Overheard at the office coffee machine: “Can onion and Colgate really get rid of belly fat? Really? Awesome! I’m going to try it tonight!” Cue silent cringe and incredulous back-at-desk Googling. Turns out, yes, there is a growing belief that the combination of toothpaste (specifically, Colgate) and onion works to burn belly fat. Fast!
This quick myth busting post is us doing our part to stop this nonsense before it becomes a real thing.
How to Prepare the Onion and Colgate “Remedy”
Thankfully, the concoction is not made for eating. Preparation is simple: chop or blend some onion into tiny pieces and place in a bowl. Squeeze Colgate toothpaste into the onion and mix well to form a poultice. Rub the mixture onto your belly, applying a generous layer. Leave on the skin for 15 minutes, before rinsing it off with water. Repeat the procedure daily until your belly becomes flat and firm. First results are said to be noticeable within 24 hours.
What is the Rationale?
According to the people promoting this amazing fat burning solution, it works because “something” in the onion reacts with “something” in the Colgate to form “something” which penetrates the skin. Once under the skin, the thing homes in on visceral and subcutaneous belly fat cells and DESTROYS them. They say you know it is working when you feel a tingling sensation even after you wash the goop off your skin.
Why do People Believe this?
Maybe, since many so-called “Slimming Creams” are sold by reputable establishments, a great many people actually believe that it is possible to burn fat with topical lotions. Most of these commercially available creams contain at least one ingredient (often cayenne) which causes skin tingling. Since toothpaste causes a similar tingling or burning sensation, by a certain shaky logic, it too should be able to burn fat through skin.
What about the onion? Perhaps, it lends a certain homey charm and pungency to enhance the placebo effect. Unlike, say, carrots, onions just seem more, well, medicinal. We think fewer people would be taken in by this marvelous fat-zapping ointment if the remedy was just spreading unadulterated toothpaste on your belly. They might wonder why fat lips don’t get thinner when people brush their teeth with Colgate!
So, DIY Colgate and Onion Ointment Doesn’t Work?
To be clear: Onion and Colgate does not burn belly fat overnight or over day or ever. Whilst it is probably harmless to spread minced onion and toothpaste on your skin (unless you have an allergic reaction), there is no way for it to burn your belly fat, or any fat. Invasive surgical methods aside, the only way to reduce belly fat is to do so from within, by the natural process of metabolism. In other words, eat fewer calories than you use.
How is it possible to lose weight fast in 2 weeks at home, whilst doing things that come somewhat naturally? Believe it or not, there are real ways to achieve surprisingly fast weight loss without resorting to fad diets or outright starvation!
Many people want to get rid of fat fast, and a two week period seems intuitively long enough to achieve real results, yet short enough to withstand the discomfort of calorie restriction. The good news is that most people will lose between 500 grams and one kilo per week (rapid weight loss) by cutting their normal daily calories by a third. For most people, doing the things on this list will do just that.
Here are 7 things you can do to Lose Weight Fast:
Call it a diet or a quiet adjustment, but you will need to eat less. No amount of extra exercise will make you lose weight fast in two weeks. Only calorie restriction is going to work. This is because two weeks is not nearly enough time for your body to adjust its BMR meaningfully.
Reduce, or better yet, banish sugar from tea and coffee. In fact, get rid of all types of obvious sources of sugar. Don’t drink sugary soft drinks. Avoid confectionery and “sugar-frosted” breakfast cereals. Skip things like Nutella and glazed doughnuts.
For fast weight loss, you are going to have to cut carbs. Aim for a reduction of at least one third of your normal carbohydrate intake. This means actually putting your usual portion of, say, spaghetti on your plate, then scooping a third of it out again. Used to a two-slices of bread sandwich every day? Change that to a one-slice open sandwich. Usually enjoy a large baked potato with butter? Swap it for a small baked potato with butter instead.
