Trying to Slim Down Quickly? Tips for Long-Term Weight Loss that Are Backed by Science
Methods for Slimming Down
Helpful hints about calories and serving sizes
What is the rate of decline
Overall, this is the conclusion:
A healthy weight loss goal for most people is 1-2 pounds per week. Permanent weight loss can be achieved by reducing carb intake, increasing protein intake, increasing resistance training, and increasing sleep time.
Though weight loss isn’t the solution to every health issue, if your doctor suggests it, you can follow some safe practices to get there. For the best results in the long run, it’s best to aim for a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week.
However, many weight-loss diets leave you feeling hungry or unsatisfied, or they eliminate whole food groups and are therefore unsustainable. These are some of the most common obstacles to adopting a healthier diet.
Because you are an individual with specific requirements, you may benefit more from certain dietary approaches and advice than others.
Losing weight can be accomplished in many different ways, such as by switching to a low-carbohydrate diet or one that emphasizes whole foods; however, there are some universal truths that apply to both.
Here are some weight loss strategies backed by science, including eating healthily and selecting carbohydrates with care.
curb your hunger without leaving you feeling deprived, resulting in gradual and sustainable weight loss.
support your metabolic health while doing other things
Some of these suggestions may help you shed pounds quickly, but keep in mind that such rapid weight loss is rarely long-term. Concentrating on your health and developing routines that you can maintain over time will benefit your health and increase the likelihood that you will successfully lose weight and keep it off.
Getting Slim: The 3-Step Plan
Avoid sugary and processed foods.
Limiting your intake of carbohydrates (sugars and starches) can speed up your weight loss. One way to accomplish this is to replace refined carbohydrates with whole grains, or to follow a low-carb diet.
The result is less hunger and, consequently, fewer calories consumed (1Trusted Source).
A low-carb diet forces you to rely less on carbohydrates and more on fat stores for fuel.
When combined with a calorie deficit, eating more complex carbohydrates like whole grains has the added benefit of causing digestion to proceed more slowly and, thus, allowing for greater weight loss. Because of this, they are more substantial, so you won’t get hungry between bites.
In 2020, scientists confirmed the effectiveness of a very low carbohydrate diet for weight loss in elderly people (2Trusted Source).
Also, studies show that a low-carb diet can help you feel less hungry, which can lead to eating fewer calories without even trying (3Trusted Source).
Keep in mind that studies on low-carbohydrate diets’ long-term effects are still in their early stages. Low-carb diets aren’t always easy to stick to, and that can mean less success in the long run when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight.
The cons of a low-carb diet may make you consider switching to a different strategy. Weight loss is possible even on low-calorie diets, which are also more manageable over the long term.
A 2019 study found a correlation between high whole grain intake and lower body mass index (BMI), suggesting that a diet focused on whole grains rather than refined carbohydrates may be preferable for those looking to lose weight (4Trusted Source).
Talk to your doctor about safe and effective weight loss options.
Reducing your intake of refined carbohydrates may help you lose weight by reducing your appetite, insulin levels, and insulin resistance.
However, it is still unclear what, if any, long-term effects a low-carb diet may have. Possible longer-term success with a calorie-restricted eating plan.
2 Consume meat, dairy, and greens.
Always try to have a wide selection of foods available at each meal. The following foods make for a well-rounded meal that can aid in weight loss by reducing calories and satiation:
the essentials: some form of protein, some form of fat, some form of vegetable matter, and a smattering of complex carbohydrates (whole grains
Check out these resources for meal-planning inspiration:
Planned low-carbohydrate meals
with this diet plan’s 101 healthy low-carb recipes and low-calorie food lists
Keeping your health and muscle mass intact while dieting requires eating the recommended amount of protein (5Trusted Source).
There is some evidence that increasing your protein intake can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).
Protein requirements range from 56 to 91 grams per day for the average male and 46 to 75 grams per day for the average female. Here are some recommendations to help you determine how much protein to consume without gaining weight (9Trustworthy Source, 10Trustworthy Source):
Weight-based Dose of 0.8 g/kg
Seniors between the ages of 65 and 74 should consume between 1.1 and 1.2 g/kg of body weight
athletes require between 1.40 and 2.40g per kilogram of body weight
Consuming a diet high in protein can make you feel full and reduce your desire to snack (11).
