Want to lose weight fast naturally but wondering is rapid weight loss even safe and possible? Would quick weight loss be possible with only exercise & dieting or do I need some quick weight loss supplements?
Don’t worry! Fast weight loss is though difficult but not impossible to achieve. All you need is a lot of self-discipline and patience until you get it.
While there are endless diets, supplements, and meal replacement plans claiming to ensure rapid weight loss, most lack any scientific evidence. There are, however, some strategies backed by science that do have an impact on weight management.
Among these successful strategies include exercising, keeping track of calorie intake, intermittent fasting, and reducing the number of carbohydrates in the diet.
In this article, we consider nine effective methods of losing weight fast without harming yourself like how to lose fat without losing your precious muscles or harming your long-term health.
So, let’s go and dive deep in.
How to lose weight naturally fast? The best tips
The following are some of the best tips to lose that body fat fast and easy. Read them and try to implement them as religiously as possible.
Step 1: Create a calorie deficit
Creating a calorie deficit is the most basic yet most fundamental part of losing fat process because during calorie deficit your body utilizes your fat stores for energy, that’s how fat is burned.
Now, there are two ways to create a caloric deficit.
- You can either eat fewer calories than you need daily
- you can eat the same amount of calories and increase your activity level to burn more calories.
Since we’re looking for fat loss without muscle loss, that activity should focus primarily on strength training, not cardio training which should be minimal.
To mark yourself safe, make sure your diet should have a sufficient amount of healthy proteins and you perform muscle-building strength training.
Please Also, note that these numbers are not set in stone but an average estimate of a men/woman having the same bodyweight, fitness level, metabolic rate levels, etc.
Since these factors differ in each woman and man, not every man or woman is consuming the same type of diet. So every individual has its own math regarding how much calorie deficit they need to create.
Step 2: increase your protein intake
Increasing your protein intake is the single most important element which can save you from losing your hard-earned lean mass of muscles due to a starvation mode triggered by a calorie deficit.
During a calorie deficit, 9 out of 10 calories should come from protein to protect your muscles from breaking down.
Protein has other benefits too like acting as a satiating agent i.e suppressing your appetite and keeping you fuller for longer times. It is also the least likely to be stored as fat even if you eat in out of limits.
Study 1: According to one study where participants were cutting calories and exercising, those who took a high protein diet lost double the amount of fat and gained double the amount of muscle as compared to participants who consumed a low protein diet.
Study 2: According to another study, increased protein intake can help you burn more calories in an effect known as the thermic effect of food through the process of digestion, absorption, assimilation, and distribution of food nutrients.
How much to increase your protein?
How much protein you need per day depends on different factors, but a 2018 review found that, for optimal muscle growth, you should consume between 0.4 to 0.55 grams of protein per kilogram of their body weight at every meal.
This would translate into about 30-40 grams of proteins for about 4 times a day which is best for muscle growth and preservation.
Step 3: Do muscle-building strength training
Your training should be focused on building muscle, fat burning and not just calories. And for that try to focus on compound movements, such as squats, deadlifts, presses, and rows instead of doing lightweight exercise is a sure recipe for muscle gain. Why?
Because these compound exercises allow your muscles to be stimulated to grow as they are stretched. Keep increasing your weight lifting levels and also keep increasing your reps too for maximum results. Now you will like to question the effectiveness of cardio.
Here is the truth about cardio.
Cardiovascular exercise works on your aerobic muscle fibers, which will increase oxygen extraction, but not much change in muscle mass. Hence, you can still lose muscle mass if you are banking on cardio to lose fat and gain muscle. Better yet, at least don’t lose them.
However, while strength training is most important for building muscle while in a caloric surplus, myriad studies show that resistance training is effective at attenuating declines in muscle mass when in a caloric deficit.
In fact, unlike aerobic exercise, heavily-loaded strength training—primarily recruits type 2 muscle fibers, which are known for muscle mass preservation and gains.
Finally, strength training also stimulates the short-term production of human growth hormone and testosterone that are proven for muscle preservation, repair, and building.
