Weight loss efforts that really pay off go far beyond a fad diet and casual exercise once in a while. It requires proper planning and a strong determination beyond wishful thinking.
Even a modest weight loss of 10% or less brings its rewards to those who are obese in the form of reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improved glycemic control, and increased longevity (1).
Many a times, you may think that you are doing the right thing but it’s not yielding any fruitful result. It may be that your methods are not effective enough to give you the desired results.
You’ve probably come across several complex weight loss plans that actually make the task of losing weight difficult and complicated. You can achieve your weight loss goals with these simple yet powerful weight loss strategies—provided you rigorously follow all the steps.
You do not have to feel hungry and unsatisfied to lose weight. It just requires careful planning and consistent compliance.
Here are a few easy steps to help you lose weight.
1. Start Your Day with Lemon Water
Lemon water is an excellent detox drink for weight loss. Lemons are abundant in water soluble vitamins like B and C, minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium. Lemons are also fiber-rich. Lemon juice helps your body get the nutrients required to burn fat for energy and suppress weight gain.
The citric acid in lemon helps stimulate digestion; proper digestion is a must for fat burning. It increases the secretion of digestive juices including bile and acids and also triggers peristalsis (involuntary muscle movement of the intestine that helps move the contents present within the intestinal tract) (2).
Plus, being rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, it aids in removing toxins from the body that slow down your metabolism. Be sure to continue drinking lemon water even after you lose weight to help maintain your weight.
According to a study published in 2015, participants of a lemon detox program greatly benefitted from the intake of lemon drink which resulted in considerable fat reduction and decrease in insulin resistance in comparison to the control group (3).
- Squeeze the juice of ½ lemon into a glass of lukewarm water.
- Optionally, add a little raw honey. You can also add a little black pepper powder as it helps with fat burning and suppresses fat accumulation.
- Drink this solution daily.
Note: Use fresh lemon juice rather than the bottled version. Do not use processed honey as it will do more harm than good.
2. Take Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar assists in weight loss due to its acetic acid content. Acetic acid has been found to help prevent the accumulation of body fat. Apple cider vinegar also helps your body absorb nutrients from the food you eat, treats digestive issues and fights infections.
- Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a glass of water.
- Drink it once daily in the evening.
You can gradually increase the amount of apple cider vinegar up to 2 tablespoons per glass. Do not drink it in excess, though.
3. Replace Your Regular Tea/Coffee with Green Tea
In addition to lemon water and apple cider vinegar, also drink green tea. It has a massive range of antioxidants that help boost metabolism and aid in losing weight. The catechins in green tea are particularly good for increasing fat burning by releasing fat from fat cells. They also help fight free radicals and prevent diseases.
A mixture of green tea and caffeine resulted in considerable weight loss in a group of habitual low-caffeine subjects in comparison to the control (4).
Replace your daily cup of regular tea or coffee with a cup of organic green tea. You can drink 3 to 4 cups of green tea a day.
4. Run Baby Run!
If you are serious about losing weight in a healthy way, then there is no escape from regular exercise and physical activity.
A combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity will help you lose as well as control your weight effectively. Running, for instance, is excellent for weight loss as it burns calories while you are doing it as well as afterwards.
A study published in 2003 revealed that moderate to intense exercises along with a healthy diet was successful in decreasing 8-10 % of the body weight in overweight and sedentary individuals over a 12 month period (5).
Plus, exercise helps reduce stress and improve energy, mood and sleep quality. Needless to say, it also lowers your risk of developing chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes and certain cancers. It’s best to fix a dedicated time slot in your day for your exercise regimen, so that you do not skip it under the pretext of lack of time.
- Do a treadmill workout for at least 25 minutes daily.
- Alternatively, do brisk walking for at least 30 minutes and running for a few minutes in a nearby park.
5. Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy yet low-calorie diet is an integral part of a good weight loss plan. Focus on including fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet, rather than filling up on empty calories from junk food.
Mediterranean diets that are rich in fiber, high in unsaturated fats are healthy and also assist in shedding excess weight more effectively in comparison to other diets according to a study published in 2008 (6).
- Steer clear of fried and fatty foods. Also, restrict your sugar as well as salt intake (excess salt contributes to water retention that adds water weight). Look for healthier versions of your favorite foods. For instance, opt for homemade air-popped popcorn (do not add butter) instead of high-calorie, oil-popped popcorn.
- Eliminate white flour products like white bread, cookies, muffins, pizzas, hot dogs, burgers, pasta and similar foods from your diet. Opt for whole grain and healthier versions of these foods. Product labels should state “100 percent whole grain”, not just “made with whole grains” or “multi-grain”.
- Eat more fiber and proteins but fewer carbohydrates. Proteins will help you feel full longer and reduce cravings.
- Include healthy foods like apples, berries, low-fat yogurt, quinoa, oats, whole wheat, buckwheat, brown rice, beans, pulses, spinach, broccoli and other fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet.
- To stay motivated and prevent yourself from feeling deprived, you can cheat your diet once in a while and indulge in your favorite delicacies like a pasta dish, 2 slices of pizza, a medium-size chocolate chip cookie or a small wedge of cheesecake. Set a day aside for one cheat meal once a week. Remember, moderation is the key. Plus, avoid treating yourself to trigger foods like a bag of chips that you know you just can’t stop eating. To get the most satisfaction from your cheat meal, eat it slowly and avoid distractions while eating.
