How to Lose Weight Fast: A Proven 3-step Plan That Works

By Kris Gunnars, authoritynutrition.com
April 22, 2015 3:42 pm Last Updated: April 25, 2016 5:12 pm

There are many ways to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time. However, most of them require you to be hungry and unsatisfied. If you don’t have iron willpower, then hunger will cause you to give up on these plans quickly.

The three-step plan outlined here will do the following:

  • Kill your appetite
  • Make you lose weight fast without being hungry
  • Improve your health at the same time

1. Eliminate Sugars and Starches

The most important part is to remove sugars and starches (carbs) from your diet. These are the foods that stimulate secretion of insulin the most. If you didn’t know already, insulin is the main fat-storage hormone in the body.

When insulin goes down, fat has an easier time getting out of the fat stores, and the body starts burning fats instead of carbs.

Another benefit of lowering insulin is that your kidneys shed excess sodium and water out of your body, which reduces bloat and unnecessary water weight.

It is not uncommon to lose up to 10 pounds and sometimes more (both body fat and water weight) in the first week of eating this way.

(authoritynutrition)
This is a graph from a study comparing low-carb and low-fat diets in overweight or obese women. (authoritynutrition)

Low-carb dieters eat until fullness, while the low-fat dieters are calorie-restricted and hungry.

Cut the carbs, lower your insulin, and you will start to eat fewer calories automatically and without hunger. Put simply, lowering your insulin puts fat-loss on “autopilot.

Bottom Line. Removing sugars and starches (carbs) from your diet will lower your insulin levels, kill your appetite, and make you lose weight without hunger.

2. Eat Protein, Fat, and Vegetables

Each one of your meals should include a protein source, a fat source, and low-carb vegetables. Constructing your meals in this way will automatically bring your carb intake into the recommended range of 20–50 grams per day.

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Each one of your meals should include a protein source, a fat source, and low-carb vegetables. (Shutterstock)

Protein Sources

  • Meat: beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bacon, and the like
  • Fish and Seafood: salmon, trout, shrimp, lobsters, and the like
  • Eggs: omega-3 enriched or pastured eggs are best

The importance of eating plenty of protein cannot be overstated. This has been shown to boost metabolism by 80 to 100 calories per day.

High-protein diets can also reduce obsessive thoughts about food by 60 percent, reduce the desire for late-night snacking by half, and make you so full that you automatically eat 441 fewer calories per day, just by adding protein to your diet.

When it comes to losing weight, protein is the king of nutrients. Period.

Low-Carb Vegetables 

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Swiss chard
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Celery

Don’t be afraid to load your plate with these low-carb vegetables. You can eat massive amounts of them without going over 20–50 net carbs per day.

It is not uncommon to lose up to 10 pounds and sometimes more (both body fat and water weight) in the first week of eating this way.

A diet based on meat and vegetables contains all the fiber, vitamins, and minerals you need to be healthy. There is no physiological need for grains in the diet.

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Don’t be afraid of eating fat. (Shutterstock)

Fat Sources

  • Coconut oil
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Lard
  • Tallow

Eat two to three meals per day. If you find yourself hungry in the afternoon, add a fourth meal.

Don’t be afraid of eating fat, trying to do both low-carb and low-fat at the same time is a recipe for failure. It will make you feel miserable and cause you to abandon the plan.

The best cooking fat to use is coconut oil. It is rich in fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). These fats are more fulfilling than others and can boost metabolism slightly.

There is no reason to fear these natural fats. New studies show that saturated fat doesn’t raise your heart disease risk at all. Discover and try out some new low-carb meal plans and recipes.

Bottom Line. Assemble each meal out of a protein source, a fat source, and a low-carb vegetable. This will put you into the 20–50 gram carb range and drastically lower your insulin levels.

3. (Optional) Exercise 3–4 Times a Week

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You don’t need to exercise to lose weight on this plan, but it is recommended. (Shutterstock)

You don’t need to exercise to lose weight on this plan, but it is recommended. The best option is to go to the gym three to four times a week. Do a warm-up, lift weights, and then stretch. If you’re new to the gym, ask a trainer for some advice.

By lifting weights, you will burn a few calories and prevent your metabolism from slowing down, which is a common side effect of losing weight.

If lifting weights is not an option for you, then doing some easier cardio workouts like running, jogging, swimming, or walking will suffice.

Studies on low-carb diets show that you can even gain a bit of muscle while losing significant amounts of body fat.

If lifting weights is not an option for you, then doing some easier cardio workouts like running, jogging, swimming, or walking will suffice.

Bottom Line. It is best to do some sort of resistance training like weight lifting. If that is not an option, cardio workouts work too.

Optional: Do a ‘Carb Re-feed’ Once a Week

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Be aware that “cheat meals” or carb refeeds are not necessary, but they can up-regulate some fat-burning hormones like leptin and thyroid hormones. (Shutterstock)

You can take one day “off” per week and eat more carbs. Many people prefer Saturday.

