Losing excess weight—belly fat in particular—can be a big challenge for those not used to dieting and regular exercise. In the absence of healthy eating habits and a healthy lifestyle to boot, even losing five pounds sounds like a tremendous challenge, as losing any amount of weight requires patience and perseverance aside from ongoing commitment and willpower.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tried-and-tested strategies that you can use to expedite your weight-loss process. Here are 7 proven ways to lose fat quickly and reach your goal weight faster.
Make water your favorite beverage
Increasing your daily water intake is a proven way to improve your metabolism—that is, your body’s ability to burn calories—and speed up your weight loss. When trying to lose weight, replace all other beverages (except, perhaps, coffee) with plain water. This simple habit has several benefits.
Drinking more water through the day along with eating a low-calorie diet is a great way to eat less and control your calorie intake. Having a glass or two just before meals will help you eat less by making you feel full. Moreover, studies have shown that drinking more water increases your metabolic rate, leading your body to burn more calories, which supports weight loss.
Start eating more fiber-rich foods
The greatest quality of fiber-rich foods is that they leave you feeling full without stuffing your body with unwanted calories. Moreover, your digestive system takes time to process fiber and leaves much of it undigested. This slow process keeps you feeling full for a long time after your meal.
Studies have shown that consuming fiber-rich foods reduces appetite, which lowers intake of food and supports weight-loss efforts. Wheat, nuts, flaxseed, fruits and vegetables are some of the best natural sources of dietary fiber and should be an integral part of any diet plan worth your while.
Start enjoying exercise
If you’re not someone who loves to hit the gym every morning or evening, there are plenty of other ways to get your body moving, which is essential if you want to speed up your weight loss. Without physical activity, even the best diet will have limited effect and will take longer to show results.
According to fitness experts, cardio is one of the most effective exercises for weight watchers. In fact, regardless of the amount of weight you’re trying to lose, doing cardio at least thrice a week should be an important part of your exercise regimen. Cardio not only strengthens your lungs and heart, it also makes your body burn more calories, supporting weight loss. Some examples of cardio are walking, jogging, running, rope jumping and boxing.
Increase your intake of proteins and healthy fats
If you’ve been trying to get fit for some time now, you’ve probably heard of the value of a protein-rich diet in helping build lean muscle mass. Nutrition experts also swear by the weight-loss benefits of protein-rich foods and healthy fats. The fundamental rule to effective weight loss is that you need calories to survive, but it’s how you get those calories that makes a difference in how your body treats the foods you eat.
Even if you are on a very low calorie diet, prepare your main meals with protein-high foods as a key ingredient. Some examples are pulses, chicken, fish, tofu and meat. The same goes for healthy fats, which come from nuts and seeds. Toss these into your salads or have them as snacks when hunger strikes at odd hours.
Sign up for the HCG Diet program
If you’re keen to lose weight fast, you could start the HCG diet under the guidance of an expert, or you may choose to DIY. Many people take on the HCG diet challenge, but not everyone is successful, as going through the famous three phases of its weight-loss program requires strong will and tons of determination to get fit.
For those willing to put in the effort, there are plenty of resources to support their HCG diet journey. According to Charles Maddigan from HCG Triumph, although the diet only allows for 500 calories a day at first, there are hundreds of recipes that will help control your appetite.
Burn fat not muscle
Too many people end up losing critical muscle mass in an effort to lose weight fast. Spending an hour at the gym every day burning calories will no doubt show up on your weighing scale. What you don’t know is that instead of burning the unwanted fat deposits in your body, you’re losing muscle, which will only leave your body weak and lethargic over time while also destroying your metabolism.
Use this simple logic to plan your diet and exercise during a weight-loss program and in general as well: When you exercise too much but are on a low-carb diet, your body won’t have a large carb reserve to burn when you sweat it out at the gym or outside. That is when your body will start to use your muscle mass as fuel. To avoid this, it’s important that you’re eating enough protein to replenish your lean mass and enough carbs for energy.
Make sound sleep a priority
When it comes to losing weight and maintaining optimum weight, it’s the little, everyday things that make the greatest difference. While sleeping right after an afternoon meal is associated with weight gain, sleeping well at night is a scientifically proven way to support weight loss and an overall healthy lifestyle.
Poor or disturbed sleep, going to bed too late or sleeping too less not only messes up your digestive system and metabolism, it also predisposes you to chronic conditions such as diabetes. When you stay up longer, you tend to feel hungry again, and if there’s no healthy snack available you’re very likely to give in to the temptation of junk snacking, which will further jeopardize your weight loss efforts.
So, avoid eating sugary snacks or drinking coffee right before going to bed, as you may have trouble going to sleep.