Whether you’ve decided to get in better shape as part of a New Year’s resolution, for summer bathing suit season or you just want to boost your normal routine, there’s never a bad time to get fit and shed those last extra pounds. And odds are you want to lose weight fast.
But if you’ve ever tried losing weight, getting in shape, or simply leading a healthier lifestyle, you know that it’s not as easy as just changing your diet and squeezing in more workouts. That’s why I’ve rounded up my favorite 49 ways to help you get healthy and fit.
From exercising for short bursts of time to making weekly menus to even having a cheat meal, these 49 workout, diet and lifestyle tips to lose weight fast will help you achieve your health and fitness goals.* Just remember, this is not only about losing weight, but living a better healthier, happier life!
How to Lose Weight Fast: WORKOUT SECRETS
1. Schedule workouts
Pencil workouts into your daily planner the same way you do dinner with friends or that important business meeting. This will help hold you accountable. It’ll also force you to choose a specific time to get your sweat on, making it more likely you’ll stick to it.
2. Break up workouts throughout the day
Can’t carve out a full 30 minutes or an hour of exercise time in one go? Opt for shorter bouts of exercise throughout the day instead. The latest science suggests that several short exercise bursts provide the same health and fitness benefits as a similar amount of exercise done in one longer workout — and, in some cases, reap even more rewards.
Try a quick cardio circuit in the morning, a brisk stroll during your lunch hour and an after-dinner strength session. There’s no need to do it all at once.
3. Don’t let traveling derail your efforts
Being away from your normal routine doesn’t mean your healthy efforts need fall to the wayside. Jog a few miles on the hotel gym’s treadmill, scope out a local barre studio and pop in for a class, take a walking tour of the city, rent a bike and explore or even do a quick workout in your hotel room.
Try these resistance band exercises; they make for a quick workout, and a band takes up little space in your bag, making it perfect for when you’re on the go.
4. Add variety to your routine
Keep your muscles guessing by cross training and trying different workouts or tweaking your usual routine. You’ll work new muscles and beat boredom while trying something new. Also, studies show that you’re more likely to stick with your daily exercise routine if you switch up your workouts. Are you a CrossFit junkie? Stretch out at a yoga class. Is running more your style? Try adding some speed intervals throughout your usual route.
5. But don’t force yourself to do an activity you dislike
If you hate an activity, you’re likely much less likely to stick with it. This doesn’t mean shying away from activities that challenge you — that’s how your body changes! But if you dread swimming, there’s no reason to force yourself into the pool five times a week. Working out shouldn’t be a chore; it should be something you look forward to.
6. Do it on a budget
It’s easy to think that getting in shape will be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Aside from outdoor activities like walking, running and hiking, there are many other ways to get in a great workout without spending much money. Try a YouTube workout, check out low-cost community fitness centers or invest in a few quality exercise videos.
7. Crank up the music
It’s been scientifically proven that listening to upbeat music during exercise helps you work harder and enjoy both the workout and the music more. Plus, it can help pass the time during a particularly intense part of your workout.
And it’s super easy! All you have to do is add your favorite fast-paced jams to a playlist and get moving.
8. Exercise with a group
Not only do activities like group fitness exercises help hold you accountable to a specific time and place to work out, it’s also a great way to meet friends. After all, you’re likely to start seeing and befriending class regulars. Classes also provide an opportunity to try something new in a safe, supportive environment.
If working out in a studio isn’t your thing, check sites like Meetup to find local groups in sports you’re interested in. From running groups to walking to lose weight to bike riding communities, there’s probably a group interested in the same activities as you.
9. Start your day with a workout
If you constantly find that there’s not enough time during the day to squeeze in a workout, it might be time to jumpstart your day with one. Getting exercise in the morning has a variety of perks: You’ll be energized throughout the day, unexpected time commitments won’t jeopardize your fitness plans and you’re more likely to make healthier choices.
And here’s a bonus tip: Make setting the alarm clock early a bit easier by prepping your workout essentials the night before so you can grab and go.
10. Get results fast with burst training
Burst training is interval training that combines short, high-intensity bursts of exercise with slow recovery phases. This method of exercise helps your body burn fat faster because your metabolism stays elevated for up to 48 hours after exercise. When you’re short on time but want fast results, it’s a super effective option to lose weight fast.
