Before we get into today’s episode.
If you’re someone who has been struggling with their weight for a while now; if you’re not able to reach your weight loss goals by yourself.
And you wish there was someone to guide and support you through the process. And to hold you accountable for your actions.
Now back to the episode.
Today’s topic of discussion is how to lose weight fast. If you’re someone who has attempted to lose weight in the past, or if you’re in the process of trying to lose weight. You must have gone on Google sometime or the other, and typed in this exact phrase: “How to lose weight fast”.
And I understand.
In the 21st century, it’s all about speed.
We want to get things done instantaneously; 10 minute food delivery, overnight package delivery from Amazon.
And we hope that we’ll be able to achieve our weight loss results in a similar fashion.
But our bodies are just biological machines and even with advancement in technology, there’s only so much you can do to speed up the process. But I’ll try to list out the things that you can do to make weight loss happen in the most optimal speed possible for your specific situation.
There’s always a sweet spot between weight loss being too fast and weight loss being too slow.
There is something as trying to lose weight too slow. And a lot of it depends on your current body fat levels. If you’re someone who has a lot of body fat, usually you’ll be able to lose weight pretty fast compared to someone who has very little body fat.
Someone who’s very lean; who has visible abdominal definition, has a six pack and is already in pretty good shape. But they want to lean down even further. They will have a very difficult time doing that.
But if you’re at a very high BMI and have a lot of body fat, you can usually go about losing that initial weight quite fast.
But how fast is safe? How fast is optimal?
Let’s talk about it a little bit.
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What is an optimal rate of weight loss?
The answer to this question depends entirely on what your current situation is. Are you someone who is 20 to 30 kgs over their healthy BMI range?
Are you someone who is just slightly overweight? Maybe you just have 5 to 10 kgs to lose?
I’ll provide you with an analogy. If you’re someone who has a lot of money. Imagine you’re Elon Musk. You don’t have to think twice before spending on something.
You don’t have to think twice before buying a luxury vehicle. Because you just have so much of money. It doesn’t really affect you in any way.
Think about weight loss in a similar manner. If you have a lot of body fat, you usually don’t have to think too much before losing it.
So the more body fat you have, the faster you can lose. But if you’re someone who has very little body fat; you already look pretty athletic and have a 6-pack. Then you have to be quite careful while trying to lose weight.
Bottomline. If someone does not have a steady income and they don’t have a lot of money. They have to be very careful with their budget. So if you’re 20 to 30 kgs over your healthy BMI range, maybe it’s even more than that. Then a good rate to lose weight at would be about 1.5% of your current body weight, per week.
So if you’re 90 kgs in weight (and should ideally be in the 60 kg range), you would want to aim for around 1.2-1.3 kgs of weight loss every single week.
But on the other hand if you just have, say 5 to 10 kgs of weight to lose; you’re just slightly overweight.
Then a good rate of weight loss for you would be around 1% of your current body weight.
So if you’re 70 kgs in weight, but you you’d like to be in the higher 50s or maybe in the lower 60s. That’s not a lot of weight to lose.
In this case, aim to lose around 0.7 to 0.6 kgs per week. That would be a good pace for you.
If you’re someone who is very lean, then you’d aim to lose only about 0.5% of your body weight per week. But for most of you reading right now, I’m pretty sure you don’t fall into that category.
You can attempt to lose faster than these rates. But remember the analogy. If you don’t have a lot of money; if you don’t have a lot of body fat. And you spend too much, you’ll go broke.
So if you try to lose too much body fat when you don’t have much, you would also lose muscle mass, which you don’t want to in a weight loss phase.
You want to preserve that muscle mass. And use up the fat reserves. So keep that in mind.
For most people, 1% of your body weight per week is an optimal rate of weight loss.
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How do you go about losing weight fast? What’s the process?
There is no magical different technique that you’d use to lose weight fast compared to if you were trying to lose weight slow. The basic fundamentals still remain the same.
If you’re trying to lose weight, the main determinant that will affect the process is firstly your calorie intake; your energy balance.
Are you eating less calories than what you’re burning?
You can fix this by working on either side of the equation. You can increase the amount of calories that you burn by increasing your activity levels throughout the day i.e., don’t stay sedentary. Increase your step count.
If you work on the other side of the equation, that will reduce the amount of calories you put into your body. You can do so by reducing your calorie intake from food.
So start eating more low calorie, high volume foods. Like more vegetables, more high-fiber foods. Increase your protein intake.
And decrease your consumption of calorie-dense foods like processed foods, foods cooked in lot of oil, outside foods from restaurants. Once you can cut these things down to a bare minimum, and you can increase your activity levels to something that you can sustain for a long period of time. That is all you need to do.
And track your body weight, because without doing that, you will not know if you are losing weight at a good pace.
So, focus on the process i.e., calories in vs calories out; the energy balance equation. Then focus on the parameters that track your progress i.e., are you losing weight at a good pace?
If your weight loss progress is too slow i.e., if you aimed for losing 1% of your body weight per week, but you’re kind of not there yet. You’re maybe losing weight at a rate of 0.2% or 0.3% of your bodyweight.
Then drop your calorie intake a little bit more, maybe by 100-200 calories. And increase your activity levels by increasing step targets by 2000-3000 steps.