Two weeks is a reasonable period to avoid alcohol altogether, so try to skip your usual libation for the full 14 days. Choosing not to drink your weekend or weekday tipple will make a significant difference to your calorie count.
Fat is a high calorie foodstuff, so reduce your intake. You should not avoid it altogether because it is part of a balanced diet, but you can opt for low-fat variants of your favourite foods. For example, swapping skim or lite for normal milk will help you to reach that 30% calorie reduction over two weeks.
Increase your water intake by about 30% over the two week period. Besides all of the health benefits which will flow from becoming better hydrated, you will feel less hungry. Regular sips from a bottle of water or cup of green tea throughout the day in between meals will keep you digestive system occupied.
By far the fastest way to lose weight fast is to get rid of excess body water. You can reduce your own natural water retention in two weeks by eating less salt. The sodium in salt affects the amount of water which your body keeps in your tissues. Each litre of water in your body weighs one full kilogram, so a natural, healthy reduction in fluid retention is an excellent way to lose weight fast.
And that’s how to lose weight fast in 2 weeks. Yes, there is nothing unexpected in the above list. Everything here is probably something you have heard before. Guess why that is? Because at the end of the day, weight management comes down to some pretty basic principles. Whether you knuckle down to a 1500 calorie diet plan or get yourself a specific calorie calculation, the only way to lose weight is to achieve your calorie deficit.
We need to know how to lose weight fast, because sometimes the urge rushes over us and we must suddenly just do something about excess fat. Too much body fat is bad for your health, you know it! This list is for times like now, when we want fast, sensible, evidence-based action tips we can follow right now, this minute! Still reading the intro? Stop reading the intro! Get onto it!
1. Get Real
Real weight loss demands real commitment and real action. You cannot score when you are sitting on the bench or relegated to the sin bin. A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. You’ve heard all the tropes before, but hard truths are cliché for a reason. The first way to lose weight fast is to want to lose weight so badly, that you act. The initial fire and determination won’t last but solid planned and prepared action will. Do Number One and Number Two and any five others from this list to lose weight fast*.
2. Record What you Eat to Lose Weight Fast
Whether or not you go on a diet, or actively count calories with our tracker, or consciously make food calorie choices, you should record your meals. Write everything you eat in a personal food diary. It is not hard to do and you don’t need to use it for the rest of your life. Keeping a food diary is just about the only uncontested, incontrovertible, rock-solid, proven way to sustainably lose weight fast. After a few days of diligently recording yourself, you will lead yourself to lower calories. No celebrity lifestyle coach required.
3. Feel the Burn! Eat Capsaicin Often
Spicy food which contains capsaicin (the spicy thing in chili peppers) will help you to lose weight faster than otherwise. As with many of the other tips on this list, there is scientific evidence both for and against the weight-loss effect of capsaicin. Even if spicy food does not chemically “burn fat” or speed your metabolism if it is spicy enough you will naturally eat less food. This is because you are likely to eat slower and sip water in between mouthfuls, so you will feel fuller faster.
4. Cut the Cheese
Cheese is high calorie concentrated milk which adds big-time calories to everyday food like sandwiches, pizza, and pasta. Cut cheese out fast to lose weight fast. It is an entirely avoidable food. Get your macros and calcium elsewhere. Cheese is not your friend when you are trying to cut the kilos.
5. Fibre is Your Friend
The defining feature of dietary fibre is its toughness. It is tough to chew, tough to break down in the stomach, and tough to digest in the intestines. It is so tough, that we need help from friendly gut bacteria, which symbiotically live inside of us, munching on the tough fibre we eat. That fibre soaks up water and takes a long time and a lot of energy to digest. For all the while it lingers inside, it occupies space that might otherwise be filled with pies and cheesecake. For this reason alone, replace soft food with fibre-rich food to lose weight fast.
