“I am extraordinarily patient as long as I get my own way in the end.” –Unknown
We humans tend to want our way sooner than our physiology allows.
Immediate results are expected when we are being good and virtuous. Waistlines should shrink, and biceps and abs ought to emerge when we train and follow our eating plans.
Five days with no results and we become disheartened. The second week begins and we are often ready to throw in the towel in unfulfilled misery.
This article will tell you how to safely lose fat as fast as possible so as to minimize the need for patience in the equation. It’s a reduced carb, high-protein method that has been designed to avoid the complications that often render low-carb eating plans ineffective.
You’ll greatly reduce or even eliminate hunger, accelerate results, and set yourself up for long-term success by preserving lean muscle mass.
#1. Begin With A Super Reduced-Carb, High-Veggie Phase
For the first two weeks, eliminate all carbohydrates except low-carb vegetables. This will allow you to shed excess water from the body by reducing muscle glycogen stores, which are partly water.
By two weeks in, you should have already lost a decent amount of weight (both fat and water), while effectively adapting the body to burn fat.
It’s critical you don’t slip up and eat other carbs during this time such as bread, grains, potatoes, corn or foods with added sugar because this will set you back to the beginning.
After the first two weeks, you can work some carbs back into your diet. After 14 days of veggie-only eating, you can have a day in which you eat whatever you want. Then, on day 16, you’re back to low-carb eating, but can eat a higher carb meal every 5 to 7 days.
This is often called a cheat meal, or carb re-feed, and it’s not required. Some people find it helpful at the beginning because they desperately miss all the higher carb foods they used to eat. Others don’t benefit from cheat meals because they feel guilty afterwards or find high-carb foods addicting and have trouble going back to low-carb eating.
Finally, many people who have been eating lower carb for a long time find that cheat meals are not worth it, either because the cravings they used to suffer have gone away, or they end up feeling physically poor the next day.
Take Away: Don’t mess with the two-week “super reduced-carb, high-veggie phase.” It will set you up for fat loss success by helping to kill your appetite, while adapting your body to use fat for energy.
#2. Eat Protein, Vegetables, and Fat at Every Meal
Forget about the typical foods you used to eat at each meal. Don’t think about breakfast as cereal, bagels, or pancakes. Let sandwiches with big slices of bread be a thing of the past.
For speedy, simple fat loss, you need to construct your meals around complete animal protein, 2 to 3 cups of low-carb veggies, and beneficial fats. The effect of such meals will be non-existent hunger so that you automatically reduce your calorie intake from what it was before.
Take Away: Eating six small meals a day every 2-3 hours works well for most people, especially if they’ve never had success with a low-carb, high-protein eating plan before.
Having frequent meals is very important to balance hormones like insulin and cortisol that make you crave high-carb foods. It also keeps you from being hungry and consequently eating something you shouldn’t.
#3. Eat a Complete High-Quality Protein at Every Meal
Complete proteins such as meat, fish, and eggs are of the highest quality, containing the greatest array of amino acids per calorie so as to provide the largest nutritional punch possible.
Planning meals around high-quality protein is a method that is well supported by research: Studies show that when people achieve a threshold dose of 10 essential amino acids per meal they reduce body fat significantly.
Take Away: Eat at least 1.6 g/kg of bodyweight of protein a day because this threshold has been shown to preserve muscle mass in lean people on a calorie restricted diet. For a 160 pound person, this would be 116 grams of protein a day.
#4. Eat Low-Carb Vegetables at Every Meal
Low-carb vegetables such as leafy greens are going to be your main carb source because this will allow you to restrict your carb intake to less than 50 grams a day. The body will no longer be relying on glucose for its fuel source and will need to burn fat instead.
Here is a brief list of low-glycemic veggies you can eat: all green vegetables (collards, celery, broccoli, zucchini, etc.), tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, eggplant, turnips, cucumbers, green beans, cauliflower, cabbage, asparagus, avocado, mushrooms, bok choy.
Another benefit of eating low-carb veggies at every meal is they are highly nutritious and contain large amounts of the type of fiber that has been found to reduce food intake in a number of studies.
Take Away: Remember, this article is telling you how to lose fat as fast as possible, which is the reason carbs need to be so low and solely from veggies.
What if it’s too restrictive for you?
This is not the only approach that will work, but it is supported by research and many successful anecdotal reports.
You may personally benefit from going slightly higher in carbs and getting more variety, especially if you have low fasting glucose (below 90 mg/dL) and are sensitive to insulin (neither of which are likely in overweight people).
One exception to the veggies-only restriction is to eat whole-food carbs after intense exercise. For example, you could have some fruit after training—berries or kiwi are lower carb and rich in nutrients.
#5. Eat Beneficial Fat at Every Meal
It is extremely important that you eat beneficial fat at every meal for the following reasons:
• People often start a low-carb diet but don’t eat enough fat, feel terrible, and quit. Calories may be too low, or the ratio between fat, protein, and carbs may be off. For example, a low-fat diet won’t help the body shift to burning body fat instead of glucose and energy production will be sluggish.
• Increasing fat intake and decreasing carb intake is a well known method for making the body metabolically flexible so that it burns more fat for energy. Simply reducing carbs doesn’t cut it.
