• Crash diets can make you lose weight fast, but they're not healthy and are hard to sustain for a long period of time
  • A lifestyle shift is the most effective way to lose weight
  • There are small things you can incorporate into your daily routine to lose weight

There are several recommendations in losing weight fast, but many of these are crash diets and are therefore not sustainable. The best way to lose weight is a gradual change in lifestyle which would take a longer time but does not require drastic measures.

However, there are unavoidable instances wherein we need to shed those extra pounds for an important event happening soon. To help you out, here are some ways to lose weight fast. These, however, are not crash diet methods and need to be incorporated as a lifestyle change. Try these for at least two weeks and see your weight drop.

Add another week and see these new healthy routines become a habit. Note though, the amount of weight lost will expectedly diminish over time as you reach your ideal healthy frame.

To make it easy to incorporate into your life, the following is a simple daily routine you can follow.

Morning Routine at Home

Let’s say we start our day at 6am. Instead of immediately grabbing a bowl of cereals, hold off having breakfast.

1. Do intermittent fasting. Ruth E. Patterson and Dorothy D. Sears of the University of California, in their review of fasting regimens, concluded that any form of fasting results in some level of weight loss. The most effective of this is something that can be easily maintained. Monique Tello, MD, MPH of the Massachusetts General Hospital, recommends the eight-hour window for eating.

For this sample routine, let us assume that your last meal the previous day had been at 5 p.m. So your breakfast should be at 9 a.m.

2. Start off your day by drinking water. Naturally, your body is dehydrated upon waking up. Sometimes, we interpret this as hunger. So drink up and feel full almost immediately. Keeping yourself hydrated for the rest of the day will help lessen food cravings. In fact, drinking water before each meal can help in weight loss.

A study by Vinu A Vij of the DY Patil Medical College showed that water intake has a significant effect on body weight, body mass index, and body composition. In the study, overweight females were asked to drink 500ml of water 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner for eight weeks. At the end of the observation period, the mean average in their weight dropped by at least 1kg, body mass index dropped by 0.06, and body composition by at least 3mm.

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3. Meditate or do yoga for an hour. Do a good grounding activity to prepare you for the coming hustle. Chronic stress contributes to weight gain because it increases Cortisol, or the “stress hormone.” While Cortisol, in moderation, is needed as it primes you to respond to imminent danger, too much of it would lead to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen and face.

By 7 a.m. you might feel a bit hungry from the muscle stretches you did in your yoga poses. This leads to....

4. Hold off that hunger by drinking a mug of dark brewed coffee. In an ongoing study done by Matt Schubert and Ben Desbrow of Griffith University on the relation of coffee and appetite, they have observed that participants given two coffee drinks reported feeling less hungry than those who had decaffeinated coffee, only caffeine, or none at all.

Coffee also gives you the energy boost that would fuel the two hours you have before you can finally have your breakfast. You can do that work-from-home task or some household preparations. What is important is you do something productive, preferably the most herculean task of the day, before breakfast. It will improve your mood and motivate you to follow through with your commitments for the rest of the day.

Now that you've reached 9 a.m. and you are ready to have your first meal of the day.

5. Have a big, but healthy breakfast. This meal should be your biggest of the day. It makes sense as you have more time to use up the calories you are loading up. 

6. Include a large amount of high-fiber food such as green, leafy vegetables. Fiber is popular in nutrition parlance as a good aid in digestion. But more than that, it helps in lowering blood pressure and the body’s response to insulin. In a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the mean average weight of the group given high-fiber diet dropped by 2.1kg.

7. Eat unpolished grains like brown rice or whole wheat bread. These have more nutrients in them than their more processed counterparts. As these are more complex and take longer for the process, you feel full longer.

8. Load up on protein and cut out the carbohydrates especially if your work involves you sitting down for most of the day. But ease into your new proportions. A sudden cut in carbohydrates, which your body is used to consuming for energy, might have you feeling weak or sleepy the entire day.

9. Include eggs in your breakfast. Eggs have choline, which is essential in our body’s metabolism. Do not overdo it, though. Two boiled eggs to go with your wheat bread and vegetable salad would be perfect.

At Work

After you finish breakfast, you now set out for work or maybe some errands.

10. Walk or bike instead of taking your car or getting an Uber. When going up some floors, take the stairs or at least up to the third floor. Take the stairs every time you need to go two to three floors up or down. If you have a tracking application, you will be surprised with how much calories you burned by just skipping the elevator.

11. Move constantly. You do not have to go the gym. If you are forced to work in a cramped space, do occasional squats. Get your body to consume the calories you ate.

And now you get to lunch.

12. Try some food with cayenne peppers or jalapeño. These have capsaicin, a compound that boosts metabolism. The key, however, is moderation. Spicy foods are known to also boost your appetite so be conscious of the amount you are consuming.