6. Want to Lose Weight Fast? Then Drink up!
Water and water-based drinks are an obvious solution for the incessant consumer of small snacks. There is a good reason that study after study reveals that people who constantly sip water throughout the day lose weight faster than people who do not. Yes, water is essential for life and will promote health in a myriad of ways, but its most important function from a weight-loss perspective is the space it takes up. When you start sloshing around with a bellyful of water, you are less likely to reach for the bikkies. One ham sandwich seems to fill the gap where before two did the job. That sneaky second serve of risotto becomes less desirable. Drink water to trick your stomach and fool your lizard brain.
7. Break your Routine
First, look at your excess weight, then come to a logical understanding: the choices you have made have led to this situation. So, make different choices to end the situation and create a new, better one. Different choices mean doing different things, and doing different things means breaking old routines and leaving timeworn comfort zones. Wake up earlier and go to bed earlier. Stop ordering delivery food and start cooking more. Stop eating high calorie snacks and start eating low calorie snacks.
8. Feel the Morning Sun on your Skin
There is good evidence that people who get some sun in the morning lose weight faster than those who do not. Maybe it is because of more Vitamin D, or maybe the sun has an effect of making a healthier circadian rhythm, or maybe morning sunbathers are just more active. For whatever the reason, it works. A quick walk around the block on a sunny morning can only do you good.
9. Ditch Desserts
Unless you are a medieval king or queen entertaining errant knights at a round royal banquet table, dessert should not be a thing you do. The whole concept of a meal being comprised of more than one “course” should be scrubbed from your worldview. Desserts are a cruel sweet trap for people who want to lose weight fast. Black coffee or lemon water does the job of rounding out the palate just as well as any sickly-sweet treat. Eradicate the nasty anachronistic dessert custom without mercy. If some unsavvy person offers one, decline with a cold stare and perhaps an under-breath mutter “I don’t do desserts”.
10. Use Smaller Plates
Perhaps amazingly, this simple trick works to fool your brain into thinking that you have had enough. Without over-thinking it, serve your normal everyday food on smaller plates and bowls. You don’t need to try hard to put less food on the smaller plate. In fact, for the first few days, make a conscious effort to heap it up higher than you would with your normal plate. After a while, you will naturally and painlessly start eating less. Combined with other strategies, using a smaller plate is a sure-fire way to lose weight fast.
11. Not Hungry? Then Don’t Eat
If, for whatever reason, you do not feel hungry when you usually eat a meal or snack, don’t eat. Sometimes, skipping a regular snack or extending the time between meals has a powerful positive effect on your body’s metabolism. There is usually a good physical reason why you do not feel hungry: you don’t need food right now. When you don’t need food in the moment, your body finds a way to store it for when you need it later. When that later needed moment does not come, you get fat. We humans are not battery-driven machines which require a set amount of charge over a specific period to function at optimal capacity. Instead, “listen” to what your body is telling you and don’t eat when you are not hungry.
12. Eat Salad or Fruit before your Main Meal
Low-calorie, fibre-rich food like leafy salads, steamed greens, and peel-on apples are a good addition to your main meal. Thoughtfully chew the lightly dressed salad or the raw fruit to get the digestion juices flowing and your satiety signals firing up before you tuck into your meat and potatoes. You will find it much easier to stick to whatever pre-planned meal portion has been laid out in front of you. If, afterwards you still feel hungry, eat more salad with no dressing before you leave the table.
13. Take the Stairs
Climbing stairs is a wonderful exercise which strengthens leg and back muscles whilst giving you a good cardio workout. It is just the type of quick, exertion activity that gives the metabolism a jolt like a high intensity workout. One of the fundamentals of losing weight fast is to somehow increase one’s Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Climbing stairs regularly will force your body to prepare for future climbs by increasing BMR. Best of all, if you work or live in a multi-story building you can gradually integrate regular stair climbing into your lifestyle. No special kit required!
14. Drink Coffee
Several credible studies have shown that coffee drinkers lose weight faster than people who abstain from the roasted bean. (Note that milky coffee will have the opposite effect, we are talking about the pure stuff here!) In addition to the filling effect of any low-calorie drink, the caffeine in coffee causes an elevated heart rate and thus greater energy burn. It is also possible that other chemical constituents of coffee serve to stimulate the metabolism. To top it off, coffee has a diuretic effect, making it easier to lose water weight.
