If you visit this site regularly, you know I often have to write about what doesn’t work for losing weight. No over-the-counter diet pill or other miracle cure is going to “fix” your weight and lifestyle.
The key to being one of the few who lose weight and keep it off is successful lifestyle change, primarily around what you eat. You need to learn to enjoy nutritious real food that’s good for you. No packaged diet meals, shakes or other fad diets. Of course, you may also need a doctor’s assistance in dealing with other health factors that interfere with weight loss. If you’re in Hawaii, don’t forget to book a complimentary initial consultation with me.
These eight weight loss shortcuts really DO work, though. While they may not be all that you need, they are certainly choices you can make right now to take yourself in a healthier direction.
Eat Your Largest Meal at Lunchtime
Since most of the calories your body burns are burned during the day, and you are fairly sedentary at night, it makes sense to eat your larger meals early. Ideally, we might eat our largest meal for breakfast, but that doesn’t really fit in with our culture. The other issue there is that breakfasts tend to be very high carb. High carb meals, especially when combined with high-fat, can really pack on the pounds.
So let’s aim to eat our largest calorie meal at lunchtime, leaving quite a few hours to burn it off. Lighter fare for dinner will probably also help you sleep better, and better sleep in itself will assist weight loss.
Eat Protein And Fiber With Each Meal
I’ve written before about protein. Eating protein gives you feelings of satiety, which help you stay on track for eating healthily. When you add some fiber, you get digestive benefits, even more feelings of satiety, and healthier gut bacteria. If you ensure that you have protein, fiber, and non-starchy vegetables at every meal for three meals per day, losing weight becomes enormously easier. Check out our articles about slow carbs for excellent sources of fiber.
Don’t Eat within Three Hours of Bedtime
Odds are good that snacking before bedtime is just a bad habit. Television tries to trigger snacking, and it’s also a big time when people eat out of boredom or stress. At this point in your day, you should have taken enough calories to see you through. If you haven’t, it’s important to adjust your regular meals. Figure out when a regular bedtime is, and cut off snacking three hours before. If you go to bed at 11 PM, no more snacks after 8 PM. For most people, this will eliminate many “mindless” calories. As with our first tip, it may also help you sleep better. One of the big keys to permanently keeping weight off is creating good habits that support you.
Long gym workouts are not optimal for weight loss. As you begin to reach a healthy weight, you can lengthen your exercise times if you wish. However, if you’re obese, long workouts are not really supportive. Instead, try to get yourself walking more. Even a 10 minute walk per day is helpful.
Another thing that works extremely well is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). These are short intense workouts that take less than 10 minutes. What you’re after when exercising to assist weight loss is brief muscle stress, without attempting to burn large numbers of calories. You simply want to raise your metabolism, not tire yourself out, and definitely not make yourself hungry.
There are some example HIIT exercise workouts in my “How to Look Good in the Bedroom” article.
Choosing to eliminate alcohol for a month or two is a quick way to jumpstart your weight loss efforts without making a drastic change. Since alcohol is very high in calories, cutting it out completely can add up to several thousand calories per month for the average person. You don’t have to become a teetotaler for life, but perhaps when you get back to drinking you can limit quantities a little more than you used to. For many people, this is a relatively easy to implement weight loss shortcut that really works.
Drink More Water
This is probably the number one weight loss tip out there, because it’s so important. Drink lots of water. It is possible to drink too much, so don’t go overboard, but aim for at least 8 cups per day. As our reader Amber pointed out, the ideal amount is to take your body weight in pounds, halve that, and drink that many ounces. So for a 200 pound person, 100 ounces per day would be ideal hydration. Our bodies often mistake dehydration for hunger, so if you stay well hydrated, you’re less likely to feel hungry and pack on calories because of it.
Here’s a piece of weight loss advice that most people would love to take. They often don’t, but of course, like other weight loss suggestions, if they made it a priority they could. Sleep longer. Most of us don’t get eight hours of quality sleep each night, and to keep stress under control (including stress-related hormones that control hunger and satiety), we need eight hours of sleep.
Drink Coffee (or Green Tea)
Caffeine in moderation seems to support weight loss well in most people. Coffee also suppresses appetite slightly. Green tea (hot or iced) has been shown to have a moderate supportive effect for weight loss. It even targets belly fat, and it seems to be good for your heart too!
These weight loss shortcuts are all safe (unless you react to caffeine), and will actually give you results over time. While none of them are going to do the job alone, each of them can give you good support in losing weight permanently.