It’s no surprise that “weight loss” and “how to lose weight” are some of the most-searched terms on the internet. And, when you look at the results that come from that search, you may be tempted to believe there are many, many paths to weight loss.
I mean, look at the amount of diets out there!
However, there really is no magic bullet for weight loss, or magic diet for that matter. The pillars of fat loss will always remain the same, and trendy crash diets will result in what they always do: rebounds and binges, followed by failure.
Here I’m reiterating the tried-and-true, optimal path to weight loss that puts overall health at it’s core. We’ll get back to weight loss fundamentals, as well as bring in some unique forms of training you may not have tried that can get you shedding pounds faster.
Ready? Let’s go!
Best Ways to Lose Weight
1. Diet is KEY
To be honest, I hate saying the word “diet.” What I really mean when I say that word is “eating healthily, as nature intended.”
Even more so than working out, what you’re putting into your body will make or break your weight loss goals. (This is why nutritional guides are a core focus in my programs and courses).
To break it down simply: processed foods like breads, flours, pastas, cookies, cakes, muffins, granola bars, and basically anything that comes in a box, are rich in simple carbs and sugars, which rapidly break down into sugars in your bloodstream. This causes your blood sugar levels to spike drastically and your insulin levels to shoot up.
Typically, your body would use any sugars (or glucose) in your blood as fuel for activity – however, processed carbs contain more sugars than you could possibly use for fuel, so your body stores the excess as fat. When you continue to eat these sugars and raise your blood sugar, your body is constantly trying to get them out of your bloodstream before they cause damage … and it does this by continuing to store them as fat.
As you can see, it’s a vicious cycle if left unchecked, and is a huge reason why we have so much obesity in first world countries: we have easy, unprecedented access to processed foods high in processed carbs and sugars.
Eat Only Natural Foods
To avoid this weight gain loop, try and avoid all processed foods. Unlike processed foods, natural foods in their whole state contain adequate amounts of fiber and low amounts of natural sugars, so you don’t get the blood sugar spikes you would with processed foods.
Natural foods also contain nutrients that help support healthy hormone levels, which also play a huge role in weight loss. If you aren’t receiving the right amount of nutrients to support basic hormonal balance, your body may easily hold on to excess weight.
Here is a quick list of what to avoid and what to focus on in terms of diet:
• Breads, pastas, all flour-based foods
• Cakes, cookies, donuts, muffins
• Granola bars, puddings, sweetened yogurts
• Milk, cheese
• Soda and all juices
• Crackers, cereal
Eat (organic whenever possible):
• Wild fish (salmon, tuna, sardines)
• Organic turkey, chicken, venison, and beef
• Pasture-raised or organic eggs
• All vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, carrots, bok choy, zucchini, etc …)
• Fruits (all berries, kiwis, oranges, apples, pomegranate)
• Squashes like butternut squash, along with sweet potatoes
• Leafy greens (kale, spinach, arugula)
• Nuts and seeds (almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds)
• Cold-pressed oils (olive, coconut, avocado)
• Nut milks (almond, coconut, hemp)
• Non-dairy, unsweetened yogurts
• Stevia as a sweetener, or raw honey once in a while
• Almond or coconut flour-based desserts (aka: almond flour cookies)
• Consume sparingly: pseudo-grains like quinoa and buckwheat, as well as nut butters
Be sure to pay special attention to labels and avoid all added sugars in things like almond milk and non-dairy yogurts as well. Just switching your diet to natural foods will drastically improve your weight loss, so if you have to pick a goal to start with, start HERE.
2. Try HIIT Workouts
Most of my workouts revolve around a form of high-intensity interval training, termed “rapid-fire” movements.
This style of training, which alternates period of intense, explosive movements, followed by low-intensity phases, has proven in studies to be one of the most effective forms of training to burn fat.
A simple example of a standard HIIT workout is sprinting. You would sprint all-out (pushing yourself to your max) for 15-30 seconds, followed by 60 seconds of light jogging/walking to recover, then sprinting again for another 15 seconds, and repeating for however long is possible. Usually, most HIIT workout last around 15-30 minutes, making them awesome if you’re also short on time.
The reason HIIT is so effective is not only due to the amount of calories you burn, but also the fact that working out at such an intense level actually makes you cells more efficient at burning fat. In other words, it increases your metabolic efficiency.
Not to mention, HIIT workouts also cause you to burn fat up to 24 hours after the workout is over as your body strives to re-oxygenate itself and recover. Talk about a one-two punch: a shorter workout with a longer calorie burn!
HIIT workouts aren’t only done with sprints, however. Far from it! You can create HIIT circuits, either with full bodyweight or equipment, and incorporate your favorite moves.
Check out one of my favorites here: 15-Minute Full Bodyweight Workout
Aim to get in a HIIT workout 2-3 times per week.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Believe it or not, sleep is absolutely crucial for weight loss.
Studies show that lack of quality sleep can stop weight loss in its tracks, and that adequate sleep can result in better weight loss. To illustrate this, other studies show that obesity is more common in nightshift workers, due to their irregular sleep habits.
Our bodies operate within a delicate internal clock, referred to as our circadian rhythms, and when this is disrupted, nearly all of our hormones become disrupted along with it. And as we know, an imbalance in hormones can spell trouble for weight loss, and can even cause our bodies to hold on to fat regardless of how well we’re dieting or exercising.
Aim to get 7-8 hours of solid, quality sleep. To avoid disrupting your circadian rhythms, make sure your room is completely dark at night (ANY type of light will disturb it) , stop using electronics an hour before bed (they disrupt your circadian rhythms as well), and try to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try taking a magnesium supplement.
Other Key Factors to Help With Weight Loss
• Reduce stress. Stress can increase cortisol levels, which can cause fat gain, especially around your belly. Try yoga, deep breathing, and take an adaptogenic herb like ashwaghanda or rhodiola rosea, which are keys to helping your body adapt to stress.
• Hit the sauna. If you have the opportunity, hit the sauna a few times a month or once a week. This will help flush toxins in your system which could be interferring with your hormone balance (and thus, thwarting your weight loss attempts).
• Get enough sun. Vitamin D is crucial for overall health (it plays a role in nearly every process in your body, and causes tons of issues if you don’t have enough … and most people are extremely deficient). I can’t stress this enough: get around 15-20 minutes of direct sunlight on your skin (not through a window) every day if possible.
Again, there’s no magic bullet for weight loss … but if you practice these simple steps on a daily basis, you may just see some magic happen in your weight loss attempts.