Ways to Lose Weight: 36 Fast, Easy Tips

Updated: Oct. 22, 2019

If you're trying to drop a few pounds fast, these expert tips will make it easy for you to lose the weight quickly.

Write down what you eat for one week, and you will lose weight

People who keep food diaries wind up eating less food than those who don’t. And, new research suggests logging what you eat is one of the most effective and easy ways to lose weight. Just watch out for weekends: One study found people tend to consume an extra 115 calories per weekend day, primarily from alcohol and fat.

Glass of cold brew coffee and latte at cafe
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Add a little padding number of daily calories you think you’re eating

If you think you’re consuming 1,700 calories a day and don’t understand why you’re not losing weight, add about another 400 calories to your guesstimate. Research shows that even dietitians underestimate their caloric intake by more than 200 calories, while non-professional study participant underestimated by 400 calories.

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Get an online weight loss buddy to lose more weight

Researchers found that online weight-loss buddies help you keep the weight off. Those who had several friends within the online weight loss community nearly doubled the percentage of weight lost compared to those who didn’t have friends in the program.

Basic muffin recipe. Banana chocolate oatmeal chip baked muffin cake overhead

Get a weight-loss mantra

You’ve heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy? If you keep focusing on things you can’t do, like resisting junk food or getting out the door for a daily walk, chances are you won’t do them. Instead (whether you believe it or not) repeat positive thoughts to yourself. “I can lose weight.” “I will get out for my walk today.” “I know I can resist the pastry cart after dinner.” Using meditation can be another tool—mindfulness meditation was shown to help reduce binge eating and emotional meaning.

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After breakfast, stick to water

At breakfast, go ahead and drink a half cup of orange juice. But throughout the rest of the day, focus on water instead of juice or soda. The average American consumes an extra 145 calories a day from soft drinks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s nearly 53,000 calories a year—or 15 pounds! And research shows that despite the calories, sugary drinks don’t trigger a sense of fullness the way that food does.

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Eat three fewer bites of your meal

…or one less treat a day, or one less glass of orange juice. Doing any of these can save you about 100 calories a day, and that alone is enough to prevent you from gaining the two pounds most people mindlessly pack on each year. Here are 10 weight loss tricks that have nothing to do with diet or exercise.

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Watch one less hour of TV

A study found the more that study participants watched television, the more they ate—and the more unhealthy food choices they made. Sacrifice one program (there’s probably one you don’t really want to watch anyway) and go for a walk instead—in even just 15 minutes, you’ll reap some amazing benefits from walking.

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Wash something thoroughly once a week

Whether that’s a floor, a couple of windows, the shower stall, bathroom tile, your car, a 150-pound person will burn about four calories for every minute spent cleaning. Scrub for 30 minutes and you could work off approximately 120 calories, the same number in a half-cup of vanilla frozen yogurt.

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Wait until your stomach rumbles before you reach for food

It’s stunning how often we eat out of boredom, nervousness, habit, or frustration—so often, in fact, that many of us have actually forgotten what physical hunger feels like. (In fact, 38 percent of people surveyed said they’d eaten unhealthily to deal with stress in the past month.) If you’re hankering for a specific food, it’s probably a craving, not hunger. If you’d eat anything you could get your hands on, chances are you’re truly hungry. Learn how to recognize these feelings mistaken for hunger, then find ways other than eating to express love, tame stress, and relieve boredom. But talk to your doctor if you think you’re always hungry for a medical reason.

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Eat in front of mirrors and you’ll lose weight

One study found that eating in front of mirrors slashed the amount people ate by nearly one-third. Having to look yourself in the eye reflects back some of your own inner standards and goals, and reminds you of why you’re trying to lose weight in the first place.

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Spend ten minutes a day walking up and down stairs

Walking of any kind is one of the best and easy ways to lose weight, but stairs in particular work wonders for weight loss. Research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine shows that stairs training in short bursts, for two to 10 minutes a day, helps lower cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health—allowing you to train even more.