If you’re able to do that consistently and track your progress at the same time, you’ll be able to make these finer adjustments to make sure that you’re losing weight in the most optimal rate, for your current situation.
What is optimal for you is not optimal for another person. Keep that guideline in mind.
Now let’s come to something extremely important.
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The essential things that you should take care of while attempting to lose weight fast.
If you’re trying to lose weight fast and you’re not taking care of the most basic things, you will affect your health.
I understand that you want results and you want them fast. But in order to do that, you have to make some adjustments in other areas of your life. You have to make some compromises.
Results will only come when you’re willing to put in the effort. So instead of being overly results focused, be process focused.
If you’re putting in the work; if you’re taking care of the different variables that we’ll talk of right now, you will achieve results.
But on the other hand, if you’re overly results focused. But your process is not on point. You won’t see results.
Or you will just see the wrong kinds of results. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight. You’ll just end up not losing enough fat mass, but you’ll burn through your muscle mass.
You don’t want that.
A few things that you need to take into consideration.
Number one, keep your protein intake high.
When you’re trying to lose weight, your body is using its stored reserves for energy.
And in order to make sure that you are preserving muscle and only using up your fat reserves, keep your protein intake high for all meals.
A good amount of protein to consume for most people would be around 0.7-0.8 grams per pound of body weight. Or around 1.7 grams of protein per kg of body weight.
The next thing is regular strength training i.e., lifting weights 2-3 times a week for all your major muscle groups.
So make sure you’re pushing your limits, challenging yourself and getting stronger week to week.
Your body has a reason to hold onto muscle mass only when you’re challenging it regularly.
Otherwise when you’re trying to lose weight, your body is going to use up the muscle reserves as well as the fat reserves for energy. But that’s not what we are trying to do.
We are trying to achieve weight loss by eliminating the fat reserves while maintaining muscle mass.
In order for that to happen, you have to challenge your muscles on a regular basis and get stronger. This will give your body a reason to keep those muscles.
So make sure you have a gym membership or some kind of resistance band equipment in your house.
The quicker you try to lose weight, the more risk you are at of losing muscle mass. There’s an optimal rate of weight loss that we have already spoken about. If you tried to lose weight faster than that, it is possible.
But it’s going to be harder to hold onto that muscle mass. So try to have a fine balance. Don’t get too greedy when it comes to the speed.
If you’re seeing the weight drop too quick, it’s not always a good thing.
1% of your body weight per week is pretty good for most people.
The third thing that you should take care of is your stress management and your sleep.
If you’re someone who is already highly stressed; if you’re not getting enough sleep throughout the night. It’s not a very good idea to lose weight rapidly.
Putting your body in a calorie deficit state i.e., when you’re not consuming enough calories (which is the case when you’re trying to lose weight), is a stressor for you.
And your body cannot differentiate between different kinds of stresses. Your work stress, your life stress, stress from your relationships; all of these things add to your overall stress levels.
When you add something like weight loss to the mix, it increases that overall stress. And you have a limited capacity to recover from the total stress that you put your body through.
So if you’re already highly stressed, a good approach would be to pursue a more moderate rate of weight loss. Something that you can sustain long-term.
Otherwise your recovery would be affected and you’d feel burnt out.
This is not something that you’ll be able to sustain for a long period of time.
And the most important thing when it comes to weight loss is if you’re able to adhere to the process. If you’d like to know more about adherence and why it’s important, go check out episode 12 of the podcast.
Take care of your sleep because sleep is crucial for recovery. Are you getting high quality sleep for at least 6-8 hours every single night?
If you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s going to affect your mood. It’s going to affect your appetite. It will make you crave foods that don’t aid your weight loss or health. And it will keep you cranky.
There is research to show that people who don’t get enough sleep during a weight loss phase tend to lose more muscle mass and less of fat mass. This is something you want to completely avoid.
So make sure you’re getting enough high-quality sleep every single night.
These are some basic things that you need to keep in mind.
They are of utmost necessity, and if you’re not able to ensure these things I’d recommend not trying to lose weight as fast as possible.
One final thing that I’d like to emphasize on is to make sure that you don’t rebound from the process.
A lot of people are able to lose weight successfully, but they gain it all back within the next couple of months.
That happens because you don’t think of weight loss from long-term perspective. You don’t have a long-term vision.
You want to get it done as fast as possible. And like I said, I understand that.
I understand your need for speed, but you should realise that this is not something that you want to keep only for the next one year.
The body that you achieve; you want to keep that for the next couple of decades. For the rest of your life.
In order for that to happen, you have to keep a long-term vision and work accordingly. So adherence is of utmost necessity.
Sustainability over speed.
This will ensure that you don’t rebound whenever you feel like your stress levels are rising too high.
When stress is high, increase your food intake. Try to reduce your step counts to something more sustainable.
Think of your weight loss efforts in terms of a dial.
When your stress levels are low and you have more time in hand. You can turn the dial up.
If the dial goes from 0 to 100, you can move it up to say 80 or 90, where you are losing weight at a faster rate.
But as soon as stress levels come up, you can dial it back down where you’re still cruising and kind of losing weight. But it’s not at a very high rate; not at a rate which is causing you stress.
Make those adjustments to your weight loss program during the course of your journey.
And you will be on track to reach your weight loss goals at the most optimal rate.