How to lose weight naturally? Despite what you might think, losing weight naturally is more than doable. Dropping a few extra pounds is a relatively easy exercise and can be achieved through simple changes in your diet and lifestyle, such as drinking more water and not having a Krispy Kreme donut with every meal (not surprisingly).
We've collected 8 top tips that might help you shed the extra weight easier without having to introduce major changes to your lifestyle. For some more simple weight loss tips, check out our guide to how to eat healthily on a budget, too.
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1. Know your calories
Weight loss can be achieved by keeping a constant calorie deficit, meaning you eat fewer calories than you use. To cover the energy shortfall, your body needs to tap into the fat reserves and use that as fuel. The result? The depletion of fat reserves, a.k.a. the muffin top that is your waistline at the moment. The key to achieving a more permanent weight loss is to not cut back too much straight away: give your body time to adjust by only cutting some of the snacks first, then move on to adding healthier options later.
2. Take up brisk walking/jogging
Many people find running very difficult, and this type of exercising is also taxing on the joints, especially if you carry around a lot of extra weight. A better approach is to go for brisk walking: a type of walk that is somewhere between a leisurely pace and speed walking. Brisk walking can burn a surprisingly large amount of calories, especially if you do it for at least half an hour each time. However fast you're going, you'll need to make sure your feet are properly supported – here's our pick of the best running shoes for women.
Try introducing some more walking by getting off the bus a bit early or walking to the shops as opposed to getting an Uber. For more advice, take a look at our guide to walking to lose weight.
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3. Try HIIT workouts
HIIT workouts are excellent for weight loss as they can be done using a variety of equipment and practically anywhere: all you have to do is to get your heart rate up for a short period of time, rest a little, then repeat the process. HIIT is also extremely time-effective: research cited by Vice concludes that "12 weeks of brief intense interval exercise improved indices of cardiometabolic health to the same extent as traditional endurance training in sedentary men, despite a five-fold lower exercise volume and time commitment."
4. Cut back on the booze
Cutting back on alcohol consumption can be challenging for many and we are not suggesting going sober for the rest of your life (although that would definitely improve your health and mental performance). However, you can try toning down the ol' boozeroonie when not in a social setting, such as after work or limiting yourself when you are out and about. Just omitting that large glass of wine or couple of cans of beer can cut hundreds of calories out of your diet.
5. Make snacks unavailable or hard to reach
If you are a savvy shopper, you do your shopping weekly to save some money. If you are even savvier, you buy your snacks in bulk so you can save a few pretty pennies by not buying them individually throughout the week. The problem is, even the thought that snacks are in the house can wear you down mentally through a process called ego depletion.
There is some evidence suggesting that making smaller decisions can wear down your 'decisive powers' throughout the day so by having to make a decision whether or not to have a bar of chocolate that's in the cupboard, you make yourself vulnerable to more important decisions later on, such as should you exercise after work or is it a bad idea to have a big glass of Coke with your dinner.
As they say, the best decisions are no decisions, so if you want to make sure you are in the right mindset for big decisions, reduce the options to one about snacks by not having them around in the first place.
6. Swap juice/fizzy drinks for water/green tea and coffee
One of the biggest lies of the past is that fruit juices and 'juice-cleanses' are good for you. Most cartoned juices available in the shops are chock full of sugar, and having any will spike your blood sugar significantly.
I hear you saying: 'But fruit juice is made of fruits and fruits are healthy!' Fruits are also high in sugar but with whole fruits (as opposed to the juiced version), you also get fibres and other micronutrients.
Instead of drinking fruit juices, go for water or occasionally green tea and/or coffee when you feel like having a cup of something. Be careful with consuming lots of tea or coffee, though: both drinks are slightly diuretic so they will make you wee more. They might not be good for making you less thirsty but both coffee and green tea are great to boost metabolism, should you drink a reasonable amount of them.
7. Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting promotes the complete opposite of what we were told when we were kids: as it turns out, skipping breakfast is good for you! There are many different varieties, but the most researched version is the 16:8 diet which has you fasting for 16 hours a day (take a look at our guide to how to lose weight by fasting for more on this, plus some alternative fasting methods). This version of intermittent fasting can naturally help you lose weight by restricting your eating window to eight hours a day without limiting food intake in any other way.
Pro tip: start your fast at 8pm, this way you will sleep through most of the fasting period. You shouldn't have any snacks after 8pm anyway and by only skipping breakfast, you will be ready for lunch at 12pm.
8. Stop multitasking when you're eating
Mindful eating is the newest buzzword and one that's worth looking up. How often does it happen that you don't do anything when you dine just concentrate on the food you're having? If you did so, not only you would enjoy eating more but you would also eat slower and less.
Mindfulness can also help you in general: being present in everyday situations can help you cope with stress and anxiety better, as well as enhance emotional intelligence and even heighten physical sensations.
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Matt has been writing about fitness for a number of years across various Future titles including Fit&Well and T3. PR reps describe him as 'nice guy' but his family members beg to differ. He's always looking for new ways to improve his overall fitness and wellbeing, and is particularly fond of home workout - mainly lifting weights. At any given point, his home is overrun with fitness equipment, running shoes and wearables. And he loves it.