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Walk five minutes for at least every two hours

Stuck at a desk all day? A brisk five-minute walk every two hours will parlay into an extra 20-minute walk by the end of the day, and getting moving is more beneficial than a standing desk. And research shows that exercise in just five-minute spurts could help improve your health and reduce the risk of death.

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You’ll lose weight and fat if you walk 45 minutes a day, not 30

Research shows that 30 minutes of daily walking is enough to prevent weight gain in most sedentary people, but exercise beyond 30 minutes results in weight and fat loss. Burning an additional 300 calories a day with three miles of brisk walking (45 minutes should do it) could help you lose 30 pounds in a year without even changing how much you’re eating.

Cookie in plastic wrap packaging.
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Try to avoid prepared food…

… that lists sugar, fructose, or corn syrup among the first four ingredients on the label. You should be able to find a lower-sugar version of the same type of food—especially foods that often contain hidden sugars, like salad dressing or pasta sauce. Also, avoid partially hydrogenated foods, and look for more than two grams of fiber per 100 calories in all grain products. Finally, a short ingredient list means fewer flavor enhancers and empty calories. Sounds impossible, but you can actually learn how to give up sugar without missing it.

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Put your fork or spoon down between every bite

At the table, sip water frequently. Intersperse your eating with stories for your dining partner of the amusing things that happened during your day. Your brain lags your stomach by about 20 minutes when it comes to satiety (fullness) signals. If you eat slowly enough, you’ll give your gut microbiome time to alert your brain that you are no longer in need of food.

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Throw out your “fat” clothes for good

Once you’ve started losing weight, throw out or give away every piece of clothing that doesn’t fit, and fill your closet with clothes that do. The idea of having to buy a whole new wardrobe if you gain the weight back may serve as an incentive to stay fit.

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Close the kitchen for 12 hours

After dinner, wash all the dishes, wipe down the counters, turn out the light, and, if necessary, tape closed the cabinets and refrigerator. Late-evening eating increases the overall number of calories you eat, studies found.

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Walk right after dinner and you’ll trigger more weight loss

A small study found that walking right after you eat can increase weight loss over holding off on a walk for an hour. Here are 13 quick weight loss tips from nutrition pros.

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Make one social outing this week an active one

Pass on the movies and check out the views of a local park instead. Not only will you sit less, but you’ll be saving calories because you won’t chow down on that bucket of popcorn. Other active ideas: a tennis match, a guided nature or city walk (check your local listings), a bike ride, and bowling.

Person checking step counter on fitness tracker
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Use a step tracker, and aim for an extra 1,000 steps a day

Are you feeling like you need to move more? On average, sedentary people take only 2,000 to 3,000 steps a day. Adding 2,000 steps will help you maintain your current weight and stop gaining weight; adding more than that is one of the easy ways to lose weight—and the 10,000 step ideal is definitely in your reach.

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Use smaller plates and you’ll eat smaller portions

Instead using regular dinner plates that range these days from 10 to 14 inches (making them look empty if they’re not heaped with food), serve your main course on smaller salad plates (about 7 to 9 inches wide). Instead of 16-ounce glasses and oversized coffee mugs, return to the old days of 8-ounce glasses and 6-ounce coffee cups. That will discourage you from stuffing your plate—and your stomach.

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Eat 90 percent of your meals at home

You’re more likely to eat more—and eat more high-fat, high-calorie foods—when you eat out than when you eat at home. Restaurants today serve such large portions that many have switched to larger plates and tables to accommodate them. And research shows that food prepared at home is usually nutritionally better than that restaurant meal.

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Don’t eat with a large group

A study found that we tend to eat more when we eat with other people, most likely because we spend more time at the table. But eating with your significant other or your family, and using table time for talking in between chewing, can help cut down on calories.

Healthy salad with buckwheat, chicken, broccoli, crispy kale and red cabbage

Order the smallest portion of everything

If you’re out and ordering a sub, get the six-inch sandwich. Buy a small popcorn, a small salad, a small hamburger. Again, studies find we tend to eat what’s in front of us, even though we’d feel just as full on less.

