Your body burns fat when it experiences an energy shortage. Low-calorie diets are designed to cause such a shortage. That’s why they are at the heart of every successful weight loss regimen. If you are serious about becoming slimmer, you will need to start counting calories and get your diet right too but you probably know that already.
Be it jogging, swimming, lifting weights, or taking an evening stroll, exercise increases your energy expenditure, helping you to burn extra calories and lose more weight than you could via dieting alone. You probably already know that as well.
But other than diet and exercise, what else can you do to lose weight? Supplements can help by reducing hunger and/or increasing your metabolic rate but, again, this is something you will already know.
Now let’s leave the familiar territory and look at some things you may not know.
Here are 17 weight loss hacks to help you get that slimmer in a shorter space of time.
1. Know Your Calorie Requirements
How can anyone hope to lower their calorie intake enough to burn fat and lose weight if they don’t know how many calories they are likely to burn a day?
If you don’t know this important information, your weight loss diet is off to a very poor start. Yet, many people who are trying to lose weight are clueless about their bodies’ energy needs.
As any expert and they will tell you the average man needs 2,500 calories per day to maintain his present weight. They will tell you the average woman needs 500 less.
That’s all well and good but how do you know if you are an average man or woman? When you are overweight or obese, your body is heavier than it should be for your height. Larger bodies have greater energy requirements so the “average” rules are unlikely to apply.
Many different factors, including your present muscle mass and your normal basal metabolic rate, can influence your daily calorie expenditure. This makes it very difficult to say for certain how many calories any of us are likely to need. However, using a calorie calculator is a good place to start.
All the best calorie calculators provide figures by using the Mifflin-St. Jeor equation.
Here’s a link to a page that provides a free calorie calculator: https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html
Once you have an idea how many calories your body requires, you will need to reduce your energy intake to provide less.
Reducing your energy intake by 500 calories per day will enable you to burn one pound of fat per week. If you also were to increase your activity level to burn an extra 500 calories per day, you would lose two pounds per week. Health experts say a weight loss of two pounds per week is a safe target to shoot for. However, whether you want to lose two pounds per week or a little bit more, these weight loss hacks will help.
2.Use a Food Journal
After you have an idea of how many calories you need per day and have decided how strict you wish your diet to be, you need to track your calorie intake and make sure your eating habits are capable of getting you to where you need to be. Using a food journal is a good way to do it.
If you have never used a food journal before, you may be surprised at what it reveals. Even when you believe you are making the right food choices, there’s a good chance you will discover you are consuming more calories than you thought.
If you need advice on how to start a food journal, I have written an article that can help:
3. Drink Water Before Your Meals
Drinking a glass or two of water before your meals is another good weight loss hack. The water will help make your stomach feel full. This will make it easier for you to eat smaller portions of food without feeling hungry. If possible go for cold water. The colder the better. After you swallow it, your body will need to warm it up. This will result in a short increase in metabolism and energy expenditure.
4. Use Smaller Plates
Using smaller plates is another useful weight loss hack. The technique works well for some people but you will need to resist the temptation to use your plate as a base for a mountain of food.
When your plate is too large. A sensible portion of food can appear quite small. This can work on a subliminal level, causing a feeling of lack that makes you expect to feel hungry. The extra focus on hunger makes it more likely that the sensation will arrive.
When you use a smaller plate, it takes less food to make it look full. Some people find this helps them to eat less while still avoiding hunger. This trick doesn’t work for everyone. The only way to discover if it works for you is to give it a try.
Some researchers believe eating from a dark-colored plate can be beneficial as well because it may make the meal appear larger and less appetizing.
5. Avoid Refined Carbs
If you are serious about losing weight, it’s a good idea to limit the amount of refined carbs you eat or go one better and try to avoid them entirely. In addition to helping make your waistline expand, refined carbs may also increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and several other diseases.
Refined carbs are digested quickly. They can push your blood sugar level up fast. If your blood sugar spikes, it can lead to an unfortunate scenario involving insulin that may cause your blood sugar level to plummet, triggering cravings for more high-energy foods.
So, what are refined carbs? They are carbs that have had most of the nutrients and fiber taken out.
The two main types of refined carbs are processed sugars and refined grains. If something has white flour in it, it’s a source of refined carbs. White bread, non-wholewheat pasta, white rice, confectionery, cakes, soft drinks, syrups‒all these are examples of refined carbs.
Further reading: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-refined-carbs-are-bad
6. Eat More Low-Calorie, High-Volume Foods
The food choices you make can make a big difference to your weight loss progress and affect your hunger levels as well.
Low-calorie high-density foods are foods that a low in calories but have a natural bulk that allows them to take up extra space in your stomach and make it feel full.
If you want to know more about low-calorie high-density foods and how they can help you to lose weight, I have written an article that can help:
7. Don’t Skip Breakfast
Some people skip breakfast because they believe doing so will help them to lose weight. At first blush, it’s easy to see the sense of this. After all, by skipping a meal you are eating one less meal per day.
Unfortunately, things are not as cut and dried as they appear to be. Skipping meals can be counterproductive and breakfast is often said to be the most important meal of the day.
The problem with skipping breakfast is, doing so may make you more likely to reach for mid-morning snacks and/or eat more during your remaining meals of the day.
A healthy breakfast that’s high in fiber and/or protein can set you up for the day and help you avoid feeling hungry before lunch. Protein and fiber take a while to digest. Foods that contain protein and fiber sit in the stomach for a while and helps it to feel full.
Having said that, if you are skipping breakfast as part of a structured program of intermittent fasting, there could be some benefits but there are lots of pros and cons to intermittent fasting and many people find it difficult to do.
8. Eat Slowly and Chew Well
There’s a lot to be said for eating slowly and taking time to chew your food well.