15. Wear Casual Clothes
Yes, its true, people who look as though they are dressed for exercise tend to exercise more. It is a simple truth that you will be less inclined to take the stairs, trot down to the corner shop, or run for the bus when you are dressed in your formal best. If you make a habit of wearing comfortable, flexible clothing you will find yourself being more active than otherwise. If possible, opt for T shirt and jeans rather than a business suit, and keep Casual Fridays sacred.
16. Spray your Oil, don’t Pour it
For something that does not show up as a mouthful in your meal, cooking oil packs a serious calorie punch. When pan-frying or barbecuing, try to use as little oil as you can get away with. The aerosol spray-can oil is a better choice than using a basting brush or pouring a big glug from the bottle. Use cooking oil sparingly and consider using substitutes whenever possible.
17.Drink Straight instead of Cocktails
Light beer, neat spirits, and alcohol served on the rocks or with plain water are much less calorific than mixed drinks. The problem with cocktails is that they invariably involve sugar in large quantities. Sweet fizzy drinks mixed with alcohol combine the fast-burn calories of sugar with the powerful “hidden” calories in alcohol. Stick with a slow-sip hard liquor on the rocks instead of a large Pina Colada to lose weight fast.
18. Wear a Belt
Wearing a non-stretchy belt as part of your daily ensemble is a good idea when you are trying to lose weight. You will feel the belt biting in slightly when your abdomen expands with food and drink. Sometimes, we need a little reminder that we don’t have to finish the lunch box if we have already eaten enough. Belts with buckle-holes are the best choice, because few things are as motivational as pondering an old belt with exposed well-worn holes.
19. Eat Probiotics and Prebiotics
There is evidence to show that a flourishing gut biome promotes weight loss. What does this mean? It seems that in some cases, simply improving your gut health directly causes you to lose weight. Yes, it might also be true that the lifestyle and diet changes you make to acquire a healthy gut are the main cause of the weight loss. In either case, eating helpful live bacteria (probiotics) and food to feed said bacteria (prebiotics) will help you to lose weight fast. The best probiotics are natural yoghurts, fermented vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut, and the occasional sourdough slice. Good prebiotics for weight loss are everyday low-calorie vegetables like onions, kale and cabbage with two or three serves of beans per week.
20. Make Open Sandwiches
If you are in the habit of eating sandwiches, get into the habit of eating them open. This means that you forget the top slice and instead add a low-calorie garnish to the filling to make it pretty enough to savour. Not only will you cut the bread calories in half, but you will eat more carefully, slowing down to balance your now-delicate sandwich. You might be surprised to find that an open sandwich can be just as satisfying as a double-decker. Open sandwiches (single slice) are the real secret behind all those healthy low-calorie Instagram pics.
21. Sleep Well to Lose Weight Fast
Good, long sleep is essential when you want to lose weight fast. There is no way for your body to find a natural circadian rhythm and metabolic/hormonal balance when you are sleep-deprived and “out of sync”. Research into sleep and the endocrine system shows that people who sleep well can lose weight faster than those who get poor-quality sleep. You can get better sleep by not eating anything at least an hour before bedtime.
22. Have an Early Dinner
Having an early dinner will allow your digestion system to settle down well before bed, promoting a better night’s sleep. Early dinners also allow for an easier, snack-free period after lunch. Best of all, eating your dinner early will increase your fast time before breakfast. Growing research into intermittent fasting suggests that going without food for a 10+hour stretch triggers beneficial hormones which help you to lose weight fast.
23. Exercise in the Morning
Morning exercise beats evening exercise because you get to extend the benefit of your workout into the other active parts of your day. If you are going to work up a sweat and get the blood flowing, why not use that momentum to keep going with an active mindset, rather get ready for bed? Remember that the best weight loss effect of exercise is not the calories you burn during your workout, but how the exercise raises your BMR over time. Staying active after a good workout will signal to your body’s systems: “We need to upgrade this thing! Ratchet up that BMR!”