11. Skip the scale
When you’re trying to lose weight, the scale can be deceiving. That’s because it doesn’t take into account that you are probably adding muscle. So even though you’re making progress, the number on your scale might not budge (or it could even go up), which can be defeating.
And while a pound of fat is still the same as a pound of muscle, because muscle is lean and smooth, you can be shedding inches while remaining the same weight. To get a more accurate depiction of how your body is changing, use body measurement tape instead to track your size and progress.
12. Incorporate weight lifting
Could lifting weights truly be one of the fastest ways to lose weight? Savvy exercisers know that the best workouts don’t include just cardio, but incorporate strength training as well.
Building muscle helps you lose inches all around, keeps your metabolism going after leaving the gym and will help you look better, too. Researchers even discovered that weight training could be more beneficial for reducing belly fat than aerobic exercise.
And ladies, don’t stress — weight lifting will not make you bulk up. So if you’re looking to get that toned look, pick up those weights and make them a regular part of your routine.
13. Consider using a personal trainer
If you’re at a total loss as to how to begin a fitness routine, have an injury or other health issues or simply want to learn how to maximize your gym time, considering investing in a personal trainer. They can help shape a fitness program to reach your goals while taking into account any special considerations.
A certified personal trainer can be a great way to kick-start your healthy lifestyle or help get you over a weight loss plateau. Scheduling one with a few friends can keep costs down, too.
How to Lose Weight Fast: DIET SECRETS
14. Drink plenty of water
Often we think we’re hungry when our bodies are actually just begging for water. So it’s important to drink enough water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
Drinking water not only keeps fat toxins moving out of the body, it also keeps your metabolism running optimally. In fact, in a 2013 study showed 14 healthy men and women increased their metabolic rate by 30 percent after drinking about 16 ounces of water!
And if that’s not enough to convince you the world’s healthiest drink will help you lose weight fast, remember that it’s calorie-free, too!
15. Pack your own snacks
It comes on suddenly: One minute you’re feeling great and the next you’re starving for a snack. Skip the vending machine and prepare your own healthy snacks to take to work, school or whenever you’re out and about. From apple chips to an on-the-go healthy smoothie, packing your own snacks will help you lose weight fast while also giving you the nutrients you need without the icky preservatives from expensive, processed “foods.”
16. Increase your protein intake
Increasing your protein intake is a great way to lose weight fast and burn fat. And most people don’t get nearly enough protein in their diet. If your goal is to lose weight, I would recommend consuming half your body weight in grams of protein a day (at the very least). For those seeking to burn fat and build muscle, aim to consume .7 to 1 gram per pound of body weight. For example, if you weight 150 pounds, you should be getting 75 to 150 grams of protein a day (depending on your goals). Checkout this list of these top protein foods.
17. Eat grapefruit
New research is revealing that consuming grapefruit benefits weight loss in a major way. The key may be an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) that is found in grapefruit. AMPK helps your body utilize sugar, which results in boosting your metabolism.
Additionally, nootkatone, a component found in grapefruit, has been shown to significantly increase fat-burning (AMPK) activity. So consider grapefruit a great vitamin C-rich snack and add grapefruit slices to a spinach salad or even into an immune boosting smoothie to help you lose weight fast.
18. Drink green tea
Drinking herbal teas such as matcha green tea, white tea, black tea and rooibos tea can amp up your metabolism. According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea is more effective than other teas like oolong at promoting weight loss because of it’s high levels of catechins. So if you want to lose weight fast, I recommend drinking 1-3 cups of green tea daily.
19. Get your fill of fiber
Foods high in fiber will help you feel fuller longer and help reduce sugar cravings. Also, fiber has been proven to balance blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and more. But chances are you’re not consuming enough. The average person only gets 15-20 grams of fiber each day when they should be getting 30-40 grams daily. Not sure if your favorite foods stack up? Check out my top high-fiber foods.
20. Eat 90 percent of your meals at home
Whether you’re a novice or a pro in the kitchen, making your own snacks and meals will help you lose weight fast. By controlling what ingredients, fats and oils are in your food, you’ll be able to make healthy choices without sacrificing the food and flavors you love.
