I’ve been skinny for about 2 years until a recent trip to Italy. With a lack of gym access and my weakness for pasta and pastries, I came back home 15 pounds heavier (in less than 3 weeks).
I scrambled to find my weight loss journals that I had kept over the years (and had not opened since I had gotten skinny). There was just so much information on what worked for me and what didn’t. So, I narrowed them down to 10 things that I need to do and followed them religiously. No joke – within a week, I was about 10 pounds lighter.
I remember thinking that it would take me weeks, if not months to get back to being skinny but I was stunned with how quickly the pounds started to melt once I made some key changes to my daily routine – and stuck with them. Here are the 10 things you can do to lose weight fast:
1. Evaluate how you’re eating
The first thing I did when I made the commitment to lose weight was to write down everything I had eaten for the previous 3 days as well as any physical activity I had engaged in. This was relatively easy for me as I am a creature of habit when it comes to my food consumption and exercise, and with the help of my favorite calorie tracker, I was able to properly evaluate the calories I consumed versus the calories I burned.
I remember feeling both stunned and embarrassed when I saw just how damaging each tablespoon of peanut butter and slice of cheese was to my weight loss goals, and I was also surprised at how ineffective my light jogs on the treadmill were in helping to balance my input versus output. But once I identified my optimal calorie intake to achieve my weight loss goals, I was able to adjust my diet and make smarter food choices.
2. Drink more water
One thing that was written again and again in my weight loss journal was adequate water intake. It’s not only an effective strategy to reduce bloat, but also to lose weight. So I started to drink more water, and I was amazed at the results. When I am conscious of my water intake, I find my stomach is less distended, I have more energy, I feel less fatigued, and if I down a glass of ice water whenever I feel hungry, I am less likely to overeat.
3. Eat a good hearty breakfast
There are so many different studies out there on the pros and cons of eating breakfast as it relates to weight loss, and while some would argue that it makes no difference and that you should focus on your caloric intake as a whole rather than at certain times of the day, experience has proven otherwise to me. I find if I start the day with a well-balanced meal that is high in protein, my metabolism is at its best, and I am much less likely to crave and gorge on unhealthy foods over the course of the day.
4. Eat lean proteins at every meal
It’s no secret that protein makes you feel full longer, and ever since I started to incorporate lean proteins (think: low fat Greek yogurt, low fat cheese, lean chicken, a handful of almonds, etc.) into each of my meals and snacks, I have seen a noticeable decline in my hunger pangs.
5. Avoid sugar and simple carbs
I have never really been one to eat sweets, but I just love pasta (that’s what got me fat to begin with). When I made a conscious decision to stop consuming both sugar and pasta, my weight started to fall off quickly.
6. Control your portions
I have never been very diligent with portion control, but when I was comparing my diet versus the amount of physical activity I was getting each day, I decided to take the time and measure out the portions I was consuming. And guess what? I was underestimating my portion sizes by 2-3 times!
Of course, measuring portions sizes is time consuming and not practical when you’re out and about, but if you invest the time upfront, you will soon learn how to eyeball a serving size, which is essential for long-term weight loss success.
7. Say no to liquid calories
If you have a tendency to indulge in a mid-morning latte, enjoy a soda in the afternoons, and/or pour yourself a glass of white when your kids are in bed for the night, I strongly urge you to stop. Liquid calories such as these offer absolutely no nutritional value to your diet, and will hinder your ability to reach your weight loss goals. Of course, this isn’t to say you can’t indulge every now and then, but if you are trying to lose 10 pounds in a week, do yourself a favor and save those empty-calorie rewards for another time.
8. Get comfortable with HIIT workouts and strength training
There is a lot of literature online about the different types of workouts you should do to increase your metabolism and ensure you are burning fat even after you stop exercising, and while I am sure this is an effective way to lose weight FAST, I do not have the time or energy to learn the science behind it all. Instead, I like to do a combination of HIIT and strength training workouts because I have found they are the most effective in my weight loss goals.
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, involves intense periods of exercise followed by short recovery periods so you burn more fat in less time, and strength training increases your muscle mass, which in turn speeds up your metabolism.
I have a fabulous collection of HIIT workouts, as well as great arm workouts, leg workouts, and ab workouts to get you started!
9. You must get 8 hours of sleep a night
I do not have a great track record when it comes to sleep. I have always been a night owl, and while I know it’s in my best interest to hit the sack early so that I’m not so grumpy and tired when my daughter wakes up at the crack of dawn, I really struggle to get myself into bed before midnight each night. But when a trainer at my gym came down hard on me for my unhealthy sleep habits and explained that sleep deprivation increases hunger and slows down metabolism, I made a conscious choice to go to bed at least an hour earlier each night. As it turns out, she was 100% correct, and I find my weight is much more stable when I make an effort to get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night.
10. Don’t lose motivation
While all of these weight loss strategies will definitely help you in your quest to lose weight, the single most important tip I can give to when it comes to shedding unwanted weight and getting back into shape is to stay motivated. Weight loss takes hard work and dedication, and if you’re only willing to give 50% of your effort, you have no one to blame but yourself if you fall short of your goals. So be your biggest cheerleader, tape a skinny picture of yourself to your fridge and pantry, stop making excuses, and remember: YOU’VE GOT THIS!