weight scale and an apple on it

Weight Loss Tips – 5 Nutritional Tips for Fat Loss

I get it.

You want to lose weight fast.

But with all those extreme fitness routines out there, you lose the motivation to stay consistent.

You know the feeling – you start your new diet super motivated, assured that this one is going to work. A couple of weeks later, you shuffle back to your old habits.

Unless you have an iron mindset, many of these extreme diets aren’t sustainable.

Luckily, though, there is a way to lose fat. Steadily and successfully. Without ‘killing’ yourself in the process.

In this article, you’ll learn how to:

  • Significantly reduce your food cravings
  • Lose weight without starving yourself or doing extreme fitness routines
  • Improve your metabolism and overall health
  • Reduce stress and other factors that prevent you from losing weight

We’ve packed all of this into 5 weight loss tips that won’t drain your soul. They are also actually backed by science.

Take a look:

#1. Reduce Sugars and Simple Carbs

You might want to rethink about eating that bagel if your goal is to lose fat.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those people saying you should cut out carbs from your diet. Far from it.

What I’m saying is, you should choose your carb sources wisely.

What’s the Problem With Simple Carbs?

Simple carbs like bread, pasta, and white rice all have a high glycemic index. This means that they cause your blood sugar to surge rapidly after eating these foods.

When your body notices that your blood sugar is high, it releases insulin – a hormone which acts like a key, opening your cells and allowing the sugar to come into them.

However, if you constantly spike your insulin, your cells stop responding to it like before. They become numb in a sense. This is called insulin resistance.

After you enter the realm of insulin resistance, you will find it hard to lose weight. In fact, eating even a slight amount of any blood sugar-spiking food will make you gain fat. That’s because your body has lost the ability to process the sugar, and instead, it starts accumulating it in fat reserves – most typically around the belly.

sugar

What Happens When You Stop Eating Simple Carbs

When you replace simple carbs and sugar with foods such as yams, oatmeal, and wild rice, you’ll take a big step towards your ideal body.

Yams, for example, are much lower on the glycemic index than white potato. As a result, they don’t spike your blood sugar as much and don’t numb the insulin response.

Not only that, but complex carbs such as yams and oatmeal have higher nutrient content. They have more vitamins, minerals, and most importantly – fiber.

Fiber allows the food to digest much more slowly.

This way, you avoid blood sugar spikes and crashes which lead to fat gain.

And according to this study, reducing simple carbs enables your kidneys to filter out the excess water and sodium out of your system. The effect of this is two-fold: it reduces excess water weight and stomach bloating. (10)

#2. Add Fiber to Every Meal

The Swelling, Water-Absorbing Fiber, Glucomannan

A specific type of fiber, called glucomannan, is one of the most popular ingredients in weight loss supplements. And for a good reason.

After entering your gut, glucomannan starts absorbing water. As it does so, it swells.

It continues to expand in your stomach and stays there for a while. As a result, you feel full and don’t eat as many calories as you otherwise would.

A study found that the group of people who took glucomannan lost more weight than a placebo group. (11)

What About Other Types of Fiber?

Glucomannan isn’t the only type of fiber that will help you lose weight.

In fact, you should include as much fiber as possible from various food sources.

These include oats, kale, apples, lentils, beans, and nuts.

Fiber, in general, is shown to reduce food cravings. So while it doesn’t help with fat loss directly, it will help you make smarter dietary choices, which will lead to weight loss in the long run. (12)

fiber leafy greens

#3. Bump up the Protein

In terms of losing weight, protein is the most important macronutrient.

Eating meals rich in protein is shown to boost your metabolism by 80-100 calories a day.

This isn’t something to sneeze at. Especially when you consider that these numbers add up over time.

But that’s not all.

According to modern research, high-protein diets reduce cravings and constant thoughts about food by over 55%. High protein intake is also linked with less snacking during the day (and night). (13, 14)

And the best of all, protein keeps you full. As a result, studies show that this leads to eating 441 fewer calories a day, on average.

So just by adding more protein to your diet, you’ll feel fuller and consume less food as a result. This basically puts your fat loss on autopilot.

Best Protein Sources

  • Seafood: Sardines, Salmon, Oysters
  • Milk: Organic milk from pasture-raised cows
  • Meat: Lean poultry, grass-fed beef, venison, and pork
  • Eggs: From pasture-raised hens
  • Lentils: 15g of protein per 100g

protein salmon

#4. Drink Water Before a Meal

Believe it or not, but drinking water before a meal can help you burn more calories – and fat too.