24. Cut your Starch in Half
If you are serious about losing weight fast, cut your starch portion in half when eating regular main meals. Whatever the starch source (rice, bread, pasta, potato, etc.), just cut the portion in half. Even if you make up the space difference on your plate with your protein source, you will end up eating far fewer calories per meal over time. For best results, replace the lost starch half-portion with an equal half-portion of fibre-rich vegetables or lean protein.
25. Don’t Stress
One of the body’s responses to stress is to release cortisol (a stress hormone) into the bloodstream. Cortisol slows your metabolism down. Slower metabolisms burn energy at a lower rate than healthy, stress-free ones, so it becomes harder to lose weight. If you want to lose weight fast, try to avoid stress. Take walks, spend quality time with friends and family, or try meditation.
26. Picture your Food
Literally taking pictures of your food will help with your weight loss goals. You don’t have to post the pictures on social media, but it could reinforce your motivation. The pictures work the same way that a food diary does, by making you more accountable to yourself. This practice works even better when you try to plate your food in an attractive arrangement. Being thoughtful when it comes to meals is a big step towards taking control of one’s calorie intake.
27. Sip Green Tea
There are scientific studies which show that the catechins (a type of antioxidant) in tea have the effect of speeding human metabolism. In addition to catechins, tea also contains caffeine, a well-known stimulant which has a positive impact on the rate of metabolism. These combined effects, together with green tea’s impressive hydration qualities, make it a great choice to sip throughout the day. Sugarless, milk-free green tea makes a zero-calorie drink which can be drunk in large quantities without bad side-effects. Have fun finding your perfect taste blend and make it a habit!
28. Avoid Artificial Sweeteners
This one is tricky, because artificial sweeteners have practically zero calories so why would you avoid them when you want to lose weight fast? Because chemistry. Artificial sweeteners are many thousands of times sweeter than natural sugar on a weight for weight basis. Your tastebuds instantly recognise this fact and respond positively, so that after a few days of using the intense artificial sweeteners, you develop a taste for incredible sweetness. Without thinking about it, you will find yourself gravitating towards all the real sugar-laden food options in front of you. You end up dodging a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee, only to get hit with a triple-glazed chocolate cronut. In case you’re wondering, yes, there are studies to support this sugar taste compensation effect.
29. Skip a Breakfast
Like all the tips on this list, this one should be followed carefully, after receiving proper medical advice. The idea behind skipping a breakfast or two per week is that your body will have gone more than ten hours between meals (assuming you don’t sleep-eat) if you can manage the skip. This time gap between meals is the aim of what is now being called “intermittent fasting”. It has been found that your body will become more efficient at burning its excess fat reserves when in a state of fast. Research seems to show that periodic fasters lose weight faster than non-fasters even when they eat the same number of calories per week.
30. Brush your Teeth Soon after Dinner
Brushing your teeth soon after dinner, rather than just before you go to bed, can nudge you towards having a snack-free evening. Late night snacks are often an easy, lazy option for when you are feeling low-energy and relaxed. Use the mood to your advantage, because who wants to have to re-brush their teeth after eating a bag of microwaved butter popcorn? Brushing your teeth early might also signal an earlier bedtime. Besides, the toothpaste’s minty aftertaste disincentivises sneaky snacking.
31. Drink Water before you Eat
The idea behind drinking a glass of water before you eat is a simple one. The water rushes into your stomach and takes up real estate and starts to stretch things out. There are stretch receptors in the stomach which signal “fullness” to the brain. These receptors cannot tell the difference between water and pancakes, so you might just feel sated enough to stop after the first syrupy hotcake.
