Let’s get one thing straight from the outset – whether you just want to lose a few pounds or get ripped to the bone, diet and exercise are the key. You need to eat less and move more to create a caloric deficit.
Faced with a calorie shortfall, your body will have no choice but to start burning fat for fuel. The larger the deficit, the more fat you’ll burn, but most people should aim for around 1-2 pounds per week. More than that is usually unsustainable.
No deficit? Then your body has no need to use stored fat for energy.
That said, if you are exercising regularly and following a sensible reduced-calorie diet, there may be a few more things that you can do that will speed up fat loss. Some of these methods are definitely a little on the weird side, but if you want to maximize your progress, these strategies could help.
Remember, though, that these are NOT shortcuts that cancel out the need to eat healthily and workout regularly. Instead, think of them as the icing on your diet and workout cake.
- 10 Weird Ways to Speed Up Fat Loss
- 10 Weird Ways to Speed Up Fat Loss
10 Weird Ways to Speed Up Fat Loss
Want to lose weight and burn fat faster? Try these weird tips, tricks, and strategies!
1. Eat off smaller plates
Losing fat invariably means eating smaller meals. But, when you see your smaller meal on a regular-sized plate, you’ll probably feel hungrier than usual. After all, it’s a stark reminder that you are on a diet, and diets are inextricably linked to feelings of deprivation and hunger.
You can trick your brain into thinking you are eating more than you actually are by serving your meals on smaller plates. The meal will look more substantial and more filling (1).
You can achieve a similar effect by eating with smaller cutlery and drinking from smaller cups.
Downsize your plates, bowls, and your meals will appear bigger, and you’re less likely to feel as hungry.
2. Eat a bigger breakfast and a smaller dinner
Studies suggest that you’ll lose weight faster if you frontload your day and eat a bigger breakfast and a smaller dinner, even if actual calorie consumption remains the same. High protein foods are especially good for boosting your early morning metabolic rate.
This is not a new idea, and it’s long been said that you should “breakfast like a king and eat dinner like a pauper.”
After a night of sleep, your body has used most of its glycogen, and your body is in dire need of energy and nutrients. As such, it’s more likely to make use of the influx of calories first thing in the morning.
In contrast, your last meal of the day comes before relaxing and then going to bed for 6-8 hours. Your body doesn’t really need and cannot make use of all those dinnertime calories.
So, by eating a more substantial breakfast and a lighter dinner, you’re simply giving your body what it needs according to what you are about to do.
3. Eat in front of a mirror
It’s all too easy to fall off the diet wagon when you eat alone. After all, who’s going to pull you up when you have an unplanned dessert or an extra snack or two? But studies suggest that eating in front of a mirror makes people more accountable and less likely to cheat on their diets (3).
It seems that watching yourself eat works much the same way as eating in front of a judgmental dining partner and helps to reinforce accountability. You could also use your smartphone or tablet and record yourself eating.
4. Spice up your meals
A lot of people mistakenly think that healthy eating, especially for fat loss, has to be boring. That’s just not true. You can add herbs and spices to your meal to make them taste amazing, even if you are eating less or avoiding high-calorie ingredients. After all, herbs and spices are very low in calories, and many are actually calorie-free.
And herbs and spices don’t just taste good; they can also enhance fat loss, too!
Hot spices such as chili, cayenne pepper, curry powder, and black pepper are thermogenic, which means they increase your metabolic rate, so you burn more calories at rest. Studies also reveal that people tend to eat less spicy food than bland food (4).
You can add spices to every meal you eat – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – but be warned that overdoing it could lead to heartburn and indigestion. So, start with small amounts and increase as your tolerance improves.
5. Sit less and stand more
Sitting is one of the most energy-efficient things you can do. Your weight is almost entirely supported by your chair, and most of us are very good at relaxing when we’re seated. As a result, metabolic rates tend to fall when sitting. Most people spend most of their days sitting down, and the associated low energy expenditure associated with sitting makes weight loss and fat burning more difficult.
The simple solution is to try and sit less and stand more. Standing involves more muscular work, so you burn more calories doing it.
So, look for ways to stand more often. For example, invest in a standing desk, stand up to take phone calls, stand up on public transport, stand up at the coffee shop instead of lounging in a chair…you get the picture.
Better yet, try and walk more, which has an even higher caloric cost.
If you tend to spend long periods sitting, set an alarm on your phone to sound every hour or so. Even a minute or two of additional movement will help boost your metabolism.
Sitting less and standing more could help you burn an additional couple of hundred calories per day, which might not sound like much, but in the battle against body fat, every little helps!
6. Turn down the temperature
Your body uses a lot of energy maintaining a relatively constant body temperature. Unless you have a fever, the average human core temperature is 98.6°F or 37°C. You sweat to cool down and shiver to warm up.
Working and especially sleeping in a cooler room forces your body to work a little harder than usual to maintain your normal temperature, which results in an increase in resting energy expenditure (6).
That doesn’t mean you should head to the nearest walk-in freezer and start shivering yourself slimmer!