A study showed that drinking water boosts metabolism by 25-30% over the course of one and a half hour. (15)

In another research, people who drank a pint of water 30 minutes before their meals ate fewer calories. What’s more, these people lost around 44% more weight on average. By contrast, those that didn’t drink the water didn’t lose any weight. (16)

So, the conclusion here is:

Want to feel more satiated and burn more calories? Drink two glasses of water 30 minutes before a meal – it’s simple and works.

man drinking water

#5. Do Intermittent Fasting

With intermittent fasting, the idea is to cycle between periods of eating and not eating.

Sounds simple – and it really is.

There are myriad forms of intermittent fasting. One of the most popular is the 16/8 method. This is where you don’t consume any calories for 16 hours, followed by an 8-hour eating window.

A growing amount of evidence supports intermittent fasting and its health benefits. Here’s what you can expect from doing this practice:

Fasting Improves Fat Loss on a Cellular Level

When your body notices that you haven’t eaten in a while, it activates a number of processes.

First off, your body initiates cell repair. It also opens up your fat storages to make them accessible for fuel.

Your insulin levels also reduce drastically. In essence, this tells your body that there’s no food available, so it taps into its own fat reserves for energy. (17)

Pretty neat, huh?

But it only gets better.

When you fast, your human growth hormone levels increase – up to 500%! (18)

If you didn’t know, higher levels of HGH initiate fat burning and muscle preservation. Along with many other health benefits.

In addition, fasting clears out the waste from your cells. It also kills old and unusable cells and uses them for energy. This process is called autophagy. (19)

Last but not least, fasting changes the very gene expressions within your cells, making you more resilient to stress and live longer. Not only that, but not eating also helps you stay young. And who doesn’t want that?

When You Fast, You Lose Weight Fast

With intermittent fasting (IF), you eat fewer meals.

This makes it hard to consume the same amount of calories as you would eating normally throughout the entire day.

So in addition to having a direct effect on fat loss, intermittent fasting also helps you eat less food, which helps you to indirectly lose weight.

IF also enhances hormones that promote the fat loss process. There’s growth hormone, which, as we already explained, is a key component to a healthy and lean you.

But there’s also insulin, which fasting drastically decreases. Telling your body to tap into your fat reserves instead.

Then there’s noradrenaline, which fasting really amps up. When you have noradrenaline coursing through your body, your heart starts beating faster. As a result, your entire metabolism gets kicked into high gear.

Studies have shown that short-term fasts increase your metabolism by up to 14%. That’s in addition to all of the benefits we mentioned above! (20, 21)

In other words, fasting not only reduces the number of calories you consume. It also boosts the rate of your metabolism, melting the fat from “both ends” if you will.

Fasting vs. Calorie Restriction

You might think that fasting and calorie restriction are pretty much the same things. But that’s far from the truth.

See, when you fast, you give your body the chance to turn its focus on other processes. Such as, cell repair, fat-burning hormone release, etc.

On the other hand, when you’re under calorie restriction, you still eat meals normally. You just eat fewer calories overall. This means your body still has to work and process all the particles from food that you ingest. Ultimately, it’s never able to tap into the benefits of fasting this way.

Now, this isn’t all.

A respected review study found that IF not only helps burn more fat than calorie restriction. It also caused less muscle loss. (22)

Ultimately, intermittent fasting is superior in all categories versus continuous calorie restriction. This includes fat loss, muscle preservation, and overall health.

woman with a bowl of salad looking to lose weight

Bonus Tips to Improve Your Fat Loss

Exercise

Let me start off by saying that you don’t need to exercise in order to lose weight.

In fact, you can burn fat without doing any exercise at all.

But if you’re up for the challenge, here’s what you’ll get out of exercising a couple of times per week (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6):

  • Faster basal metabolism and better metabolic health
  • Enhanced body composition
  • Improved hormonal balance (estrogen vs. testosterone)
  • Healthier cardiovascular system
  • Elevated mood
  • Faster Fat Loss

How Exercise Promotes Fat Loss

The way exercise promotes fat loss is two-fold:

Firstly and most obviously, it makes your body burn more calories. It’s math 101 – if you burn more calories than you ingest, you’re going to lose weight, period.

Secondly, exercise such as resistance training changes your body’s composition – more muscle mass, less fat. Since our muscle tissue is hungry for calories, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’re going to burn – even when doing nothing.