It is important to try to stick to healthier carb sources like oats, rice, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, fruits, and the like.

But stick to only this one higher-carb day. If you start doing it more often than once per week, then you’re not going to see much success on this plan. If you must have a “cheat meal” and eat something unhealthy, then do it on this day.

Be aware that cheat meals or carb refeeds are not necessary, but they can up-regulate some fat-burning hormones like leptin and thyroid hormones.

You will gain some weight during your re-feed day, but most of it will be water weight, and you will lose it again in the next one to two days.

Bottom Line. Having one day of the week when you eat more carbs is perfectly acceptable although not necessary.

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The main goal is to keep carbs under 20–50 grams per day and get the rest of your calories from protein and fat. (Shutterstock)

Calories and Portion Control

It is not necessary to count calories as long as you keep the carbs very low and stick to protein, fat, and low-carb vegetables. However, if you really want to count, then use an accurate, scientific calorie calculator. There are many calorie counters you can use to track the amount of calories you are eating. I like Cron-O-Meter. It is free and easy to use.

The main goal is to keep carbs under 20–50 grams per day and get the rest of your calories from protein and fat.

Bottom Line. It is not necessary to count calories to lose weight on this plan. It is most important to strictly keep your carbs in the 20–50 gram range.

(Ralf Cornesse/Hemera/Thinkstock)
It is best to do some sort of resistance training like weight lifting. If that is not an option, cardio workouts work too. (Ralf Cornesse/Hemera/Thinkstock)

More Weight-Loss Tips 

Pretty much all you have to do is the three steps:

  1. Eliminate high-carb foods.
  2. Eat protein, fat, and veggies.
  3. Exercise 3–4 times per week (optional, but recommended).

However, there are a few other tips that you may find useful if you want to speed things up even further. None of these are old wives’ tales. They all have scientific evidence to back them up.

Drink Water. One study shows that drinking water half an hour before meals helps you eat fewer calories and lose 44 percent more weight. It can also boost metabolism slightly.

Drink Coffee or Tea. If you’re a coffee or a tea drinker, then by all means drink as much as you want, as both can raise your metabolism.

Eat Eggs for Breakfast. Studies show that people who replace a grain-based breakfast with eggs feel fuller for the next 36 hours and lose up to 65 percent more weight.

Eat Viscous Fiber. Viscous fiber supplements like glucomannan can help you lose weight, especially around the belly area.

Choose Weight-Loss Friendly Foods. Certain foods are particularly useful for losing fat, like whole eggs and leafy greens

Use Smaller Plates. Studies show that people automatically eat less when they use smaller plates—strange, but it works.

Sleep Like a Baby. Poor sleep is one of the strongest risk factors for weight gain and obesity. Taking care of your sleep is important.

Over the years, scientists have come up with a number of weight-loss methods that are effective, like drinking water before meals and eating more fiber.

Bottom Line. It is most important to stick to the three rules, but there are a few other things you can do to speed things up. 

Become a ‘Fat-Burning Beast’

You can expect to lose 5–10 pounds of weight (sometimes more) in the first week, then consistent weight loss after that. I can lose 3–4 pounds per week for a few weeks when I do this strictly.

If you’re new to dieting, then things will probably happen quickly. The more weight you have to lose, the faster you will lose it.

For the first few days, you might feel a bit strange. Your body has been burning carbs for all these years. It can take time for it to get used to burning fat instead.

It is called the “low carb flu” and is usually over within a few days. For me it takes three days. Adding some sodium to your diet can help, such as dissolving a bouillon cube in a cup of hot water and drinking it.

After that, most people report feeling very good, positive, and energetic. At this point, you will officially have become a “fat- burning beast.”

Despite the decades of anti-fat hysteria, the low-carb diet also improves your health in many other ways:

  • Blood Sugar tends to go way down on low-carb diets.
  • Triglycerides tend to go down.
  • Small, dense LDL (the bad) cholesterol goes down.
  • HDL (the good) cholesterol goes up.
  • Blood pressure improves significantly.
  • To top it all off, low-carb diets appear to be easier to follow than low-fat diets.

Bottom Line. You can expect to lose a lot of weight, but it depends on the person how quickly it will happen. Low-carb diets also improve your health in many other ways.

(Shutterstock)
(Shutterstock)

Lose Weight Without Starving Yourself 

If you have a medical condition, then talk to your doctor before making changes because this plan can reduce your need for medication.

By reducing carbs and lowering insulin levels, you change the hormonal environment and make your body and brain “want” to lose weight. This leads to drastically reduced appetite and hunger, eliminating the main reason that most people fail with conventional weight-loss methods.

This is proven to make you lose about two to three times as much weight as a typical low-fat, calorie-restricted diet.

Another great benefit for the impatient folks is that the initial drop in water weight can lead to a big difference on the scale as early as the next morning.

Many low-carb meals are simple and delicious, and many can be prepared in under 10 minutes.

On this plan, you can eat good food until full and still lose a ton of fat. Welcome to paradise.

This article was originally published on authoritynutrition.com