How to Lose Weight Fast

Written by
The Manual Team
Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
13th March 2022

In 30 seconds

How to lose weight fast? It’s complex. Losing weight can be difficult and keeping it off even harder. Instead of falling for fad diets that sell themselves on immediate results, focus on sustainable lifestyle interventions that not only help you lose weight, but boost your overall health. Physical activity, hydration, and sleep will also play an important role in your weight loss journey.

The Dangers of Losing Weight Too Quickly

Since the dawn of the weight loss industry, there have been fad diets on the market that promise miraculous results. From liquid diets to cookie diets, to — honestly — cigarette diets, the promise of a quick fix weight loss plan to shed kilos fast has been made time and time again. 

But rapid weight loss is not always the best idea. That’s because:

  • The weight might not stay off. Extreme diets are hard to sustain. While you may lose weight in the short term, keeping that weight off might not be so easy. Over 80% of people who lose a significant amount of weight will experience weight gain shortly afterwards.
  • You might be sacrificing nutrition. By severely restricting your calorie intake, you might not be getting all you need from your food. As this study showed, your consumption of important micronutrients such as vitamin C, zinc, and antioxidants may be hampered by your weight loss efforts. This study of many popular diets, such as Atkins and the DASH diet, backed up these findings. You may also experience intense hunger all the time and not feel satiated by your food.
  • You may develop gallstones. Losing weight too quickly may prevent your gallbladder from emptying properly. In addition, rapid weight loss may cause your liver to release extra cholesterol into the bile it produces. That’s one reason it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting an extreme diet. 
  • You may lose muscle mass. Several studies have shown that, along with losing fat, you may also lose skeletal muscle, which can be particularly dangerous for the elderly. Ensuring that you have sufficient protein in your diet can help offset this.
  • It may affect your metabolism. In this study of contestants of the tv show “The Biggest Loser,” the more kilos each person lost, the slower their metabolic rate was down the line. Their bodies were just not expending energy at the same rate as they used to. 
  • It may impact your mental health. Calorie restriction is linked to cortisol — also known as the stress hormone. The result, as this study explains, is that dieting can have a profound effect on psychological well-being. As recent research shows, the link between extreme dieting and anxiety is becoming more and more evident.

That being said, if you have some weight to shed, there are many reasons why this could be beneficial. It’s just important to do it safely. 

The Health Benefits of Shedding Extra Kilos

For people who are overweight — defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 25 — or struggling with obesity (a BMI of over 30), losing weight and decreasing body fat can have important health benefits, including:

  • Lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Decreasing your risk of heart disease
  • Improving the function of your organs, including your liver and pancreas
  • Affecting your cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Improving your quality of life, mobility, self-image and risk of depression
  • Possibly impacting serious health conditions like sleep apnoea and hepatitis

With that in mind, let’s have a look at how you can lose weight in a way that has a positive impact on your health.

7 Tips for Healthy, Quick Weight Loss

Here are 7 tips to kick off your weight loss journey:

1. Make sustainable changes to your eating habits 

While losing weight fast might be the goal, keeping it off should be too. Rather than adopting a fad diet with only temporary, possibly harmful, results, consider making long-term lifestyle changes. Eating a balanced, healthy diet including healthy fats, whole grains, and an array of fruits and vegetables is a good way to do this. 

It may also help to track your diet and exercise. Luckily, calorie counting has become a lot easier thanks to the number of available apps out there. Self-tracking has been shown to yield results when it comes to weight loss. 

2. Opt for a Mediterranean diet

The research has been consistent on this one. Not only is it effective as a weight loss tool, but it also has many other health benefits, from lowering blood pressure to decreasing the risk of heart disease.

Here are some pointers:

  • Make plant-based food a big part of your diet. Up your intake of fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, and whole grains.
  • Include healthy fats such as oily fish, avocado, nuts, and olive oil
  • Eat animal fats in small doses — and where possible, make that protein seafood
  • Drink water to stay hydrated. This simple act may help you on your weight loss journey. Drinking water can suppress your appetite, boost your metabolism, and help your body eliminate waste.

