12 Ways to Promote Long-Term Fat Loss

12 Ways to Promote Long-Term Fat Loss

Losing body fat can be a challenging task, often requiring hard work, patience, and dedication.

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Although many fad diets and fat-burning supplements promise quick results, modifying your diet, lifestyle, and exercise routine is the most effective way to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Plus, you can take several simple steps to promote long-lasting, sustainable fat loss while improving your overall health.

Here are 12 of the best ways to increase fat loss.


Strength training is a type of exercise in which your muscles contract against resistance. It builds muscle mass and increases strength over time, and it usually involves lifting weights.

Research reveals that strength training has multiple health benefits, especially when it comes to fat loss.

According to a review of 58 studies, resistance training for at least 4 weeks may help decrease body fat by an average of 1.46%. It may also significantly reduce body fat mass and visceral fat, which is a type of fat that surrounds the organs in your belly (1Trusted Source).

Another study showed that 5 months of strength training was more effective at reducing body fat in adolescents with obesity than aerobic exercise alone (2Trusted Source).

Plus, resistance training may help preserve fat-free mass, which may increase the number of calories your body burns at rest (3Trusted Source).

According to one review, resistance training boosted people’s resting metabolic rate compared with a control group, while aerobic exercise had no effect on metabolism (4Trusted Source).

Doing bodyweight exercises, lifting weights, and using gym equipment are a few easy ways to get started with strength training.

Eating more protein-rich foods may help reduce your appetite and increase fat burning.

In fact, multiple studies have associated eating more high quality protein with a lower risk of excess body fat and obesity (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source).

Other research indicates that a high protein diet may help preserve muscle mass and metabolism during weight loss (7Trusted Source).

Upping your protein intake may also increase feelings of fullness, decrease hunger, and reduce calorie intake — all factors that aid weight loss (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source).

Try adding a few servings of high-protein food to your diet each day.Protein-rich food include meat, seafood, eggs, legumes, tofu, and dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt.

Going to bed a bit earlier or setting your alarm clock a little later is a simple strategy to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.

In fact, several studies associate sufficient sleep with weight loss.

One 10-year study linked sleeping fewer than 6 hours per night to a higher risk of obesity among young women (10Trusted Source).

Another small study showed that getting 1 less hour of sleep per night led to less fat loss in people following a low-calorie diet, compared with a control group (11Trusted Source).

Other research indicates that a lack of sleep may contribute to alterations in hunger hormones, increased appetite, and a higher risk of obesity (12Trusted Source).

Although everyone needs a different amount of sleep, most studies tie at least 7 hours of sleep per night to the most benefits for weight management and overall health (13Trusted Source).

To support a healthy sleep cycle, stick to a regular sleep schedule, limit your intake of caffeine in the evening, and minimize your use of electronic devices before bed.

Going to bed a bit earlier or setting your alarm clock a little later is a simple strategy to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.

In fact, several studies associate sufficient sleep with weight loss.

One 10-year study linked sleeping fewer than 6 hours per night to a higher risk of obesity among young women (10Trusted Source).

Another small study showed that getting 1 less hour of sleep per night led to less fat loss in people following a low-calorie diet, compared with a control group (11Trusted Source).

Other research indicates that a lack of sleep may contribute to alterations in hunger hormones, increased appetite, and a higher risk of obesity (12Trusted Source).

Although everyone needs a different amount of sleep, most studies tie at least 7 hours of sleep per night to the most benefits for weight management and overall health (13Trusted Source).

To support a healthy sleep cycle, stick to a regular sleep schedule, limit your intake of caffeine in the evening, and minimize your use of electronic devices before bed.

Although it may seem counterintuitive, increasing your intake of healthy fats may prevent weight gain.

Another review linked diets enriched with olive oil to greater reductions in body weight and belly fat compared with diets without olive oil (15Trusted Source).

What’s more, increased intake of trans fats — a type of fat often found in fried or processed foods — is associated with increased long-term weight gain (16Trusted Source).

Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds are just a few examples of nutritious fat that can benefit your health.

Keep in mind that healthy fat is still high in calories, so it’s important to moderate your intake. Instead of eating more fat overall, try swapping fried foods, processed ingredients, and refined oils for the healthy varieties above.

Swapping out sugary drinks for healthier selections is one of the easiest ways to promote long-term, sustainable fat loss.

For example, sugar-sweetened beverages like soda are often packed with calories and offer little nutritional value. Alcohol is also high in calories and may lower inhibitions, which may increase your risk of overeating (17Trusted Source).

Studies have associated drinking both sugar-sweetened beverages and alcohol with a higher risk of excess belly fat (18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).

Instead, opt for calorie-free beverages like water or green tea

According to one small study in 14 young men, drinking 1 pint (570 mL) of water before a meal increased feelings of fullness, reduced hunger, and decreased the number of calories eaten during the meal (20Trusted Source).

Alternatively, green tea contains caffeine and is rich in antioxidants, both of which may help increase fat burning and metabolism (21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source).


