Losing weight is at heart a relatively simple calculation. All you have to do is consume fewer calories each day than you burn off, known as a calorie deficit. In other words – exercise more and don’t eat too much. It’s a simple goal to set but even if you do stick to it, there’s no guarantee how quickly you’ll shed the pounds. If you’re working to a deadline, you’ll need to develop a number of healthy habits which can help you lose weight as quickly as possible.
1. Eat protein for breakfast
It’s the most important meal of the day but it’s one we often neglect. More often than not, we’re in a hurry in the morning which means we might just reach for a bowl of cereal or some toast. These can often give us the energy kick we need to get going, but they also contain lots of sugars and carbohydrates.
These have two problems. Firstly, they will be stored as fat by the body. Secondly, they produce a fast energy release which may leave you with hunger pangs half way through the morning. This promotes snacking which increases calorie intake.
Instead, try to get a good amount of your calories through protein, such as eggs, meats or nuts to lose weight. Protein has been shown to reduce fat, especially around the belly and promote weight loss. One study found that women who increase the portion of daily calories coming from protein from 15% to 30% reduced the total amount of calories they consumed each day by 441. They saw significant weight loss of 11 pounds in 12 weeks.
To fill yourself up further, you could add in some spinach or other vegetables which are high in nutrients but low in calories. These will fill you up for the morning and help you make it all the way to lunch without the urge to snack.
2. Try high-intensity workouts
We all know how important exercise is to lose weight. However, finding the time to exercise every day can be difficult. High-intensity workouts are good for people who want to maximise the gain in the shortest possible amount of time.
High-intensity exercise involves short bouts of intense exercise followed by low levels of active rest. For example, you could try sprinting for two minutes, followed by light jogging for one minute. Doing this for around 15 minutes every day increases your heart rate and can see you burn more calories than a 40-minute jog.
3. Go for a walk
It’s not all about the high-intensity stuff. Walking is an exercise we can all do. It’s low impact and won’t leave you sweating buckets. If you increase the number of steps you do every day, you’ll be burning more calories in the background.
Taking time out during the day for a 30 minute or hour-long walk will see you burn a significant amount of calories during the week as well as boosting your wellbeing. If you don’t have that much time in your day, you can do things to increase the amount of walking in your routine. For example, you could try walking to the shops rather than taking the car, or replacing a short bus ride with a walk on your way back from work.
4. Get more fibre into your diet
Getting more fibre into your diet, through seeds or anything else, can help you lose weight. Ideally, men should be aiming for 35 grams of fibre in their diets while women could aim for 25 each day. Fibre is essential for a healthy gut and it can also reduce your appetite by making you feel fuller. It isn’t metabolised by your body which means lots of food which is high in fibre will fill you up without packing on the pounds.
5. Avoid carbohydrates
As well as boosting protein levels, rapid weight loss diets will often ask you to eliminate carbohydrates. A typical diet might see you take around 50% of your calories, or more, from carbohydrates. Reducing this while replacing it with protein will reduce the amount of calories which are turned into fats.
Carbohydrates increase the amount of sugars in your system, which sparks an increase in insulin which in turn sends glucose into fat cells which turns into fats.
Try to cut out all white carbohydrates such as sugars, white bread, potatoes and pasta. Even certain fruits such as bananas can have high carbohydrate content, while cereals are notoriously stacked with carbohydrates – even those which market themselves as being healthy.
This doesn’t mean that all these foods are necessarily unhealthy, but if you’re trying to go for fast weight loss through a low carb diet, they are good to avoid.
6. Drink plenty of water
Hunger pangs can easily trip up even the most conscientious diet. To avoid hunger during our day to day routines, we can easily fall into the temptation of a quick snack. Even if that snack is relatively healthy, it will involve more calories.
However, our bodies can often confuse hunger, thirst and fatigue. If you feel hungry during the day try drinking a glass of water. You may find it does the trick.
7. Get more sleep
The last one should be easier to do, but we can still find it difficult to fit into our schedules – get more sleep. In our fast-paced modern world, people are routinely failing to get enough sleep. Too little of this prompts the body to produce more of the stress hormone cortisol which slows down the metabolism and encourages you to reach for the sugar.
A lack of sleep also brings fatigue which can make prompt hunger including cravings for high sugar foods. This will add to the list of temptations encouraging you to break your diet and prevent you from losing weight.