Sustained weight loss can be difficult to achieve. Sure, you can diet and punish yourself by denying the foods you love. You may even lose some weight by dieting. But as soon as you stop depriving yourself with these fad, short-term diets, the weight comes right back on even faster than before. It is so frustrating. I have been there. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
With the right mindset and a few fat-burning tricks, it is possible to kick your weight loss into high gear. Once you know how and follow through, you will see results. You could even burn more calories in your sleep! Use these 21 fat-burning secrets to lose the weight you want and keep it off.
“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”
– Michael Jordan –
1. Choose Foods that Speed Up Your Metabolism
While you should choose foods that support your health in general, there are some specific foods that can actually help boost your metabolism. Include some of these in your meals.
Spicy foods, such as chili peppers, can help speed up your metabolism, helping you burn more calories. These foods, containing capsaicin, can also suppress your appetite. Bell peppers contain a similar compound that isn’t hot on your tongue. And this compound, capsiate, may have a similar effect.
Other foods that may boost your metabolism include coffee, green tea, oolong tea, ginger, >70% dark chocolate, and apple cider vinegar.
2. Eat More Fiber to Lose Weight
Fiber helps control your blood sugar levels, by slowing down the absorption of glucose from your intestine. Thus, whole fruit containing fiber is much better to eat than to drink fruit juice, where the fiber is removed. More stable blood sugar means your insulin levels don’t spike and you are less likely to store body fat.
Fiber also helps fill you up, so you eat less calories. It can help control hunger longer, making you less likely to snack. So, eat high fiber foods such as whole grains, seeds, nuts, and vegetables.
3. Choose Foods with Negative Calories
Wait! What? Negative calories? How is that even possible?
Negative Calories simply means that the food burns more calories to chew and digest than it contains. You burn calories just by eating these. How easy is that!
4. Add Spice to Your Life to Burn More Calories
Experiment cooking with spices and herbs. This combats boredom and adds excitement to healthier food choices.
Some spices and herbs can actually help speed up your metabolism, helps control appetite and help you lose weight. We have already talked about this with capsaicin in chili and cayenne peppers.
Other flavorings that may help with weight loss are:
- black pepper
5. Chew Your Food Slower to Lose Weight
I certainly recognize that life is hectic. Most people these days don’t take the time to slow down for meals. We eat them on the go, often in the car. Or we eat as fast as we can to move onto our next task. But this doesn’t allow us to enjoy the meal and it can lead to overeating and that “stuffed” or bloated feeling.
Slow down and take the time to savor the flavor. Let your brain have the time to recognize and fully understand what you just ate. Chew each bite and take note of the taste.
“What did the food taste like?”
A dietitian once told me to ask myself “what did it taste like” after each bite. Try it. You might even discover a new appreciation for the food you eat.
6. Vary Your Cardio Workouts and Burn More Calories
Interval training can help you burn more calories during your workout. Changing up the intensity during a workout prevents your body from adjusting to the intensity level. It keeps it guessing what comes next. The periods of lower intensity also help you recover and workout for a longer, more sustained, period of time.
Extended workouts at a moderate intensity are better for weight loss than hard, high-intensity workouts. So, if you are just starting out, know that simply walking is a perfectly acceptable way to get your cardio.
7. Reward Yourself for Weight Loss Motivation
Who doesn’t love a reward!? So give yourself lots of non-food rewards. Set up some micro-goals. Perhaps this might be for each 5 – 10 pounds lost, depending on the total amount you want to lose. Pick a non-food reward for achieving this.
You can also use visual tools to help motivate yourself. Goal and weight loss tracking sheets are great for this. Some people use before and after photos. You could also set up challenges with friends and have a small prize for achieving a goal.
8. Drink Green Tea to Burn Fat
There are numerous studies that say teas can be a valuable tool that help with weight loss. Green tea, in particular, can help you burn more fat and speed up your metabolism. The catechins and caffeine in this tea act to protect against a slower metabolism during weight loss.
In order to see effects, however, you need to drink at least 3 to 4 cups of green tea per day. This can also help keep you hydrated and make you feel satisfied with less calories at meal-time.
9. Drink More Water to Lose Weight
There are so many good things about drinking more water. But let me just say that if you do only one of these secret fat burning secrets, then do this one. Drinking more water is the best thing you can do for your body and it is the easiest.
Drinking water before or during a meal will help you feel fuller, so you will naturally eat less calories. And drinking more water helps you digest your food and absorb nutrients better. You will also be able to use the calories in your food easier.
