Although many diets and training programs promise rapid weight loss, most of them lack scientific proof and can result in a yo-yo effect—with no lasting results. An efficient and lasting weight management strategy focuses on long-term health and habits that you can stick with over time. This article reviews the 8 most efficient ways to lose fat—backed by science.
1. Increase physical activity
Although it’s important to keep track of calorie intake and a healthy lifestyle, doing regular training is one of the most efficient ways to drop fat.
Training is usually divided into cardio and strength exercises, and you need a combination of both to keep your body weight low. Cardio exercise trains your heart and lungs and contributes to the fat loss process by intensifying the process of disintegration of fat into CO2 and water. Multiple studies show that aerobic exercise increases muscle mass and decreases belly fat, waist circumference, and body weight. 20–40 minutes of moderate cardio activity per day such as running, cycling, or swimming will get you closer to the desired result. Or, if you’re short on time, achieve the same results in just 10% of the time with CAROL Bike’s proven workouts.
Strength or anaerobic exercise trains your muscles to contract against resistance and is usually done in short bursts alternated with rest time. It builds muscle mass and increases strength over time, usually involving lifting weights or using your body weight. Not only does strength training shape your body but it may also increase your resting metabolic rate. This means that your body burns more calories throughout the day after training.
If your goal is weight loss, try adding 1–2 sessions of strength training to your weekly routine.
2. Try REHIT training protocol
Reduced exertion HIIT (REHIT) was developed by scientists looking for the shortest, most effective way to exercise. REHIT gives you double the health and fitness benefits of regular exercise—in just 10% of the time. During the 2×20-second sprints in CAROL Bike’s signature REHIT workout, your body works at its maximum capacity, entering fight-or-flight mode, and burning significantly more glycogen (stored sugar) than would ordinarily be required. The results of an 8-week study showed that REHIT elicited more potent, time-efficient improvements in cardiometabolic health and fat loss when compared to traditional training.
CAROL Bike is the only exercise bike that accurately replicates REHIT conditions at home, thanks to AI-personalization and Instant Resistance. Learn how you can lose weight by training for just 15 minutes per week with CAROL Bike.
CAROL Bike's REHIT workout gives you double the health and fitness benefits of regular exercise—in just 10% of the time.
3. Go on a high-protein, low-carb diet
A healthy diet is one that is balanced, and ideally healthy meals should include:
– a protein source
– a fat source
– a small portion of complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains
Simple and refined carbs, sugar, and starches are digested quickly. They are the source of an immediate burst of glucose in the bloodstream. An instant rush of energy after the meal is followed by a crash of fatigue and hunger when it is depleted soon after.
If your primary goal is to lose weight, cutting back on carbs and increasing the amount of protein in your meals will reduce your appetite and overall calorie intake per day. Multiple studies associate eating protein with a lower risk of obesity. A 2020 study also confirmed that a low carbohydrate diet was beneficial for losing fat in older populations.
On top of that, a low-carb diet stabilizes your insulin level, which is associated with losing weight and body fat.
Protein-rich foods include meat, seafood, eggs, legumes, tofu, and dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.
To reduce the number of empty calories in your meals, avoid processed and refined foods such as pastries, sweets, white pasta, and chips. Instead, opt for complex carbs such as bulgur wheat and whole grain rice and pasta.
4. Eat more healthy fats & fiber
There is a common misconception that eating fat makes you fat. But increasing unsaturated fats of vegetable origin in your meals can actually help you achieve your goals and maintain gradual weight loss. A 2018 study researched the effect of olive oil (rich in unsaturated fats) on fat loss. It concluded that a diet enriched with olive oil can be an important weight control strategy in people without cardiovascular disease.
Unsaturated fats provide a lasting stable source of energy and reduce the feeling of hunger for hours after the meal. Healthy fats can be found in olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Saturated and trans fats, however, should be kept to a minimum, as they have been shown to increase cholesterol and risk of disease.
Fiber is another important ingredient of a healthy diet, widely found in vegetables, fruits, and wholegrain cereals. It contains very few calories, absorbs water, and moves through your digestive tract slowly, helping you feel full for longer. Fiber also improves digestion function.
The effectiveness of adding more fiber to your diet for weight loss and dietary adherence was proven in a 2019 study.
5. Add probiotics to your diet
Probiotics are a combination of live beneficial bacteria and yeasts. They play a significant role in many body functions from the immune system to digestion to mental health.
A review of 15 studies showed that people who took probiotics experienced significantly greater reductions in body weight, body fat percentage, and BMI compared with those who took a placebo. Certain strains of probiotics in the genus Lactobacillus may be especially effective at aiding weight and fat loss.
You can increase the amount of probiotics in your diet with fermented foods and drinks such as kefir, tempeh, kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut, or take probiotics as supplements.
6. Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves short-term fasting. It doesn’t suit everyone, so it’s better to consult with your doctor before trying this practice. At the same time, multiple studies show various health benefits of regular fasting, from lowering cardiovascular risks to lowering blood sugar level and facilitating weight loss.
Intermittent fasting doesn’t impose any limitation on your diet—it only restricts the time of your meals. There are different schemes, depending on how advanced you are. Beginners usually start with a 12:12 scheme, where you choose a 12-hour eating window. The most popular scheme is 16:8, where the eating window is shortened to 8 hours. There’s also the 5:2 diet, where the fasting period lasts 2 days per week, with alternate-day fasting.
A study of alternate-day fasting trials lasting 3–12 weeks showed that they significantly reduced body weight and body fat, for two reasons. Firstly, insulin naturally decreases during periods when you don’t eat, which contributes to the fat-loss process. Secondly, a short eating window makes you skip at least 1 meal per day, which results in fewer calories consumed.
Multiple studies show various health benefits of regular fasting
7. Get more sleep to avoid weight gain
Studies associate insufficient sleep with an increased feeling of hunger and weight gain. A 2020 analysis found that people who sleep less than 7 hours a night had a whopping 41% increased risk of developing obesity.
This risk is composed of several factors, such as an increase in certain hormone levels and reduced motivation to exercise. Sleep deprivation increases levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreases levels of leptin, which makes us feel full. This causes sleep-deprived individuals to have a bigger appetite and to eat more, especially high-calorie foods.
Lack of energy after a short sleep also leads to reduced physical activity because sleep-deprived people are less motivated to go to a gym or take a long walk.
To support long-term weight loss, try to get between 7–8 hours of sleep per night.
8. Manage your stress levels
Hormones are just as important for our body composition as eating habits and physical activity.
When we’re under pressure, our body releases adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol, which initially decreases the appetite as part of the body’s fight-or-flight response. However, if cortisol remains in the bloodstream for a longer period, it will increase your appetite and make you eat more. What’s more, if we’re stressed, then we are more inclined to make unhealthy food choices, reaching for sugary products and refined carbs.
Results from an 8-week stress-management intervention program demonstrated that stress-management facilitates fat loss in overweight and obese children and adolescents. Yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, and walking in nature are simple and effective ways to keep your cortisol level low, so that it doesn’t get in the way of weight loss.
Maintaining a healthy weight is a long-term strategy that requires you to change your daily habits. A comprehensive approach backed by science that focuses on your nutrition, physical activity, mental health, and sleeping habits will bring you the best results in just a few months.