Meats like beef, chicken, pork, and lamb, as well as seafood like salmon, trout, sardines, and shrimp, are all excellent choices for protein.
beans, legumes, quinoa, tempeh, and tofu are all examples of plant-based proteins.
Green leafy vegetables should not be avoided. You can eat a lot of them without significantly increasing your calorie intake or your blood sugar level because they are so nutrient dense.
All vegetables are great for you, but those that are higher in carbohydrates include potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and corn.
Because of the fiber content, these vegetables qualify as complex carbohydrates; however, it’s important to keep in mind portion control when eating them.
Vegetables that should be eaten more of are: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and tomatoes
Sprouts of the Brussels Variety
Avoid avoiding fats because of fear.
No matter what diet you follow, your body needs healthy fats to function properly. The two healthiest oils to incorporate into your diet are olive oil and avocado oil. Additions like nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados boost both flavor and nutritional value.
Because of their higher saturated fat content, other fats like butter and coconut oil should be used sparingly (12Trusted Source).
In general, you should aim to include protein, healthy fat, a complex carb, and some vegetables at each meal.
The addition of leafy green vegetables to a meal is a great way to increase the volume without increasing the calorie count.
(3) Get some exercise.
Although exercise isn’t necessary for dropping pounds, it can hasten the process. The advantages of weightlifting are especially noteworthy.
Weight training is an excellent way to burn calories and keep your metabolism revved up, neither of which you should experience as a natural byproduct of your weight loss efforts (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Strength training should be done at least three times per week. A trainer can be helpful if you’re new to weightlifting. Be sure to discuss any new exercise regimens with your doctor.
If you can’t commit to weightlifting, cardio exercises like walking, jogging, running, cycling, and swimming will still help you shed pounds and improve your health.
Aerobic and resistance training both have the potential to aid in weight loss and provide numerous additional health benefits.
Weightlifting and other forms of resistance training are highly effective for shedding pounds. However, if that isn’t an option, cardio exercises will yield similar results.
Go with what you can keep up with in the long run.
Is there any discussion of calorie counting and proper portion sizes?
If you follow a low carb diet plan that emphasizes protein, fat, and low carb vegetables, you can skip counting calories altogether and still lose weight.
Keeping track of your caloric intake can help you determine if this is the cause of your weight loss struggles.
This online calorie calculator is a great resource for people who are trying to lose weight by maintaining a calorie deficit.
Calorie counters that are both accurate and simple to use are widely available online and in app stores for no cost. The 5 best calorie counters are listed below.
Keep in mind that it’s not healthy to eat too few calories in an effort to shed extra pounds. Reduce your caloric intake by a safe and healthy amount as advised by your doctor.
A Word About Calories
Although calorie counting has been shown to be effective for some, it may not be the best option for everyone.
Talk to someone if you find yourself constantly thinking about food, obsessing over your weight, or engaging in extreme dieting. These actions might point to an eating disorder or a troubled relationship with food.
If you are having trouble, it is recommended that you consult a medical expert, such as a registered dietitian.
The National Eating Disorders Association offers a free and confidential helpline where you can talk to trained volunteers over the phone, via text message, or via online chat.
When following a low-carb diet, it is not necessary to count calories in order to lose weight. However, calorie counting can be useful if you aren’t losing weight despite following a reduced-calorie diet.
Weight Loss: 9 Easy Steps
Here are 9 more suggestions that should help you slim down:
Take in a breakfast rich in protein. If you want to cut back on snacking and calorie consumption throughout the day, try eating a breakfast high in protein (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).
Avoid consuming too much fruit juice or other sugary beverages. Sugar’s lack of nutritional value makes the calories it provides a waste of time and makes it harder to shed pounds (18Trusted Source, 19).
Don’t forget to drink water. Try to consume half your body weight in ounces (or more) of water every day (20Trusted Source).
Eat foods that help you lose weight. There are foods that aid in weight loss more than others. The following is a list of foods that can help you lose weight while still tasting delicious.
Increase your fiber intake. Eating more fiber may help you lose weight, according to some research. You can get your fill of fiber from foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. This is according to multiple reliable sources (21, 22, 23).