Cold water does burn more calories than warm water, but not enough to really matter that much. So, if you prefer room temperature water, go ahead and drink it. And if you prefer a nice hot tea with your meal, go for it. That is perfectly acceptable too.
“A man of wisdom delights in water.”
– Confucius –
10. Choose Healthier Fats for Weight Loss
You don’t need to go low-fat to lose weight. But the type of fat you eat will make a difference in your weight loss efforts.
Foods that contain a lot of omega-3 fats may help you burn fat. People who eat this type of fat have higher leptin and adiponectin. These hormones act to reduce hunger, burn fat and increase metabolism.
Foods high in omega-3 fats are fish and seafood (especially salmon, tuna, and sardines), nuts and seeds (especially flaxseed, chia seed and walnuts), and plant oils (especially soybean and canola oils).
11. Get More Sleep for Easy Weight Loss
Poor sleep habits have been linked to an increased risk for weight gain. People who are sleep deprived tend to eat more, resist cravings less, lower insulin sensitivity and find it harder to lose weight.
The Sleep Deprivation – Weight Gain Cycle
And the more you gain, the worse your sleep becomes. It becomes a vicious cycle that is hard to break.
It is important to develop some habits or a bedtime routine that will help you get better sleep.
12. Sustained Weight Loss is Easier in Micro-Steps
Don’t jump right in and do it all. Take baby steps and build on healthy habits.
Changing too many things in your life can be overwhelming. Changing too many things in your diet can upset your digestive system and leave you feeling miserable. You are much more likely to continue with healthier choices if you enjoy them.
Instead, go slow. Pick two things to change for now. Then once you have mastered those, pick two more things to introduce into your lifestyle.
During my weight loss journey, when I lost 90 pounds, I started with drinking more water and walking more. That was it. Two simple things to add into my life. After a month or two of doing this, I decided to reduce the amount of sugar I was eating. That was a tough one for me, so I focused on only adding this one more thing into my life. I broke my sugar habit and then started running and eating more green veggies. A little at a time, I started to lose weight.
It isn’t about dieting. It is about changing your life and building healthy habits, that lead to weight loss.
“A journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.”
– Lao Tzu –
13. Choose Foods High in Protein to Burn Fat
Eating more protein can help you feel more satisfied during the day. It can help curb cravings. The right amount of protein in your diet can trigger hormones that regulate appetite and actually help you burn more calories.
Also, as you lose weight and body fat, you will also lose some muscle too. To lessen this effect of being in a calorie-deficit, it is important to exercise and eat enough protein. But, eating too much protein can lead to weight gain, so don’t go overboard.
14. Find Ways to Reduce Stress to Burn More Fat
Research has shown that stress affects both how much we eat and our food choices. People tend to eat more and choose high-calorie, high-fat comfort foods when stressed. And while acute stress can speed up your metabolism, if that stress continues, it will eventually decrease your metabolism. You burn less fat when you are chronically stressed.
So, find ways to reduce chronic stress in your life. Read a book, take up a hobby or take a soothing soak in a tub. Find some quiet You -Time to de-stress.
15. Don’t Resist the Resistance Training
I mentioned earlier that you will lose some muscle when you lose weight. This is something you can’t avoid completely. But you can lessen it through resistance exercises.
Why should this concern you? If you have more muscle, you will burn more calories, even while you sleep. Cool right!?
So, to keep the muscle you have, and perhaps build even more, you need to do resistance exercises. These can be body weight workouts, using resistance bands or training with weights. Doing any or all of these things will help you see muscle gains over time, if you are consistent.
16. Only Eat When You are Truly Hungry
For me, learning my hunger cues was difficult to achieve. And I can definitely say that I have not mastered it yet. I still fall prey to emotional eating and night-time binging. But I continue to work on this.
“Are you truly hungry?”
One tip a nutritionist told me was to ask yourself before eating: “Are you truly hungry?” Then after eating, ask yourself “Were you truly hungry”. These questions make you more aware of your body’s hunger and satiety cues. Over time, the answers to these questions will become habit. This leads to intuitive eating and can help reduce other reasons, such as emotions and comfort, for eating that lead to weight gain.
Don’t worry if it takes time for this one. Keep going. Practice makes perfect. I am continually working on this.
17. Enjoy Eating to Stay Motivated to Lose Weight
You need to get your brain thinking long term, not short term. If you lose weight, you need to continue to work at maintaining your new, healthier weight. And this means you need to think in terms of “forever” and NOT “lose 20 pounds in 30 days”. I cannot stress this enough.