For one thing, well-chewed food is easier to digest so you may obtain more nutrients. The other advantage of eating slowly is it can help you to eat less.
When you eat fast, the food you consume arrives in your stomach so quickly the stomach doesn’t have time to signal your brain to let it know it’s full.
When you take the time to savor your food and chew slowly, the signal has time to reach your brain and make the feeling of hunger go away.
9. Drink Green Tea
If you like green tea, that’s great. If you don’t it’s not so great. Either way, green tea is a drink that can help you to lose weight.
Green tea is a metabolism booster. It helps you burn extra calories. This ability has been explored in countless clinical trials. Drinking green tea is a simple weight loss hack that works.
In addition to helping with weight loss, is also good for the heart. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17557985/)
10. Watch Out for Alcohol
Many people don’t realize alcohol contains as many calories as it does. A single gram of pure alcohol provides seven calories. That’s only two calories less than a gram of fat.
It’s not just the alcohol though, most alcoholic beverages contain other sources of calories as well, and consuming your calories via the glass is a quick and easy way to get an energy overload.
For instance, a 5 fl oz (148 g) glass of wine can provide 123 calories and, although some wines may contain fewer calories, there are plenty of wines that provide more.
Prefer a beer? You may be looking at over 200 calories per pint.
11. Cut Back on Added Sugar
There’s a lot to be said for eating fresh foods. When you do, you can be certain nobody has added extra sugar.
Canned and frozen foods often contain added sugar to improve the flavor. Sauces and other processed foods do as well. Many popular breakfast cereals can be very bad.
However, if you are using a food journal and honestly tracking the food you are eating, you will be able to spot the main culprits as soon as they come up.
12. Choose the Right Music For Your Cardio Workout
Whether you are running on a treadmill, running in the streets, or doing most other cardiovascular training activities, your music choices can influence the amount of calories you burn.
So choose tunes that make you feel all fired up instead of making you want to chill out.
You may have already noticed the way some tunes help you go harder. However, regardless of whether you have noticed this or not, a study published in Human Kinetics Journals, shows that it’s true.
13. Don’t Take the Easy Way Out, Take Action
It’s easy to take the lift instead of the stairs. The same is true for going by car or using public transport instead of using your legs. Try not to take the easy way out unless it’s absolutely necessary. If the distance is doable by foot do it. Every action you take requires energy. Becoming more active means you will help you to burn more calories.
Even if you go to the gym, don’t use it as an excuse. There is nothing to prevent you from becoming more active in other ways as well.
14. Avoid Stress
This is a tough one. Avoiding stress is never easy but, if you can try to limit your exposure to people and situations that make you feel stressed.
Stress is bad for you. It brings you down and makes you more susceptible to disease. It can also make you more likely to gain weight.
For one thing, stress can encourage you to comfort eat but there is more to it than that.
Stress elevates cortisol. It’s a stress hormone and one of the things it does is increase appetite. Stress also appears to slow metabolism.
If you can’t avoid stress, the best alternative is to try and manage it. Yoga, meditation, exercise, and listening to relaxing music are just a few of many relaxing pursuits that may help. Alternatively, you could search for a stress management class.
Further Reading: https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/stress-and-weight-gain
15. Get Sufficient Sleep
Research suggests lack of sleep may have a negative effect on metabolism. Not getting enough shut-eye also appears to increase hunger and urges for high-calorie foods.
These problems may be partly due to the way lack of sleep affects the hunger hormones ghrelin and leptin.
Further Reading: Lack of Sleep & Weight Gain
16. Avoid People Who Hold You Back
It’s not nice but some people will try to hold you back. This is not only applicable to weight loss; it’s true for other goals in life as well and sometimes the worst culprits can be family members and friends.
There can be many reasons for this, but it’s often because they cannot stand to see you achieving things they cannot. Perhaps you have more determination and drive than they do but that’s their problem, not yours.
However, it can become a big problem if they keep offering you food or drinks and/or encouraging you to break your diet in other ways.
People who are determined to hold you back can be very good at trying to make you go on a guilt trip when you refuse their offers or making you feel bad in other ways. Don’t let them. It’s your life and your goals, if their goal appears to be to scupper your success make sure they are failures instead of you.
17. Use the Scales Often
Okay, this is it, the Diet Pill Ninja’s final weight loss hack‒pull out those bathroom scales regularly and put them to good use. If you want, use them every day. If not, step up to the plate two to three times per week.
On the one hand, it can be very motivating when you see you are making progress. On the other hand, if your weight loss progress is slowing or you are sliding backward, you will be able to spot the problem straight away and nip it in the bud.
If this happens, a quick check with your food journal may help reveal what has gone wrong.
This article provides some useful weight loss hacks. Some of them may work better for you than others but they are all good.
However, the best weight loss hack of all is to maintain your commitment and never let anything or anyone hold you back.
There are many things you can do to speed up your rate of weight loss but the most important thing of all is to monitor and control the foods you put into your mouth. Using a food journal do this may be the best weight loss hack of all.
You don’t need to buy a food journal if you don’t want to. Any book will do. The important thing is to keep an honest log of all the things you eat and drink and the number of calories they provide.
It’s also important to be kind to yourself. Although you may be keen to lose weight rapidly, it’s generally easier to take go with “slow and steady wins the race.”
Crash diets may help you to lose weight quickly, but will you be able to maintain it long-term? A lot of people cannot. When you aim for a sensible weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week and take things slowly, it gives you plenty of time to adjust to a new and healthier lifestyle and the weight you lose is more likely to stay off.
Well. That’s it. I have nothing more to say except good luck on your weight loss journey. I wish you every success and hope these weight loss hacks help you get where you want to be.