With more than two-thirds of US adults being overweight or obese, it should come as no surprise that weight loss is a hot topic [1-2]. And since Americans pump big money into the weight-loss industry (a whopping $60 billion each year!), it’s no wonder we get bombarded with “weight loss shortcuts” purported to get us fit and lean in record time .
But watch out! Most of those quick-fix approaches are utterly ineffective, if not downright harmful. The good news? There are scientifically proven solutions that can set you up for success in your fat loss battle. And in this article, you’ll learn the ten most powerful ones.
It doesn’t matter how much weight you aim to lose. Whether you want to shed those stubborn last 5 pounds that have been plaguing you forever or you seek to drop the first of many pounds that are destroying your health and confidence. This article got you covered
1. Create a Calorie Deficit
If you want to lose weight, it is crucial that you nail down the ratio between how many calories you burn and consume. In fact, research shows that energy balance is the most important factor affecting the number you see on the scale [4-6].
It’s simple really:
If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight.
If you consume fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight.
So make sure you maintain a negative energy balance. A daily deficit of 300 to 500 calories is optimal for most people to maximize fat loss while minimizing the breakdown of muscle tissue.
2. Count Calories
Since a negative energy balance is crucial for losing weight, counting calories is highly beneficial. In fact, one review found that weight loss programs that included calorie counting led, on average, to 7 lbs (3.3 kg) more weight loss than those that didn’t .
What’s more, studies have also found that people who count their calories are more successful in keeping the weight off in the long run [8-9]. So, get busy counting calories and adjust your food intake based on numbers.
3. Add Protein to Your Diet
One effective way to keep your calorie intake under control is by upping your protein intake. The reason is that your food reward system has a strong appetite for protein . Research shows protein to be so satiating that whenever people increase their consumption, they automatically ingest fewer calories.
For example, one study done by the University of Seattle had the subjects raise their protein consumption from 15% to 30% of their daily calorie intake. As a result, they consumed 441 fewer calories on average per day without even being aware of it . They also lost 11 pounds in only 12 weeks – just by adding protein to their diets.
4. Drink Water Before Your Meals
Another way to automatically reduce your calorie intake is by drinking water before your meals. Researchers have found that when study participants drink 500ml of water 30 minutes before breakfast, they consume 13% fewer calories on average .
What’s more, scientists have established that drinking water speeds up your metabolism . This means you’ll burn more calories on a given day.
5. Use Coconut Oil for Cooking
Adding coconut oil to what you already consume won’t help you lose weight. Actually, the extra calories would make you gain weight. But if you replace your current cooking oil with coconut oil, it might do your fat loss efforts good.
The reason is that coconut oil contains a large amount of medium-chain fatty acids. This is a special type of fat that has a higher thermic value than other fats, meaning it costs your body more energy (calories) to digest it . One study has found that consuming 15 to 30 grams of MCTs a day boosts the metabolic rate by about 120 calories .
6. Drink Coffee
While demonized a lot over the years, coffee has now been proved to have many health benefits. Research has found it to decrease the risk of many diseases, including type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and cardiovascular diseases [16-20].
But did you know that coffee can also help you in your battle of the bulge? It’s true. Coffee, particularly the caffeine found in the drink, aids weight loss in three ways. First, this caffeine can speed up your metabolism (by up to 3% to 11%) and you’ll burn more calories [21-23]. Second, the caffeine in coffee increases the fat-burning catecholamine epinephrine, which stimulates the release of fat from your fat cells [24-25].
Last but not least, coffee can curb your appetite, making you automatically consume fewer calories .
7. Cut Back on Sugar
The average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons of sugar a day . That’s roughly 2,900 grams of sugar per person each year, which adds up to a staggering total of 120,000 calories!
Here’s the problem: sugar doesn’t satiate hunger effectively so all that sugar usually ends up on top of everything else you already eat. That’s why added sugars are one of the leading causes of the obesity epidemic. And it’s also why one of the first steps you should take when trying to lose weight is to cut back on such sugars.
Resistance training is a must if you want to optimize fat loss for two main reasons. First off, it prevents muscle loss when you restrict your calorie intake. So, the majority of the weight you’ll lose will come from actual fat mass, not muscle tissue.
Second, exercising keeps your metabolic rate buzzing, which means you’ll burn more calories on any given day . Research from Italy, for example, has found that the metabolism rate of study participants increased by 24% after a high-intensity strength training routine with short rest intervals between sets . This allowed them to burn an additional 452 calories over a 22-hour period.
9. Chew More
Did you know that by chewing your food more often, you automatically decrease your total calorie intake and thus lose weight? It’s true. According to one study, when individuals chew a piece of pork 40 times instead of 15 times, they consume on average 11.9% fewer calories .
Scientists have also established that when people eat more slowly and chew their food more, they feel more satisfied after their meal . This is because it takes our brains roughly 20 minutes to realize our stomachs are full.
10. Get Enough Sleep
Research shows that adults with poor sleep have 55% higher risk of becoming obese, the proportion jumping to 89% for children . The reason is that the quality and duration of your sleep have a significant influence on your behavior. Being sleep deprived increases hunger and food consumption, especially junk food .
So when you follow a weight loss plan, you’re more likely to get off track and over-consume calories when you don’t get enough quality sleep.
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