There’s a lot of conflicting advice about how to lose weight fast. But many experts say it’s better to lose weight slowly, rather than trying to shed pounds quickly with fad diets or extreme exercise.
Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. Include lean protein (from poultry, beans, nuts and seeds) and limit added sugars and saturated fat.
Set Realistic Goals
Crash diets and weight loss pills have promised quick fixes, but losing weight takes time. Changing your lifestyle and focusing on healthy habits can make you feel confident and accomplished, but it’s important to set realistic goals that will keep you motivated.
Realistic weight loss goals are measurable, attainable and trackable. Rather than a number on the scale, you might focus on inches lost or how your clothes fit.
It’s best to start with small, realistic goals and then work your way up. For example, aiming to lose four pounds in one month is a reasonable goal that you can achieve with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
Veggies and fruits are packed with nutrients and can help lower your blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer and provide a low-glycemic load to prevent spikes in blood sugar. They also seem to boost metabolism.
Choose a wide variety of colors and textures to get the most nutritional benefits. All fruit and vegetables, including canned, frozen or dried, count towards your five daily servings.
Fill half of your plate with veggies and choose low-calorie options such as steamed broccoli, spinach or green salads. Try dipping veggies in hummus or adding chopped veggies to your smoothies. Vegetables and fruits offer plenty of nutrients and very little calories.
Eat Healthy Smoothies
Fruit can be high in sugar, so be sure to balance the smoothie with a source of protein. Vegetables are lower in sugar but provide a variety of vitamins and minerals and add flavor to a smoothie.
Nutritionists love adding veggies, low-fat yogurt and other healthy ingredients to smoothies. Try this recipe from Prevention’s Smoothies & Juices, which uses banana (which contains relaxing magnesium), kale for vitamin A, chia seeds and whey protein for a boost of energy.
This smoothie is the perfect meal replacement or pre-or post-workout snack. It is packed with fiber to keep you feeling full and protein for satiation.
Eat Lean Protein
Protein-rich foods fill you up and make it harder to overeat. Lean protein, like white meat, skinless chicken breast and lower-fat fish such as cod and haddock, can help you feel full and stay satisfied while cutting calories.
Protein foods are low in fat and calories and provide the body with essential amino acids to build and repair muscles, produce hormones, enzymes, support immune function and promote health. Many protein options are also low in saturated fat and cholesterol and high in fiber and healthy, unsaturated fat. Protein also has a higher thermic effect than carbohydrates, meaning it burns more calories during digestion.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water is an important part of a healthy diet, and it can help you lose weight by making you feel full and suppressing your appetite. It also helps increase your metabolism and burns fat by triggering a process called lipolysis.
Studies show that drinking two cups of water before meals reduces the number of calories consumed. Adding an extra glass of water during meals can also help you eat smaller portions and curb your hunger.
Choose water over sugary drinks, such as sodas and juices. Aim for 8 to 10 glasses of water per day, or as recommended by your doctor. You can get more fluids by choosing a variety of liquid foods, such as soups and yogurt, as well as by drinking herbal tea and coffee.