Get caffeinated or hot tea. In some cases, consuming caffeine can speed up your metabolism. However, you shouldn’t go crazy with the sugar and caffeine in these beverages (24Trusted Source, 25).
Eat mostly unprocessed foods. Compared to processed foods, they are healthier, more filling, and less likely to lead to overeating because of their higher nutrient content.
Take your time eating. Over time, eating too quickly can lead to weight gain, while eating more slowly makes you feel fuller and increases hormones that make you burn fat (26Trusted Source).
Get a good night’s rest. There are many reasons why sleep is so vital, and one of the biggest ones is that it can cause weight gain if you don’t get enough of it (27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source, 29).
Though these 9 guidelines are a great place to begin, they are by no means exhaustive. Reducing stress and increasing physical activity are both recommended. Here you can learn more about how to lose weight the healthy way.
When trying to lose weight, it’s best to stick to a diet that’s high in protein and fiber while cutting back on sugar. Also, make sure you’re getting enough sleep.
Recipes for quick weight loss
The daily carb intake in these meal plans is restricted to between 20 and 50 grams. Protein, healthy fats, and vegetables should be included in every meal. To accommodate the wide variety of dietary requirements and preferences, these are merely suggestions.
Including healthy whole grains like these in your diet can help you lose weight while still satisfying your cravings for complex carbohydrates.
whole-wheat quinoa, oat, bread, or pasta
Options for the morning meal
a soft-boiled egg served with avocado slices and a fruit salad.
Mix of spinach, mushrooms, and feta Non-Crusty Quiche
a green smoothie made with spinach, avocado, and nut milk, served with a slab of cottage cheese
Greek yogurt without sugar, topped with fruit and nuts.
Ideas for a light meal
Wrap of grilled chicken, black beans, red pepper, and salsa with smoked salmon and avocado.
greens and tofu or beans and guacamole
PB&J celery stick wrap
Planning a Meal
chicken, peppers, mango, avocado, and spiced enchilada salad
baked ground turkey dish with veggies and cheese
White bean and asparagus and cucumber and olive oil and salt and pepper antipasto salad. Parmesan
a mix of tempeh, Brussels sprouts, and pine nuts in a roasted cauliflower dish
Ginger-roasted sesame-oil-and-zucchini-topped salmon
Snacks to try
Recipe for Veggies with Cauliflower Hummus
mixed nut and dried fruit trail mix for a home-cooked, nutritious snack
Cinnamon and flaxseeds in cottage cheese.
Roasted chickpeas with a spicy seasoning
pumpkin seed butter
tuna in a pouch
edamame, strawberries, and brie, steamed
How quickly do you expect to lose weight?
The first week of a diet plan may result in rapid weight loss, while subsequent weeks may result in a slower but more consistent loss of weight. In the first week, it’s common to shed not just fat but also water weight.
It’s possible that you’ll see faster results from your weight loss efforts if this is the first time you’ve tried changing your diet and exercise routine.
A safe rate of weight loss is one to two pounds per week unless your doctor advises otherwise. Talk to your doctor about a healthy calorie deficit if you want to lose weight more quickly than that.
Even though the long-term effects of a low-carb diet are still unknown, there are some immediate health benefits to be gained from adopting such an eating plan.
Reduced carbohydrate intake is associated with a dramatic drop in fasting blood sugar (30)
Lower levels of both HDL (good) cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol are seen (32Trusted Source)
The patient’s blood pressure drops noticeably (33Trusted Source)
Low-carbohydrate, high-whole-food diets are not the only ones linked to better metabolic markers and a slower aging process (34, 35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source). A more well-rounded diet, perhaps including complex carbohydrates, may prove more practical in the long run.
In conclusion, a low-carb or low-calorie diet can help you lose weight, but the rate of success varies from person to person.
Some health indicators, like blood sugar and cholesterol levels, may improve with a general loss of weight.
Check out our FindCare resource if you’re looking for a primary care physician.
To sum up
You can reduce your hunger by switching from refined carbs to complex carbs in your diet. It’s important to find a way of eating that leaves you feeling satisfied, as hunger is a common reason why people struggle to stick to a weight loss plan.
You can lose weight while eating healthy food to your heart’s content if you follow a sustainable low-carb or lower-calorie eating plan.
