Most weight loss plans that promise to help you lose more than a couple of pounds a week are likely to be unhealthy and unsustainable. Avoid them at all costs. More often than not, you’ll put the weight back on as soon as you stop following the instructions.
However, there are some simple tweaks you can make to a healthy diet and workout routine that’ll help you shed the pounds quicker.
Here, we recommend four ‘quick fixes’ to make to your weight loss plan so you can see faster results.
1. High-intensity interval training
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves a spurt of full-intensity cardio, followed by the same exercise at walking pace. Typically, you perform each interval for between 30 and 60 seconds. This helps you maintain a high heart rate through the entirety of your workout.
It's more tiring than constant-pace cardio, but studies show you can burn the same amount of calories in a shorter time. This is great news for those who feel they don't have time to squeeze an effective workout into their day
HIIT is also much more efficient at creating excess post-oxygen consumption (EPOC), a process which allows the body to continue torching fat after your workout.
It's common for weight loss to plateau after a few weeks of constant-pace cardio because your body gets used to this pattern and stores additional energy to prepare for it. It's much tougher for your body to get used to the intensity of HIIT, meaning this plateau is less likely to happen.
Most modern treadmills can be programmed to serve you up a tasty HIIT workout. Alternatively, you can create your own on a punch bag, rowing machine, elliptical or stationary bike.
If you're naturally lazy, it'll be pleasing to hear that sleeping for longer can make it easier to lose weight.
The reasons are numerous. For starters, a good night's sleep allows your muscles to recover properly, making it easier to perform at your peak when you exercise the next day.
On the other hand, when you’re underslept, your body releases extra cortisol into your system. This increases the glucose concentration in the blood and activates the reward systems in your brain that make you crave food. It also stresses the pre-frontal cortex, which is responsible for your willpower. A double blow for any efforts to avoid snacks and junk food.
Ghrelin, another chemical released when you’re underslept, also stimulates hunger while reducing the number of calories you burn (your metabolism) and increasing the amount of fat you store.
3. Give up sugar
It's commonly believed that all calories are created equal and that calorific deficit is all that's needed to incite weight loss. That's not completely true. You could speed up your weight loss by reducing the number of sugars in your diet. This includes the sugars contained in high-carb foods such as bread, potatoes, pasta, and rice.
Scrap all of this from your diet. It converts into body fat far quicker than other types of food. Replace sugars and carbs with proteins and vegetables and you'll experience quick weight loss, even if you're consuming the same amount of calories. Chances are you'll notice a boost to your immune system too. Many nutritionists believe sugar is even more destructive to weight loss plans than many saturated fats.
4. Make yourself accountable
The simplest thing you can do to speed up your weight loss plan is to make yourself accountable.
You could announce your goals to a group of close friends or, even better, publicly on social media.
If you're the slightest bit competitive, this should inspire you to smash any target you set yourself. After all, no-one likes to admit they failed in front of their friends.
Make sure your goals are centered around habits, not results, though. These are 100% in your control, which is why habit-based goals are easier to stick to without becoming demotivated. Chase these goals enough gusto and the results will come.
For extra motivation, track your habits somewhere your friends can see it. This could be a checklist on your fridge or online via fitness tracker apps. MyFitnessPal and Runkeeper are two of the best apps for sharing your progress.