Health And Wellness

5 Healthy Ways To Lose 5 Pounds Fast, According To Research

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Friends fitness training together outdoors living active healthy

Over the past year, I noticed a thickening around my stomach. I am tall and lean and am lucky that my weight is fairly constant so this thickening concerned me. At first, I attributed it to menopause and thought that I would have to live with it forever but I wasn’t too happy about that prospect so I did some research. What did I learn? My weight gain wasn’t from menopause. And I could fix it. So I did.  How to lose five pounds fast and in a healthy way is by doing these 5 things — even if it seems impossible.

Here are 5 healthy ways to lose 5 pounds fast, according to research:

1. Cut the sugar

I know, I know. Easier said than done. But seriously, if you can even reduce the sugar in your diet, the weight will fall off. I have very little sugar in my diet. Eating it makes me feel sick so I tend to avoid it. I do have to admit, however, that I have an addiction to coconut water and KIND bars. I travel a lot and they are very convenient so I consume them regularly. On average, I have 1 large bottle of coconut water and 1 KIND bar (at least) a day. The first step to my weight loss was cutting those things from my diet. I cut nothing else. I still eat Tostitos and french fries and Pad Thai. I just don’t do coconut water and KIND bars. In 2 weeks of just not eating sugar, a lot of that thick stuff around my waist evaporated.

RELATED: 10 Weight Loss Tips That Make You Gain Weight

2. Increase the fiber

A recent study showed people who added more fiber to their diet, without changing anything else, lost almost as much weight as people on a heart-healthy, low-fat eating plan — without changing anything else. Women should aim for about 25 grams of fiber a day, men 38 grams. Most Americans get half as much as that.

Why does fiber help with weight loss? Because it makes you feel fuller and you eat less. Eating a baked potato, with the skin, will keep you feeling full longer than a bag of potato chips because of the increased fiber. So how can you increase the fiber in your diet? Easy. Some foods high in fiber are legumes, peas, raspberries, avocados, pears, broccoli, and oatmeal, I added 1 cup of peas to my lunchtime meal and it made a huge difference for my mid-afternoon hunger pangs.

   

   

RELATED: The Myth Of The 'Healthy' Weight Loss Diet — And What People Should Do Instead

3. Get your heart rate up

I know. When you read this one you will just want to throw in the towel right away. Images of gym memberships and Pilates classes are enough to send you to the fridge for a pint of ice cream. Don’t be daunted. It’s not that hard to get your heart rate up. Studies show that the average person needs 30 minutes of sustained exercise 5 times a week to increase the body’s weight-burning capacity. Just 30 minutes. That’s nothing.

How about a stroll with your hubby after dinner, dancing around the living room with your kids, or walking the dog in the morning before you head out to work? Maybe even a jog with girlfriends if you feel like it. Or an evening bike ride the things that you used to do as a kid. Just do them now as an adult, for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. No gym memberships are required.

4. Sleep

Did you know that not sleeping well can have a huge effect on your weight? When we are tired in the morning, we are more likely to turn to sugar-laden lattes and pastries to wake ourselves up. And when we are groggy in the afternoon, we tend to reach for comfort food to get us through the rest of the day. Conversely, if you wake up refreshed after a good night’s sleep you tend to greet the day positively. Perhaps, a healthy breakfast and then a walk for the dog, and off you go for your day.

Photo: Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels

Lack of sleep also affects your metabolism. Your body’s ability to properly use insulin is affected, sometimes by as much as 30 percent. When this happens, your body stores fat in all of the wrong places. Not the goal. The goal is to sleep at least 7-9 hours a night. I know, you have a lot of TV to watch. But try it. See what happens if you get enough sleep. You might like it.

RELATED: 7 People Who Lost 100+ Pounds Share Their Best Weight Loss Secrets

5. Reduce stress

Did you know that stress is a killer for weight loss, even if you are eating right and exercising regularly? Why? For two reasons. The first is that the stress hormone Cortisol has been shown to increase the appetite, particularly for foods that are high in saturated fats and sugar. The other is that stress, like sleep, interferes with insulin regulation, and more of the food we eat gets turned into fat.

So look where you can reduce stress in your life. This past year my life has been very stressful. I was in a relationship that wasn’t serving me and I was suffering. Right around the time I decided to lose weight, I extracted myself from the relationship. My stress evaporated (mostly). And with it those 5 pounds! I don’t think there are many of us out there who don’t struggle with our weight in one way or another. Millions of dollars are spent on gym memberships and fad diets every year. But losing weight doesn’t have to be daunting or expensive. Try these few tweaks. See what happens. Lose those 5 pounds.

For me, the 5 pounds lost has made a world of difference. Eating those peas and taking my 30-minute walk every day are things that I look forward to because doing them feels healthy. I didn’t feel so lumpy in those summer dresses that I pulled from the back of the closet. And I had my bikini on by the pool today. I am so glad I did that research and made an effort to change. Perhaps feeling just a little bit lighter will change your life in more ways than one. Or five...

RELATED: The 10 'Golden Rules' Of How To Lose Weight In A Healthy Way

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate who works exclusively with women to help them be all they want to be. Mitzi's bylines have appeared in The Good Men Project, MSN, PopSugar, Prevention, Huffington Post, and Psych Central, among many others.

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.