better shape to improve your overall health, gain more energy, or in preparation for a competition or special event. Whatever the goal, you are certainly not alone. Most people in this world know what it’s like to live with extra body weight, and that it can be a struggle to sustain weight loss.
Assuming you’re not already underweight (you can use a BMI calculator to determine this) and go about weight loss in a healthy manner, then there’s never a bad time to get fit and work on reaching a healthier weight.
But if you’ve ever tried slimming down in the past, you know that it’s not necessarily easy to just change your diet and squeeze in more exercise. That’s why experts are always offering up their favorite tips and suggestions.
From exercising for short bursts of time, to making weekly menus, to even having a cheat meal here and there, the diet and lifestyle tips below can help you achieve your health and fitness goals. Just remember, this is not only about losing weight, but living a better healthier, happier life.
5 Keys for How to Lose Weight
- Remove “Metabolism Death Foods”
When it comes to learning how to lose weight fast and easy, some common issues may be getting in the way. For some, research shows that one or more health issues may be what prevents them from losing weight (in addition to factors like physical activity, genetics, mental health status and socioeconomic status). First and foremost, try to identify any roadblocks that are keeping you from seeing results, such as:
Leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune diseases and inflammation
Hormonal and adrenal issues (“adrenal fatigue”)
In order to address these obstacles and overcome them, consider avoiding certain foods that can contribute to over-eating and trigger inflammation by causing gut-related issues. I call these the metabolism death foods, which you will want to remove and replace with healthy alternatives.
Fast Food and Processed Foods: Unfortunately, foods for which studies show we have a high biological preference (those high in sugar and calories), and which contribute to overeating, are currently the cheapest and most accessible. It takes effort, but cut out ANY fast food, which relies on additives and excessive sodium to taste appealing, and foods with long ingredient lists that are hard to pronounce. Higher consumption of fruits and veggies and lower consumption of fats/oils and sweets/beverages has been shown to help prevent obesity. What to do instead: Eat minimally processed, whole foods that have ideally been cooked from scratch.
Added Sugar: Contrary to popular belief, fat isn’t the first thing that will make you fat … it’s consuming too much sugar. Sugar can be hidden under names like corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, juice concentrate, maltodextrin, raw sugar and brown sugar. These sugars can often be hidden in things that sound like health foods, including fruit juice, granola bars, dressings and protein bars. What to do instead: Eliminate and replace all of these types of sugar with natural sweeteners like green stevia and raw honey, but have even both of these in moderation.
Refined Grains: I know it may seem that “whole grains” like wheat bread are healthy, but most are far from helping your metabolism. Three of the main compounds in grains are gluten, starch and phytic acid, all of which can cause issues. Gluten can cause inflammation, starch turns into sugar quickly, and phytic acid binds to minerals, blocking some of their absorption. What to do instead: Replace your daily intake of grains with fruits and vegetables, or consume up to one piece daily of a sprouted grain bread or sourdough. If you don’t want to totally ditch grains, have sprouted and fermented grains instead, which contain fewer antinutrients and are more filling. When it comes to using flour, switch to almond or coconut flour — it’s the perfect flour for fat loss.
Canola or Vegetable Oils: Canola oil or other vegetable oils are found in many processed foods that can slow down your fat loss. What to do instead: Replace all vegetable oils with beneficial coconut oil and grass-fed butter to promote more rapid fat loss.
- Eat These 4 Fat-Burning Foods Daily
Here are some of the top fat-burning foods that can help revive your metabolism:
Quality Protein: If you want to turn your body into a fat-burning furnace, you’re going to need to eat plenty of quality protein. Proteins are the building blocks of muscles, which support a healthy metabolism. Also, protein is the least likely macronutrient to be stored as fat. Aim to get between 0.5 and 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight a day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, shoot for around 80–100 grams of protein a day. What to eat: Grass-fed beef, organic chicken, free-range eggs, wild-caught fish like salmon, lamb, venison and bone broth are some of the best foods high in protein.
Coconut: Coconuts contain MCFAs (medium chain fatty acids), a type of healthy fat your body can easily burn for energy. You will want to replace most other sources of fat and oils with things like coconut oil. If you want to know how to steadily lose weight over a period of 30 days and beyond, this is a great start. What to eat: Coconut oil for cooking, coconut milk in your morning smoothie and coconut flour can replace other flours when baking.
