Looking for simple ways to lose weight quickly and naturally? Losing weight takes some lifestyle changes and sticking to them consistently.
While no changes come effortless, lifestyle changes you need don’t have to be drastic or extreme for weight loss.
What’s more, restrictive diets or unsustainable methods will only leave you deprived, hungry, and moody. Instead, take these simple and easy steps to drop weight naturally and surprisingly quickly.
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How Can I Lose Weight Quickly and Naturally?
To attain quick but long-term weight loss, it is important to focus on nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Lifestyle strategies like eating less processed foods, working out, and getting quality sleep are what foster healthy weight loss.
These tips may not be fancy or trivial, but they are simple and efficient ways to permanently lose weight without starving yourself.
Nutrition is arguably the most important factor in losing weight.
Consuming different ratios of the three macronutrients, carbohydrates, protein, and fat, affects our metabolism differently.
As more research emerges, they are finding that weight loss is more connected to the quality of the carbohydrates, protein, and fat you’re eating versus the perfect ratio of them within a weight loss plan.
Generally speaking, though, there are specific portion sizes of each macronutrient to keep in mind.
Considering America loves to supersize portions, this information is a great refresher for the collective.
Unfairly villainized, carbohydrates need not be the ultimate enemy.
However, the quality, or in other words, the nutrient density of the carbohydrates you’re consuming is very important to achieve fast weight loss.
Carbohydrates can be categorized into simple and complex.
Simple carbs are digested quickly, have a high glycemic index, and can cause blood sugar spikes due to an influx of insulin,- a hormone well known to contribute to the risk of obesity and diabetes.
Examples of simple carbs include most processed and packaged food like cookies, crackers, chips, granola bars, candy, white bread, pasta, and breakfast cereals. Eat less or avoid these carbohydrates when trying to lose weight.
Complex carbohydrates, also known as starches, have a low glycemic index and/or load, include health benefits like fiber, and help balance blood sugar.
Although starches are made up of more energy and glucose molecules, they remain in our blood longer, which helps stabilize our blood glucose level and keep hunger at bay.
One serving of complex carbohydrates or starch is 1/2 a cup. Starches became the culprit of obesity and belly fat, not because they are inherently bad for us, but because people tend to eat upwards of 2 or more cups.
Finally, fruits and non-starchy vegetables are carbohydrates!
They are digested and absorbed differently because of their higher fiber, antioxidant, and phytonutrient content.
They boast fewer calories but tons of nutrition, deeming them powerhouse foods when trying to lose weight.
Filling half your plate with non-starchy veggies and eating 1-2 servings of fruit per day as part of an overall balanced meal is a wonderful blueprint of how to sustainably drop weight.
Here are the most nutritious carbohydrates to focus on including:
- Whole grains- Oats, Whole Wheat breads and pastas, Quinoa, Farro, Brown Rice (1-2 servings per day)
- Starchy veggies- Winter Squash, White and Sweet Potatoes, Corn, Peas, Green Beans (1-2 servings per day)
- Beans and legumes- Black beans, Navy Beans, Kidney Beans, Peanuts, Lentils (1-2 servings per day)
- Whole Fruits- Apples, Berries, Grape fruit, Kiwi, Grapes (1-2 servings per day)
- Non-Starchy veggies- Leafy Greens, Bell Peppers, Asparagus, Broccoli, Artichokes, Carrots (4-7 servings per day)
Protein is usually considered the most important macronutrient of focus when trying to fat loss.
This is because protein requires the most energy to burn and helps us feel full longer. Additionally, consuming lean sources of protein, meaning, they are low in saturated fat and have fewer calories, alongside a solid exercise routine, can contribute to building lean muscle that allows you to burn more calories at rest- the optimal metabolic state to lose weight.
Protein requirements are based on a person’s weight. The minimum recommendation is .6 grams per kilogram of body weight. However, for weight loss, a ratio of 1.0 gram per kilogram body weight is better and will contribute to more weight loss.
In general, try to include a whole serving (3-6 ounces) of lean protein at every main meal and then some source of protein at snacks. This would look like eating 1-2 eggs for breakfast, 4-5 ounces of fish at lunch, and 1/2 cup of 96% or higher ground beef at dinner. Higher protein snack options include Greek yogurt, low-carb protein shakes or bars, tuna, or edamame.
Make sure to consume the following protein sources for best weight loss results:
- Meat- Poultry, Bison, and other Red meat that is 93% or higher
- Seafood- Fish, Shrimp, Scallops
- Low or non-fat dairy- Greek yogurt, Skim milk
- Vegetarian- Tofu, Tempeh, Seitan, Soy beans/products, nuts/nut butter
- Eggs- 1-2 Whole eggs with yolk, Egg whites
Fat used to be considered the criminal responsible for the beginning of the obesity epidemic before we started blaming carbs. But just like now, it wasn’t the fat itself that lead to obesity. Many people simply consumed too large of portions and highly processed and refined versions of this highly palatable macro.