• Fat provides flavor, texture, and variety to meals that can get a bit redundant.
Take Away: For cooking at high heat, use coconut oil, red palm oil, butter, and other saturated fats such as tallow (beef fat) because they do not get oxidized as olive oil does. Use olive oil for low-heat cooking or enjoy fresh.
Avocados, nuts, and olives are other beneficial fat-containing foods. Fish oil is useful to supplement to get the essential omega-3 fats DHA and EPA.
#6. Make Sure You’re Eating Adequate Calories
People feel ill or lack energy on a low-carb diet if they don’t consume enough calories.
Exactly what is happening in each case is unclear—it could be difficulty adapting the body to burn fat, could be low-thyroid function due to lack of glucose, or it could be lack of calories—but eating more fat to provide calories tends to help.
Take Away: You may think it’s crazy advice to worry about eating more calories since the goal is to lose fat as fast as possible. But the goal here is to allow you to lose fat quickly but avoid feeling like death, and be able to sustain your fat loss.
Getting adequate energy in the form of beneficial fats will do this, in part because fat has the effect of increasing body temperature, which seems to counter the decrease in thyroid function.
#7. Work Out, Favoring Anaerobic or Interval Exercise Modes
By eating this way, you’ll lose fat whether you work out or not, but doing some form of anaerobic training (strength training or sprint-type intervals) will accelerate the effects for a few reasons.
First, anaerobic training triggers protein synthesis, which preserves muscle mass, maintaining the amount of calories your body burns. This is highly beneficial because fat loss diets done wrong lead to a loss of muscle. Training avoids this.
Second, anaerobic training can help your body adapt to burn fat for energy, accelerating the shift to metabolic flexibility. For obese, sedentary people, doing anaerobic training is the catalyst to improve fat burning, whereas altering diet alone does not appear to be effective in the short term.
Third, anaerobic training burns a large amount of energy quickly and increases post-exercise calorie burn to a greater degree than aerobic modes.
Take Away: Lifting weights is preferred, followed by sprint interval training, with aerobic modes coming in last. Most important though is to pick an exercise mode that you like at least a little bit and will actually do on a regular basis.
#8. Remove ALL Refined or Packaged Foods
Eliminate refined and packaged foods because they tend to bring with them the following problems:
• Added sugar, which gives you nutritionally empty calories that make you hungrier than if you hadn’t eaten them.
• Are high in processed carbohydrates and fat that are easily digested, which allows the body to use a greater percentage of the calories they contain compared with whole foods.
• Elevate insulin, which promotes fat storage and cravings for more high-carb foods
Take Away: Eat whole foods in their natural state. Avoid restaurant and take out food in favor of home-cooked meals.
#9. Eliminate All Sugar & High-Glycemic Foods
"Sugar” refers not just to the typical white cane sugar that is added to food, but also to carbohydrates that break down into large amounts of sugar in the body.
These are called “high-glycemic” foods because they increase blood sugar to a greater degree, leading to more of the hormone insulin being released. In research studies, higher insulin will stimulate people to eat more.
In addition, insulin is a “storage” hormone that allows the body to take glucose (sugar) from the blood and get it where it needs to be in order to fuel physical activity and brain function, or store it for later as fat or muscle glycogen.
When you eat a diet that is high in carbohydrates, with most of those carbs containing relatively large amounts or sugar, the system becomes taxed. Over time the cells become insensitive to insulin, which leads to fat gain and a poorly functioning metabolism.
Take Away: To fix the system, reduce the overload of sugar. The radical approach is to eliminate ALL carbohydrates other than non-starchy vegetables from your diet.
#10. Eliminate Caloric Beverages & Alcohol
Caloric beverages such as sports drinks, juice, and soda are packed with sugar and must be avoided. Rely on water, black coffee, and tea. Use the no-calorie sweetener stevia to sweeten tea or coffee if needed.
Alcohol also has no place in a speedy fat loss diet because it is essentially a poison that must be metabolized from the body, causing inflammation and slowing metabolism.
Take Away: For those who love red wine and can’t live without it, drink it on higher carb days once you’ve gone through the initial two-week super low-carb phase. Happily, drinking one glass of high-quality red wine with meals has been found to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation.
#11. Avoid Common Pitfalls
A few common pitfalls when trying to lose fat quickly include the following:
Training too hard—a low-carb diet is not one that should be used when training at a very high intensity, especially if you’re doing it daily or multiple times a day. Keep workouts intense but short—less than an hour.
Lack of sleep—lack of sleep is the enemy of fat loss because it compromises insulin sensitivity and increases our drive for foods that are highly pleasurable such as high-fat, refined carbs. Solve poor sleep before you start on a low-carb, super fat loss diet with these tips
A bad gut—gut bacteria live on what you eat and certain foods spawn ”bad” bacteria, whereas others lead to beneficial anti-inflammatory bacteria in the gut.
It just so happens that “bad” bacteria live off carbs, which increases the absorption of the carbs you eat, leading to an increase in body fat. Of course, this is not such a problem when you are eliminating carbs other than vegetables, but it reinforces the importance of fixing your gut pronto.
Solve a bad gut by eating tons of vegetables and probiotic foods (kim chi, sauerkraut, pickled foods).