Start by committing to making one meal a day at home. As you get more comfortable in the kitchen, increase that number. You’ll be surprised by the quality of dishes you can make right in your own kitchen. Get some of my favorite healthy recipes here.
21. Stock pile healthy snacks at home
See no evil, eat no evil. It’s hard to resist temptation when it comes to foods — so eliminate it instead! Keep your cabinets and refrigerator stocked with fresh, healthy snacks so they’re front and center. One trick I love is washing fresh fruits and veggies as soon as I get home from the store and storing them in glass or nice bowls on the counter or refrigerator shelf. It keeps them visible so you remember to eat them!
Plus, whenever I need a snack, they’re already prepped. To make it a little easier to start, here are some tips for healthy eating on a budget. You can also take along my healing diet shopping list the next time you hit the supermarket.
22. Make a menu
If you’re constantly find yourself thinking, “I have nothing to eat,” or “I don’t know what to make,” preparing a menu is for you. Choose your favorite recipes and decide what you want to serve for meals a week at a time. Write out the ingredients you’ll need and take that list with you when you shop. You’ll have all the ingredients on hand to make nutritious meals for the week.
Bonus: Save money by choosing meals that use in-season produce and combining your meals with your local grocery store’s sales flyer. And don’t forget about leftovers! Use them to create new meals (for instance, make a stir-fry with leftover cooked meats and veggies) or have a weekly night where all the leftovers get put out and everyone in the family can eat their favorites again.
23. Slow down!
When you eat fast, it’s easy to overeat. It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to register that it’s full. While you chew, your brain is processing that you are eating, and chewing releases enzymes for pre-digestion in your saliva to start the digestion process.
So begin mindful eating, chewing slowly and enjoying the flavor of your food! This also eases digestion and helps your brain to catch up with your body. If you have trouble eating slowly, try putting down your fork or spoon in between bites.
24. Let go of the grains
Even though grains have been promoted as healthy, consuming them is one of the fastest ways to pack on the pounds. Plus as you probably know by now, the gluten found in most grains can increase inflammation in your body and put a strain on your digestive system. And store-bought bread often has added high fructose corn syrup, sugar and preservatives.
Grains contain large amounts of carbohydrates, which break down into sugar that your body will store as fat. So my advice is to keep your grain consumption down to one serving or less daily. And when you do eat grains, eat only sprouted grains or quinoa, and load up on vegetables!
25. Don’t shop on an empty stomach
Does this situation sound familiar? You have the best of intentions to fill the grocery cart with lots of produce and healthy protein. But halfway through your shopping trip, your stomach starts growling and all of a sudden those potato chips are looking a lot more appealing than normal. Well, it’s happened to us all. The best solution? Fill up before you go! When you’re not fighting hunger pangs, it’s a lot easier to make healthy choices.
26. Make healthy swaps
Eating clean doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite foods. Instead, think of ways to “healthify” them yourself! Is dip your weakness? Try this spicy bean dip. Are Fridays your pizza night? Make a coconut crust pizza instead. I guarantee they’ll be delicious, satisfy your cravings and help you feel great!
27. Don’t supersize
No, I’m not talking about fast food…in fact, please don’t eat ANY fast food. But simply speaking, there are going to be times that you are in a situation where you are in a position to eat something that is usually “off-the-menu” for healthy eating. So, instead of binging on these foods, keep your goals in mind and nibble on smaller amounts.
Are you at a party with hors d’oeuvres and appetizers you just can’t turn down? Decide you’ll eat just one type of bite-sized food and turn down the rest. Or, is your office having a pizza party and the smell of cheesy goodness is too hard to resist? Pick the slice loaded with veggies, enjoy and then turn away.
28. Add in some fat-burning herbs
Adding in some healthy herbs to your diet may be just what you need to lose weight fast! Studies have shown that herbs like cayenne pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and dandelion may all help promote weight loss. You can add a bit of cayenne pepper to season chicken or dips, use turmeric when making burgers or sprinkle it on a salad, put 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon in your smoothie and drink a hot cup of dandelion tea in the morning for breakfast.