Short term diets DO NOT WORK for long term weight loss.
And since this is FOREVER, you need to stop denying yourself of the foods you love. That is not practical, and it is not fair to yourself. You need to find ways to enjoy your favorite foods and find new, healthier recipes that you love just as much, if not more.
And that takes time. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Pick healthy foods you enjoy
- Eat foods high in calories, sugar and/or fat less frequently
- Increase fiber in sugary foods
- Eat whole foods more often than processed foods
- Find new and exciting healthy recipes
- Substitute healthier versions of the foods you love
- Don’t eat a food just because it is good for you
- Learn about portion size and control your portions
- Balance calories out over a week or month, not just one day
18. Know Your Limits and Track Your Calories
Now while I said you need to enjoy your food; I didn’t mean that you can eat anything you want in any amount. You still need to control what and how much you eat.
It is better to make healthier choices. It is much better to eat vegetables than high sugar baked goods, for example. So, eat low calorie vegetables every day, but limit that slice of cake to sharing with a friend on a special occasion.
Calculate out your daily calorie requirements. Know how much you should be eating to lose weight. There are many apps and websites that can do this for you. I like MyFitnessPal and SparkPeople for this. But you can also calculate it out using formulas. I have a free printable calorie-calculator worksheet and weight loss planner in the Pink Ribbon Runner Library for my email and newsletter subscribers.
Log and track your food to keep track of what and how much you are eating. It is too easy to forget that you had an extra piece of toast with jam for breakfast when it comes to mid-afternoon snack time.
Learn how to portion your foods. You don’t need to weigh and measure your foods. I find this too time-consuming long term. You can guess-a-mate foods if you know what a portion size looks like. I have a handy guide in the Pink Ribbon Runner Library that my subscribers can download for free.
19. Don’t Eat Diet Food
Diet foods are not necessarily healthy for you. Many of them contain highly processed ingredients and artificial chemicals that your body just does not need. It also isn’t necessary for weight loss.
Artificial sweeteners, including agave syrups and stevia extracts, do not help with weight loss. Some studies have even found that artificial sweeteners alter the way sugars are processed, make us feel hungry and lead to weight gain. This is the exact opposite of what we want in a diet food.
“Artificial sweeteners appear to change the host microbiome, lead to decreased satiety, and alter glucose homeostasis, and are associated with increased caloric consumption and weight gain.” – Current Gastroenterology Reports, 2017
Also, some reduced fat products usually add extra sugar to make them taste better. Or they contain more trans fats that aren’t healthy for you. Stick to natural oils as much as you can.
If you do decide to eat a diet food, be sure to read the ingredient list and be aware of what you are putting into your body. In my opinion, diet foods should only be a temporary tool to transition you to a healthier way of eating. For example, to help control sugar cravings until you can wean off of a sugar addiction.
20. Stop Yo-Yo Dieting
Dieting lowers metabolism and causes you to store more fat once you come off the diet. So all those diets that promise you will “Lose 20 pounds in 7 days” or “21 days to a beach body” put the pounds back on faster once you stop.
The Dieting Cycle
Will you lose weight on these diets? Yes, maybe. Will you be able to keep it off for life? Unlikely. Will it be harder to keep the weight off? Oh yes, most certainly.
Unless you also permanently change the eating habits that put the weight on in the first place, you will gain back any weight you lose on these short-term fad diets.
21. Don’t Go Hungry
We don’t like to be hungry. And we don’t like to do things we don’t like. Depriving yourself of food is not pleasant. It is a short-term dieting trick. Letting yourself be hungry is not sustainable over the long term. And you need a weight loss program that will let you maintain a healthy weight for the rest of your life.
Your body was designed to fight hunger. It was designed to compel you to seek out food when you don’t have enough for energy. So, your hormones and brain tell you to go get food. You start to crave things that will give you energy, usually foods high in sugar and fat.
If you resist these hunger cues, your hormones and brain will then think that there is a shortage of food. It will go into conservation mode. So, next time there is food coming in, it will tell your body to store it all as fat in case there is a shortage again.
Of course, this is an overly simplistic explanation of your very complex metabolic system. But the gist of it is, don’t let your body go hungry.
To avoid feeling hungry, only decrease calories by 10% at a time. So, if you were eating 2000 calories per day, subtract 10% and eat 1800 calories. Give your body time to adjust to this. If you aren’t losing weight, or if your weight loss plateaus, lower it another 10%.
I hope you found these fat burning secrets and weight loss tips useful.
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