32. Don’t Sleep in a Warm Room
The “average” person burns the equivalent of a slice of toast in calories when they sleep each night. You can turn that slice into a slice and a quarter or more if you force your body to work a little harder when you sleep. You can do this by sleeping in a cooler room than you’re used to. Your body will work harder to maintain its temperature, and over time you will use more calories and lose weight faster.
33. Eat 25 grams of Protein with Each Meal
Multiple studies demonstrate that protein makes you feel fuller than carbohydrates. This is the basis for many of the current wave of high-protein diets. You can easily take advantage of protein’s powers of satiation by simply eating more of it in comparison to your usual intake. For best results, aim for 25g of protein per meal whilst keeping to an overall calorie target. Over a couple of days, you will feel more satisfied with your meals so you will find it easier to control your calories and lose weight fast.
34. No Second Helpings
Serving yourself the right portion of food in the first place is a much better strategy than under-serving the first time around. It is a mistake to dish out a tiny portion in the hope that you will suddenly develop superhuman willpower and be satisfied with a couple of mouthfuls. Unfortunately, all you’re doing is pre-empting a justified second helping which will overcompensate and dwarf the correct food portion. Then, you will be demotivated and track back to the comfort zone of overeating. Think twice, serve once, don’t think once, and serve twice.
35. Chew. Food. Slowly. Lose Weight Fast.
Being mindful of every mouthful of food is a powerful way to control calories and lose weigh fast. Savour each bite and chew until the food seems to swallow itself. If you are in the habit of eating too quickly, try counting your chews for a couple of days. There is no right number of chews, but you will become more conscious and slower if you count each full jaw movement. The point of chewing slowly is that your digestive system will have more time to send satiety signals to your brain before you finish your meal. Slow chewers feel fuller than gulpers, so they naturally eat less and lose weight faster.
36. Don’t Eat Whilst Entertained
Eating whilst under the influence of music, television, movies, and other entertainment has been studied. The results are just about unanimous: people eat more when they are entertained. One of the main reasons seems to be that the brain works hard to process the entertainment, so it is less able to manage portion control. The feeling of having had enough to eat is drowned out by the excitement of the entertainment. Anyone who has made it to the other side of a Netflix binge and wondered where all the lollies went can relate. If you feel like snacking in front of the screen, hit the pause button.
37. Cut Sodium to Lose Water Weight
By far the fastest way to drop a kilo is to lose some water weight. “Water weight” is the weight of excess water stored in between your body tissues. Ideally, the water should be processed by the kidneys and released out of the body, but it becomes “trapped” by extra sodium and glycogen. Reducing the amount of sodium in your body, by simply eating less of it, will allow the water to flush out. It is possible to lose up to two kilograms in water weight within a week of starting a low sodium diet. A simple way to eat less sodium is to purposefully avoid processed foods. Most of the excess sodium in our modern diets comes from “hidden” sodium in processed food – read our sodium converter post to learn more.
38. Lift Heavy Weights
Remember that BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the underlying rate at which your body burns energy, and thus the ultimate driver of calorie burn. Your body needs certain types of cells to put food energy to work. Perhaps the most important type of energy burning cell is the muscle cell. Simply put, the more, bigger, and stronger muscle cells you have, the more energy you can burn. Growing muscle will also grow your BMR. One of the fastest ways to grow muscle is to do weight training. Lift heavy weights to increase BMR!
39. Five Colours per Day
Beginning each day with the intention of eating at least five different naturally coloured foods is a good way to bolster your weight loss effort. Thinking about and finding five different colours to eat will invariably make one more careful about what to eat. High-fibre, low-calorie fruit and vegetables are likely to feature prominently in a five-colour food day. “Eating the rainbow” is just another arrow in this quiver of healthy eating habits which will allow you to lose weight fast.
