How To Lose Weight Fast | The Definitive Guide
Let’s be honest, we’re not exaggerating when we say there’s a million different tips and tricks of how to lose weight out there. Yet so many of us are still wondering how to burn fat while staring at other people’s transformation pictures.
Siri’s listening to your woes, guys. Ever mentioned to a friend that you want to lose weight fast only to get bombarded with weight loss pills, shakes, and expensive programs claiming to help you lose weight within weeks? I hear you! It’s hard to discover what it takes with all the noise on the net, all wanting a piece of your hard-earned cash.
In this comprehensive guide, we are going to cut through that noise. Yes, you can burn that stubborn fat on your stomach in months. But you need to commit to this journey whole-heartedly. In short, if you’re serious about weight loss, you’ll need to:
- Maintain or build muscle
- Learn how to make healthy foods delicious
- Build an unstoppable mindset to stay on track
- And how to finally fall in love with exercise (trust me, it’s possible)
Not only will we share with you practical, evidence-based nutrition and exercise information. But we’ll also uncover the mental attitude that you need for lasting weight loss success. Yes, these are the secrets that the trillion-dollar weight loss industry would prefer you didn’t know.
The Weight Loss Basics
If you’re an absolute beginner to fat or weight loss, there are a few things you need to know. Where you should spend your precious time and energy, and which weight-loss fads are a waste of your time.
How To Measure Yourself
The body confidence movement in recent years is incredible. No matter what size you are, feeling confident, and loving who you are is the most important element of the weight loss journey. But because of this movement, there is an anti-scale mentality out there. Yes, a number on a scale doesn’t define who you are, but for many, it will determine whether you are obese or not.
The scale is a great measurement tool when you are obese because of fat cell content. Measuring tape and fat calipers are better to use when you are heavy on the scales due to muscle mass content. Photos are the best measurement tool in all situations.
If you’re not already training and want to know if you’re in the healthy, overweight or obese ranges, check out the chart to measure your body mass index below. The body mass index uses your height and weight to determine where you sit. Note, the BMI scale is not accurate for people with large amounts of muscle mass, such as athletes and bodybuilders.
Counting Calories: Worth Your Time or Not?
You’ll have heard and read loads about the calorie deficit, which is a fancy way to say eat less than what you’re burning in a day. In simple terms, we all have a basal metabolic rate, which is when we burn calories in a day without doing anything at all. Then we have the calories burnt from exercise, walking, running after the kids, or whatever else you do in a day.
Counting calories is good for increasing your awareness, and it’s swiftly done on popular apps such as my fitness pal. But it’s time-consuming. If you’re a beginner to your weight loss journey, focus on eating better and moving more.
Let’s use your banking as an analogy for deciding if calorie counting is for you. Making better choices every day is similar to sticking to your budget. Printing out your transactions and matching every transaction up to your budget is counting calories.
Sure, counting calories is incredibly useful when you’re not making progress. For most people, writing down everything you eat in a day and using your smartwatch to show you how active you are is a better place to start. Start with competence before you over-complicate your weight loss journey.
When Should You Expect to See Weight Loss Results?
This differs for everyone but there are a few guidelines to be aware of:
- Experts suggest losing 500g per week is healthy and sustainable.
- Photos are the BEST way for you to measure your progress.
- Generally, others will notice within 8-12 weeks of you sticking to an exercise or nutrition change.
Many of those wondering how to lose weight fast have spent years putting on the weight that they want to lose. If you stay consistent with your new regime, it may take a couple of months for others to notice your hard work.
What’s most important is that you notice your changes. Photos don’t lie. As confronting as they are to begin with, imagine how satisfying that before and after comparison will look.
People in the obese BMI category will healthily lose weight faster than 500g per week. But you should be very proud of yourself when you’re consistently losing this amount per week.