6. Fill up on fiber

Soluble fiber — which is found in plant foods — absorbs water and moves through your digestive tract slowly, helping you feel full for longer (23Trusted Source).

According to some studies, increasing your intake of high fiber foods may protect against weight gain. These foods include fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

For example, one study in 345 people tied eating more fiber to increased weight loss and improved dietary adherence (24Trusted Source).

Another review found that increasing soluble fiber intake significantly decreased body weight and belly fat, independent of calorie intake (25Trusted Source).

7. Choose whole grains instead of refined carbs

Decreasing your intake of refined carbs may help you lose extra body fat.

During processing, refined grains are stripped of their bran and germ, resulting in a final product that’s low in fiber and nutrients.

Refined carbs also tend to have a high glycemic index (GI), which may cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels that lead to increased hunger. Still, you’re likelier to see these effects if you eat refined carbs on their own rather than as part of a balanced meal (26Trusted Source).

What’s more, studies associate diets high in refined carbs with increased belly fat over time (27Trusted Source, 28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).

Conversely, diets high in whole grains are tied to a lower body mass index (BMI) and body weight, plus a smaller waist circumference (30Trusted Source).

Aim to replace refined carbs from pastries, processed foods, pastas, white breads, and breakfast cereals with whole grains like whole wheat, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, and oats.

Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, is one of the most common forms of exercise. It’s any type of exercise that specifically trains the heart and lungs.

Adding cardio to your routine may be one of the most effective ways to enhance fat burning and weight loss.

For example, one review of 15 studies tied increased aerobic exercise to decreased belly fat in middle-age women (31Trusted Source).

Other studies have found that aerobic exercise may increase muscle mass and decrease belly fat, waist circumference, and body fat (32Trusted Source, 33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source).

Most research recommends 150–300 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise per week, or roughly 20–40 minutes of cardio each day (35Trusted Source).

Running, walking, cycling, and swimming are just a few examples of cardio workouts.

The caffeine in coffee stimulates your central nervous system, increases metabolism, and boosts the breakdown of fatty acids (36Trusted Source).

Caffeine has also been shown to enhance fat burning during aerobic exercise, particularly for those who are untrained or sedentary (37Trusted Source).

One large review of 12 studies associated increased coffee intake with a lower risk of obesity, especially for men. Another study including 2,623 people linked higher caffeine intake to a higher rate of success with weight loss maintenance (38Trusted Source, 39Trusted Source).

To maximize the health benefits of coffee, avoid adding large amounts of cream and sugar. Instead, enjoy it black or with a small splash of milk.

Studies show that HIIT is incredibly effective at ramping up fat burning and promoting sustainable weight loss.

One review found that doing HIIT 3 times weekly for an average of 10 weeks significantly reduced body fat mass and waist circumference (40Trusted Source).

What’s more, HIIT required 40% less training time commitment than moderate-intensity continuous training, which includes activities like running, rowing, or using an ellipital (40Trusted Source).

According to another study, HIIT helped people burn up to 30% more calories than other types of exercise, such as cycling or jogging, in the same amount of time (41Trusted Source).

For an easy way to get started, try alternating between walking and jogging or sprinting for 30 seconds at a time. You can also cycle between exercises like burpees, pushups, or squats with short rest periods in between.

11. Add probiotics to your diet

Probiotics are a type of beneficial bacteria found in your digestive tract. In fact, these bacteria have been shown to play a role in everything from immunity to mental health (42Trusted Source).

Increasing your intake of probiotics through either food or supplements may also rev up fat burning and support long-term weight management.

One review of 15 studies showed that people who took probiotics experienced significantly larger reductions in body weight, fat percentage, and BMI compared with those who took a placebo (43Trusted Source).

Another small study showed that taking probiotic supplements helped people following a high fat, high calorie diet stave off fat and weight gain (44Trusted Source).

Certain strains of probiotics in the genus Lactobacillus may be especially effective at aiding weight and fat loss (45Trusted Source).

Taking supplements is a simple, convenient way to get in a concentrated dose of probiotics every day. Alternatively, you can eat probiotic-rich foods like kefir, tempeh, natto, kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut.

Intermittent fasting is a diet pattern that involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting.

One review on intermittent fasting examined alternate-day fasting, a method in which you alternate between days of fasting and eating normally. Over 3–12 weeks, this method reduced body weight by up to 7% and decreased body fat by up to 12 pounds (5.5 kg) (46Trusted Source).

Another small study showed that eating only during an 8-hour window each day helped decrease fat mass and maintain muscle mass when combined with resistance training (47Trusted Source).

Several types of intermittent fasting exist, including Eat Stop Eat, the Warrior Diet, the 16/8 method, and the 5:2 diet. Seek out a variation that fits your schedule, and don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you.

Conclusion

To lose body fat sustainably, it’s best to avoid crash diets and unsafe supplements.

Rather, you should incorporate healthy habits into your routine, such as eating whole grains instead of refined carbs, replacing sugary drinks with water, trying probiotics, or drinking coffee.

Be sure to pair these simple nutrition tips with a well-rounded diet and active lifestyle to promote long-lasting, sustainable fat burning.





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