Losing weight fast is almost always unhealthy. That’s because it can set you up for binge-eating and fluctuations that interfere with long-lasting results, which basically defeats the whole point, right?
And it’s also freaking hard!
For most people, it’s very, very difficult to lose more than one to two pounds of body fat in a week. And even if you lose some water weight in the process, the change is temporary.
It’s fat loss that changes your body’s shape and that’s what you should be aiming for.
Even if you do meet your goal, it’s nearly impossible to keep off the weight over the long term. That’s because the amount of restriction required to maintain that number will make you so hungry that you’ll eat everything in sight—it’s basic survival instinct.
And since calorie restriction gradually slows your metabolism, your body will be less prepared to burn the foods you binge on. That’s why you’d most likely be gaining more pounds than you lost in the first place.
Still, there are effective and healthy ways to kick off your weight loss—and you can lose as much as 20 pounds in 2 weeks.
So, give yourself a chance to lose weight and try the below safe and proven tips. You’ll lose all the weight you want for good – all without starving yourself, wasting money on sketchy supplements, or punishing your body with exercise.
And remember, if you follow these tips consistently, you’ll get the best, longest-lasting results from changes that don’t leave you exhausted and dreaming of pizza.
1. Track your diet
Eating fewer calories than you burn will help you lose weight—it’s that simple. But you need to know your patterns before you can make a plan.
To assess how much you’re actually eating to maintain your current weight, take a look at My Fitness Pal app. Just input whatever you eat, and be honest. The app will calculate your daily calorie intake without judgement (or any math on your end). No food is inherently good or bad.
2. Focus on plants
In a small-ish study of more than 1,000 people, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers found those following vegetarian and vegan diets, rich in whole grains, fruits, produce, nuts, and legumes, lost more weight than dieters on other plans—even the low-carb Atkins diet—over the same time span.
The researchers hypothesize that participants who abstained from animal products dropped significantly more pounds since plant-based foods include loads of filling fiber and slow-to-digest complex carbs.
Though more research is needed to confirm these results, the study authors write, “Vegetarian diets appeared to have significant benefits on weight reduction compared to non-vegetarian diets.”
3. Cut back on soda
When you drink liquid carbs, like the sugar in soda, your body doesn’t register them the same way as, say, a piece of bread, according to a review of studies published in Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care. That means, even though you’re taking in calories, your fullness cues aren’t likely to signal that you’re satisfied once you finish off a can. And that can lead to consuming more overall.
Even calorie-free diet soda might keep you from reaching your goals. Though the reason for increased risk for obesity isn’t clear, recent research suggests that artificially sweetened soda could stimulate hunger hormones, leading people to consume more calories than they need.
4. Make a really small food swap
The best way to support sustainable weight loss is to incorporate small changes into existing habits.
If you’ve been eating fast food for years, get real about your approach: You’re probably not going to stick to an organic, gluten-free, paleo overhaul for very long. You want to change as little as possible to create calorie deficit.
So instead of giving up your daily BLT bagels in favor of an egg-white wrap, try ordering your sandwich on a lighter English muffin. Or say you eat a snack bar every afternoon: Swap your 300-calorie bar for a 150-calorie alternative.
Your brain will feel the same way about it, so you won’t feel deprived.
5. Eat your largest meal at night
Yes, you read that right! Some research shows that the human body is primed to consume most of its calories during daylight hours. But the lifestyle is problematic for many: Because family meals and dinners with friends often are scheduled for after sunset, people who try to stop eating after 7pm can’t do it every day for the rest of their lives. So, eating a hearty meal at your regular dinnertime.
After all, when you run out of calories too early to go out to dinner with friends or satisfy a bedtime craving, you’re more likely to fall victim to the “f*ck it” effect—when you break one “rule” and give up for the rest of the night.
To make this work, plan around a large evening meal by eating a lighter breakfast and lunch – which works well because most people who eat a meal before bed tend to wake up feeling relatively full.