3. Try Intermittent Fasting (IF)

Yes, intermittent fasting appears to be the buzzword of the moment. But rather than a fly-by-night fad, research is indicating that it can have some real health benefits, including significant weight loss. As an intervention for those with Type 2 diabetes, it is showing to have promising effects on blood sugar regulation. It also appears to help with high blood pressure and cholesterol. 

IF involves eating between certain windows and fasting for the rest. There are different ways to do this:

  • 16:8 method: Fast for 16 hours a day and eat within the window of the remaining 8 hours.
  • 5:2 diet: Eat as you normally would for 5 days a week and restrict your calories to 500 a day for the other 2.
  • Alternate the days: Fast one day, eat normally the next.
  • Eat. Stop. Eat: Fast for 24 hours either once or twice a week. (You can have water, coffee, and tea when you’re fasting.)

Pro tip? Getting the nutrition you need when you are eating still matters. Try to make sure that your calorie intake is from nutritious sources rather than foods that are processed and/or full of sugar. You still have to get those veggies in. 

It’s not only about eating fewer calories. There’s evidence to suggest the timing of those eating windows matters. For example, it’s better to eat earlier, rather than late at night. That’s because our bodies are regulated by internal clocks — our circadian rhythms — that influence our sleep and how we process our food. 

It’s important to note that the research is still young and that IF may not be the right option for everyone.

4. Practice mindful eating 

Healthy eating can start by slowing down and paying attention to the experience of eating itself. This helps you get in touch with feelings of satiety, improve digestion, stave off cravings, and increase your enjoyment of food. In the long-run, it can also help you make healthier food choices. 

Take a few deep breaths before you start your meal. Try to awaken all your senses to the task. What does the food look like, smell like, feel and sound like in your mouth? And, of course, what does it taste like? 

Research has shown that mindful eating can have an important impact when it comes to changing eating behaviours. As a weight loss tool, it’s still up for debate, but it does mean cultivating a healthier relationship with your food.

5. Limit your intake of processed and sugary foods 

They contain a lot of extra calories and come short in terms of nutritional value. Alcohol is also packed with empty calories, so slowing down on the booze might not be a bad idea either.

6. Get active 

Increasing physical activity can be an important part of your weight loss program. 

Plus, it has many other benefits, such as improving muscle mass, cardiovascular fitness, and positively affecting mental health. New research shows it can also have a powerful impact on your brain, improving concentration and even strengthening your memory.

Try to get a combination of cardio and strength training to maximise the benefits. And importantly, pair your program with a healthy diet. Unfortunately, it’s usually not sufficient on its own as a weight loss method.

7. Get enough sleep 

Recent research has found that sleep may play a key role in weight loss. There are several theories why this is the case. A lack of sleep may increase our appetites, affect our metabolisms, and limit our physical activity during the day. 

Some useful tips? 

  • Schedule your sleep like you would schedule anything else in your day.
  • Don’t eat right before bed time
  • Sleep in a darkened room without your electronics

Key Takeaways

Weight loss involves a healthy diet, physical activity, and rest. The promises of fad diets are often empty and the results they do yield are usually not sustainable. Finding lifestyle solutions that can have a lasting impact on your weight — and your health is general — is the holy grail. 


How do you lose weight in a month?

Because the goal here is to lose weight sustainably, opt for solutions that can carry you through after the month is over. A combination of healthy eating habits, sleep, hydration, and aerobic exercise form the pillars of successful weight loss programs. The other thing to consider is that some people lose weight more quickly than others. Set realistic goals for yourself and be gentle along the way.

How can I lose weight in 2 weeks?

If you have a big event or beach holiday coming up, you may want to drop some kilos quickly. A combination of two of the methods outlined in this article — namely intermittent fasting and the Mediterranean diet — can prove effective for some. Cut the sugar, alcohol and processed food. You might also want to try High Intensity Interval Training to complement your dietary interventions. 


  1. From Lucky Strikes to tapeworms: 7 of the oddest weight-loss schemes of the past were also unhealthy –

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

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