Starting a fitness journey is a commitment that requires time and effort, but you can kickstart a weight loss plan and shed a few pounds quickly while maintaining good health. You don’t have to resort to fad diets or extreme detox methods to begin a healthy year.
Your health and well-being should always be the top priority, regardless of whether you want to lose a few pounds or many.
By making healthy food choices and engaging in physical activity, you can achieve your weight loss and fitness goals in the short and long term. Here are some practical tips to help you achieve a leaner body in no time!
1. Balance protein, fat, and lower carb vegetables
The importance of packing in the protein can’t be overstated. Aside from the fact that it keeps you from getting hangry, a 2022 study found that eating enough protein can boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day.
2. Let your body do the heavy lifting with weight training
If you’re able, you can fast-track your results by adding some exercise to the mix. Hit the gym — more specifically, the weight rack.
Keep in mind that if you’re new to weight training, you may want to seek out a trainer for a few pointers and good technique.
Lifting weights helps boost your metabolism, which can take a hit when you’re losing weight. According to a 2018 study, it also helps preserve lean body mass (i.e., muscle), which burns more energy at rest than your wobbly bits.
3. High-intensity interval training can be pro
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is another way to supercharge your fat-burning potential.
Think of it as short and extreme bursts of cardio. It not only revs your metabolism but also taps into the carbs stored in your muscle tissue.
Try to incorporate HIIT into your workout plan 3 or 4 times per week. A 2017 review of studies suggested that HIIT training can improve some cardiometabolic risk factors in people with overweight or obesity.
To get the most out of HIIT, you’ve gotta give it your all. Commit to sprints or similar moves that are about 30 seconds long. You can do HIIT training outside, in place, or on any type of cardio machine.
Just like weight training, HIIT packs a punch when it comes to knocking off the pounds. Whether you stick to one or combine the two, these forms of exercise come with the added benefit of boosting your metabolism and burning fat more efficiently. Just don’t forget that killer playlist.
4. Banish bloat and water retention for more weight loss
Eating less salt and drinking enough water is key to saying buh-bye to bloating. And although this doesn’t actually equal fat loss, it can make you feel better in general.
Coffee is another way to beat bloating, as long as it’s not decaf. Your regular cup of joe is a healthy source of caffeine, which can help you lose excess water and burn fat to boot. Caffeine has the potential to help promote weight reduction.
Lastly, watch out for food intolerances. For example, if you have a less-than-friendly relationship with gluten or lactose, these dietary triggers can increase water retention and make you look and feel puffier than you otherwise would.
5. Try intermittent fasting
While starving yourself is a definite no-go, a quick break from food in the form of intermittent fasting may help you lose weight and improve your metabolism. Just know that it isn’t for everyone, so check with your doc or a registered dietician before trying it out.
There are a few ways to do intermittent fasting, but one popular method includes fasting for 14 to 16 hours a day before your next meal.
A 2021 study indicated that time-restricted eating combined with exercise can lead to reduced fat mass and more lean muscle mass.
Depending on your lifestyle and any underlying health conditions, intermittent fasting may not be a suitable option for you, and one type of plan may prove more effective for you than another.
6. Rack up on shut-eye
Getting enough sleep is absolutely key to maintaining a moderate weight.
7. Make sure your mornings are protein-packed
Research has shown that eating protein for breakfast can keep you from getting a case of the hangries later in the day.
8. Don’t eat quickly
Eating slowly can make it easier to tell when you feel full, so you eat less overall.
9. Make it a single
Scaling back on alcohol is a simple way to consume fewer calories — plus, you’ll avoid the less-than-optimal food decisions that may occur when you’re tipsy.
10. Scale back on soda and juice
Consider sugary drinks an infrequent treat if you’re trying to lose some weight.
11. Hydrate, and hydrate again
Drinking water half an hour before meals can help you feel more full and eat less when you’re at the table.
12. Stay calm
Stressing out can cause weight gain, especially if you seek comfort in not-so-nutrient-dense foods. Stress also increases the amount of cortisol in your body, which can contribute to weight gain.
13. Fill up on fiber
Getting enough soluble fiber from food or even in supplement form can reduce body fat, especially around your middle.
14. Track yourself
Staying on course with an eating and exercise plan can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re busy. Investing in a fitness tracker may help you stay organized and track your progress.