Here are my top 10 recommendations for how to lose weight fast:
1. Drink your water!
Increasing your water intake is both the simplest way to make a big change today, and also the most important step in weight loss! So, go get yourself a glass of water and start drinking right now… I’ll wait here while you get it.
Water naturally increases your metabolism, fills you up and flushes toxins. Make a goal of drinking a gallon of water a day, this will ensure your metabolism keeps rising, your belly stays full and you rid your body of all those toxins from food and life that can hinder weight loss efforts.
If you do not enjoy the flavor of water I recommend trying some of my metabolism boosting detox water recipes, they are delicious and are key to rapid weight loss!
Just be sure not to add flavor packets full of fake sugars and chemicals to your water, those will only hurt your weight loss and add pounds instead of remove them.
2. Balance your plate
Weight loss is more about what you eat than how you exercise. Food accounts for 70% of weight loss, so if you are not eating right, that scale won’t be moving very fast (if at all). Plus, let’s be honest, what is the point in hitting the gym just to undo all that hard work by eating an entire pizza?!
If you want to lose weight fast you have got to get your diet under control, and don’t worry, we have you covered…
Your plate should look like this: 50% Veggies, 25% Lean Protein and 25% Healthy Carbs
Veggies are so important in weight loss, they naturally turn off your hunger receptors, are virtually zero calories and increase metabolism. Make this half of what you eat and the weight will melt off.
Lean protein helps your body repair and stay strong. Poultry, lean beef, buffalo, fish and dairy are all obvious protein choices. Those of you looking for vegan and vegetarian protein sources can opt for lentils, tofu, black beans, tempeh, seeds and nuts.
Healthy carbs are ideal for staying full, but we don’t mean sliced white bread here. Starchy veggies like potatoes, healthy grains like oats, quinoa, barley, and whole wheat breads, pastas and rice are also good options.
Eating an all natural diet is key in fast weight loss. Preservatives and chemical derived sweeteners and thickeners actually add weight and cause weight gain. So go all natural!
One great tip for shopping all natural is to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. Start at the produce section and load up your cart with fruits and veggies, stop by the butcher for some lean protein and end in the bakery section for some in store baked whole wheat bread or pita.
3. Swap carbs and sugar for healthy alternatives (and still feed your cravings!)
Cravings will come, no matter how disciplined you are, they will come… so what are you gonna do about it? Are you going to blow all your hard work and good choices, or can you use this craving as a lesson and feed it in a healthier way?
Having a sweet craving? Try some fresh fruit, oranges, berries and apples all naturally boost your metabolism and feed your sweet cravings.
Have a sour craving? Step away from those sour candies and try a grapefruit, handful of raspberries or grapes, they naturally boost metabolism and feed a sweet and sour craving.
Have a chocolate craving? Go with it… Have a square of dark chocolate, it’s actually good for you, unlike that candy bar you originally wanted.
Have a salty craving? Often salty and crunchy cravings go hand in hand, instead of reaching for those pretzels try my Skinny Ranch Dip with veggie sticks.
Have a fatty craving? Often we have salty and fatty cravings at the same time, smash ½ an avocado in a bowl, add juice of ½ lime, and if you like, some hot sauce. Mix together and eat with veggie sticks for a healthy fat that will speed up metabolism and make you look and feel younger.
Have a carb craving? Did you know a medium potato has only 163 calories?! When you crave carbs top a baked potato with Greek yogurt, chopped green onions and your favorite hot sauce or just top it with some of my Skinny Ranch Dip and dig in.
4. Fruits and veggies to the rescue!
Why is it that we are always looking for the next “zero calorie” food? Greed… we are greedy and want to eat as much as we can without having any calories. Instead of fighting that, let’s work with it. Go ahead and eat as many veggies as you like, treat them as you would a zero calorie food.
While you are at it, make sure to fill your plate full of veggies at every meal, ideally over 50% should be vegetables (so go ahead and pack that plate so full it’s bursting, with veggies!) This will ensure you are full and happy, and by eating so many veggies that full feeling will come for almost zero extra calories.
Just like your brain has pain sensors to tell you that the curling iron is hot, your brain has hunger sensors. Basically your brain is telling your stomach “we need nourishment” or in the case of the curling iron “hey, woman that’s hot stop touching it”. The only way to turn off hunger receptors is to feed your body the nourishment it needs to sustain itself… and yep you guessed it that means veggies!
Have you ever noticed that a couple hours after a big greasy (yet delicious) meal you feel hungry again? That’s because you have not turned off your hunger receptors, and as soon as your body starts to process that food your brain will start up again with “we need nourishment”… because you guessed it, that carton of kung-pow did not give you nourishment, just a full belly. Next time go for more veggies, you’ll stay fuller longer and thus eat fewer calories.