While short-term weight loss success is great, it’s important to keep the long game in mind. Water weight loss can be rapid, but shedding excess fat and keeping it off takes time.
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Previous health checkup was on February 3, 2022.
Methods used to evaluate this article:
When new information becomes available, our articles are updated to reflect our experts’ ongoing research into the health and wellness industry.
Mar 25, 2022
Those are the words of Kris Gunnars.
Nutritionist Lisa Valente
Feb 3, 2022
Reviewed by a Medical Expert
L.D.N., R.D., Katherine Marengo
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Updated on March 25, 2022; medically reviewed by Katherine Marengo LDN, R.D., Nutrition; written by Kris Gunnars, BSc.
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Overall, this is the conclusion:
Weight loss is a common goal, whether it’s to fit into a smaller dress for a wedding or to improve your overall health.
If you want to lose weight successfully, it can help to have some idea of how fast that can be accomplished.
How long it may take to lose weight depends on a number of factors, all of which are discussed in this article.
photographs by Gabriel Pevide/Getty Images
Explaining the Biological Mechanisms Behind Weight Loss
When a person consumes fewer calories than they burn, they will begin to lose weight.
When the opposite occurs, however, and more calories are consumed than are burned, weight gain occurs.
A person’s calorie intake consists of everything they consume, including drinks and foods.
However, daily calorie expenditure (also known as energy expenditure) is a little more nuanced.
Three main categories contribute to total caloric expenditure (1Reliable Source):
Rate of metabolism while at rest (RMR). You need this many calories just to keep your heart beating and lungs breathing.
Caloric value of food (TEF). Calories expended during digestion, absorption, and metabolism.
Workouts raise body temperature (TEA). You burn this many calories whenever you work out. Calories burned during activities like housework and fidgeting can be factored into total energy expenditure (TEA) as well. This phenomenon is known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).
The maintenance of body weight requires that caloric intake be equal to caloric expenditure.
Consuming fewer calories than you burn or increasing your metabolic rate through physical activity will lead to weight loss.
IN SUMMARY, reducing daily calorie intake below daily calorie expenditure leads to gradual weight loss.
Influencing aspects of slimming down
Your weight loss will be affected by a number of different factors. You can do little to change many of them.
The rate at which you lose weight is directly related to your body’s fat-to-muscle ratio.
Women have a lower resting metabolic rate (RMR) than men do who are the same height because their fat-to-muscle ratio is typically higher (2Trusted Source).
In other words, women have a basal metabolic rate that is 5-10% lower than that of men. That’s why, on a calorie-for-calorie basis, men are more likely to see weight loss success than women.
In an 8-week study with over 2,000 participants, it was found that men lost 16% more weight than women did on the same 800-calorie diet (3Trusted Source).
In spite of the fact that men lost weight more rapidly than women did, the study did not investigate whether or not the sexes differed in their ability to keep the weight off.
Changes in body composition, such as an increase in fat mass and a decrease in muscle mass, are one of the many effects of aging on the human body.
Because of this shift and other factors, such as your major organs’ decreasing calorie needs, your RMR will decrease (4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
In fact, RMRs in people over the age of 70 are typically 20-25% lower than in people under the age of 70. (2Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).
Because of this slowing of the resting metabolic rate, losing weight can become more of a challenge as we get older.
Point of departure
The rate of weight loss you experience may also be influenced by your starting body size and composition.
It’s important to keep in mind that two people can experience the same percentage of weight loss despite experiencing different absolute weight losses (in pounds). Dropping pounds is a multifaceted endeavor.
Learn how much weight you can lose based on your starting weight, age, sex, and the number of calories you consume and burn with the help of the NIH Body Weight Planner (7Trusted Source).
In other words, a person of lower weight can lose the same percentage of their body weight as someone of higher weight (10/250 = 4% vs. 5/125 = 4%).
If a person weighing 300 pounds (136 kg) reduced their daily intake by 1,000 calories and increased physical activity for two weeks, they might lose 10 pounds (4.5 kg).
Undernourishment caused by a calorie deficit
To shed extra pounds, you need to make a negative calorie balance. The rate at which you shed pounds is proportional to the size of this calorie deficit.
If you want to lose weight, it’s better to eat 500 fewer calories per day for 8 weeks than 200 fewer calories per day.
