Lots of people are in a real hurry to lose weight which is kind of ironic when you consider that it often takes many years to get fat in the first place. Slow and steady is generally the best way to lose weight because losing weight too fast may trigger something called the starvation response which will actually slow weight loss to a crawl and even result in weight gain!
Rapid weight loss if often muscle rather than fat which is a major problem. Muscle needs calories and anytime you lose muscle, your body ends up needing fewer calories which will reduce your metabolic rate and hamper your fat loss efforts. The name of the game should be losing fat while preserving muscle mass if you want to maximize fat loss.
A sensible diet, plenty of exercise and lashings of consistency are what you need for successful weight loss but, that being said, here are seven things you can do to speed up the process so that you lose weight as fast as is safely possible…
- Cut out alcohol
At 7 calories/29.4 kilojoules per gram,alcohol contains more energy than protein and carbs and only slightly fewer than fat which makes very calorie dense. Often mixed with energy-dense soft drinks, it’s very easy to ingest a lot of kilojoules simply by having one or two drinks a day – normal behaviour for a lot of people. Additionally, alcohol is a priority fuel which means that it will be digested and processed preferentially so if you eat and drink, the kilojoules from food are much more likely to be stored as fat while the alcohol is being broken down and eliminated. Cut out alcohol completely for much faster weight loss.
- Eliminate sugar
Sweets, candy, cake, cookies, cola and fruit as well as many processed foods contain sugar. Sugar tastes good so many people crave it. Unfortunately, sugar can wreak havoc on your diet by increasing insulin levels which inhibits fat burning. Sugar is also mildly addictive which means very few of us can stop after just a small amount – we tend to eat sugar to excess. Sugar is also inflammatory, bad for your teeth and commonly linked to a wide variety of health problems including various cancers and even heart disease. Bottom line – if you want faster fat loss, you need to ditch the sugar.
- Eat every three to four hours
We used to think that eating every few hours elevated your metabolism but recent research has called this claim into doubt. However, eating every few hours will help stave off hunger and makes it easier to exercise portion control and meal contents as a result. When you get hungry, any good intentions of eating properly quickly fly out the window in favour of sugary snacks or junk food. However, by eating every few hours, your blood glucose levels should remain more stable and you should experience much less hunger. Additionally, if you ARE hungry, it’s nice to know that your next meal is only an hour or so away. Small, frequent meals are a great way to speed up fat loss – even if they don’t directly affect your metabolic rate.
- Have a salad for dinner every evening
A big, green, leafy salad contains very few calories but is very filling. Low in carbs, it’s the ideal food to eat before bed. Salad greens are also high in tryptophan which is a substance linked closely to feelings of relaxation and happiness and which should help you sleep more soundly. Add some lean protein and a healthy fat such as olive oil and you have the perfect fat-fighting evening meal.To make your salad even better, add some lemon juice or, alternaitvely, drink a glass of water containing freshley-squeezed lemon juice with your meal to increase your alkalinity which will futher enhance fat burning and gut health.
- Push-ups before each meal
Before every meal or snack, drop down and pump out 20 to 50 push-ups. This means that, throughout your day, you’ll clock up anywhere between 60 and 350 push-ups which will add up to a lot more kilojoules used per day. Doing some exercise before each and every meal also increases both insulin sensitivity and glut4 production which will ensure that the food you consume is preferentially partitioned into your muscles and away from your fat stores. If push-ups aren’t for you, do squats instead or, alternatively, just tense your major muscles as hard as you can for 30 seconds e.g. press your palms together in front of your chest.
- Deep breaths to beat stress
Lowering your stress levels can significantly speed up fat loss. Stress, be it physical or emotional, increases the production of a hormone called cortisol. One of cortisol’s jobs is breaking down muscle for energy which subsequently lowers your daily energy requirements or metabolic rate. Also, many of us are “stress eaters” and tend to reach for unhealthy foods whenever we feel under pressure. Instead of letting stress get you down, take ten deep breaths whenever you feel overly pressured. Stress is simply a reaction when you believe that something is too big for you to handle – but if you take a moment to reflect on what is bothering you, you’ll often find that a solution is within your grasp and there is no reason for you to feel anxious.
- No carbs after lunchtime
Carbs are an important food source and they provide energy as well as vitamins, minerals and fibre are the main source of energy for your muscles, major organs and brain but they are really only necessary for fuelling physical activity i.e. exercise or manual labour. If you are generally sedentary, except for your four or more workouts per week of course, you simply do not require a lot of carbohydrate other than some to power you through your workouts. By having a carb cut off time of around midday, you ensure that your body is primed for fat burning but still gets enough carbs so you have energy to work out. It’s not that carbs are inherently bad – it’s just that too many carbs can, like sugar, interfere with your blood glucose levels, increase insulin production and make fat loss much more difficult. Replace your carbs with protein as protein is not only very filling, it also has a high thermal effect which simply means a lot of energy is used in its breakdown. The main sources of carbs to avoid during this time are things like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes – the so-called starchy carbs.
Doing these seven things will significantly boost your rate of fat loss but only if you add them to a sound diet and exercise plan that you follow consistently. Consider these tips as the (low fat) dressing to your super-healthy salad!
Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)
Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.
I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.