How Experts Say You Can Lose Weight Quickly and Safely

Lose 5 pounds in one week! It’s a common saying, and if you need to lose weight for health reasons or just want to for yourself, it can sound pretty appealing. Technically, some people can lose that much weight in that amount of time, but our nutrition experts don’t recommend it and it’s not a healthy way to lose weight. Even though you might have lost that much on a low-carb or keto diet (most of it might have been water weight), you’ll probably gain it all back when you start eating carbs again. Plus, not everyone will be able to keep this promise because weight loss depends on your metabolism and a lot of other things that are unique to you, like how active you are and how your body is made up.

If you still want to lose weight, there are a few healthy tips that apply to almost everyone and that you can start using right away.

How to Lose Weight Safely:

1. Eat more vegetables:

Instead of cutting out certain foods or food groups, focus on eating a lot of healthy foods that will improve your overall health and help you manage your weight. The water and fibre in fruits and vegetables give dishes more volume. They are also naturally low in fat and calories but high in nutrients and filling. By swapping out high-calorie ingredients for fruits and vegetables, you can make lower-calorie versions of tasty dishes. If you try to make at least half of every meal you eat vegetables, you’ll be on the right track to better health.

2. Make a better breakfast:

A well-balanced breakfast with fibre, protein, and healthy fats in a tasty dish will change your day, especially if you are currently skipping breakfast and still finding it hard to put a healthy lifestyle first. If you don’t eat breakfast, your hunger hormones may change later in the day. This could make you feel “hangry” in the afternoon, which makes it harder to avoid eating too much or giving in to cravings for sugary and refined carbohydrate foods. The best, heartiest breakfasts are ones that fill you up, keep you full all morning, and keep you from getting hungry later in the day. Aim to eat between 400 and 500 calories for your morning meal, and make sure it has lean protein, filling fat (like eggs, unsweetened Greek yoghurt, nuts, or nut butters), and fibre (like veggies, fruit, or 100% whole grains). If you start your day with a mix of nutrients that keep your blood sugar stable, you will lose weight.

3. Be smart about your snacks:

Many popular snacks today are high in calories but low in nutrients. Refined grains like cereals, chips, crackers, and cookies, as well as drinks like juice and soda that are high in calories, are often to blame. For weight loss, try to keep snacks to less than 300 calories, and choose healthy snacks with at least 4 grammes of fibre and 4 grammes of protein to help you feel full. Choose foods that have as little added sugar and salt as possible.

4. Slow down when you eat:

Paying attention to the taste, texture, temperature, and smell of what you’re eating can help you control how much you eat. But mindful eating also means paying attention to what and when you’re eating. This can help you figure out if you’re munching unnecessarily throughout the day, which could be adding extra calories. More importantly, try not to eat foods you didn’t pick out yourself. Mindful eating can help you stop letting outside authorities and cues tell you what to do and start listening to your body’s own inner wisdom. Another step toward making better choices in the short and long term is to pay attention to where your extra calories come from.

5. Don’t drink sugary drinks:

We don’t feel as full from liquid calories as we do from real food. It’s just not as satisfying to drink juice or caramel coffee as it is to eat a bowl of stir-fry that is full of vegetables and protein. Most of the time, skipping sugary drinks is the easiest way to lose weight faster. As a bonus, it’s also good for your heart health and can help keep you from getting diabetes. So watch how much juice, soda, sweetened coffee or tea, and alcoholic drinks you drink. If you drink each of these drinks during the day, you’ll take in at least 800 extra calories and still be hungry at night. (Alcohol may also slow down the way your body burns fat, making it harder for you to burn those calories.)

6. Start strength training:

Strength training builds lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whether you’re working or not. The faster you lose weight, the more lean muscle you have.

How do you start building strength? Try doing a few push-ups, squats, or lunges. You can do simple bicep curls or tricep extensions with your free weights right at home or at the office. You can add some new moves for your legs, arms, back, and abs if you want. Even if you only lift weights three to four times a week, you can quickly lose weight and improve your range of motion, stability, and posture.