Sprouted Seeds: Seeds that have been sprouted, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds, are loaded with healthy fiber that can support your fat loss efforts. Also, they are high in protein and contain omega-3 fats, which can help your metabolism. What to eat: Use chia, flax or hemp seeds in your morning smoothie and in baking.
Nutrient-Dense Vegetables: In order to lose those unwanted pounds, you not only need to be aware of your calories but also focus on getting more nutrients. Vegetables are your highest source of vitamins and minerals, which regulate metabolic function and support organs like your thyroid. What to eat: Green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables are at the top of the list. Other favorites are kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, asparagus and carrots. Steamed, sautéed and cooked in coconut oil are all great choices.
What are some other foods to include in a healthy diet that may lead to weight loss? These include grapefruit and green tea. New research is revealing that consuming grapefruit may be beneficial due to an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) that helps your body utilize sugar. Additionally, nootkatone, a component found in grapefruit, has been shown to significantly increase fat-burning (AMPK) activity.
Drinking 1–3 cups of herbal teas such as green tea, white tea, black tea and rooibos tea daily may help amp up your metabolism. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea is more effective than other teas like oolong at promoting weight loss because of its high levels of catechins.
Remember to have protein, fiber and healthy fat at every meal. Also, when consuming carbohydrates, like fruit, consider having them in the morning and around workouts.
Here’s a One-Day Sample Eating Plan:
Breakfast: Coconut Berry Smoothie
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 cup berries
1 scoop protein powder from bone broth or whey
1 tablespoon sprouted flax meal
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Lunch: Greek Salad
1 sliced chicken breast
1 cup spinach
1/4 cup sliced cucumber
1/2 tomato sliced
1 ounce goat cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Dinner: Organic Meat (bison burger, salmon, chicken)
6–8 ounces organic meat
1 serving sautéed kale
1 serving sautéed broccoli
- Exercise Less to Lose More Weight
Believe it or not, here’s how to lose weight fast with exercise: do less, not more. If you want to break through a weight-loss plateau, jumpstart your metabolism and burn belly fat fast, there is no better type of exercise than burst training and Tabata training. Studies show that this type of exercise causes an afterburn effect in your body so you keep burning fat for hours after your workout.
I recommend doing Burst training three to four days a week for between 20 and 40 minutes. Many people have seen amazing results with a Burst training workout. Here is an example of a 4-minute Tabata with 40 seconds of burst exercise and then 20 seconds of rest. You would repeat this set 2 to 3 times for a complete workout:
Sprint on spin bike // Rest
Fast push-ups // Rest
Pulsing squats with shoulder press // Rest
Sprint on spin bike // Rest
Squat thrusts // Rest
Plank walk (spider walk) // Rest
Sprint on spin bike // Rest
Lunges with shoulder press // Rest
If you’re at a total loss as to how to begin a fitness routine, have an injury or other health issues or simply want to learn how to maximize your gym time, considering investing in a personal trainer. They can help shape a fitness program to reach your goals while taking into account any special considerations. A certified personal trainer can be a great way to kick-start your healthy lifestyle or help get you over a weight loss plateau.
- Take These Supplements That Support Fat Loss
Quality Protein Powder — Protein is essential for building lean muscle and supporting a healthy metabolism. Because it can sometimes be difficult to get all the protein you need through eating meat, protein powder is a great supplement for fat loss. You can add it to smoothies, baking or drink it in water or juice. The best protein powders available include organic whey protein, collagen protein, protein made from bone broth, pea protein, hemp protein, and brown rice protein.
- One of the benefits of whey protein is that it’s a fastest acting protein, so I recommend that you consume right before or after a workout. Collagen is the most easily digested protein and can help heal your body in addition to helping your metabolism. Plant-based protein powders are good options for people looking to avoid animal products or who can’t tolerate dairy.
- Green Superfood Powder — Quality greens powders contain fat-burning compounds like green tea, green coffee and rhodiola that can boost your energy. They also contain green foods like chlorella, wheatgrass juice and kale that may help improve digestion and bloating. Try taking one scoop before or after exercise.