How To Lose Weight Fast Using Nutrition
Burning fat has never become more complicated with the rise of nutrition trends and experts out there. Many claim that a specific diet is the only way to burn stubborn fat and restrictive diets leave us feeling craving for more.
You don’t need to take ten multivitamins or deprive yourself of anything (unless it’s for medical reasons). Here we explore why the fads don’t work and what you need to know instead.
Keto, Paleo, Vegan? How To Lose Weight Faster
We’ve already explored how much weight per week is sustainable, and we don’t recommend more than 500g per week. Why? Because studieshave shown that those who lose it fast, often put it back on within a few years. This is because they haven’t targeted the psychology behind their old eating behaviours. With your nutrition, you need to focus on a diet that will fit in with your lifestyle.
We don’t knock any diet, ketogenic, paleo, no sugar, intermittent fasting, and vegan diets work long term for many. And there are pros and cons to all of these options. What’s most important is that you stop listening to other people’s experiences and listen to your own body instead. Anything that is not sustainable will not help you lose weight faster.
How You Need To Shop and Cook
Learning how to lose weight fast is a simple science. Remember that food pyramid that we were all exposed to as kids? Perhaps you remember Harold the Giraffe? That’s how we need to eat. Ideally, an organic, free-range diet full of whole grains and vegetables.
But there’s ideal and real. Organic, free-range is not suitable for every budget and whole foods are not ideal for every cooking skill level. Start with one of these small changes per week:
- Shop on the outside of the supermarket - the produce, meat, and dairy sections.
- Start reading labels for anything packaged. (In general, don’t eat anything that you can’t spell out).
- Check out your local farmer’s markets on the weekend.
- Cook from home wherever possible.
- Buy seasonal fruit and vegetables.
This is Exactly What Should Be In Your Meals
To know how to develop tasty meals, you need to know your macronutrients. We definitely don’t recommend that you start weighing your food and counting your macros, but if you have the time, go ahead! There are three major macronutrient groups:
Your carbohydrates are breads, sugars, rice, whole grains, pastas, fibres, fruits, and starchy vegetables. Aim to eat as many low GI carbohydrates as possible as they sustainably release energy. Avoid high GI carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, and sugars. Eat fewer carbohydrates around dinner time for weight loss. Eat more carbs after your workouts.
Fats are oils, nuts, seeds, fish, meat, and oily foods. Eat as many monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as you can, and stay away from saturated and trans-fats. So, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fish are in. Fried foods and canola oil are out. Eat saturated fats from fish and red meat in moderation.
Proteins are meats, dairy, nuts, quinoa, seeds, and meat substitutes. You need a complete protein comprised of the nine essential amino acids. You only need to worry about this if you’re a vegetarian or vegan because meat and dairy have all nine in them. If you’re a vegan, you’re in luck because quinoa has all nine in them, and basmati rice has eight!
To keep your meals simple, imagine a serving size of macro-nutrients as the palm of your hand. In the sample food schedule below, be vigilant with your macro-nutrient serving sizes, but you can have as many vegetables as you’d like.
- Breakfast: Serve of carbohydrates, serve of protein, plenty of fruit and veg
- Snack: Carbohydrate or protein (banana or oats and yogurt)
- Lunch: Serve of carbohydrates, serve of protein, plenty of fruit and veg
- Snack: Protein (nuts)
- Dinner: Serve of protein and plenty of food and veg
Keep it simple to start with, and refine your meals as you go.
How To Lose Weight Fast Using Exercise
If you can’t stand exercise, it isn’t needed to lose weight. But it’s extremely helpful. Most people want to add shape whether it be a big chest and arms or the perfect hourglass figure. If you’re still not buying it, skip ahead to the best movement method for those in the “obese” category.
The BEST Exercise For Weight Loss
Have you been wondering how to lose weight fast by trying every single method possible? We’ll let you in on a little secret. The BEST possible exercise for weight loss is the exercise that you’ll do. That’s right, there’s no secret to it. Get consistent in ANYTHING when you start. But here are the benefits of a few different methods and what might be best for you.