Healthy fats satiate us for longer and contribute to optimal brain and heart health. When eaten in appropriate quantities, they positively support weight loss. In fact, a super low-fat diet is unnecessary and could actually hinder weight loss results.
Fats can be categorized in a variety of ways, but this article is focusing on saturated versus unsaturated sources.
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Think, butter, margarine, coconut oil, and fatty cuts of meat. Conversely, unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature. Sources include unrefined olive oil and avocado oil.
However, many solid foods contain healthy unsaturated fat such as nuts and seeds, and avocado.
Finally, there is one category of fats that is best to avoid every day- trans fat. These are completely man-made, processed fats that provide zero nutrition and affect our cells poorly. A recipe for weight loss failure!
Behind diet, exercise is potentially the second most important factor to consider for quick weight loss.
And, similarly to food, the quality and type matter.
This aerobic type of exercise requires oxygen and burns more calories while being performed. It is also responsible for improved heart and mental health.
However, it doesn’t contribute to the building as much muscle as strength training and too much of it can be a stress to the body, creating a sub-optimal environment for losing weight.
There are different types of cardio including low-intensity steady state (LISS) and high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
LISS involves performing repeated exercise like walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming at a low to moderate intensity for a longer period of time such as 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on goals.
To enter a fat-burning state, you would need to engage in LISS for at least 45 minutes. To reap the cardiac and mental benefits and achieve healthy, safe weight loss, do this type of exercise at least once a week, up to two or three.
On the other hand, HIIT involves performing an exercise for 15 -20 seconds max, followed by a period of complete rest for 12-20 minutes total.
If you are short on time, this is an excellent workout style because it greatly boosts the amount of oxygen you consume and calories burned for many hours after you finish the workout, unlike steady-state cardio.
Plyometric exercises like box jumps and burpees and sprints (including cycling, elliptical, etc.) are the best exercises to include in HIIT workouts and an example would be sprinting for 15 seconds on an incline or high resistance followed by 45 seconds of rest, repeated 12-15 times.
It is imperative to include strength training in your workout routine at least 2-4 times per week. Strength or resistance training helps to build muscle, which is more metabolically active tissue, meaning you burn more calories throughout the day.
The most effective strength training regimen includes exercising the biggest muscle groups using compound exercises with or without weights.
There are many exercise splits or ways to organize your regimen. I recommend considering how many days you are able to strength train and deciding which method is best from there.
For example, if you can strength train 4 or more days per week, then exercising a different muscle group is sufficient and effective.
If you can only strength train 2-3 days per week, which is still enough to see weight loss results, then training full body or multiple muscle groups a day is most efficient and effective.
Here are some of the most powerful exercises for each major muscle group:
- Legs- Variations of squats, deadlifts, RDLs, lunges, and band exercises
- Chest- Variations of bench presses, push-ups, and Flies
- Back- Variations of pull-ups, rows, lat pull-downs, and hinges for the lower back
- Shoulders- Military Press, bent over reverse flies, front and lateral raises
- Abdominals- Leg lifts, planks, oblique see saws, and reverse crunches
- Arms- Bicep curls, tricep pull down, and dips
Sleep may not seem as impactful as diet and exercise when it comes to weight loss, but it actually plays a huge role in energy metabolism. Our metabolism directly correlates with our circadian rhythm.
In one study, researchers discovered that insufficient sleep deprivation over a long period of time can result in weight gain related to affected hormones, disrupted circadian rhythms, reduced dietary restraint, and eating more energy later at night when it is not metabolized as well.
Yet, when participants transitioned to an adequate sleep pattern, energy intake decreased (1).
If you want to prime your body to lose weight fast and effectively, try to obtain 7-9 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep a night.
To get quality sleep, consider turning off all electronics 2 hours before bed, creating a solid nighttime routine, wearing blue blockers if you’re going to watch TV or be on your laptop, and getting in bed 30-60 minutes before the time you need to go to bed to achieve that 7 – 9 hour.
The Bottom Line
You can lose weight fast without starving yourself on an unsustainable diet by making lifestyle changes.
Focus on including quality sources in appropriate portions of non-starchy vegetables, fruits, unrefined starches and sugar, unrefined fats, and lean protein.
Adding in effective strength training and cardio in the form of HIIT or LISS will complement your improved healthy lifestyle and help you drop lose weight faster.
Aim to obtain 7-9 hours of quality sleep to help balance your hormones and keep your metabolism functioning optimally.
Finally, once you master the nutrition, exercise, and sleep lifestyle changes, consider leveling up your weight loss journey by implementing one to all of the additional 10 tips for the most effective, lasting results.