If you want to lose weight, you have to eat less. This rule is all but set in stone. Weight gain is the result of eating too many calories. Your body turns these unused calories into fat and stores it for later use. To tap into your fat stores and lose weight, you need to eat less and create a calorie deficit. Your body will then pay back this calorie debt by using your fat stores.
For any diet to be effective, you need to stick with it for along as it takes to reach your ideal weight. Because it’s impossible to sustain a big calorie deficit for a long time, this means you must be prepared to lose weight gradually. Many people find this prospect very daunting.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to increase fat loss without reducing your food intake further. These diet boosters will increase the effectiveness of any diet. Here are some of the best ways to speed up fat loss.
1. Increase your protein intake
Digesting and metabolizing food uses energy. This is called the thermic effect of food, or TEF for short. Protein provides four calories per gram, and its TEF is 20–30%. That means that 20-30% of the energy contained protein is used in the digestive process. Carbohydrates provide four calories per gram and have a TEF of 5–10%. Fat provides 9 food calories per gram, and its TEF is 0–3%.
Cutting carbs while eating more protein means your body will burn more calories digesting and metabolizing your food. You don’t have to cut carbs entirely but replacing at least some of your carbs with protein will accelerate your metabolism for faster fat loss.
2. Use nutrient blockers
Imagine being able to eat the foods you love but, instead of the calories in those foods affecting your body, they pass through your digestive system more-or-less intact. Nutrient blockers stop your body from making use of the nutrient by-products (called substrates) of your food.
There are two main types of nutrient blockers – starch blockers and fat blockers.
Starch blockers are extracted from beans and are referred to as Phaseolus Vulgaris extract or white kidney bean extract. They work by disrupting the production of an enzyme called amylase. With less amylase available, your body cannot digest carbs as completely as normal. That means if you eat bread, rice, etc. some of it will pass through your digestive tract undigested and a proportion of the calories your meal contained will be unusable.
Most fat blockers contain chitosan. Chitosan is a cellulose-type polysaccharide extracted from the exoskeletons of marine crustaceans – that’s sea shells to you and me! It binds to dietary fat so that the fat cannot be digested or absorbed. It is suggested that one gram of chitosan will bind to 4–6 grams of dietary fat. That means a single one-gram serving of fat blocker could save you 36-54 calories.
Do nutrient blockers really work? You bet! However, their effect is relatively small. That being said, in the battle of the belly bulge, even small advantages are beneficial.
4. Improve nutrient partitioning
What you eat will either be used for energy, driven into your muscles and liver, or stored as fat. This process is called nutrient partitioning. If you partition well, more of the food you eat will end up in your muscles and your liver. However, if you partition badly, more of those nutrients will end up being stored as fat. If your body is storing fat, it won’t burn fat, making your weight loss efforts less effective.
There are a few compounds that will help steer nutrients toward your liver and muscles and away from your fat cells, speeding up fat loss in the process.
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
- Cocoa – yes, the main ingredient in chocolate!
- Chromium picolinate
- Apple cider vinegar
Don’t try and use all these substances at once; that’s a recipe for disaster. Instead, use just one at a time, evaluate its effectiveness, and then move on to another if you don’t notice any benefits.
5. Chill out!
Your body operates at its best when your temperature is around 97.7–99.5 °F. Temperature is so important that your body uses energy to keep it stable. Make the most of this phenomenon by purposely cooling down. Your body will have to use extra energy to bring your temperature back up to normal. This is called involuntary thermogenesis. Safe but effective ways to lower your body temperature include:
- Cold showers and baths
- Wearing fewer clothes
- Turning down the heating or turning up the air conditioning
- Placing ice packs on your neck, thighs, and abdomen
- Drinking ice-cold water
There is no need to get so cold you suffer from hypothermia. However, you should be cold enough that you feel slightly but tolerably uncomfortable.
6. Lower your stress levels
Stress is a part of modern life, and it is often hard to avoid. Unfortunately, stress is a leading cause of weight gain and can interfere with fat loss. Stress often triggers comfort eating, and increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol encourage fat storage.
Do your best to lower your stress levels and consider using supplements called adaptogens that help protect your body from the effects of stress. Well-known adaptogens that are also thought to aid weight loss include:
- Panax ginseng
- Holy basil
- Astragalus root
- Licorice root
- Cordyceps mushrooms
- Burdock root
- Chaga mushrooms
- Chicory root
- Cinnamon bark
- Dandelion root
- Eleuthero root
- John’s wort
Adaptogens are traditionally used in teas and infusions, but some are available as dried, powdered supplements.
The more physically active you are, the more calories you will burn each day. This is called the thermal effect of activity, or TEA for short. TEA can really add up over the course of a day but doing very little physical activity can turn weight loss into a slow and challenging process.
While it’s all-but-impossible to go for more than a few days without eating, it’s actually very easy to go days, weeks, or even months without being physical activity. There are several ways you can increase TEA.
8. Non-exercise physical activity
Also known as NEPA, non-exercise physical activity used to be part and parcel of living. In fact, this classification of energy expenditure was once known as Activities of Daily Living, or ADL for short.
Good NEPA examples include:
- Walking for pleasure or transport
- Playing games with your kids, e.g. catch, frisbee, soccer, etc.
- Riding a bicycle for transport or pleasure
- Working in your garden or garage
- Doing household chores
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Carrying your groceries in baskets instead of using a shopping cart
- Walking to see a friend or colleague at work instead of emailing or phoning them
Even if you exercise, you probably aren’t active enough to maximize weight loss. Break up periods of sedentarism with brief bouts of NEPA. Try and clock up an hour or so per day for best results.
9. Lift weights
Strength training increases muscle mass. According to the National Council on Strength and Fitness, a pound of muscle burns about six calories per day. Even just a few pounds of extra muscle will have a significant impact on your daily calorie expenditure. In addition, recovering from strength training also increases your calorie expenditure, triggering the so-called afterburn effect.
Hitting the weights also improves nutrient partitioning by depleting muscle glycogen levels and increasing insulin sensitivity. This ensures that more of the food you eat after a workout ends up in your muscles and not in your fat stores.
Whether you do steady-paced cardio or pick up the pace and do some interval training or HIIT, cardio can help you lose weight faster. Like strength training, regular cardio workouts improve nutrient partitioning, and also burn calories while you do them. Interval training may also speed up weight loss by increasing your post-exercise metabolic rate.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, most people should do about 150 minutes of cardio per week. That’s a good recommendation for health, fitness, and weight loss.
While most diets will produce results, weight loss is often slower than you want. Speed it up by using diet boosters. With consistent use, you should get much better results from your diet. However, remember that even the best booster will not work if you don’t stick to your diet!