In fact, when you reach a point where you’re toned and fit, it’s going to be easier to lose weight than to gain weight. It might sound ridiculous, but that’s what happens when your basal metabolism gets high from having more muscle mass.

woman doing dumbbell exercises in the gym

Which Type of Exercise is Best For Fat Loss?

There are many exercises that will help you lose fat.

In fact, it’s almost impossible to say which one will work best for you. Simply because everyone is different.

That’s why it’s advised to do exercises which are fun for you, in order to keep it sustainable.

If you hate running on a treadmill, then don’t do it. There are plenty of other ways to burn fat that are more fun and work just as well, if not even better. Here are some examples that are backed by science:

1) Resistance Training

Training in the gym 2-4 times per week is the best way to ramp up your metabolism. It’s also arguably the best way to improve your body composition.

Aim for short and intense workouts. 30-45 minutes is plenty of time to burn some serious calories.

If you have no previous experience lifting weights, ask a more experienced friend or trainer for advice.

Research shows that when you lift weights, you keep your metabolism high. And as I’ve mentioned, resistance training also increases your muscle mass. As a result, your basal metabolism rises, and you end up burning extra calories even when you’re sitting on a couch. (1, 2)

And according to this study, lifting weights enables you to burn fat and build muscle at the same time. (3)

If for any reason you don’t want to go the weightlifting route, no worries! Here are other forms of exercises you could do to speed up the fat loss:

2) Sprints (HIIT)

If your goal is to burn calories as fast as possible, then HIIT is for you.

HIIT is a term that stands for high-intensity interval training. This includes exercises where you train intensely for a short period of time, followed by a minute or two of rest. You typically repeat this process for a number of times during the session.

This induces huge metabolic response – your body burns a high number of calories during these spurts of exertion.

Studies show that HIIT burns around 30% more calories on average than exercises such as cardio and weight training. (7)

In fact, your metabolism stays high for several hours after a HIIT session. (8)

One of the best HIIT exercises are sprints. Two minutes of sprinting is shown to increase the metabolism over a 24-hour period as much as thirty minutes of endurance cardio does. (9)

And here’s the best thing:

The entire HIIT workout lasts 15-20 minutes, making it ideal for people who are short on time.

3) Sports

Ultimately, any form of physical activity will help you lose fat, improve body composition, and enhance overall health.

The truth is, whether it’s sprinting or weight training, every form of exercise has it’s own pros and cons. And these are different for each individual.

That’s why if you’re into sports, and don’t want to lift weights or do sprints, then by all means. Play your favorite sport to your heart’s content.

Ultimately, the key lies in consistency – by staying active week after week, you’ll be on your way to improved health and metabolism, regardless of what type of exercise you do.

Sleep

You can have the best diet in the world. And the most intense, perfect exercise regimen.

But if you don’t sleep well, your fat loss journey will suffer.

There’s a reason why they say “diet, exercise, and sleep.”

All of these play a part in your overall health. But sleep could be the most important out of the three.

Modern research suggests that a lack of sleep leads to biochemical changes in the body. Your hormone profile changes, resulting in fat storage and muscle loss. (23)

Not only that, but people who sleep less have higher hunger cravings. (23)

Worst of all, a lack of sleep increases the risk of diabetes, heart attack, and all-cause mortality. (24, 25)

If you’re looking to have a smooth fat loss journey, then make sure to have your sleep in check.

Curious to know more? Here’s our in-depth article on 7 ways you can improve sleep – backed by science.

sleep alarm

Stress Reduction

Stress and obesity are very much interlinked.

See, when you’re stressed, you get an influx of cortisol.

This is a hormone that, under normal circumstances, plays an important role for us.

However, when it’s chronically elevated, cortisol wreaks havoc on our body.

Cortisol’s specialty is melting your muscle mass, along with making you gain fat. When cortisol levels are high, testosterone crashes down, resulting in catabolism and muscle wastage.

Cortisol also triggers specific processes which tell your body to store the food you eat into fat instead of energy. This stress hormone also tells your body to preserve its existing fat under all costs. This is a survival mechanism which we perhaps had use of long ago. But nowadays, it does us more harm than good.

Not only that, but cortisol also raises other stress hormones, such as adrenaline and noradrenaline. These all create a cocktail of chemicals which make it almost impossible to lose weight.

So if you’re stressed all the time, you should find a way to counter this.

Meditation, yoga, massages, and aromatherapies. These are all great ways to combat stress. Meditation takes a bit longer than others to have an effect, but it’s probably the most effective out of them all. Numerous studies show that meditation drastically reduces cortisol, the stress hormone.

