How to Lose Weight Fast: 3 Simple Steps, Based on Science
There are many ways to lose a lot of weight fast.
That said, many diet plans leave you feeling hungry or unsatisfied. These are major reasons why you might find it hard to stick to a diet.
However, not all diets have this effect. Low carb diets are effective for weight loss and may be easier to stick to than other diets.
Here’s a 3-step weight loss plan that employs a low carb diet and aims to:
- significantly reduce your appetite
- cause fast weight loss
- improve your metabolic health at the same time
Cut back on carbs
When you do that, your hunger levels go down, and you generally end up eating significantly fewer calories (1).
Instead of burning carbs for energy, your body now starts burning stored fat for energy.
Another benefit of cutting carbs is that it lowers insulin levels, causing the kidneys to shed excess sodium and water. This reduces bloating and unnecessary water weight (2, 3Trusted Source).
According to some dietitians, it’s not uncommon to lose up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) — sometimes more — in the first week of eating this way. This weight loss includes both body fat and water weight.
One study in healthy women with obesity reported that a very low carb diet was more effective than a low fat diet for short-term weight loss (4Trusted Source).
Research suggests that a low carb diet can reduce appetite, which may lead you to eat fewer calories without thinking about it or feeling hungry (5).
Put simply, reducing carbs can lead to quick, easy weight loss.
Eat protein, fat, and vegetables
Each one of your meals should include a protein source, fat source, and low carb vegetables.
As a general rule, try eating two to three meals per day. If you find yourself hungry in the afternoon, add a fourth meal.
Constructing your meals in this way should bring your carb intake down to around 20–50 grams per day.
To see how you can assemble your meals, check out this low carb meal plan and list of 101 healthy low carb recipes.
Eating plenty of protein is an essential part of this plan.
Evidence suggests that eating lots of protein may boost calorie expenditure by 80–100 calories per day (6Trusted Source, 7 Trusted Source, 8 Trusted Source).
High protein diets can also reduce cravings and obsessive thoughts about food by 60%, reduce the desire to snack late at night by half, and make you feel full. In one study, people on a higher protein diet ate 441 fewer calories per day (9 Trusted Source, 10 Trusted Source).
When it comes to losing weight, protein is a crucial nutrient to think about.
Healthy protein sources include:
- Meat: beef, chicken, pork, and lamb
- Fish and seafood: salmon, trout, and shrimp
- Eggs: whole eggs with the yolk
Plant-based proteins: beans, legumes, and soy
Low carb vegetables
Don’t be afraid to load your plate with low carb vegetables. They are packed with nutrients and you can eat very large amounts without going over 20–50 net carbs per day.
A diet based mostly on lean protein sources and vegetables contains all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals you need to be healthy.
Many vegetables are low in carbs, including:
Don’t be afraid of eating fats. Trying to do low carb and low fat at the same time can make sticking to the diet very difficult.
Sources of healthy fats include:
Lift weights three times per week
You don’t need> to exercise to lose weight on this plan, but it will have extra benefits.
By lifting weights, you will burn lots of calories and prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which is a common side effect of losing weight (11, 12 Trusted Source).
Studies on low carb diets show that you can gain a bit of muscle while losing significant amounts of body fat (13).
Try going to the gym three to four times a week to lift weights. If you’re new to the gym, ask a trainer for some advice.
If lifting weights is not an option for you, doing some cardio workouts like walking, jogging, running, cycling, or swimming will suffice. Both cardio and weightlifting can help with weight.
Try doing a “carb refeed” once per week
If you need to, you can take one day off per week where you eat more carbs. Many people choose to do this on Saturday.
It’s important to stick to healthy carb sources like oats, rice, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and fruit. If you must have a cheat meal and eat something unhealthy, do it on this day.
Limit this to one higher carb day per week. If you aren’t reducing carbs enough, you might not experience weight loss.
You might gain some water weight during your refeed day, and you will generally lose it again in the next 1–2 days.
What about calories and portion control?
It’s not necessary to count calories as long as you keep your carb intake very low and stick to protein, fat, and low carb vegetables.
However, if you want to count them, you can use a free online calculator like this one.
Enter your sex, weight, height, and activity levels. The calculator will tell you how many calories to eat per day to maintain your weight, lose weight, or lose weight fast.
You can also download free, easy-to-use calorie counters from websites and app stores. Here is a list of 5 calorie counters to try.