Why Lifting Weights Helps So Many Lose Weight
Weight training, whether it be bodyweight or a physical weight are a powerful method of burning fat fast! This is the best way to build muscle, not only will it give you your desired shape after you burn the fat, but it’s a serious boost to your metabolism.
Muscle cells have many more mitochondria organelles than other cells. This increases the amount of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) readily available which gives you more energy for working out and helps you burn more calories at rest. That’s right, weight training will provide you with more energy to do the things you love and help you burn more calories as you sleep.
How To Minimise Your Risk of Heart Disease AND Lose Weight
Cardio training can be split into two categories, aerobic and anaerobic. In the simplest terms, aerobic exercise is like a long-distance run, anaerobic is a sprint. Aerobic training is fabulous for your cardiovascular health. If it’s because you’re one of the 35% of Americans or 30% of obese Australians, your cardiovascular health will need some aerobic love.
Cardiovascular training increases your mood, helps you sleep, and burns a whole bunch of calories. Better yet, it helps prevent conditions associated with obesity such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. It doesn’t matter whether you run, swim, jog, or hike; increasing your heart rate over time will ensure you reap these benefits.
When You’re Ready To Kick It Up A Notch, Try This
Anaerobic training is the second type of cardiovascular exercise. If you’re in the last 5-10kg category of your weight loss journey, this will speed up your progress. It will increase your anaerobic threshold, which will help your endurance levels in aerobic activities and improve your joint and cardiovascular health.
If you’re already in relatively good health, anaerobic training is a great challenge. HIIT (high-intensity interval training), sprints, and plyometric training will help you test your limits and combat the dreaded plateau. Just a word of warning, this type of training isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Kickboxing, Dancing, Badminton? What’s Best?
You might already have quite a few friends who are at the end of their weight loss journey. Some will swear by a kickboxing gym that they go to, while others claim that they have shaken the weight off in a Zumba class. It’ll leave you searching for answers to burn fat fast because of all the different methods available.
The reasons why these niche exercise regimes work are because they’re fun. Your friends, family, or someone you stalk on social media have lost the weight because this exercise was entertaining enough to keep going. And often, they include elements of strength and cardiovascular training that are mentioned above. Don’t listen to your friend’s transformation journey, keep trying different styles, and stick with the method that works for you.
And This Is The Best Method For Those in the “Obese” Category
In theory, you’d think that in order to lose weight you should be burning the maximum calories possible, right? Not exactly, fat burning is all about hitting particular heart rate zones. While the cardiovascular and resistance training is excellent for optimising your metabolism, if you’re obese or haven’t hit the gym for a long time, you need to start slower.
The best possible way to lose weight is by walking on a treadmill with a slight incline to target your desired fat burning heart rate zone for an extended time period. That’s 50-65% of your maximum heart rate. Check out the chart below to see where you sit. While the anaerobic (in purple) and aerobic (in red) are also useful to your weight loss journey, it’s not an achievable target to many fitness beginners.
We’d recommend spending 45-60 minutes on your treadmill reaching your fat burning zone four times per week. You can couple this with conference calls, your favourite Netflix show, or a podcast. It’s low impact and safe. Many physicians will not recommend high-intensity exercise for those with high blood pressure or cholesterol due to the heart attack risk. Check-in with your doctor and see if fat burning walks are better for you.
How To Prevent Plateau
Hiring an experienced and knowledgeable coach or trainer is the best way to ensure that you’re diversifying your workouts, but it’s not always the most financially viable option. Plus, not everyone wants to workout in a gym. Whether you choose to exercise in a gym, studio, outdoors, or a pool, you can run into a plateau.
The best way to prevent the dreaded plateau is to switch up your training every 4-6 weeks. Workout plateau only happens when your body has adjusted to the stress it’s currently under.