If you aren’t into any of these things, consider taking long walks. These are nourishing to your adrenals.

Additionally, you could try taking herbal supplements that promote mental peace and well-being. These include ashwagandha, Bacopa monnieri, holy basil, and Rhodiola rosea.

Also, find out if you’re magnesium deficient. This mineral plays a key role in maintaining a healthy nervous system. Getting optimal levels of magnesium is essential for reducing stress.

meditation during a sunset

Wrapping Up

Losing weight is a steady process. If anyone tells you it’s easy to burn fat fast, run away from that person and don’t look back.

Fat loss doesn’t happen overnight, but if you do it right, you can achieve some amazing, long-term results. And don’t worry – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to lose weight.

In fact, the entire process is relatively simple. Follow some of this advice and you’ll be on your way to a fitter and leaner body:

Do This to Shed Fat:

  • Reduce or cut out simple carbs and added sugars – Foods like refined white bread, pasta, candy, and fruit juices spike your blood sugar and insulin levels. If consumed too often, your body becomes numb to the insulin spikes. This leads to fat gain and myriad other health problems.
  • Add fiber to your meals – The more fiber you eat, the better. Fiber swells in your stomach and keeps you full, making you eat fewer calories. What’s more, fiber helps with nutrient absorption, helping to turn food into energy instead of fat. Fiber-rich foods include dark leafy greens, whole grains, and seeds. Glucomannan is another type of fiber which is shown to be effective at suppressing appetite.
  • Bump up the protein – Eating a high-protein diet is shown to reduce hunger cravings, improve energy metabolism, and ultimately, help with fat loss.
  • Drink water before a meal – Studies show that drinking 2 glasses of water 30 minutes prior to a meal leads to fewer calories consumed, and more fat burned.
  • Do Intermittent Fasting – Intermittent Fasting is a method where you restrict your eating window to only a specific part of the day. For example, you don’t consume any calories for 16 hours, followed by an 8-hour eating window. IF is shown to be one of the best ways to drastically reduce calories, burn fat, improve body composition, and enhance overall health.

In addition to these 5 tips, also ensure to get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and avoid stress as much as possible.

7-9 hours of sleep per night, along with a 2-3 strength training sessions per week, and a yoga or meditation practice can do wonders for not only your fat loss, but also your overall health and well-being.

References

  1. Resistance training conserves fat-free mass and resting energy expenditure following weight loss. (source)
  2. The Role of Diet and Exercise for the Maintenance of Fat-Free Mass and Resting Metabolic Rate During Weight Loss. (source)
  3. Body composition and hormonal responses to a carbohydrate-restricted diet. (source)
  4. Health benefits of physical activity: the evidence. (source)
  5. Exercise acts as a drug; the pharmacological benefits of exercise. (source)
  6. Physical Exercise for Treatment of Mood Disorders: A Critical Review. (source)
  7. Caloric expenditure of aerobic, resistance, or combined high-intensity interval training using a hydraulic resistance system in healthy men. (source)
  8. The acute effect of exercise modality and nutrition manipulations on post-exercise resting energy expenditure and respiratory exchange ratio in women: a randomized trial. (source)
  9. Two minutes of sprint-interval exercise elicits 24-hr oxygen consumption similar to that of 30 min of continuous endurance exercise. (source)
  10. Insulin's impact on renal sodium transport and blood pressure in health, obesity, and diabetes. (source)
  11. Experiences with three different fiber supplements in weight reduction. (source)
  12. Viscosity as related to dietary fiber: a review. (source)
  13. The effects of consuming frequent, higher protein meals on appetite and satiety during weight loss in overweight/obese men. (source)
  14. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. (source)
  15. Water-induced thermogenesis. (source)
  16. Water consumption increases weight loss during a hypocaloric diet intervention in middle-aged and older adults. (source)
  17. Alternate-day fasting in nonobese subjects: effects on body weight, body composition, and energy metabolism. (source)
  18. Fasting enhances growth hormone secretion and amplifies the complex rhythms of growth hormone secretion in man. (source)
  19. Short-term fasting induces profound neuronal autophagy. (source)
  20. Enhanced thermogenic response to epinephrine after 48-h starvation in humans. (source)
  21. Resting energy expenditure in short-term starvation is increased as a result of an increase in serum norepinephrine. (source)
  22. Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss? (source)
  23. Sleep and obesity. (source)
  24. Sleep Duration and All-Cause Mortality: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies. (source)
  25. Sleep Duration as a Risk Factor for Diabetes Incidence in a Large US Sample. (source)

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