13. Pair your spicy food with “good fat” to neutralize your taste buds. Healthy fats do not get stored in your body and are burned for energy. High-fat foods that actually help with weight loss include avocados, salmon, and coconut oil.

14. Instead of having getting a slice of cake for dessert, drink tea with mint. Mint suppresses appetite. It would also be good after eating that spicy and fat-rich lunch.

Towards mid-afternoon, you would perhaps feel sleepy. You'd think it would be a good idea to grab a bar of chocolate or a piece of candy for that needed energy boost.

15. Take a nap instead of a snack. If your workplace has a lounge, get in a 15-minute power nap. It would energize and refresh you effectively more than a short sugar rush. If you don’t have a lounge, take a short snooze at your desk. Another option would be to take a short brisk walk around the block.

Fruits and Vegetables It’s important to remember to wash your produce before you consume them. Fruits and vegetables are known to have residue of the pesticides used in growing them. Photo: Jerzy Górecki / Pixabay

16. Snack if you must but snack on nutritious food like yogurt or fruits. Some actually advise to take several light meals throughout the day instead of just the three heavy meals. But this works if these "light meals" are indeed light and easily burned up by your activities.

17. Cut on drinks with high sugar content (eg. sodas). These drinks are usually just loaded with sugar and pack on calories. Replace them with green juices that would add nutritional value.

18. Try to switch your soda to a kale smoothie. Kale is high in fiber, and is known to have high amounts of calcium, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin B6, manganese and potassium. Interchange it with an antioxidant drink (like a smoothie of carrot, cucumber and apple) or a detox drink (cucumber and ginger).

19. Drink lemon water throughout the day. There are different views as to the actual effect of lemon to weight loss. According to Bahram Arjmandi, a professor of nutrition at Florida State University, lemon water can prevent fat absorption and lower bad cholesterol. But even if the effect is minimal, the vitamin C you get from lemon water is still worth the bother.

20. Hit the gym. After work, you might have time to do more exercise. If you are not the type to enjoy sweaty workouts, try swimming. Swimming is a good cardio exercise and you come out refreshed. You won't even feel that you actually worked out.

21.  Stop eating eight hours after you had your breakfast. Remember you’re on an intermittent diet. To make sure you don’t break your commitment, have a light but satisfying dinner before your window for eating ends. Opt for lean beef or chicken breast with soup on the side.

22. Ditch the salad dressing and use apple cider vinegar instead. Like the claims for lemon, apple cider vinegar is believed to prevent fat deposition. Additionally, it boosts metabolism.

Winding down

23. To wrap up your day, ditch the alcohol, which is high in calories. Instead of that bottle of beer or glass of wine to send you off to sleep, take a long warm bath and read a self-help book.

24. Get enough sleep. Try to be in bed before 10 p.m. late night cravings are hard to resist and the worse part is, you don't get to burn it. Some can go by six hours of sleep, but the most recommended number of hours is seven to eight. Also, do not oversleep. It would only make you feel drowsy and unproductive for the rest of the day.

Again, the key to weight loss is incorporating little habits to your lifestyle. So far, the ways that have been suggested are focused on a healthy intake of food balanced with an easy exercise routine. It would not hurt to add more activities to your week.

Every once in a while:

25. Dance. Dance with a companion or dance alone. Zumba has become a workout trend among people who do not want to sweat it out on stationery bikes and treadmills. Dancing is a good way to burn calories and at the same time, it elevates your mood.

26. Do High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). According to the American College of Sports Medicine, this method of workout, normally recommended for athletes, could reduce abdominal and subcutaneous fat. This kind of exercise alternates bursts of high-intensity aerobic exercise with passive or moderate movements.

27. Jog or take brisk walks. Better yet, go on nature baths. This allows you to do brisk-walking exercises in the middle of a clean environment, giving you that oxygen you need to burn the fats in your body. This trend, originating from forest bathing in Japan, also helps you relax and de-stress after a long week of hustling hard.

Other itty-bitty shifts:

When it comes to shifts in food intake, the best way to do it is to learn how to prepare food to your taste with the best nutritious ingredients. After all, having to eat bland food to lose weight is like torture. The health trend, fortunately, has produced several online blogs and how-tos in preparing a variety of recipes from nutritious ingredients.

Here are some additional changes in your kitchen habits that are not difficult to do.

28. Use honey instead of refined sugar to sweeten your tea or other drinks. Honey had been used as medicine before and was valued for its antibacterial characteristic. As previously mentioned, refined sugar only packs up on calories and has no other nutritious value.

29. Lessen use of salt in your food. Too much salt in your body could result to bloating as salt helps retain water. In line with this, stop the binges on chips while watching movies or tv shows. Again, opt for healthier alternatives like fresh fruit salad or baked sweet potato.

30. Steam or grill your food instead of frying. This way, you don't have to use too much oil in cooking. As much as possible, when you use oil, use the healthier option such as olive oil.

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