7. Add a little spice to your life:

Eating spicy foods can help you cut back on calories. That’s because capsaicin, a chemical found in jalapeo and cayenne peppers, may (slightly) increase your body’s release of stress hormones like adrenaline, which can speed up your ability to burn calories. Also, eating hot peppers may help you eat less quickly and stop you from eating too much. You’ll probably be more aware of when you’re full. Ginger and turmeric are two other great choices besides hot peppers.

8. Go to bed earlier:

A lot of research shows that getting less than the recommended amount of sleep each night, which is about seven hours, can slow down your metabolism. Chronic lack of sleep may even change the hormones that control hunger, and some studies have found a link between less sleep and poor food choices. Good sleep also has a lot of other benefits, like making you more alert and improving your mood and quality of life as a whole. So get enough sleep and you’ll have an advantage when it comes to your overall health and losing weight. Start by moving your bedtime up by just 15 to 30 minutes at first. Every minute counts!

9. Keep a food journal:

Studies show that people who write down everything they eat, especially while they eat, are more likely to lose weight and keep it off for the long term. A 2019 study published in Obesity found that if you do this habit every day, it takes less than 15 minutes on average.

You can use an app like MyFitnessPal or a regular notebook to keep track. It will keep you honest about what you’ve eaten. Also, when you see it written down, it’s easy to see where you could use a little improvement.

10. Go for a walk:

Walking is a great way to manage your weight because it can help you get the most out of your NEAT. NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, which is the energy you use for anything other than formal exercise and sleeping. If you want to lose weight by walking, NEAT can be a great way to help you reach your goals. Research shows that obese people walk less and that this gets worse as they gain weight.

Exercise is good for you at any time, but doing it in the evening may be especially helpful because your metabolism slows down in the evening. When you do 30 minutes of aerobic activity before dinner, your metabolic rate goes up, and it may stay up for two or three hours after you stop moving. Plus, it will help you relax after a meal, so you won’t be tempted to snack out of stress, which can add up to a lot of calories.

11. Don’t skip meals:

Our nutritionists say that skipping meals won’t help you lose weight faster. If you’re too busy during the day to sit down for a meal, keep a piece of fruit and a pack of nut butter in your car or purse, and keep snacks in your desk drawer. Do whatever you can to keep from getting hungry!

Long stretches without food hurt our efforts to eat healthy in two ways: it slows down our metabolism and makes us more likely to binge later in the day. Make it your goal to eat three meals and two snacks every day, and don’t go more than three to four hours without eating. If you need to, set a “snack alarm” on your phone.

12. Get your H2O from food:

Sure, drinking a lot of water can help you feel less bloated, but you can (and should) also eat foods that are high in water. Cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, asparagus, grapes, celery, artichokes, pineapple, and cranberries will all help you pee and keep you full because they have more fibre.

13. Eat foods that are high in minerals:

Potassium, magnesium, and calcium can help to counteract the effects of sodium, which can cause you to bloat. Leafy greens, most “orange” foods (oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, melon), bananas, tomatoes, and cruciferous vegetables, especially cauliflower, are all high in potassium. Low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds can also help you feel better and get rid of gas. They have also been linked to a lot of other health benefits, like lowering blood pressure, controlling blood sugar, and lowering the risk of chronic disease in general.

14. Don’t be too hard on yourself:

When it comes to healthy eating, moderation is the key to giving your body the nutrients it needs and keeping a healthy weight for the long term. So, instead of beating yourself up for eating things you know you shouldn’t, just let it go. Try to keep in mind that food should be fun.

15. Look for our logo on the labels of food:

In the end, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to change some of your short-term habits and make healthier ones. That’s why we made the Good Housekeeping Nutritionist Approved Emblem, which is meant to help people change their eating habits by making smarter food choices. All of the GHNA foods and drinks make it easier to find and eat healthy foods without taking more time, work, or money. We focus on the things about your lifestyle that make it hard to eat healthier, and we find simple, creative solutions that work. When you’re shopping for food, look for the symbol on the labels.

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