29. Downsize your plate
Believe me, this really works! Because the same serving of food looks like less food on larger plates, trick your brain into eating less by serving your main dish on salad-sized plates instead of dinner ones. I switched out all my large dinner plates with salad plates for a while. And it is amazing how a medium-sized plate of food felt more satisfying when I cleaned it. When you combine this with eating slower and more intentionally, you will enjoy your food more and eat less!
30. Do a cleanse or detox
Doing a short cleanse or detox is one of the best ways to lose weight fast. Whether it be a few days or weeks, doing something like a vegetable juice cleanse or the Daniel Diet is highly effective. Another simple way to cleanse is by starting to drink this Secret Detox Drink.
31. Make a better breakfast
Start your day on the right foot and fuel your body with a hearty breakfast. It’ll give you energy in those first few hours you’re awake. Plus, since breakfast is the first meal of the day, you’ll have all day to burn those calories. Tired of the same old eggs and toast? Try some of these delicious breakfast recipes.
32. Go crazy for coconuts
When consumed as part of a low-carb diet, coconut is one of the best “weight loss foods” in the world today. Coconut contains MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids) that your body can easily burn as fuel for energy.
To get more coconut into your diet, switch out the other oils in your home for coconut oil, add coconut milk into your morning smoothie, use coconut flakes to crust chicken tenders and drink coconut water to stay hydrated during your next workout.
33. Don’t drink your calories
Creamy, foamy drinks might taste delicious, but they can have enough calories to serve as an entire meal — and that’s not even taking into account the amount of sugar and preservatives they contain. Make your own healthier versions instead. From pumpkin spice lattes to spiced hot apple cider, there’s a nutritious alternative for most high-calorie beverages
34. Choose healthy fats
Not all fat is created equal. The fats found in foods like avocados, nuts and dark chocolate are actually good for you — and they taste delicious! Enjoy them on a regular basis to reap their health benefits but don’t go overboard because they are calorie dense.
35. Bring your own foods
It’s your Aunt Mildred’s birthday and, while you’re committed to healthy eating, the rest of your family hasn’t gotten there yet. Instead of chowing down on fried, unhealthy foods or being rude and turning down everything that’s offered, a great compromise is to bring a dish along to share (after clearing it with the host, of course).
Whether it’s a healthy appetizer, a tasty side dish, or your favorite clean-eating dessert, you’ll know there’s at least one healthy option that you can fill up on while minimizing your intake of the unhealthier ones. You might even convert a few people in the process, too!
How to Lose Weight Fast: LIFESTYLE SECRETS
36. Make small changes
Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Changing every part of your lifestyle at once is overwhelming and sets you up for failure. Decide on making just one healthy change a week to allow yourself time to adapt. Whether it’s cooking your own meals four nights a week, adding just 20 minutes of fitness to your routine a day or swapping out that sugary coffee for green tea, all these changes will add up.
37. Let those close to you know of your intentions
It can help eliminate bad feelings that arise once you start making different choices. For instance, if you’re constantly turning down dinner invitations with friends, they might assume you’re just not interested in spending time with them.
Instead, explain that you’re trying to incorporate a healthy lifestyle and, while that new restaurant isn’t in your plans, you’d love to go see a movie or get together for coffee instead. Let them know how important their support is to you.
38. Use social networks & technology to keep you accountable
It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ll wake up for a run at 6 a.m., but it’s another thing to actually do it. Use your social networks to help keep you in check. Let people know that you’ll be up for a run and ask if anyone wants to join you. Share a post-workout selfie or join an online community where members cheer each other on.
“There’s an app for that” couldn’t be truer than when it comes to fitness, such as the great fitness trackers available now. Whether you’re trying to keep track of what you’re eating, need a need workout or just want to log how many miles you’re running, there’s an app for you.
39. Track your progress
When the scale doesn’t seem to budge or you feel like your body isn’t changing quickly enough, it’s hard not to get discouraged. So track your progress from the start to see how much you’ve accomplished. This will help motivate you to keep going.
Whether you track how many inches you’ve lost, keep a food diary or maintain a journal about the healthy changes you’ve made, it’s encouraging to see what a great job you’re doing! Bonus: Keeping an exercise or food diary can help you see weaknesses in your routine, push yourself out of a fitness plateau or notice what situations drive you to eat more or exercise less.