Instead, just turn down the thermostat a few degrees so you feel slightly cooler than usual. As you get used to the cooler temperature, you can turn the heat down a little more. Ideally, your room should be at around 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Take a photo of everything you eat
A lot of people have no real idea of how much food they eat. They consume food mindlessly and often eat far more food than they realize. This includes main meals and unplanned snacks.
Needless to say, such unbridled eating is bound to interfere with fat burning and weight loss
Make yourself more accountable by taking photos of everything you eat – both meals and snacks. This will a) draw your attention to the type and quantity of the food you eat, b) increase dietary accountability, and c) make you more mindful of your meals and snacks (7).
Make this strategy even more effective when you send your photos to a trusted friend, telling them to give your meals a score out of five – five being perfect, one being terrible. Needless to say, you should be trying to score fives across the board every day of the week!
Give them permission to admonish and reprimand you for any poor meals or mealtimes when you fail to send them a picture of what you’re eating.
8. Eat soup before your main meals
Eating less is part and parcel of losing weight. But, and especially if you enjoy sitting down to a hearty meal, this is often easier said than done. Once you start eating, it can be hard to stop.
Studies reveal that consuming a bowl of soup before starting your main meal can reduce hunger, leading to a smaller post-soup meal (8).
Soup is easy to make, hydrating, and can be very nutritious. When made from vegetables, it is very low in calories. However, it’s also very filling. Starting your main meal when you already feel partially satiated means you won’t want to eat as much, and you’ll consume fewer calories, leading to faster fat loss.
9. Watch less TV
The more TV someone watches, the more likely they are to be overweight or obese (9), and the average person watches a staggering five hours of TV per day.
Watching TV is a very passive activity. Your metabolic rate declines noticeably when you are chilling out in front of the television. Plus, most people watch TV seated – and sitting is another metabolism killer. A lot of people also like to eat while watching TV.
So, instead of relaxing (and probably eating) in front of the TV at night, do ANYTHING other than watch whatever junk you have been tuning out to. Instead, do something more active and productive.
- Go for a stroll around the neighborhood
- Walk your dog
- Do some cleaning
- Do some gardening
- Play active videogames, e.g., Wii
- Play with your kids
- Do some chores
- Prepare tomorrow’s meals
- Work out
- Go bowling
Anything that involves a modicum of movement will be better for fat loss than watching TV!
10. Get a good night’s sleep
Sleeping more can seem counterinitiative for fat loss. After all, your metabolism slows right down when you sleep, so less time sleeping and more time awake should mean you burn more calories per day, right?
It turns out that getting less than 5-6 hours of sleep per night is a significant risk factor for weight gain and obesity. Sleep deprivation increases cravings for sugar and carbs, undermines your willpower, makes it harder to work out, increases insulin resistance, and reduces your resting metabolic rate.
In contrast, getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night is commonly associated with less stress and lower cortisol, enhanced fat burning, increased muscle mass, and better body composition. And contrary to popular opinion, your body actually burns quite a lot of calories while you sleep.
Sleep is not as passive as many people believe. So, while you dream the night away, your body is pretty busy repairing your muscles and carrying out other essential metabolic functions.
10 Weird Ways to Speed Up Fat Loss
There is no escaping the need to exercise more and eat less to burn fat and lose weight. They are pretty much inescapable!
That said, exercise and diet aren’t the only weapons you have in the battle against body fat, and it turns out there are several additional things you can do to speed up fat loss.
So, once you’ve got a handle on your fat loss diet and workouts, try putting these ten strategies into action, and remember that every little helps. For example, even if each one only amounts to an extra 30-50 calories, that’s an additional 300-500 calories per day or about a pound per week.
Combined with your diet and exercise plan, this additional caloric expenditure will mean that you reach your fat loss goals considerably sooner than you would without them. And, despite being a little on the weird side, each one is backed by science to work.
1 – PubMed: Plate-Size Induced Consumption Norms and Win-Win Solutions for Reducing Food Intake and Waste https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24341317/
2 – PubMed: High Caloric Intake at Breakfast Vs. Dinner Differentially Influences Weight Loss of Overweight and Obese Women https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23512957/
3 – SSRN.com: The Influence of Mirror Induced Self-Awareness on Taste Perceptions https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2689382
4 – PubMed: Dietary Capsaicin and Its Anti-Obesity Potency https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5426284/
5 – Harvard Health Publishing: Stand More, Burn (Slightly) More Calories https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/stand-more-burn-slightly-more-calories
6 – PubMed: Temperature-Acclimated Brown Adipose Tissue Modulates Insulin Sensitivity in Humans https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24954193/
7 – PubMed: Weight Loss Following Use of a Smartphone Food Photo Feature: Retrospective Cohort Study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6592399/
8 – PubMed: Soup preloads in a variety of forms reduce meal energy intake https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2128765/
9 – PubMed: Effect of Television on Obesity and Excess of Weight and Consequences of Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4555288/
10 – PubMed: Insufficient Sleep Undermines Dietary Efforts to Reduce Adiposity https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2951287/