- Opt for fresh instead of packaged fruit juices laden with sugar and preservatives. As far as possible, opt for more fruits rather than fruit juices as in addition to nutrients, fruit pulp will also provide dietary fiber.
- Include virgin coconut oil in your diet. It is easy to digest, good for your health and also helps improve metabolism. The unique combination of fatty acids in coconut oil is particularly great for reducing abdominal weight. It also helps beat sugar and alcohol cravings. You can also use extra-virgin olive oil for cooking.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
- Do not skip meals, especially breakfast.
- Eat your last meal of the day at least 2 hours before bedtime and avoid late-night snacking.
- Avoid mindless eating and practice portion control by using smaller plates and bowls.
6. Drink Plenty of Water
Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help your body flush out toxins. It is recommended to drink 8 to 10 glasses of fluids a day.
The results of a study in 2012 suggested that drinking water helped in improving weight loss in obese women by burning more calories. The increased intake of water was linked to reduction in body weight, waist size, and percentage of body fat in overweight subjects irrespective of their diet (7).
In addition to detoxification, it increases the rate at which the body burns fat. Plus, it aids digestion, relieves fatigue, improves mood and beats bad breath. When increasing your fluid intake, keep the following in mind:
- Do not drink water during or immediately after a meal as it may impair digestion. It is best to drink water about 30 minutes after eating a meal.
- Do not substitute water with soft drinks and colas that contain calories.
- Eat more water-rich fruits and vegetables.
7. Get Proper Sleep
Proper sleep and relaxation also play an important role in promoting weight loss. In fact, not getting enough or quality sleep impacts your hunger and fullness hormones, affects your metabolism adversely and alters the way your genetics influence your body mass index (BMI).
Sleep deprivation encourages late-night snacking, makes you crave comfort foods and leaves you too tired for regular physical exercise. Plus, studies suggest that lack of sleep can compromise the effectiveness of weight loss efforts.
According to a 2010 study by University of Chicago researchers, cutting back on sleep can reduce the benefits of dieting. The study found that although the amount of weight lost was the same in dieters who got a full night’s sleep and those who slept less, those who got adequate sleep lost more fat (more than half of the weight they lost came from fat) than the ones who got less sleep (only one-fourth of their weight loss was fat) (8).
Get a good night’s sleep of 6 to 8 hours daily. The best way to do this is to stick to a schedule, going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day.
- Enjoy swimming, tennis, football, basketball, racquetball, heavy gardening, cycling and other physical activities to help burn fat.
- Be more active in your daily life by parking your car further away from your office, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking while talking on your cell phone instead of sitting on your couch.
- You can also try yoga.
- Enjoy an 8-ounce glass of fresh coconut water 3 or 4 times a week. Do not drink it in excess though, as it may add more calories than you want.
- If possible, include more spices like chili pepper, black pepper, ginger, garlic and cinnamon in your food. They help boost metabolism and aid in losing weight. Cayenne pepper, in particular, contains a compound called capsaicin that helps increase the metabolic rate, suppresses appetite and fights fat buildup.
- Goldstein DJ. Beneficial health effects of modest weight loss. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1992;16(6):397-415. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1322866. Accessed March 31, 2018.
- Mohanapriya M, Ramaswamy L, Rajendran R. HEALTH AND MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF LEMON (CITRUS LIMONUM). Int J Ayurvedic Herb Med J Homepage. 2013;31095(1). http://interscience.org.uk/index.php/ijahm. Accessed April 3, 2018.
- Kim MJ, Hwang JH, Ko HJ, Na HB, Kim JH. Lemon detox diet reduced body fat, insulin resistance, and serum hs-CRP level without hematological changes in overweight Korean women. Nutr Res. 2015;35(5):409-420. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2015.04.001.
- Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Lejeune MPGM, Kovacs EMR. Body Weight Loss and Weight Maintenance in Relation to Habitual Caffeine Intake and Green Tea Supplementation. Obes Res. 2005;13(7):1195-1204. doi:10.1038/oby.2005.142.
- Jakicic JM, Marcus BH, Gallagher KI, Napolitano M, Lang W. Effect of Exercise Duration and Intensity on Weight Loss in Overweight, Sedentary Women. JAMA. 2003;290(10):1323. doi:10.1001/jama.290.10.1323.
- Shai I, Schwarzfuchs D, Henkin Y, et al. Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet. N Engl J Med. 2008;359(3):229-241. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0708681.
- Stookey JD, Constant F, Popkin BM, Gardner CD. Drinking Water Is Associated With Weight Loss in Overweight Dieting Women Independent of Diet and Activity. Obesity. 2008;16(11):2481-2488. doi:10.1038/oby.2008.409.
- Nedeltcheva A V., Kilkus JM, Imperial J, Schoeller DA, Penev PD. Insufficient Sleep Undermines Dietary Efforts to Reduce Adiposity. Ann Intern Med. 2010;153(7):435. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-153-7-201010050-00006.