This is a sponsored guest post.
With over 60% of American adults being overweight or obese, it’s not surprising that many of us are looking for ways to quickly shed a few pounds.
Unfortunately, weight loss is not something that can (or should) be achieved from one day to the next. In most cases, it takes weeks, months or even years to gain the weight, so when you decide to slim down it naturally takes several weeks or months to lose that extra weight.
Despite this logic, the waiting game of weight loss can prove immensely frustrating when you’re making every effort to eat right, exercise and take care of yourself. So, here are 5 practical tips to speed-up weight loss and get the results you want faster!
1. Keep a Food Diary
If you’re already working hard to eat healthier and your weight isn’t dropping as fast as you’d like, consider keeping a food diary.
Studies show that people who record what they eat lose more weight than those who don’t. This makes sense because tracking each bite of food (or sip of drink) that goes into your mouth keeps you accountable for what you’re consuming each and every day.
Plus, when you regularly document your intake you can also see how many calories you’re getting on an average day, and how close you are to your ideal intake. If you use a tracking app like MyFitnessPal, LoseIt! or Fitbit, the app will automatically set calorie goals for you based on your:
- current height & weight,
- weight loss goals,
- gender & age, and
- average activity level.
If you prefer to track the old-fashioned way (i.e. using pen and paper), it’s helpful to calculate your macros by hand. You’ll need the information listed above, plus a calculator. These calculations may seem tedious or unnecessary at first, but understanding what your body needs in terms of daily calories, carbs, fat and protein – and sticking to those limits – will help you reach your goals much faster!
2. Move More
Another way to lose more weight, faster, is to incorporate more activity into your every day life.
If you’ve been trying to slim down, you may or may not be working out on a regular basis already. Unless you’re already exercising more than an hour a day, try to increase your formal activity level (i.e. time at the gym) little-by-little.
Aim to meet recommended activity levels:
- 75-150 minutes per week (30 minutes, 3-5x per week) of vigorous activity like running, swimming or aerobics class
- 150-300 minutes per week (60 minutes, 3-5x per week) of moderate activity like walking, slow cycling or gardening
- Strength training 2x per week to help maintain lean muscle mass and preserve bone health. This could include activities like lifting weights, calisthenics or climbing stairs.
If you’re already working out an hour or more each day, try to increase activity in your daily life. Park the car farther from the store, take the stairs, carry a basket (instead of pushing the cart) when you do groceries or take hourly ‘walk breaks’ at work.
3. Prioritize Rest & Relaxation
One critically-important, but often-overlooked, aspect of getting healthier is taking enough time to rest and relax.
Cortisol is a hormone that spikes when you’re stressed. It works to increase blood sugar, suppress the immune system and help us get ready to ‘fight or flee’ in high-risk circumstances. This is helpful if we’re actually in a dangerous situation, but it’s not so beneficial if we’re just stressed about everyday life.
Constant stress is associated with higher levels of cortisol, which is in-turn linked to:
- more cravings for unhealthy foods,
- decreased impulse control, and
- more accumulation of visceral fat around the stomach.
Worse yet: the body sees sleep-deprivation as a type of stress and releases cortisol when we don’t sleep enough, even if life is relatively-calm otherwise.
So, if you feel like weight loss is an ongoing battle, get biology on your side by making an effort to sleep 7-9 hours of sleep each night and manage day-to-day stress productively.
4. Consider a Supplement
Some people start off strong each day, but then feel the pull of unhealthy habits growing stronger as the day goes by. If you struggle with afternoon/evening cravings, or feel your energy dropping as the afternoon progresses, consider an herbal supplement to help control snacking and boost energy.
Supplements containing ingredients like cayenne pepper, ginger, ginseng, caralluma fimbriata or cumin may help suppress appetite and promote weight loss. Meanwhile, supplements that list natural ingredients like ashwagandha, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), vitamin B12 or creatinine may help boost energy levels and make you feel more lively throughout the day.
However, keep in-mind that supplements are not tested or regulated by the FDA, so it’s important to do your research before buying or taking any herbal supplement. If you’re not sure where to start, this supplement review site provides excellent, fact-based reviews for popular appetite suppressants and fat burners.
5. Talk to Your Doctor
Finally, if you feel like you’ve tried everything and the weight just isn’t coming off (or isn’t coming off as fast as you’d like) despite sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine, talk to your doctor.
There are several prescription-only weight loss medications like phentermine (Adipex), phentermine-topiramate ER (Qsymia) and lorcaserin (Belviq) that help you lose more weight, faster. They generally work as stimulants, which affect hormone and/or neurotransmitter levels so that you feel less hungry and more energized throughout the day. Some also help your body burn more fat.
However, these pills are far from perfect. They have a long list of potential side effects, some of which are very serious or even life-threatening. For this reason, prescription appetite suppressants are not right for everyone. A medical doctor is the only one who can assess whether these medications are right for you.
A physician can also determine if there are other factors interfering with your ability to lose weight, such as a pre-existing medication condition like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or hypothyroidism.
He or she may also refer you to weight-related specialist, like a registered dietitian or physical therapist to help you learn more about healthy habits that you can stick to long-term.