Fish Oil with Vitamin D — Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA. These healthy fats can help reduce inflammation and may work to improve body composition and counteract obesity-related metabolic changes.
- Vitamin D is a vitamin and pro-hormone that can help balance hormones, which aids in fat loss.
- Take 1,000 milligrams of fish oil daily and 2,000 I.U. of vitamin D3.
Probiotic Supplement — Probiotics are involved in energy homeostasis, regulation of appetite, dietary intake and storage of lipids. Taking a daily probiotic can support digestion and may also help manage blood sugar, particularly when combined with prebiotics and a high-fiber diet.
- Intermittent Fast
Intermittent fasting, also known as cyclic fasting, helps to stop you from eating mindlessly, can crank up your metabolism and is beneficial for hormone production, digestion and more. Research shows that fasting can stabilize blood sugar levels, help reduce inflammation and help keep your heart healthy.
You may want to try fasting approaches like “Time-Restricted Feeding,” which you fast for 16 hours everyday and limit your eating to eight hours (often this involves not eating anything after dinner and skipping breakfast the next morning), or “Alternate Day Fasting”, in which you eat no food at all or only a very small amount on fasting days, and then eat normally on non-fasting days.
Best Diet Plans to Lose Weight Fast
- Keto Diet
Want to know how to lose weight in 7 days or less? One option is trying the ketogenic diet. A ketogenic diet is an extremely low-carb diet in which you drastically reduce or completely eliminate the amount of glucose you eat. Once glucose has been eliminated from the body and there are no carbs available for your body to use for energy, the body will turn to stored fat instead, putting you into the metabolic state called nutritional ketosis.
Many studies show you’ll likely experience weight loss, particularly in the first few weeks and months. When we eat foods with sugar and carbohydrates, our bodies release insulin, the “fat storage hormone.” It sends a signal to your cells to store as much energy in the form of glycogen — i.e., fat — as possible. By drastically reducing our intake of carbs, our bodies release less insulin. Less insulin in our bloodstreams means glycogen is used by our bodies as energy and not stored — and when that supply is over, it turns to fat next.
You might lower your risk of diabetes, neurological issues, metabolic syndrome and other health concerns. When you switch to a low-carb diet, you naturally take in much less sugar and starch. Diets high in refined carbs can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity, which means a keto diet may be protective against these conditions.
Since ideally you’ll replace grains and other carbohydrates with more protein-rich foods and healthy fats, you’ll be more full and less hungry. Fats and proteins are known for their satiating effect, while reducing insulin intake helps turn off ghrelin, the “hungry hormone.”
Reducing or totally eliminating carbs can result in a lack of energy and feelings of fatigue, which isn’t exactly the motivation you need for hitting the gym. If you’re especially active — for instance, you’re training for a marathon or cranking up the intensity of workouts — a low-carb diet might not provide you with the stamina you need to keep going.
The keto diet may feel restrictive for some and make it hard to eat out or socialize.
2. Low-Carb Diets
If you’re looking for how to lose weight fast in two weeks or so, but don’t want to fully go keto, then a low carb diet is a good option. A low-carb diet is a diet that limits carbohydrate foods — such as foods with added sugar, grains, starchy vegetables and fruit — and emphasizes foods high in protein and fat.
There are various types of low carb diets in existence, one of which is a high-protein diet. Low-carb diets tend to be either very high in fat or high in protein. If you choose to follow a high-protein diet, which is what the Atkins Diet could be considered, your diet will be roughly distributed as 30 to 35 percent calories from protein, 20 percent or less from carbohydrates, and about 45 to 50 percent from fat. With every meal you’ll want to incorporate 1–2 palm-sized portions of protein, such as fish or meat.
Many people will still experience great results when eating a modified keto diet that is a bit higher in carbs, or “keto-cycling” or “carb-cycling” in which they boost carb intake on certain days of the week.
There’s no need to count calories or go hungry. Low-carb diets tend to be filling due to their high protein and fat content, which means reduced hunger and cravings (and an easier time fasting if you’d like to incorporate this).
This type of diet can improve health markers such as blood sugar levels, neurological health, hormonal balance and more.
