How to Lose Weight Fast and Improve Your Health

Weight loss can improve your health in many ways. It can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce joint pain, and more.

Cutting back on calories will help you lose weight fast. But you need to do it right.

A fad diet that limits calories too severely can actually harm your metabolism. It can also leave you feeling deprived and irritable.

Eat Whole Foods

A whole foods diet is an essential component of a healthy eating plan. It focuses on filling your diet with foods that are as close to their natural state as possible, according to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Whole foods are packed with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that help promote good health, including weight loss. To eat a more whole foods-based diet, choose options such as lean meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables and nuts, rather than processed foods like jarred pasta sauce, potato chips, cookies and deli meat. To find more whole foods, shop the perimeter of your grocery store and look for products labeled as organic or natural.

Some whole foods, such as nuts and seeds (and their oils), avocados and some fruits, are energy dense, meaning they offer a lot of calories in a small volume.

Cut Back on Calories

When you eat calories, your body converts them into physical energy or stores them for later use. When you want to lose weight, cutting back on how many calories you consume is essential. Skipping high-calorie foods and drinks, such as your morning latte, soda or evening bowl of ice cream, is a good place to start. Just be sure to substitute them with nutritionally dense foods, such as leafy greens, whole grain breads and lean protein.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting plenty of sleep is critical to helping you lose weight, according to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Insufficient sleep can throw off your metabolism and zap your energy levels. It can also dip fat oxidation and make it harder to burn calories. It can even decrease muscle protein synthesis, which is needed to build muscle and burn more calories.

Studies show that when people get too little sleep, the appetite-regulating hormone ghrelin and satiety hormone leptin go awry. Insufficient sleep also increases cortisol levels, a stress hormone that makes you more likely to store calories as fat.

Experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule, aiming to wake up and go to bed at the same times each day. Turn off your electronics, like your computer, tablet and phone, an hour before you hit the sack and try to have a relaxing bedtime routine that includes reading or taking a hot bath.

Stay Active

Physical activity burns calories, which can help you lose weight. You don’t have to run a marathon, but being active throughout your day is important. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, and walk or ride your bike to destinations rather than driving. Use your lunch break to exercise by walking around the park, or do squats and lunges while you eat. Make it fun by doing activities with friends or family, like hiking, dancing and playing sports.