40. Treat yourself!
If knowing that your body is thanking you for making healthier choices isn’t enough (and that’s ok!), treat yourself — but don’t tie these “rewards” to food. For instance, if you worked out five days each week for the entire month, splurge on that new tennis racquet you’ve been wanting or indulge in a manicure or pedicure. You’ve earned it!
41. Get active with friends
Embracing a healthy lifestyle means cutting out some things you might have taken for granted, like after-work happy hours with coworkers or weekend brunches with friends. But there’s no reason your social life has to suffer.
Instead, suggest fun alternatives. Instead of happy hour, why not take a new exercise class together? Instead of indulging at brunch, go on a hike or check out a spin class. If that’s not your friends’ cup of tea, you can even host a meal at your place.
42. Set and go after a goal
Setting a fitness goal gives you a specific purpose for your workouts and the satisfaction once you’ve completed it. Whether it’s deciding to run your first 10k, learning how to do a headstand when practicing yoga or completing 50 push-ups without stopping, a challenge might be just what you need to get out of a fitness rut.
43. Sleep more
If you’re constantly sleeping less than seven or eight hours a night, your health — and waistline — will suffer. In fact, in a 2013 study, researchers found that sleep-deprived subjects were much more likely to choose larger portions of snacks than those who slept at least eight hours at night. The lack of sleep also affected their food choices.
A chronic lack of sleep is linked to obesity, diabetes and more. Plus, sleep is an important time to rebuild muscle from your workout routine and give your brain a chance to process and heal.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try some of these all-natural ways to fall asleep and get more zzz’s.
44. Figure out if you’re hungry or just bored
Seems strange, doesn’t it? But our minds often confuse boredom, tiredness and more with hunger. Hard to believe? A 2015 study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology showed that experiencing boredom actually not only increased the amount of snacking, but also the amount of unhealthy eating overall.
Before you eat something, drink some water and ask yourself if you’re truly hungry, go on a quick walk outside or around the office or just wait 20 minutes or so before eating. You’ll be amazed at how often your body isn’t actually hungry; it’s actually craving movement.
45. Use essential oils to curb cravings
Take control of cravings naturally by using essential oils like peppermint, grapefruit, ginger, cinnamon or lemon. Instead of consuming another coffee or snack, dab a drop on your wrists to boost energy or calm hunger.
46. Simplify your routine
So often, we have the best of intentions but life gets in the way. That is, unless you plan for it! If you like working out right after work, join a gym or hit up a class that’s near your office. Do you prefer doing yoga stretches in the privacy of your home? Designate an area as a yoga-only zone with your mat and candles to strike a pose whenever the urge hits.
Does your schedule get especially busy a few times a year? Prepare yourself by making a few extra servings of your favorite healthy meals and freezing them so you can simply reheat when you have no time to cook.
47. Weekends count, too
We often eat well and exercise throughout the week only to let weekends get out of control. If you decide that Friday through Sunday doesn’t count, remember that’s almost half of the week!
Commit to keeping a similar schedule throughout the entire week or use the extra weekend time to your advantage: Try doing a longer workout you normally don’t have time for, take the dog on an extra-long walk or hike or use the extra time to prep meals for the upcoming week.
48. Allow yourself a cheat meal
A cheat meal — not a day! — is something you might need from time to time in order to keep on track, especially when you’re first getting used to a healthier lifestyle. Sometimes giving yourself a little cheat takes the wind out of those cravings and keeps your week on track.
Choose one meal, eat what you’d like and then continue with your previously scheduled healthy lifestyle. Start with one cheat meal a week and gradually scale back. You’ll be surprised how quickly those foods you loved (that are full of icky things!) lose their appeal, especially when you realize how poorly they make you feel after.
49. Don’t beat yourself up
Living a healthier lifestyle is a process. You’ll slip — we all do! The best thing to remember is that no one decision will derail your efforts. If you ate more than you intended at your last meal, don’t skip the next few, but instead choose filling, protein-rich foods. Couldn’t work out as much as you wanted? Squeeze in a 10-minute workout and remind yourself to do more the next time you can.
Read Next: How to Lose 20 Lbs with Diet and Supplements
*Results not typical. Even using the same exact program of diet, supplementation and exercise, be aware that individual results will vary.