However, watch your calorie deficit to ensure it doesn’t get too severe.
It wouldn’t be sustainable, and it could cause you to be deficient in essential nutrients if you did. Further, it may increase the likelihood that you will lose weight through muscle loss rather than fat loss.
Getting enough sleep is often disregarded, despite its importance to maintaining a healthy weight.
Weight loss and the rate at which it is achieved can be severely slowed by a lack of quality sleep on a regular basis.
The cravings for high-calorie, low-nutrient foods like cookies, cakes, sugary beverages, and chips are amplified after just one night of sleep loss (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).
One study had people on a calorie-restricted diet sleep for either 5.5 or 8.5 hours per night.
In comparison to those who slept 8.5 hours per night, those who slept for 5.5 hours lost 55% less body fat and 60% more lean body mass (10Trusted Source).
Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and some cancers are all strongly associated with insufficient sleep (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Your weight loss progress may also be influenced by other factors, such as:
Medications. Antidepressants and some antipsychotics, for example, can cause or exacerbate weight gain or obesity (14Trusted Source).
The case of having some sort of medical issue. Depression and hypothyroidism (in which the thyroid gland produces an insufficient amount of hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism) are two examples of illnesses that can impede weight loss and promote weight gain (7Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Genetics and the past of the family. It is possible that genetic factors contribute to obesity and make it difficult to shed extra pounds (16Trusted Source. 17Trusted Source).
A diet that goes up and down. If you’re in a constant state of weight loss and regain, your resting metabolic rate (RMR) may decrease, making it harder for you to lose weight (18Trusted Source).
Factors such as age, gender, and sleep all play a role in how well or how poorly one loses weight. A number of other factors may be at play, such as your health, your genes, and the medications you take.
The Most Effective Diet for Weight Loss
It can be difficult to determine the most effective weight loss diet from among the myriad options, all of which make lofty claims about how quickly and effectively they will work.
However, despite the claims of those who have developed and promoted various diet plans, there is no one diet that has universally been accepted as the best for weight loss (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).
While keto and other low-carb diets may speed up your weight loss at first, research shows no lasting benefits (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).
The most important factor is how well you can maintain a low-calorie diet (24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).
However, many people struggle to maintain a very low calorie diet for extended periods of time, which is the primary cause of diet failure (26Trusted Source).
Moderately reducing your calorie intake, tailoring your diet to your preferences and health, or working with a registered dietitian are all ways to increase your chances of success.
In order to maximize fat loss while minimizing muscle loss, it is best to combine dietary changes with exercise, specifically aerobic and resistance training (27Trusted Source).
You can further support your weight loss and general health by replacing highly processed foods with more natural options like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins.
CONCLUSION Most people have a hard time staying on a weight-loss diet. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, your diet should reflect your personal tastes and the state of your health.
Rates of weight loss that are safe
Even though most people want to drop pounds quickly, it’s not healthy to lose weight too rapidly.
The dangers of gallstones, dehydration, and malnourishment are amplified by a hasty weight loss (28Trusted Source).
Additional risks associated with quick weight loss include (29Reliable Source, 30Reliable Source):
decrease in muscle mass
Initial weight loss is common when starting a weight loss program, but experts recommend aiming for a loss of 1% of body weight per week, or about 1 pound (0.4 kg) per week (31Trusted Source).
You should also know that losing weight is not a straight line. It’s possible that some weeks you’ll lose a lot, while other weeks you’ll lose nothing (32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source).
Don’t give up hope if you hit a weight loss snag or plateau.
Keeping a food diary and checking your weight regularly can be helpful tools.
Self-monitoring techniques, such as keeping a food diary and weighing yourself regularly, have been shown to increase weight loss and weight maintenance success (34Trusted Source).
SYNTHSIS Rapid weight loss is associated with health issues such as gallstones, muscle wasting, and extreme fatigue. Some 1% of your body weight per week, or about 1 to 3 pounds (0.4 to 1.36 kilograms), is the moderate weight loss recommended by health experts.
To sum up
When you consume fewer calories than you burn off, you will lose weight.
Your weight loss rate will be affected by many factors, such as your gender, age, current weight, amount of sleep, and the magnitude of your calorie deficit.
Losing between 0.45 and 1.36 kilograms per week is a healthy and manageable goal to help you get there.