By now you have probably heard about detox plans, removing toxins from your body will naturally help you lose weight.
Now I’m not talking about a fast, I’m talking about eating all natural, good for you food that will help your body get back to a more natural state. Again, that is where vegetables and fruit will come in. Eat up and watch the weight melt away, and if you are looking for a detox plan try my FREE Detox Week, readers typically lose between 8-18 pounds in 7 days by eating!
Fruit and vegetables are also known to naturally boost metabolism, so next time you grab for a snack, make a meal or go grocery shopping pick some lovely produce. You will be naturally boosting your metabolism while filling up for virtually no calories.
So what do you do if you hate vegetables? Green smoothies are great for the non veggie enthusiast, when blended with sweet yummy fruit you can’t taste the greens, but you are ingesting them and doing your body good too!
Finally let’s talk about raw versus cooked, how you eat your veggies is important! Did you know that when you cook food it loses 50% of it’s nutrition?! So by eating a raw carrot you will get twice the Vitamin A than if you were to cook it!
Now I’m not telling you to only eat raw food going forward (though I won’t stop you if you want to try!) just try to eat as many raw vegetables as you can. So salads, green smoothies, snacking on raw veggie sticks, these kinds of simple changes to your diet will help you take in more nutrition and therefore lose weight fast.
5. Lean protein to boost your metabolism
We live in a protein obsessed society, and sure it is important but what kind of protein you eat is key when it comes to weight loss!
Ideally shoot for 25% of your daily food to be lean protein, it will burn more fat and help you feel more satisfied. It can help ward off cravings and even promotes muscle repair and growth.
Here is my list of lean proteins, and don’t worry vegetarians and vegans I’ve got you covered too:
- Poultry (chicken and turkey)
- Dairy (yogurt, cheese, milk)
- Lean meat such as buffalo and lean beef
- Beans (black beans, chick peas and Lima beans)
- Nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews and nut butters)
- Seeds (pumpkin and chia seeds)
6. Healthy fats help your body release fats!
Fat… how sad that one little word can carry so much misrepresented, negative weight! So here’s the skinny on fat, there are good fats and bad fats. Good fats are actually a good tool for how to lose weight fast! Yep, you read that correctly, healthy fats will actually tell your body to release excess fat. (13)
Your body stores up fat for later, but if you eat a balanced amount of healthy fats your body will stop storing it because it knows you will be having it everyday. Kind of like that age old diet tip, don’t put yourself into starvation mode, it will make your body hold onto fat for later, same is true here. Feed your body healthy fats and it will release excess fat from your body.
So what are the healthy fats, here are my 10 favorite:
- Dark Chocolate
- Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, herring and mackerel
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Dairy such as cheese, yogurt and milk
- Coconut oil
- Nut butters such as almond, peanut and cashew butter (get all natural with no added sugar though)
7. When to eat and how often
I use this analogy often: You wouldn’t drive your car around on empty all day just to fill it up before you park it in the garage at night would you? It would not run, would break down and generally ruin your day!
Many people treat their bodies this way though, skipping breakfast, snacking at lunch and then eating a huge meal before going to bed. But when do you get to use up the fuel if you are sleeping? Eat more during the day and less at night and you will burn it off!
Start by eating a good breakfast, in fact go for a breakfast that has around 500 calories, you want a good portion of your calories in the AM so you have the stamina and fuel to keep you going all day.
Next eat a well rounded lunch, again around 500 calories, you need fuel darling! Want to go out? Go out at lunch instead of dinner, not only will you save money (hello lunch specials) you will also have more time to burn off your food.
And lastly have a light dinner, you are about to go to bed, you don’t need a big burger (seriously, have that at lunch instead!) you would benefit from a light, veggie heavy meal that will keep you full and satisfied, a goal of 300-400 calories is best at night. Plus your body processing all those good for your veggies at night will keep your metabolism up while you sleep and help reset your cravings for the next day. Eat good tonight and you’ll be more likely to eat healthier all day tomorrow.
And while we are talking about eating at night I should bring up late night snacking. You don’t need me to tell you that this is hurting your weight loss efforts, but when should you stop eating? Make a goal to stop eating 4 hours before bedtime, if you are starving have some veggies and a big glass of water to fill up your belly. Remember your “car” is in the garage, it does not need gasoline it just wants it. Look back at how you ate today and see if there was an opportunity to eat more earlier in the day so that you don’t have those late night cravings tomorrow.
8. Skip the booze
I love a good glass of wine or a craft beer as much as the rest of you, but I also know that if I have it everyday the pounds will start packing on! Sure there are lower calorie options, but drinking everyday will cause you to gain weight… and not just because of the calories!