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Eat water-rich foods and you’ll eat fewer calories overall

A body of research out of Pennsylvania State University finds that eating water-rich foods such as zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers during meals reduces your overall calorie consumption. Other water-rich foods include soups and salads. You won’t get the same benefits by just drinking your water, though (but you will get other benefits of staying hydrated). Because the body processes hunger and thirst through different mechanisms, it simply doesn’t register a sense of fullness with water (or soda, tea, coffee, or juice).

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Bulk up your meals with veggies

You can eat twice as much pasta salad loaded with veggies like broccoli, carrots, and tomatoes for the same calories as a pasta salad sporting just mayonnaise. Same goes for stir-fries, omelets, and other veggie-friendly dishes. If you eat a 1:1 ratio of grains to veggies, the high-fiber veggies will help satisfy your hunger before you overeat the grains. Bonus: Fiber is highly beneficial for preventing constipation, which can make you look bloated.

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Avoid white foods

There is some scientific legitimacy to today’s lower-carb diets: Large amounts of refined carbohydrates from white flour and added sugar can wreak havoc on your blood sugar and lead to weight gain. Limit your intake of sugar, white rice, and white flour; swap them for whole-grain breads and brown rice. Several studies have found that eating more whole grains makes you more likely to weigh less.

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Switch to ordinary coffee

Fancy coffee drinks from trendy coffee joints often pack several hundred calories, thanks to whole milk, whipped cream, sugar, and sugary syrups—and nearly 67 percent of us prefer our coffee with some sort of high-calorie add-ins. A cup of regular coffee with skim milk has just a small fraction of those calories. And when brewed with good beans, it tastes just as great.

Chips and Dip
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Enjoy high-calorie treats as the accent, not the centerpiece

Eating dessert every day can be good for you, as long as you don’t overdo it. Make a spoonful of ice cream the jewel and a bowl of fruit the crown. Cut down on the chips by pairing each bite with lots of chunky, filling fresh salsa, suggests Jeff Novick, director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa in Florida. Balance a little cheese with a lot of fruit or salad.

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Eat high-fiber cereal for breakfast

One study found that people who ate oat- or bran-based cereals had a lower risk of obesity compared with those who did not. While people who eat fiber-rich cereals may have other habits that also help prevent obesity, those types of cereal also deliver more fiber and nutrients—and fewer calories—than  other breakfast foods. Make oatmeal, or pour out a high-fiber, low-sugar cereal like Total or Grape Nuts.

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Try hot sauce, salsa, and Cajun seasonings

They provide lots of flavor with few calories, plus they turn up your digestive fires, causing your body to temporarily burn a few more calories. Choose them over butter and creamy or sugary sauces.

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Eat fruit instead of drinking fruit juice

For the calories in one kid-size box of apple juice, you can enjoy an apple, orange, and a slice of watermelon. These whole foods will keep you satisfied much longer than that box of apple juice, so you’ll eat less overall. And research has shown that there’s no difference in the impact on your body between drinking fruit juice and drinking a soda or other sugary drink.

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Snack on a small handful of nuts

Studies have found that overweight people who ate a moderate-fat diet containing almonds lost more weight than a control group that didn’t eat nuts. Snacking once or twice a day is one of the easy ways to lose weight that helps stave off hunger and keeps your metabolism stoked. You can also pack up baby carrots or your own trail mix with the healthiest nuts you can eat, plus raisins, seeds, and dried fruit.

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Get most of your calories before noon

Studies find that the more you eat in the morning, the less you’ll eat in the evening. And you have more opportunities to burn off those early-day calories than you do to burn off dinner calories.

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Brush your teeth after every meal, especially dinner

That clean, minty freshness will serve as a cue to your body and brain that mealtime is over. Here are 7 mind tricks to stop emotional eating.

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Serve food in courses

Instead of piling everything on one plate, bring food to the table in individual courses. For the first two courses, bring out soup or veggies such as a green salad or the most filling fruits and vegetables. By the time you get to the more calorie-dense foods, like meat and dessert, you’ll be eating less or may already be full.