Do you mindlessly sprinkle salt on your food without even tasting it first? Stop it! Seriously. Extra sodium can lead to water weight gain and bloating, which will make your pants fit tighter (and the number on the scale tick up). Be sure to read your labels, too; sodium is typically lurking in in processed foods, even “healthy” ones like frozen dinners and canned soups.
Let’s take Mike who is 200-pounds and wants to lose weight fast. If Mike burns 2,500 calories each day and eats 2,000 calories per day, he’ll create a 500 daily calorie deficit (2,500 calorie burn – 2,000 calories eaten). After 7 days, he’ll have a 3,500 calorie deficit, which means he will burn 1 pound of fat. So in one week he has burned 1 pound of fat. Pretty good.
And what fat loss comes down to is simply a caloric deficit. Which means either burning more calories, eating less calories, or a combination of the two. And when you get down to it, it’s just a whole lot easier for most people to eat (for example) 500 less calories per day than it will be for them to try to burn those same 500 calories every single day. That’s why diet alone gets the job done just fine, and diet and exercise combined gets the job done too. But exercise alone? That’s the least effective of the group by far.
Refined white breads are simple carbohydrates that your body processes as sugar, and can really hinder your weight-loss efforts. Whole grain bread, on the other hand, is chock-full of slimming fiber and can help you feel fuller, longer. Just be sure to read your labels. “If the ingredients at the top of the ingredient list read sugar, sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, white or wheat flour, these foods contain mostly simple carbs and should be limited,” Rebecca Lewis, RD, told Eat This, Not That! in our article for 20 Secrets for Eating Bread Without Getting Fat. “A food is only considered a whole grain if the first ingredient on the packaging says, ‘whole grain’ or ‘whole wheat.’”
Keeping a toothbrush handy can do more than polish up that smile (and counter the effects of all that belly-slimming garlic); brushing your teeth throughout the day can also help you ditch that belly fat fast. A study conducted a sample of over 14,000 participants found that brushing after every meal was linked to lower weight. That minty toothpaste flavor not only clashes with virtually every food, brushing may also trigger a Pavlovian response that tells your brain the kitchen’s closed.
Losing weight quickly is dangerous and comes back quickly. You need to slowly change your habits and make small changes you can build on. Start by being more active; start walking every day and start adding in more and more jogging. Cut out sugary drinks and focus on adding in more veggies and lean proteins in your diet while whittling out processed/fried foods. Be kind to yourself and make the changes for your own happiness, not anything or anyone else.
Yes, there are a million other factors and components of your diet and workout that play important roles in successfully, permanently and efficiently getting you to lose fat (while also maintaining lean muscle mass and being healthy), and a million ways to go about creating that deficit in a way that is as easy, enjoyable and sustainable for you as possible.
When you’re losing weight that fast, chances are you’ll gain it all back. “Most of that weight loss is water weight,” says Keri Gans, R.D.N, author of The Small Change Diet. “Water weight, or the body’s retention of water, totally fluctuates. There are many factors that could explain it, from eating a meal high in sodium to where you are in your menstrual cycle to being bloated due to gas and constipation. That makes it hard to actually count as weight loss.”
Eat a variety of veggies every week. Each day, you should eat about 2 1⁄2 to 3 c (590 to 710 mL) of vegetables. Go for all the veggie groups, which include leafy greens, starchy vegetables, legumes, and red and orange vegetables. You don’t have to eat vegetables from each group every day, but you should consume a minimum amount of each group weekly.
One study from the University of Adelaide in Australia suggests you may lose more weight when you work out towards the end of your menstrual cycle, as opposed to right when a new one begins. That’s because the hormones estrogen and progesterone tell your body to use fat as an energy source. "Women burned about 30 percent more fat for the two weeks following ovulation to about two days before menstruation," study author Leanne Redman says.
As a neuroscientist, I’ve read hundreds of studies on the brain’s ability to fight weight loss. I also know about it from experience. For three decades, starting at age 13, I lost and regained the same 10 or 15 pounds almost every year. On my most serious diet, in my late 20s, I got down to 125 pounds, 30 pounds below my normal weight. I wanted (unwisely) to lose more, but I got stuck. After several months of eating fewer than 800 calories a day and spending an hour at the gym every morning, I hadn’t lost another ounce. When I gave up on losing and switched my goal to maintaining that weight, I started gaining instead.
The main advantage of the low carb diet is that they cause you to want to eat less. Even without counting calories most overweight people eat far fewer calories on low carb. Sugar and starch may increase your hunger, while avoiding them may decrease your appetite to an adequate level. If your body wants to have an appropriate number of calories you don’t need to bother counting them. Thus: Calories count, but you don’t need to count them.