Step 4. Choose strength training over Cardio to burn fat fast
Going for cardio in a calorie deficit is one of the common mistakes people make while trying to lose fat while preserving muscles.
However, this excess amount of cardio can start burning calories too which can further widen the already large calorie deficit. This is where the muscle can be eaten by our bodies in response to starvation mode activated by our extreme choices.
Instead, the better choice for you to burn fat is using resistance training (like weight lifting and other heavy exercises, etc) which is capable of burning calories both during the exercise and after the exercise through post-exercise oxygen consumption.
Moreover, it involves type 2 muscle fibers over type 1 which help it protects against crucial muscle loss. However, resistance training can also help you to build muscle.
Study no. 1
A study published in the of Science and Medicine in Sport found that, over the duration of a four-week training program, participants who exercised at a 1:1 ratio gained a lot more muscle than those performing 2:1 intervals.
Study no. 2
Another study established the importance of strength training over cardio as it found that it can successfully help us lose fat while we still are in a calorie deficit. The study divided participants into two groups but both were put on the same calorie deficit.
While one group was told to do only aerobic exercise like jogging, biking, brisk walking for four weeks, the other group was told to do resistance training only three times a week.
The Result: After 12 weeks, both groups obviously lost weight.
However, the aerobic group lost 40 pounds of total weight while losing up to 10 pounds of lean muscle mass. The resistance training group, on the other hand, lost about 32 pounds and almost all were fat, not a single pound was muscle.
Moreover, the resistance training group got their metabolic rate increased while the aerobic group metabolic rate decreased sharply
Step 5: Rethink your pre-workout and post-workout nutrition.
While strength training is fundamentally important but without all the supporting parts of a perfect weight loss & muscle building regime, you can’t make a lot of progress.
Pre-workout and post-workout nutrition is one of those crucial components of a successful fitness checklist which you need to always tick.
1. Regular protein intake is more important than pre/post
The widely believed anabolic window of protein to make a maximum effect on building muscle is no longer just for half an hour rather research has proven that total protein intake in the whole day is crucial.
Moreover, this anabolic window is much larger i.e lasting for more than 2 hours. So bounding yourself to take protein right after a workout is not true and necessary.
2. Preworkout protein can equally be effective as pre-workout carbs for building muscle.
Generally, we believe that pre-workout protein is not useful as compared to pre-workout carbs for muscle building goals.
While taking pre-workout carbs have proven to be energizing for our workouts and performance. However, new research has proven that even pre-workout protein is equally beneficial too, and even more than pre-workout carbs in some cases.
According to one study, taking about 20 grams of protein with few grams of carbs or fats, about half an hour before a heavy resistance training was found to enhance energy expenditure for as long as the next 24 hours or so after doing a workout as compared to taking an equal amount of pre-workout carbs with protein and fat.
Step 6: Never ignore post-workout recovery
Adequate recovery after your intensive post-workout recovery is very critical for your muscle gains and weight loss efforts. Particularly, the best type of post-workout recovery is “sleep”.
In fact, the amount of sleep you get after your strength training is very important for losing fat without losing muscle efforts, mainly due to the amazing effects of sleep on healthy hormone levels of a hormone called ‘cortisol’ which has negative consequences for your overall health and fitness functions.
On one hand, this inflammatory hormone promotes hunger by releasing a hunger hormone called ‘ghrelin’ which directly leads to more food cravings which mess up your calorie deficit efforts for fat loss.
Moreover, all of the human growth hormones are stimulated mostly at night sleep which directly concerns your muscle repair and synthesis at night.
So getting an adequate amount of sleep is critical not only for your fitness health but your overall physical health too.
According to a study, participants given the same amount of diet intake, who slept for less than 6 hours and those who slept for up to 8 hours have marked difference in their rate of fat loss i.e the 8-hour sleeping group has almost 60% more burning of fat than the 6-hour sleeping group.
According to another research in Diabetologia, sleep deprivation of almost 4 days reduced the body’s insulin levels which, in turn, reduced the levels of growth hormones in the body leading to more fat storage.
The bottom line: Getting an adequate amount of sleep is not only important for your fat loss and fitness but for overall body health too.