Eating lower-carb means focusing on eliminating major sources of added sugar and carbohydrates — especially from sugar snacks, sweetened drinks, refined grains and possibly legumes and conventional dairy, too.
Carbs lurk in unexpected places, like fruits, legumes and whole grains such as quinoa. Totally kicking them out of your diet might mean missing out on essential vitamins and minerals.
Low-carb diets may increase symptoms like fatigue, constipation, brain fog and irritability in some people, plus hormonal issues in some women. These side effects usually clear up within 1–2 weeks, although some people will ultimately feel better eating a more moderate-carb diet.
Eating lots of protein from animal products raises environmental and ethical concerns, since these foods cost a lot of energy and resources to produce compared to most plant foods.
3. Vegan Diet
While there are different levels of vegetarian and vegan diets, most vegetarians steer clear of eating meats, including seafood and poultry. What do vegans eat? Well, they take it a step further and avoid all products that come from animals, including dairy and eggs.
If you’d rather be mostly plant-based but don’t want to totally nix all animal products, that’s a good option, too. Simply swap out meat, fish, etc. for clean proteins like legumes, lentils, quinoa, etc. several times per week or more. There are plenty of ways to get protein without consuming too many animal-derived foods, such as from nuts, seeds, beans, ancient grains or plant-based protein powders.
You’ll be following a plant-based diet that is naturally low in fat and high in fiber. No need to count calories when you’re chomping down on lettuce.
Vegetarian diets have been linked to lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol. If you’re looking to control those conditions naturally, eliminating meats can help.
Good, quality meat can be pricey and also takes a toll environmentally. Eliminating it from your diet can really save money in your grocery budget and better the planet too.
What do meat-free, deep-fried burritos, potato chips and French fries have in common? None of them are healthy, and they’re vegetarian/vegan. Simply eliminating animal products doesn’t guarantee you’ll eat wholesome, nutritious foods.
High-quality animal meats provide nutritional benefits that are hard to replicate naturally. Vegans especially need to beware of serious nutritional deficiencies and should consider adding a supplement.
4. Mediterranean Diet
People who follow a traditional Mediterranean diet know how to lose weight naturally without going to extremes. Made popular by the fortunate folks living in one of the most beautiful regions on Earth, people on the Mediterranean diet enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, embrace fats like olive oil, and eat high-quality poultry and seafood, all in close-to-natural states.
Because this diet focuses on foods found in nature, you’ll eat very little processed or sugary foods. It’s more likely you’ll snack on nuts, for example, than cookies.
The abundance of foods rich in healthy fats helps reduce your risk of heart disease.
It’s probably the most sustainable long-term. With the allowance of an occasional glass of red wine or steak, this diet allows you to enjoy food and the occasional indulgence.
It’s easy to go overboard. While healthy fats are good for us, portion control still needs to be exercised, which can be difficult for some people.
While eating this way is good for your body in the long run, if you’re looking to lose weight fast, this diet is probably not for you.
5. Paleo Diet
Paleo diet vs. vegan diet, which is better? These are two of the trendiest diets out there. “Going Paleo” is something you hear more and more these days, especially in athletic communities such as CrossFitters. It’s modeled after what our ancient (specifically, Paleolithic) ancestors would have eaten thousands upon thousands of years ago.
The paleo concept of going grain-free can be greatly beneficial, as you strip away nutritionally bankrupt, starchy calories that spike insulin levels and instead usually replacing with more vegetables.
Following that hunter-gatherer lifestyle can aid in getting more minerals, more omega-3 foods, more protein and more healthy fats overall in your diet. In fact, if you follow the Paleo diet in the right way, there’s evidence it can help improve autoimmune illness and support weight loss.
Along with jettisoning grain, sugar (a major inflammatory and disease creator) is forbidden. Instead, the diet relies on popular anti-inflammatory foods like wild-caught salmon, blueberries, leafy greens and nuts.
Unfortunately, for many who follow the Paleo diet, they tend to consume probably a little bit too much meat, in my opinion, as well as some toxic animal substances.
Additionally, they really do not stress organic in that diet. For example, I’ve known people on the Paleo diet where their diets consisted of consuming conventional butter and fried bacon — if you eat that every meal, it could be considered a Paleo diet.