For example, if you’re doing ten laps of the pool at the same pace, it’ll only challenge you for a certain amount of time. After six weeks, you’ll need to try a different stroke, opt for swimming sprints or intervals, or test your maximum distance. Or try something completely different like that dance class that your partner has been trying to drag you along to.
The best way to tell if you need to switch up your training is if:
- You’re no longer becoming out of breath;
- You’re no longer feeling small muscle pains after a workout;
- You’ve stopped noticing visual changes; or
- You’re getting bored.
How To Lose Weight Fast Using...Sleep?
Rest is more important for weight loss than we give it credit for. Many “fit” people struggle to shift the last five kilograms because they’re simply not sleeping or stretching correctly. Lack of rest can lead to mental health problems, a higher chance of injury, and motivation loss. If you’re in the category of having too much rest, you’ll be pleased to know that you can put your feet up from time to time!
How Stretching Keeps You Lean
Both passive and active stretching are essential to your overall health and wellbeing. Ensuring you stretch out after exercise will ensure you have a good range of motion in your muscles, improve posture, and prevent injury.
Unless you’re going to an intense hot yoga class, stretching is unlikely to impact your weight loss journey directly. But in the long run? You’ll wish you had stretched more once you start feeling unwarranted aches and pains. Preventing injury will ensure that you can do all the things you always wanted to do and never lose momentum on your weight loss journey.
Sleep Will Help You Lose Weight, Here’s Why
Our need for sleep is so strong that we will fall asleep while driving if we are deprived of it. Our sleep hormone melatonin is inversely proportional to our stress hormone cortisol. If we are firing off too many stress hormones, we often turn to high GI foods like bread and sugar to get us through our slump.
A studyfollowed a group of people who were on a weight loss journey. Those who experienced less sleep over 14 days stopped losing as many fat cells, even when ingesting the same amount of calories. For most people, 7-9 hours sleep is ideal for mental and physical recovery.
How Many Days Should You Workout Per Week
Rest days are essential to your weight loss journey, especially when starting. If you start exercising after years of a sedentary lifestyle, you will be tired. Going too hard, too quickly is only going to result in injury. When you’re injured, it makes it much harder to lose weight because you’ll have to rely on your nutrition alone.
There’s no telling how many rest days that you’ll need specifically. Everyone is different. Some people start their journey exercising six days per week and never stop. Others begin with four rest days per week and build up to just two. One thing is for sure, you’ll need at least one rest day per week.
If you’ve been wondering how to burn fat fast for a while now, there’s no doubt that different fitness entrepreneurs have been popping up into your Instagram or Facebook. You might’ve heard of something called “active rest”. Don’t worry about active rest until you’re further along in your journey. For health junkies, 15,000 steps in a day is active rest. For you, focus on doing more this week than last.
The Fat Burning Mindset Shifts
It’s harder to objectively measure the impact of the fat-burning mindset shifts because psychology is incredibly subjective. As a certified personal trainer, there are a few common observable themes from the clients who don’t lose the stubborn fat versus the ones that do.
This is the secret sauce to weight loss. It’s what the weight loss industry would prefer that you didn’t know because it’d go out of business yesterday if all of us cultivated an unstoppable mindset. Here’s how to set achievable goals that will help you feel confident in your own skin.
How to Set Goals For Weight Loss
A Harvard Business School studyrevealed that the students who set goals were earning twice as much as their counterparts 10 years later. Those who set written goals and had a plan to achieve them were making ten times more than the other students after a decade. Consider this blog different elements of your plan, and now it’s time to get clear on your written goal.
If you’re a corporate junkie, you will have heard of SMART goals. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-based. Goal setting is no different in your personal life. Here is a weight loss goal example:
- (Idea) How to lose weight fast, I want to be 40kg lighter yesterday.
- (Specific) I want to lose weight from my stomach.
- (Measurable) I want to lose weight from my stomach and fit into 32” jeans again.
- (Achievable) I want to lose weight from my stomach and fit into 34” jeans again.
