Fact-checked & edited by Dr. Helen Okoye, MD, MBA, MS-Epi
Nowadays we are overwhelmed with various fad diets that can lead to serious weight loss results in a very short period of time. However, when we do lose weight with these diets, the results are rather short-term and won’t last very long.
Now you may be wondering, is there a way to lose weight fast with long-term results?
The answer is absolutely yes. But in order to achieve this, you must make some serious lifestyle changes that won’t be easy.
The key to every successful weight loss journey is a well-structured diet plan followed by a caloric deficit. You need to have these two factors in check, there is simply no work around it and several research studies are available that prove this.
Firstly, we have to figure out our maintenance calories. We will do this by using a simple formula that multiplies body weight in pounds with a number between 14 and 17 (Your activity level). For instance, you work a sedentary job and only exercise 3 times per week, your activity level is 15, multiply this number with your weight 15 x 190lbs = 2850 calories, and we get our maintenance calories.
Then we just need to restrict this number with 500-1000 calories, depending on the pace we want our weight loss journey to have. Just keep in mind that bigger caloric deficits will sacrifice lean muscle mass in order to achieve faster weight loss results. So our final calorie count will be 2850 – 1000 = 1850.
Now that we have our calories sorted, we need to learn more about the foods we should eat on this journey.
Below you will find a list of foods that one should consume while dieting in order to get all the necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to stay healthy and lose weight at the same time.
Also, you should eat large quantities of fruits and vegetables since they are packed with all the necessary nutrients that promote digestion and health overall.
Incorporating intermittent fasting into your routine can significantly boost your weight loss results, energy, mood, and much more.
But what exactly is intermittent fasting ?
Intermittent fasting, or IF for short, is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. This way of eating doesn’t impact your food choices, it only impacts the time you eat. IF has been scientifically proven to have enormous benefits on the human body, including its ability to break dieting plateaus, reduce appetite, increase energy, lowers the risk for cancer and diabetes, and the list goes on.
IF is especially useful for weight management since it allows our body to use the stored fat we've accumulated over time during the fasting stage. Studies show this excess fat will be converted to energy for our daily activities, allowing us to slim down in a more profound manner.
Our recommendation is that you start with an 8-hour eating window, which means that you will be fasting for 16 hours and only eating in your feeding window. As you progress, you can use a 6 or even a 4-hour eating window in which you are going to fit in all your daily calorie needs.
Another rule for successful weight loss would be to avoid eating after 8 pm. Studies show that our metabolism slows down at night and we are a lot more prone to gaining fat at this time, so your best option is to eat 2-3 hours before going to bed (6). Depending on your fasting regime, it is not recommended to consume large meals close to bed ime, so opting for lightweight variants might be the best choice.
As mentioned previously, eating right before bed or during the night can be extremely detrimental not only to your weight loss results but your health as well. This part of the day is reserved for recovery and rest, and by eating we are spiking our blood sugars and leptin levels which will ensure that the food we consume is stored as fat. One way to prevent this from happening would be to simply wash and floss your teeth regularly before bed, this way you will reduce the likelihood of eating again.
It is extremely important to provide your body with enough quality sleep each day. Try to go to bed early at around 10 pm. By doing this, you will take advantage of the natural hormone melatonin, which our bodies produce each night when we fall asleep.
Medical research has proven that melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that has a myriad of benefits, including its property to reduce aging, treat stomach ulcers, heartburn, support eye health, and it even raises growth hormone production in men.
If you’re truly determined to lose weight, it is the right time to say goodbye to your favorite sweets and unhealthy snacks. Almost all commercially available junk food is filled with harmful ingredients such as white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sodium, monosodium glutamate, and artificial sweeteners that destroy not only your weight loss progress but your health as well. So instead of grabbing your beloved potato chips, try snacking on some high fiber vegetables or healthy nuts.
Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to eliminate fat from your diet to lose fat. Healthy fats are essential for our health and proper body functions as they provide us with energy, cognition, mood, and even suppress appetite. Try to get around 25 to 30% of your daily calories from Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
Most of us drink some type of juice or carbonated beverage along with our meals. However, these drinks are filled with sugar and ass a bunch of unnecessary calories, which will only lead to more weight gain. For this reason, you should stay away from most store-bought beverages, excluding water and natural lemonade.
Physical activity is perhaps the second most important factor in your natural weight loss journey. A structured diet plan should be followed by a comprehensive exercise program that will accelerate your calorie expenditure and therefore your results.
If you’re a beginner, start off with some walking or slow running, and then move on to some strength exercises. Strength training is much more important than regular cardio since these exercises actually shape up and make your body slim. Start off with just 3 workout sessions per week, and as you progress, try for 4 or even 5 workouts per week.
One tip to keep in mind is not to strain yourself while training. Find a balance that allows you to be physically active and recover between workout days. Overtraining can lead to negative results that will impact your health.
Remember that losing weight naturally is no easy feat. Namely, it takes a lot of effort, renunciation, willpower, and some time. Results cannot be achieved overnight, however, they can be achieved relativity fast. And the best part about losing weight this way is the permanent outcomes you receive. Never forget that a healthy diet and exercise program are the only ways to lose excessive amounts of weight in a healthy manner. There is no miracle pill that will make you instantly lose fat and get ripped.
So just be patient and keep on going! Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see results right away, push forward and believe me, you will get where you’re hoping to go.
Also, if you happen to unfortunately fall off the wagon by slightly cheating on your diet, do not blame yourself and give up on your goals. Just continue dieting and living healthy.
Amanda is a gym instructor and a diet and nutrition fanatic that has reviewed 100s of supplements for the benefit of consumers. She struggled with obesity 7 years ago and after losing more than 30lbs, dedicates most of her time in helping others achieve similar results and transform their lives. You can contact her via the "About Us" page.