6. Low Fat Diet
Low-fat diets reduce the amount of (you guessed it) total fat you eat in a day. The diet became especially popular in America following the release of the federal government’s dietary guidelines in 1980, leading to the proliferation of low-fat food availability.
Foods high in fat are usually high in calories as well. If you play a strict numbers game, reducing high-caloric foods will usually help you lose weight.
Cutting out obvious fat-filled villains, like sweets and sodas, can help you lose weight; plus, it’s great for your body.
Low-fat foods are often processed foods that are filled with sugar and unnatural ingredients designed to make low-calorie foods taste like their full-fat counterparts. These added ingredients can actually cause weight gain.
By choosing low-fat foods, it’s easier to overindulge. This happens for two reasons: The low-fat versions just don’t have the same satiating tastes and ingredients in them, and we’re more likely to reach for that second cookie when we think it’s lower in calories.
Our bodies need fat! While foods like avocados or butter might have a high calorie count, they’re filled with healthy fats our bodies crave and need to function properly. Plus, what would you rather eat: butter churned from a cow or a “butter-like substance” created in a lab?
35 Quick Tips to Lose Weight Fast
- Schedule workouts
Pencil workouts into your daily planner the same way you do dinner with friends or that important business meeting. Consider starting your day with a workout if you constantly find that there’s not enough time during the day to squeeze in a workout. Getting exercise in the morning has a variety of perks: You’ll be energized throughout the day, unexpected time commitments won’t jeopardize your fitness plans and you’re more likely to make healthier choices.
- Break up workouts throughout the day
Can’t carve out a full 30 minutes or an hour of exercise time in one go? Opt for shorter bouts of exercise throughout the day instead, which science suggests has a similar benefits to doing longer workouts. Try a quick cardio circuit in the morning, a brisk stroll during your lunch hour and an after-dinner strength session.
- Don’t let traveling derail your efforts
Being away from your normal routine doesn’t mean your healthy efforts need fall to the wayside. Jog a few miles on the hotel gym’s treadmill, scope out a local barre studio and pop in for a class, take a walking tour of the city, rent a bike and explore, or do a quick workout in your hotel room (try bringing along bands so you can do these simple resistance band exercises).
- Add variety to your routine
Keep your muscles guessing by cross training and trying different workouts or tweaking your usual routine. Studies show that you’re more likely to stick with your daily exercise routine if you switch up your workouts, such as by doing CrossFit, a few yoga classes, and going for a few walks/runs each week. If you hate an activity, you’re likely much less likely to stick with it; working out shouldn’t be a chore, it should be something you look forward to!
- Do it on a budget
It’s easy to think that getting in shape will be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Aside from outdoor activities like walking, running and hiking, there are many other ways to get in a great workout without spending much money, such as trying YouTube workouts or classes at low-cost community fitness centers.
- Crank up the music
It’s been scientifically shown that listening to upbeat music during exercise helps you work harder and enjoy both the workout and the music more. All you have to do is add your favorite fast-paced jams to a playlist and get moving.
- Exercise with a group
Not only do activities like group fitness exercises help hold you accountable to a specific time and place to work out, it’s also a great way to meet friends. Classes also provide an opportunity to try something new in a safe, supportive environment. From running groups to walking to lose weight to bike riding communities, there’s probably a group interested in the same activities as you.
- Skip the scale
When you’re trying to lose weight, the scale can be deceiving because it doesn’t take into account that you are probably adding muscle. And while a pound of fat is still the same as a pound of muscle, because muscle is lean and smooth, you can be shedding inches while remaining the same weight.
To get a more accurate depiction of how your body is changing, use body measurement tape instead to track your size and progress.
- Incorporate weight lifting
Could lifting weights truly be one of the fastest ways to lose weight? Savvy exercisers know that the best workouts don’t include just cardio, but incorporate strength training as well. Building muscle helps you lose inches all around, keeps your metabolism going after leaving the gym and will help you look better, too. Researchers even discovered that weight training could be more beneficial for reducing belly fat than aerobic exercise.
- Drink plenty of water
Rather that worrying about stomach bloat and water weight, realize that water will actually reduce bloating and overall weight. Drinking water not only keeps fat toxins moving out of the body, it also keeps your metabolism running optimally. In fact, in a 2013 study showed 14 healthy men and women increased their metabolic rate by 30 percent after drinking about 16 ounces of water.
