Are you looking to learn how to lose weight fast? Whether you are trying to fit into that gorgeous, slimming outfit for an upcoming wedding or reunion, or just tired of feeling frumpy, here are the top 9 hacks that helped me to to get over my postpartum weight loss plateau.
How to Lose Weight Fast:
1. Drink water 30 minutes before meals
As we get older, we have a higher tendency to confuse thirst with hunger. So instead of drinking water we eat, resulting in weight gain. Drinking water 30 minutes before meal time has been shown to increase weight loss by 44% over 3 months!(1) Not only does this ensure that your body stays hydrated, it also makes you feel more full so you are less likely to overeat.
Plain water too boring for you? You can add bursts of colors and flavors by transforming them into detox waters that can further boost your weight loss.
2. Avoid sugary sodas and fruit juices
With many workplaces offering free sodas and fruit juices as perks these days, it's tempting to take advantage and guzzle down these freebies. However, these drinks are the most fattening things you can put into your body and add little nutritional value!
Giving up on soda is hard! If you crave the soda bubbles in your drink, try unsweetened seltzer water instead and flavor it with a piece of lemon or other fruits. I make plenty use of my SodaStream Sparkling Water Maker whenever I feel the cravings for tickling bubbles in my mouth. I don't use the flavor packets that comes with the unit, but just add my own fruits, vegetables and herbs. Seltzer water hydrates as well as flat water, but do consume in moderation as too much of it can cause bloating.
3. Cut back on processed sugar
As sugar is a major culprit that contributes to weight gain, in addition to avoiding them in drinks, you’ll want to pay attention to them in food labels. Most processed foods contain high fructose corn syrup or some other form of processed sugar.
What can you use instead of processed sugar? Raw honey is chock full of beneficial enzymes and minerals and can be used to sweeten warm lemon water, tea, oatmeal or yogurt. Let hot drinks cool before adding raw honey. Also, do not cook with raw honey as the heat will reduce its nutritional value.
For cooking or baking, swap out processed sugars with the natural and heat-stable maple syrup for a rich sweetness. As a general rule of thumb, use ½ to ⅔ cup of maple syrup for every cup of granulated sugars in recipes, reduce the liquid ingredients (milk, water, juice) by about ¼ cup, and lower the baking temperature by 25 degrees F. Maple syrup can also be substituted one-to-one for other liquid sweeteners such as honey, molasses or corn syrup.
Alternatively, you can start using spices like cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg to make your food taste sweeter without adding any sugar.
4. Avoid processed foods
Not only are processed foods high in processed sugar, they are also high in sodium, which can lead to water retention and unwanted weight gain. Processed foods also tend to be high in refined carbohydrates and low in fiber, both of which will work against your weight loss efforts.
Stick to mostly whole foods in your diet. Load up on your veggies and fruits. You need at least five servings of them per day, and adding them will put you on the right track to a healthy body because they contain beneficial fibers, vitamins, and antioxidants. They also fill up your stomach fast so that you don’t end up overeating and taking in too many calories.
5. Eat high protein breakfast
Eat your breakfast within 30 minutes of waking to get your energy and metabolism started for the day. Eating protein first decreases your white carbohydrate cravings so you are less likely to go for that donut, bagel or toast.
A diet high in protein is crucial to weight loss as it has been shown to boost metabolism (2). Protein can also make you feel more full so you consume fewer calories throughout the day. So go ahead and add more proteins to all of your meals and snacks. For high protein, low-carb snack ideas, check out this article on 10 Easy Low-Carb Snacks for Weight Loss.
Wondering if you should still go for that morning cup of joe with breakfast? If you are a coffee lover like me, good news! It is okay to drink coffee for weight loss, as the caffeine in them can boost your metabolism. Just be sure to go easy on the sweetener or add a sprinkle of cinnamon instead.
6. Use small plates and bowls
Your food portion size matters! Studies have shown that if we are served more food, we'll eat it regardless of our hunger level. We also have a tendency to underestimate the amount of food put into large plates and bowls. By filling up smaller bowls and plates with food, we can visually trick our minds into thinking that we are eating more. Eating slowly also helps you to eat less because it allows your body time to realize it’s full.
7. Meal and snack prep
Be prepared and arm yourself with healthy meals and snacks as much as possible. This prevents you from going for the first junk food that you set your sights on when you are hungry. It’s also never a good idea to go grocery shopping when you are hungry as you are likely to buy on impulse and end up with more junk food.
When you plan out your meals ahead of time, you can grocery shop more efficiently as you know exactly what you need to get. Spending the time to cut, chop and dice the ingredients ahead of time can make the task of putting the food on the table less daunting when the time comes.
One of my lazy hacks is to cook all dishes in large batches and freeze the leftovers. Do this with a few dishes at a time, and you’ll have an inventory of easy frozen meals readily available for when you are busy or just don’t feel like cooking.
I also prep my green smoothies on the weekend so that I can have healthy breakfast on the go during the week.
9. Stay active
A minimum of thirty minutes of physical activity a day will ensure your health, help you lose weight and firm up those muscles. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym each day, just walking can help you burn calories. There are also many fun exercises you can easily work into your day without sweating it out at a gym.
9. Get your nightly Zzzzs
Aim for a good night’s sleep every night, as a study has shown that poor sleep is a strong risk factor for obesity(3). Lack of sleep can lead to increased appetite, and we subconsciously crave high-calorie, fatty foods when we are tired and need energy. Staying active during the day can help you to sleep better at night.
Take it one step at a time
Now you may be wondering if I was able to turn these lazy hacks into healthy habits that I stick to every day in my journey to lose weight? Definitely not. These habits took time to build, and life happens, whether it’s my toddler twins taking turns waking up in the middle of the night, or dining socially with friends and family.
The key is to not be too hard on yourself. You will have both good days and bad days, but don’t let the bad days make you feel like a failure as this can backfire and completely stop you from continuing to achieve your weight loss goal.
Take it one step at a time. Start with one habit and gradually work your way up. You can also tackle multiple habits at once by crowding out the bad habits with the good ones. For example, putting more water in your body will make you less thirsty and less likely to drink sodas or fruit juices.
If you are motivated to make major changes, then absolutely go for it! Just try to not get overwhelmed either way. After you have practiced these habits and experienced the health benefits, I know you will want to make each one a part of your daily routine!
If you enjoyed this article and are looking for a blueprint for natural weight loss with a structured diet plan and recipes, check out my 21-Day Slim Down Challenge to learn how I lost my first 10 pounds in a month without working out or starving myself, using spices and healthy greens that has been used for thousands of years in traditional Asian medicine to maintain a healthy body and weight!
The concepts that you’ll learn from the challenge will help you make the necessary changes in your diet and your lifestyle, and easily maintain your healthy weight beyond the challenge.
Do you have tips and tricks to share on how to lose weight fast? Comment below!