- (Realistic) I want to lose weight from my stomach and fit into 34” jeans again.
- (Time-based) I want to lose weight from my stomach and fit into 34” jeans again within three months*.
*This time-frame is only realistic, depending on where you are currently. Remember, sustainable weight loss is 0.5kg per week.
Then, you can create your plan. Pick any new habit from this ultimate guide and consider that the first action item on your plan towards your goals.
Don't Put Yourself Down, Start Building Yourself Up!
Self-deprecating talk could be the reason why you’re not getting any lighter. What do you tell yourself when you look in the mirror? Are the comments you make to yourself after you ate the birthday cake helpful? Have you said to yourself that you’re just not someone who can lose weight? Your negative talk or complaints is a severe waste of energy, and here’s why.
Without getting too woo-woo on you, there’s a lot of new research out there in metaphysics. If you’ve heard of the documentary The Secret, you’ll know what manifestation is. Basically, you need to think about your desire into existence. The negative thoughts and comments you make about yourself are sucking your precious energy to your weight loss journey.
And if that just went way above your head, just try being nice to yourself where you are right now and see how good it feels.
How To Start Believing That You Can Actually Do It
A lot of people also give up before they try. If you’ve been attempting to lose weight before, you know how difficult it is to succeed. Think of it as giving up smoking, there are some serious behavioural changes that you need to make to be successful. For some, it’s learning how to cook, others it’s learning how to do a fat-burning walk with their bow-legged knees. Cut yourself some slack.
To start believing that you can do it, here are some actionable phrases that you can change today:
- Switch “I can’t” to “I’m choosing not to”;
- Change “Sorry” to “Thank you for”; and
- Swap out, “I’m not meant for” to “I’ve never experienced.”
As a certified personal trainer, I never expected to hear so many people say, “I’m not meant to be skinny” or “I can’t do” something that anyone can learn. Your limiting beliefs are getting in the way of your progress. Cultivate an attitude of learning rather than creating roadblocks for yourself.
What Not To Do Before You Start
When we said this was a comprehensive weight loss guide, we were not joking. By now, you will not be wondering how to lose weight fast. You currently have all the tools. What’s most important is the implementation of this knowledge.
Many of us are afraid of failing again and again. You’ll likely fail multiple times on this journey. If you want to lose weight for good this time, you’ll need to learn to get comfortable with your failing hard and fast. There will be a time where you eat the entire chocolate bar or sleep through your morning run. It happens to even the most disciplined athletes. Get back up again quickly.
You do not need to be perfect to start. Save this article and start with JUST ONE paragraph to work on for the next two weeks. Then once that becomes a habit, try another tip. You don’t need to overcomplicate it and become obsessed with your macros. Maybe it’s just learning to cook nutritious food first.
And Finally, Make Sure You Do This First
Intentional or unintentional, the weight loss industry does not want you to have a healthy relationship with food and exercise. We’ve already talked about yo-yo dieting. Many diets and fitness trends work for a specific population, but not the vast majority.
It’s important to remember that no size fits all when it comes to weight loss. Your friend might swear by kickboxing for weight loss, yet another is off to Bali on their Yoga teacher training course. Others just hit the beach for a surf. It’s more important that you develop a positive relationship with movement and nutrition. How do you do this? By having fun!
Try as many different movement-based activities as you can until you find what you love. Make your favourite treat-foods healthy so that you can enjoy them more often. Look for the joy in your new lifestyle and get the ones that you love involved in your new habits.
As you learn to enjoy the weight loss journey, you’ll no longer be wondering how to burn fat on your stomach. You’ll only be wishing you got started sooner!
Lori is a certified personal trainer and yoga teacher passionate about helping her audience create the mindset to achieve their fitness goals. A corporate junkie turned freelance writer and trainer, Lori blends the two world together to inspire others to take leadership in their wellness journey. You can find her on Instagramor on her website.