- Pack your own snacks
Skip the vending machine and on-the-go packaged foods and instead prepare your own healthy snacks to take to work, school or whenever you’re out and about. From apple chips to an on-the-go healthy smoothie, packing your own snacks will help you lose weight fast while also giving you the nutrients you need without the icky preservatives from expensive, processed “foods.”
- Increase your protein intake
If your goal is to lose weight, I would recommend consuming half your body weight in grams of protein a day (at the very least). For those seeking to burn fat and build muscle, aim to consume 0.7 to 1 gram per pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be getting 75 to 150 grams of protein a day (depending on your goals). Checkout this list of these top protein foods.
- Get your fill of fiber
Foods high in fiber will help you feel fuller longer and help reduce sugar cravings, plus fiber has been proven to balance blood sugar, lower cholesterol and more. The average person only gets 15–20 grams of fiber each day when they should be getting 30–40 grams daily from a variety of high-fiber foods.
- Eat 90 percent of your meals at home
Want to know a secret regarding how to lose weight fast without exercise? Make the majority of your own snacks and meals from whole foods at home. Start by committing to making one meal a day at home. As you get more comfortable in the kitchen, increase that number.
Save money by choosing meals that use in-season produce and combining your meals with your local grocery store’s sales flyer. And don’t forget about leftovers. Use them to create new meals (for instance, make a stir-fry with leftover cooked meats and veggies) or have a weekly night where all the leftovers get put out and everyone in the family can eat their favorites again.
- Stockpile healthy snacks at home
Keep your cabinets and refrigerator stocked with fresh, healthy snacks so they’re front and center. Try washing fresh fruits and veggies and storing them in glass or nice bowls on the counter or refrigerator shelf where they will be most visible.
- Slow down!
When you eat fast, it’s easy to overeat. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to register that it’s full. Practice mindful eating, chewing slowly and enjoying the flavor of your food. This process will ensure that you not only consume fewer calories, it also eases digestion and helps your brain to catch up with your body.
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach
Halfway through your shopping trip, have you ever found that your stomach starts growling and all of a sudden those potato chips are looking a lot more appealing than normal? The best solution? Fill up before you go when you’re not fighting hunger pangs, which makes it a lot easier to make healthy choices.
- Make healthy swaps
Eating clean doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite foods. Instead, think of ways to “healthify” them yourself, which means you can enjoy delicious and healthy food that also satisfies your cravings. You can also bring your own healthy foods to gatherings. Whether it’s a healthy appetizer, a tasty side dish, or your favorite clean-eating dessert, you’ll know there’s at least one healthy option that you can fill up on while minimizing your intake of the unhealthier ones.
- Watch your portions and downsize your plate
Try down-sizing your plate, since the same serving of food looks like less food on larger plates, tricking your brain into eating less.
Are you at a party with hors d’oeuvres and appetizers you just can’t turn down? Decide you’ll eat just one type of bite-sized food and turn down the rest. Or, is your office having a pizza party and the smell of cheesy goodness is too hard to resist? Pick the slice loaded with veggies, enjoy and then turn away.
- Add in some fat-burning herbs
Most diets barely discuss herbs, but adding in some healthy herbs to whatever eating plant you’re on may be just what you need to lose weight fast! Studies have shown that herbs like cayenne pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and dandelion can all make meals tastier and may all help promote weight loss.
- Do a cleanse or detox
Whether it be a few days or weeks, doing something like a vegetable juice cleanse or the Daniel fast is highly effective. Another simple way to cleanse is by starting to drink this Secret Detox Drink.
- Make a better breakfast
Start your day on the right foot and fuel your body with a hearty breakfast. It’ll give you energy in those first few hours you’re awake. Plus, since breakfast is the first meal of the day, you’ll have all day to burn those calories.
- Don’t drink your calories
Creamy, foamy drinks might taste delicious, but they can have enough calories to serve as an entire meal — and that’s not even taking into account the amount of sugar and preservatives they contain. Make your own healthier versions instead. From pumpkin spice lattes to spiced hot apple cider, there’s a nutritious alternative for most high-calorie beverages
- Make small changes
If you’re desperately trying to figure out how to lose weight in a week, remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Changing every part of your lifestyle at once is overwhelming and sets you up for failure. Decide on making just one healthy change a week to allow yourself time to adapt.
