I recently had a reader preparing for an upcoming trip to Waikiki, where — get this — her husband’s ex-wife will be staying nearby. So she needed a swimsuit-perfect body in just three weeks.
I sent her to my 12 golden rules for fat loss. “Can you give me something a little, um, faster that doesn’t involve anything faddish or dangerous?” she replied.
Like my reader, you may have a vacation scheduled, or maybe you just want to get into your skinny jeans or two-piece for the upcoming warm weather. You need accelerated fat loss.
Recent studies have turned the “slow and steady” myth on its head. One found fast fat losers lost more and kept it off better than slower fat losers. Another confirmed fast fat loss could become permanent fat loss.
These nine strategies will give you those results quickly and safely.
1. Nix the gluten.
One recent study found a gluten-free diet helps reduce inflammation, insulin resistance, and your waistline. And no, that does not mean replacing your favorite junk foods with gluten-free equivalents.
2. Swap out two meals a day for a protein shake.
One meta-analysis showed a meal replacement shake helps people lose fat and keep it off better. Blend non-soy, nondairy plant-based or defatted beef protein powder with raspberries, avocado, kale or other leafy greens, freshly ground flaxseed, and unsweetened coconut or almond milk.
3. Limit fruit to one cup of berries or cherries a day.
Fruit can be a part of a healthy fat-loss plan, but too much can stall fat loss. One study found excess fructose — the main sweetener in many fruits — could create leptin resistance and weight gain. Leptin tells your brain to stop eating, but when your brain becomes resistant to this hormone’s call, you’re more prone to eat seconds.
4. Swap your starchy carb for another green vegetable.
Leafy and cruciferous veggies give you way more fiber, nutrient, and antioxidant bang for fewer calories compared with potatoes, rice, and other starchy carbohydrates.
5. Increase your fiber gradually.
Epidemiological studies show higher fiber intake is associated with lower body weight. High-fiber fat-burning foods include avocado, raspberries, lentils and other legumes, and quinoa.
6. Try this appetite-curbing trick.
About 30 to 60 minutes before meals, add a few teaspoons of freshly ground flaxseed or a fiber-blend supplement powder to a tall glass of water.
7. Get at least 7 (but more like 9) hours of high-quality sleep.
I recently wrote about why too little sleep can knock your fat-burning hormones out of whack. Insufficient sleep also makes you more likely to sheepishly order a low-fat banana nut muffin with your morning caffeine jolt.
8. Burst to blast fat.
Exercise you can do in minutes that makes you an all-day fat-burning machine? That’s burst training, or “repeatedly exercising at a high intensity for 30 seconds to several minutes, separated by 1-5 minutes of recovery.” One study assigned young adults to either a 20-week endurance training or 15-week burst-training program. The burst-training group had “significantly greater” fat loss than the endurance trainers.
A five-year study with over 5,000 participants concluded what you already know: “Psychosocial stress, including both perceived stress and life events stress, was positively associated with weight gain but not weight loss.” Meditate, breathe deeply, get a massage, or walk your dog around the block. Figure out what works for you to manage stress and do it.
What strategies would you add to this list for fast, effective fat loss? Share your comments below.