The fastest way to lose weight is to stop drinking your calories. Hey, I know you know, and you don’t need to roll your eyes, but alcohol is empty calories. Besides that buzz, what does that drink really do for your body? Nothing! Instead of drinking alcohol get a sparkling water, unsweetened iced tea or make yourself a Fruit Infused Water.
It’s not just the calories in your cocktail that are causing you to gain weight, when you drink and get a little buzz on you are less likely to stick to the plan, you feel happy and euphoric and think “hey, what the heck one Oreo won’t hurt” and the next thing you know you have eaten the entire box. And how about when you have one too many drinks and are like “man, I’m trashed I need to get some bread in my tummy so I’m not hung over tomorrow” yep, drinking alcohol will lead to bad choices and not just in the “after school special” kind of way.
Now, I’m not going to tell you to stop drinking all together, just try to keep it to 1-2 drinks per week, enjoy them, and make sure you have a healthy meal with the drink so you are less likely to snack on unhealthy stuff later.
9. Log EVERYTHING
Homework…. Yuck! I know I know, but it really is important to write down everything you eat and drink. Not only will you start to see patterns emerge, but you will be holding yourself accountable.
We all have patterns and more often than not we don’t know what they are! I have spent a lot of time coaching people in weight loss and every time I ask them “what are your bad eating patterns” they are stumped! I have them write down everything they eat and drink for a week and all of a sudden patterns emerge.
Jen always has a sugary snack at 10:00 am, Jane loves to eat chocolate at night, they did not realize it but they have a daily pattern and we can use that to our benefit. If you see that you always want something sweet at 10:00 am, have a sweet breakfast like oatmeal, it will curb that craving before you have it and guess what? Pattern broken and extra calories consumed no more.
Now, patterns are not limited to daily, we need to look at weekly, monthly and even quarterly patterns. Say you are losing weight and doing great, then you stop losing and start gaining and you can’t figure out why. You can look back at your food logs and see exactly what the culprit is and make changes to get back on the weight loss train.
For us ladies there is a dreaded week each month that we hold onto water weight (and usually a bar of chocolate) and guess what, you will be much more forgiving at the end of the week weigh in if you know once a month you just happen to be 5 pounds heavier. You’ll say to yourself, yep that’s my pattern, it’s OK and it will be gone next week. See… sometimes homework can be beneficial.
10. Move your body more!!
Some of you are probably scratching your heads thinking “why is exercise at the bottom?” well it’s because it is not nearly as important as what you put in your mouth! Exercise is great for burning off a few calories (emphasis on a few), for toning up your body and overall health, but no matter how hard you work out, if you don’t have the diet aspect down you won’t be losing the weight as fast as you want… or at all. But it is still an important part of how to lose weight fast, and here’s why:
I can’t tell you how many women come up to me and coyly ask “what about loose extra skin after weight loss?” and my answer is always “exercise babe!” Exercise will tone up your body and give you that lean look you want. If you are exercising while you lose weight it is even better, you will be tightening and toning as you’re losing the weight. But for those of you who have already lost the weight you can still get that toned body you want, and you will get it with exercise, babe!
Another question I get often is “if I am exercising how many extra calories can I have per day?” and my answer is (sorry, you’re not going to like this) “None! Unless you are training for a marathon or the like you don’t need more calories.” Too often we erase all our hard work by justifying eating more calories, and if you do your research you’ll find that the “calories burned” ticker on your exercise equipment is not accurate. Exercising is not an excuse to eat more, exercising will help tone your body, give you a healthy heart and burn off a few calories… what’s the point in burning them off if you’re just gonna add them back?!
Exercise will help you increase your metabolism and is key to how lose weight fast, It tones your body, tightens up excess skin, increases your stamina, gives you more energy, and makes you happier and healthier. And for those reasons it is important to rapid weight loss, but it’s not everything! It will help you stay on plan and stay motivated, so find an exercise you love and do it.
Final thought – let’s talk expectations
I want to leave you with this last note, having reasonable and attainable expectations are paramount! Too often we expect to lose 10 pounds in 7 days, and when we lose 5 we become discouraged and quit. Five pounds (heck, 2 pounds) is a great start, certainly not a reason to give up.
Set reasonable goals for yourself, you will be more likely to achieve them, you can always beat them. And by meeting those goals you are more likely to keep going and lose the weight you want to lose.
I always recommend a weekly goal of 2 pounds, now I know that does not sound like a lot, but that is over 100 pounds in a year! It is attainable and best of all you can always beat your goal!
Same with exercise, if you don’t work out at all right now don’t set a goal to workout everyday this week, set a goal to exercise 1-2 hours this week. Add on an hour every week or two until you have made room in your schedule and can keep up with it.
Set reasonable and attainable goals, follow these steps for how to lose weight fast, and you’ll be back here posting your success story in a few short months!