- Let those close to you know of your intentions
It can help eliminate bad feelings that arise once you start making different choices. For instance, if you’re constantly turning down dinner invitations with friends, they might assume you’re just not interested in spending time with them. Instead, explain that you’re trying to incorporate a healthy lifestyle and, while that new restaurant isn’t in your plans, you’d love to go see a movie or get together for coffee instead.
- Use social networks and technology to keep you accountable
Let people know that you’ll be up for a run and ask if anyone wants to join you. Share a post-workout selfie or join an online community where members cheer each other on. Try wearing a fitness tracker or download an app to keep a list of what you’re eating, how how many miles you’re running, etc.
- Track your progress
Track your progress from the start to see how much you’ve accomplished. Whether you track how many inches you’ve lost, keep a food diary or maintain a journal about the healthy changes you’ve made, it’s encouraging to see what a great job you’re doing. Keeping an exercise or food diary can help you see weaknesses in your routine, push yourself out of a fitness plateau or notice what situations drive you to eat more or exercise less.
- Treat yourself!
If knowing that your body is thanking you for making healthier choices isn’t enough (and that’s ok!), treat yourself — but don’t tie these “rewards” to food. For instance, if you worked out five days each week for the entire month, splurge on that new tennis racquet you’ve been wanting or indulge in a manicure or pedicure.
A cheat meal — not a day! — is something you might also need from time to time in order to keep on track, especially when you’re first getting used to a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes giving yourself a little cheat takes the wind out of those cravings and keeps your week on track, so start with one cheat meal a week and gradually scale back.
- Get active with friends
Embracing a healthy lifestyle means cutting out some things you might have taken for granted, like after-work happy hours with coworkers or weekend brunches with friends. But there’s no reason your social life has to suffer. Instead, suggest fun alternatives, like taking a new exercise class together, going on a hike or checking out a spin class.
- Set and go after a goal
Setting a fitness goal gives you a specific purpose for your workouts and the satisfaction once you’ve completed it. Whether it’s deciding to run your first 10k, learning how to do a headstand when practicing yoga or completing 50 push-ups without stopping, a challenge might be just what you need to get out of a fitness rut.
- Sleep more
A chronic lack of sleep is linked to obesity, diabetes and more. Plus, sleep is an important time to rebuild muscle from your workout routine and give your brain a chance to process and heal. If you’re constantly sleeping less than seven or eight hours a night, your health — and waistline — will suffer. Some studies suggest that sleep-deprived people are more likely to choose larger portions of snacks than those who sleep at least eight hours at night. If you’re having trouble sleeping, try some of these all-natural ways to fall asleep.
- Figure out if you’re hungry or just bored
A 2015 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology showed that experiencing boredom actually not only increased the amount of snacking, but also the amount of unhealthy eating overall. Before you eat something, drink some water and ask yourself if you’re truly hungry, go on a quick walk outside or around the office or just wait 20 minutes or so before eating.
- Use essential oils to curb cravings
Take control of cravings naturally by using essential oils like peppermint, grapefruit, ginger, cinnamon or lemon. Instead of consuming another coffee or snack, dab a drop on your wrists to boost energy or calm hunger.
- Weekends count, too
We often eat well and exercise throughout the week only to let weekends get out of control. If you decide that Friday through Sunday doesn’t count, remember that’s almost half of the week! Commit to keeping a similar schedule throughout the entire week or use the extra weekend time to your advantage: Try doing a longer workout you normally don’t have time for, take the dog on an extra-long walk or hike or use the extra time to prep meals for the upcoming week.
- Don’t beat yourself up
The best thing to remember is that no one decision will derail your efforts. If you ate more than you intended at your last meal, don’t skip the next few, but instead choose filling, protein-rich foods. Couldn’t work out as much as you wanted? Squeeze in a 10-minute workout and remind yourself to do more the next time you can.
Copyright 2010 Dr. Josh Axe. All rights reserved. Originally published at kymeradev.draxe.com.
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