Research also suggests balanced bedtime meals may also promote steady next-day blood sugar levels, which also helps with appetite regulation.
At the end of the day, it’s just easier for people people to eat in the evenings and this approach ensures your social life doesn’t take a hit.
6. Get your protein from lean food source
Dietary protein is one of the most important tools in your weight-loss arsenal, partly because you expend more energy digesting protein versus carbs and fat. But it’s often packaged with naturally-occurring fats that amp up the calories of each serving.
It’s why leaner protein sources like chicken breast, white fish, and low-fat dairy have fewer calories than alternatives like bacon and burgers.
Greek yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese also make smart choices.
7. Eat carbs with higher fiber content
Like protein, fiber slows the rate at which your body plows through carb calories so you feel full for longer and maintain steadier blood sugar levels, one reason why research consistently links fiber intake to weight loss.
That means fibrous whole grain bread tends to be a better choice than white bread and also explains why fruits, which contain fiber and valuable vitamins in addition to sugar, beat straight-up candy every time.
8. Drink more water
Skimp on fluids, and your body will release an antidiuretic hormone that leads to water retention that could affect the scale.
While this sneaky effect is one reason why the scale is a poor measure of body mass loss, you can outsmart it by drinking more—particularly if you fill your glass with water or non-calorie alternatives like unsweetened coffee and tea.
9. Manage stress
Anytime you’re stressed, you probably go for food.
That’s because cortisol, the stress hormone, stokes your appetite for sugary, fatty foods. No wonder it’s associated with higher body weight, according to a 2007 Obesity study that quantified chronic stress exposure by looking at cortisol concentrations in more than 2,000 adults’ hair.
It’s why no weight-loss journey is complete without a stress-management tactic: Maybe it’s meditation, calling your mom after work, or chilling out with music.
Just make sure it’s hunger, not stress, that leads you to the kitchen.
10. Sleep an extra 30 minutes a night
Poor sleep is associated with slower metabolism, and the more you’re awake the more hours you have to eat. What’s more, the sleep deprivation activates the same brain receptors responsible for the marijuana munchies, according to a 2016 SLEEP study.
11. Exercise but do not overexert
Although it’s way more fun to take up a tolerable activity (i.e., watching Netflix on the elliptical) than it is to drop tasty foods from your diet, exercise won’t help you lose weight in one week
After all, resistance training might initially contribute a pound or two due to the body’s inflammatory response, and people who do low-intensity exercise might burn calories, but they often end up eating more or subconsciously moving less throughout the day to conserve energy.
It could take weeks or months to see the metabolic effects of exercise on the scale, and even then, building muscle, which is denser than body fat, could lead to weight gain.
Do what you like because it’s good for you – remember, exercise is awesome for your heart, mental health, and more—and that not all measure of progress can be seen on the scale.
12. Have all the sex you want
In what is perhaps the biggest buzzkill of all time, sex doesn’t quite count as cardio or burn a significant amount of calories: Women burn about 3.6 per minute. But it’s still a good idea.
Having sex all the time offers other benefits – like increasing the output of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which naturally reduce food cravings.
13. Try this odd “carb trick” that burns up to 1 pound per day.
If you’re like most women trying to lose weight… you diet, you count calories, you tear up the treadmill, and…nothing.
That’s how 40-year-old Carly Donovan, an overweight mother with prediabetes was feeling…
She did “everything right” and never lost an inch.
Until she stumbled on this strange “carb-pairing” trick and burned away an unheard of 22lbs pounds in just 13 days.
And because of this one simple shift in her eating, she shed pounds and inches from her body without starving herself and without a lick of exercise!
With the same “carb-pairing” trick Carly dropped a total of 37lbs in the FIRST month and she shocked her doctor by completely reversing ALL pre-diabetes symptoms!
If you’re a woman over the age of 25 who wants to reclaim her life inside the body she DESERVES, you should check it out for yourself.