The developed world is plagued by a health “pandemic” that is far more widespread and deadly than COVID-19: obesity. According to the Center for Disease Control over 70% of US adults over the age of 20 are either medically overweight or obese. Visceral fat, which is fat stored around your midsection, is much worse for your health than fat under the skin such as flabby arms or thighs. Visceral fat surrounds your internal organs like your heart and liver and it slowly “strangles” them, impairing their healthy function. The best thing most people can do for both their self-esteem and health is to lose weight.
Losing weight doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated and it doesn’t require taking a weight loss supplement. The following three strategies have been battle-tested to reliably shed pounds, fast, and keep them off as long as you stay on board:
Option 1: Eliminate Grains and Sugar
Agriculture has only been around for 10,000 years, or less than 1/20th of human history. Before that, our ancestors were hunter-gatherers who ate very little that wasn’t freshly picked or hunted. Grains and sugar are recent innovations that allow us to make tasty, processed foods like bread and cookies, which are very “high-calorie density.
” This means these two “culprit” foods can shoot our insulin levels through the roof and pack on pounds. So rather than perpetually struggle with weight loss, just drop the grains and sugar from your diet!
The Paleo Diet is one of the first grain and sugar-free diets to become popular and now a diet called Whole 30 is taking off. Following the principles outlined in “The Paleo Diet Beginner Guide” can help you get started with this lifestyle. Both diets require that you eat mostly natural, unprocessed foods that are fresh and perishable, and it’s suggested to shop around the perimeter of the grocery store rather than in the center isles where all the canned and processed foods are stored.
“Both of these diets are amazing at shedding pounds really quickly,” says Dr. Bomi Joseph, a consultant to the Peak Health Center in California.
“But don’t replace grains and sugar with many starchy root vegetables, like potatoes, or fruit. Both of these are loaded with carbohydrates so you want to eat them sparingly.”
Eliminating grains and sugar may mean you have to spend more time shopping and cooking, but it’s worth it!
Option 2: Eat Less Than 100 Grams of Carbohydrates per Day
Another way to melt off the excess belly fat is by counting and cutting carbs. According to Mark Sisson, author of The Primal Blueprint diet, there is an easy way to estimate what your carbohydrate intake will do to your weight. If you eat above 150g of carbohydrates per day you will typically gain weight. If you eat between 150g and 100g of carbohydrates per day, you will maintain your weight. If you eat less than 100 g of carbohydrates per day, most people will lose weight effortlessly.
“You can download a diet-tracking app like MyFitnessPal which makes it really easy to punch in whatever you eat throughout the day and it will calculate how many carbs you’ve consumed,” says Dr. Bomi Joseph.
Instead of eating carbs for calories, you can focus on eating more healthy fats like olive oil or proteins like lean meats. These add calories and fill you up without adding inches around your waist.
Option 3: Skip Breakfast a.k.a. “Intermittent Fasting”
For most of human history, people didn’t have the luxury of eating 3 square meals a day. It was ‘feast or famine’ and we evolved to pack on any excess calories as fat. The custom of eating three meals a day became a tradition back when most people were physically active throughout the day and walked everywhere long before Netflix, cars, and desk jobs chained us to one spot.
A lot of people are finding great success by simply skipping breakfast. By confining all your eating to an 8-hour window per day, you can expect to consistently and visibly lose weight each week.
Outside your 8-hour daily “eating window” you simply just drink water or unsweetened green tea. “This is called intermittent fasting. It shifts our body into a fat-burning ‘lean mode’ rather than “fat storage mode” which tends to get activated by traditional, morning-to-night eating,” says Dr. Bomi Joseph.
To keep it simple, you could have a brunch smoothie at 11 am, a snack a 3 pm and dinner at 6 pm. While you don’t have to count calories or follow a special diet for intermittent fasting to work, it works quickest if you are mindful of carbohydrate intake and avoids eating too many grains, sugar, fruit, and starchy root vegetables, in order to accelerate autophagy.
Exercise is Helpful but Not Absolutely Essential
Contrary to popular opinion, losing weight doesn’t necessarily have to be complicated or involve long hours on a treadmill or at the gym. While going for a walk or doing 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day is very helpful and recommended, it’s not absolutely essential.
If you are really serious about burning off fat as quickly as possible with minimal time investment, you may want to consider high-intensity interval training (HIIT). HIIT is a method of doing exercises in brief, full intensity “sprint” intervals, interspersed with periods of rest. For instance, you could sprint as fast as you possibly can for 30 seconds, walk for 1 minute and 30 seconds to recover, and then sprint again for 30 seconds.
By repeating this cycle several times in a single workout you can let your heart rate and metabolism reach the highest gears. Something about HIIT mimics a primal lifestyle and it puts the body into optimal “fat-burning mode” – if you stick with it, the pounds will start to fly off quicker than you can imagine.
Simply by watching what we eat and when we eat, we can lose weight and look great. The process is extremely rewarding. You can still eat plenty of delicious foods and feel satisfied, and it is more than worth the effort.