Exercise, while not required to lose weight, can help you lose weight more quickly. Lifting weights has particularly good benefits.
By lifting weights, you’ll burn calories and help prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which is a common side effect of losing weight (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
Try strength training three to four times a week. If you’re new to lifting weights, a trainer may be able to help you get started. Make sure your doctor is also aware of any new exercise plans.
If lifting weights is not an option for you, doing some cardio workouts such as walking, jogging, running, cycling, or swimming is very beneficial for weight loss and general health.
Both cardio and weightlifting may help with weight loss and offer lots of other health benefits.
SUMMARYResistance training, such as weightlifting, is a great option for losing weight. If that’s not possible, cardio workouts are also effective.
Choose what’s sustainable for you.
If you opt for a low carb eating plan, it’s not necessary to count calories as long as you keep your carb intake low and eat mostly protein, fat, and low carb vegetables.
If you find yourself not losing weight, you may want to keep track of your calories to see if that’s a contributing factor.
If you’re sticking to a calorie deficit to lose weight, you can use a free online calculator like this one to estimate your calorie needs.
You can also download free, easy-to-use calorie counters from websites and app stores. Here’s a list of 5 calorie counters to try.
Note that eating too few calories can be dangerous and less effective for losing weight. Aim to reduce your calories by a sustainable and healthy amount based on your doctor’s recommendation.
A note on calorie counting
Counting calories may be a helpful tool for some, but it may not be the best choice for everyone.
If you are preoccupied with food or your weight, feel guilt surrounding your food choices, or routinely engage in restrictive diets, consider reaching out for support. These behaviors may indicate a disordered relationship with food or an eating disorder.
Talk with a qualified healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, if you’re struggling.
You can also chat, call, or text anonymously with trained volunteers at the National Eating Disorders Association helpline for free or explore the organization’s free and low cost resources.
SUMMARYCounting calories isn’t usually needed to lose weight on a low carb eating plan. But if you’re not losing weight or on a reduced calorie eating plan, calorie counting may help.
Let Healthline’s team of nutritionists recommend snacks based on your dietary restrictions and food preferences
Here are 9 more tips to help you lose weight:
- Eat a high-protein breakfast. Eating a high-protein breakfast could help reduce cravings and calorie intake throughout the day (16Trusted Source, 17Trusted Source).
- Limit sugary drinks and fruit juice. Empty calories from sugar aren’t useful to your body and can hinder weight loss (18Trusted Source, 19).
- Stay hydrated. Drink water throughout the day and aim for half your body weight in ounces (20Trusted Source).
- Choose weight-loss-friendly foods. Some foods are better for weight loss than others. Here is a list of healthy weight-loss-friendly foods.
- Eat more fiber. Studies show that eating fiber may promote weight loss. Find fiber in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and these other high-fiber foods. (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).
- Drink coffee or tea. Caffeine consumption may help boost your metabolism. No need to go overboard on caffeine though and be mindful of adding sugar to these drinks (24Trusted Source, 25).
- Base your diet on whole foods. They tend to be nutrient rich, more filling, and less likely to cause overeating than processed foods.
- Eat slowly. Eating quickly can lead to weight gain over time, while eating slowly makes you feel more full and boosts weight-reducing hormones (26Trusted Source).
- Get good quality sleep. Sleep is important for many reasons, and poor sleep is one of the biggest risk factors for weight gain (27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source, 29).
While these 9 tips are a good starting point, they’re not the only things that impact weight loss. Try to reduce stress, and move your body. Read more about natural tips for losing weight here.
SUMMARYEating whole foods, higher protein, fiber, and less sugar can help you lose more weight. Don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep, too.
These sample meal plan ideas are low carb, which limits carbs to 20–50 carbs per day. Each meal should have protein, healthy fats, and veggies. These meal ideas are just suggestions, as everyone has different needs and food preferences.
If you’d prefer to lose weight while still eating complex carbs, add in some healthy whole grains to your meals such as:
- whole wheat flour, bread, or pasta
- brown rice
- poached egg with sliced avocado and a side of berries
- spinach, mushroom, and feta crustless quiche
- green smoothie with spinach, avocado, and nut milk and a side of cottage cheese
- unsweetened Greek yogurt with berries and almonds
- smoked salmon with avocado and a side of asparagus
- lettuce wrap with grilled chicken, black beans, red pepper, and salsa
- kale and spinach salad with grilled tofu, chickpeas, and guacamole
- BLT wrap with celery sticks and peanut butter
- enchilada salad with chicken, peppers, mango, avocado, and spices
- ground turkey bake with mushrooms, onions, peppers, and cheese
- antipasto salad with white beans, asparagus, cucumbers, olive oil, and Parmesan
- roasted cauliflower with tempeh, Brussels sprouts, and pine nuts
- salmon baked with ginger, sesame oil, and roasted zucchini
- cauliflower hummus and veggies
- healthy homemade trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
- kale chips
- cottage cheese with cinnamon and flaxseeds
- spicy roasted chickpeas
- roasted pumpkin seeds
- tuna pouches
- steamed edamame
- strawberries and brie
You may lose weight more quickly in the first week of a diet plan and then lose weight at a slower but more consistent rate after that. The first week you typically lose a mix of both body fat and water weight.
If this is the first time you are making changes to your diet and exercise habits, weight loss may happen more quickly.
Unless your doctor suggests otherwise, losing 1–2 pounds per week is usually a safe amount. If you’re trying to lose weight faster than that, speak to your doctor about a safe level of calorie reduction.
Aside from weight loss, a low carb diet can improve your health in a few ways, though the long-term effects are not yet known:
- blood sugar levels tend to significantly decrease on low carb diets (30)
- triglycerides tend to go down (31)
- LDL (bad) cholesterol goes down (32Trusted Source)
- blood pressure improves significantly (33Trusted Source)
Other diet types that reduce calories and increase whole foods are also associated with improved metabolic markers and slower aging (34, 35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source). Ultimately, you may find a more balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates is more sustainable.
SUMMARYYou can reach your weight loss goals by incorporating a low carb or low calorie diet into your life, but the speed of weight loss depends on the individual.
General weight loss can sometimes improve certain markers of health, such as blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
By reducing carbs or replacing refined carbs with complex carbs, you’ll likely experience reduced hunger levels. Feeling hungry is often why it’s difficult to maintain a weight loss plan, so it’s important to find a way of eating that leaves you feeling satisfied.
By incorporating a sustainable low carb or lower calorie eating plan, you can eat healthy food until you’re full and still lose weight.
Losing weight quickly may be your goal, but it’s important to think about the long run. While you may lose water weight quickly, fat loss takes longer, and developing sustainable weight loss may take longer than you’d like.