7. Embrace Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting (IF) is a pattern of eating that involves regular short-term fasts while consuming meals within a shorter time period during the day.
Several studies have shown that short-term intermittent fasting, which is up to 24 weeks in duration, leads to quick and sustainable weight loss in overweight individuals.
The most common intermittent fasting methods include the following:
- Alternate day fasting (ADF): Fast every other day and eat normally on non-fasting days. It’s modified version involves eating just 25–30 percent of the body’s energy needs on fasting days.
- The 5:2 Diet: Fast on 2 out of every 7 days. On fasting days eat 500–600 calories.
- The 16/8 method: Fast for 16 hours and eat only during an 8-hour window. For most people, the 8-hour window would be around noon to 8 p.m. A study on this method found that eating during a restricted period resulted in the participants consuming fewer calories and losing weight.
It is best to adopt a healthy eating pattern on non-fasting days and to avoid over-eating.
8. Get very mindful with your normal eating
Mindful eating is a practice where people pay attention to how and where they eat food. This practice can, in turn, enable people to enjoy the food they eat while still maintaining a healthy weight.
You would agree with me that as most people lead busy lives, they often tend to eat quickly on the run, in the car, working at their desks, and watching TV. As a result, most of them are barely aware of the food they are eating.
Here are some best techniques for mindful eating:
- Sitting down to eat, preferably at a table: This will help you pay attention to the food and enjoy the experience.
- Avoiding distractions while eating: This is important too. Do not turn on the TV, or a laptop or phone.
- Eating slowly and chew more: Take time to chew and savor the food. This technique has been proven to be helpful with weight loss, as it gives a person’s brain enough time to recognize the signals that they are full, which can help to prevent over-eating.
- Making considered food choices: Choose foods that are full of nourishing nutrients and those that will satisfy for hours rather than minutes.
9. Drink a lot more coffee.
Start your day with a cup of joe. Caffeine found in coffee is a natural diuretic and an excellent source of antioxidants, which protect your cells from damage. You can have up to 400 mg — about a venti Starbucks coffee — daily, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Not much of a coffee drinker? No problem! Tea is also a natural diuretic, and types of herbal tea such as dandelion or fennel root can also be a great substitute.
In fact, as a matter of fact, When a recent study compared the metabolic effect of green tea (in extract) with that of a placebo, researchers found a very interesting result that the green-tea drinkers burned about 70 additional calories in a 24-hour period.
So, if quick weight loss is your distant wish, tea or coffee could be your best friends.
10. Keep your stress levels under control
Yes, you read that right.
Stress triggers the release of hunger suppressor hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, which initially decrease the appetite as part of the body’s fight or flight response.
However, when bodies are under constant stress, cortisol can remain in the bloodstream for longer period of times, which will increase their appetite and potentially lead to them eating more and hence becoming obese.
Cortisol signals the need to refill the body’s nutritional stores from the preferred and most common source of fuel, which is carbohydrate.
Insulin then transports the sugar from carbohydrates from the blood to the muscles and brain. If the individual does not use this sugar in fight or flight, the body will store it as fat.
Researchers found that by implementing an 8-week stress-management intervention program resulted in a significant decrease in the body mass index (BMI) of overweight, obese children, and adolescents.
Here are some methods of managing stress just like those stress management interventions you can try yourself:
- yoga, meditation, or tai chi
- breathing and relaxation techniques
- spending some time outdoors, for example, walking or gardening
11. A good night’s sleep should be a ritual
A good night sleep has tons of health benefits not just weight loss. Numerous studies have shown that getting less than 5–6 hours of sleep per night is a recipe for an increased incidence of obesity. There are several reasons behind this.
Research suggests that lack or poor-quality sleep slows down the process in which the body converts calories to energy, called metabolism. When your body’s metabolism is less effective, the body may store unused energy as fat.
In addition, poor sleep can increase the production of insulin and cortisol, which also prompt fat storage thus leading to more obese bodies.
How long someone sleeps also affects the regulation of the appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. For example, Leptin, a hunger-related hormone sends signals of fullness to the brain which keeps you away from unnecessary eatings and cravings.