40. No Food After Dinner
Unlike a simple machine, the human body works in a series of biocycles, one of which is the circadian rhythm. Body cycles enable certain processes to occur at optimal times when specific internal conditions are present. For example, the brain “cleanses” and resets when we are asleep rather than when we are driving on the interstate. It would be horribly inefficient and dangerous if our brains decided to start dreaming at any given time, on a whim. New research is indicating that processing food, storing calories, and burning fat are optimised in cycles too. It seems that eating in the late hours, soon before bed, is a bad idea from a weight loss perspective. Get all your daily calories in by the end of dinner if you are serious about losing weight fast.
41. Dip into Dressing and Sauce
The condiments, sauces, gravies, and dressings of any meal are usually the most calorific components by weight. Oily dressings and sauce like mayonnaise and vinaigrette can easily turn a low-calorie meal into something like this monster Caesar Salad. The best way to enjoy sauces and dressings is to order them “on the side”, then dip judiciously. When you are done with the meal, you can look at the remaining uneaten dip and give yourself a pat on the back for dodging those calories.
42. Eat Protein when you are Hungry
Hunger is a basic, animal feeling that by nature is one of the most uncomfortable feelings possible. At a primal level, we want to satisfy our hunger as fast as possible with as much food as possible. That is why it is important to eat the type of food which sates the fastest: protein. Studies show that fewer protein calories are required to satisfy hunger compared to carbs and fat. You feel “fuller” after eating 300 calories worth of roast beef compared to downing 300 calories of cupcake. Simply put, you are less likely to overcompensate your hunger if you satisfy it with protein rather than carbohydrates.
43. Swap Dinner Starch for Vegetable
Replacing your dinner starch with vegetable could be a game-changer. Examples of ways to do this: substitute rice for cauliflower rice, noodles with konjac noodles, and mashed potato with mashed turnip. The vegetables will provide a sense of fullness which will tide you over to bedtime. The calorie shortfall will hit whilst you are asleep and less likely to snack. If you try this trick at lunch or breakfast, it will be too easy to snack a couple of hours afterwards.
44. Get Up Off that Chair
If your occupation demands that you spend hours at a time sitting down, it will be harder to lose weight fast. Even if you exercise vigorously during other parts of the day, sitting in one spot for extended time periods negatively affects your metabolism. Without getting into the details of cellular chemistry, suffice to say that your overall metabolic rate slows down if you don’t move your limbs every waking minute. In our prehistoric past, even our rest periods were dominated by movement and activity. Our bodies are designed to move constantly, so when we don’t the internal calorie burn rate slows down and muscle health deteriorates. Don’t spend more than 20 minutes sitting, even if you just stand up then sit back down, your waistline will thank you for the activity.
45. Read Every Food Label
Food labels exist to inform, so make full use of them! If you get into the habit of reading every food label before you buy and before you eat a product, you will naturally start to lose weight. Why? Because you will become more aware of your food energy and nutrition, then eat accordingly. Being informed is the basis of making food choices which suit your desired nutrition outcome. If you want to lose weight fast, you need to know what you are eating. It may seem obvious, but many people don’t appreciate that food is different, that Brand X has more calories than Brand Y, or Brand A contains twice as much sodium as Brand B. Use our Food Search Box to plan your shopping list if you prefer not to spend too much time in the supermarket.
46. Plan to Lose Weight Fast
To lose weight fast, you must plan. Planning your calorie intake is the crucial part of any diet, because as the old saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. A plan sets out your goal and the actions you must take to achieve said goal. Whether you call it a meal plan, a diet, a battle plan, a weekly menu, or whatever suits your fancy, make one. You can make a structured plan based on generally accepted formulae (like our Calorie Tracker does), or you can devise your own plan on the back of an envelope. At its most basic level, your plan should include your target body weight and your daily calorie limit. Whatever plan you come up with, dig deep, and try to execute it.
47. Don’t Give Up
Here’s a newsflash: diets usually don’t work. That does not mean that you should give up. It means that you should mix things up and keep trying. If you don’t give up, the best-case scenario is that you lose weight fast, make sustainable lifestyle changes, and your health blossoms forever. If you do give up and make no changes, the only scenario is that your weight today is the best it will ever be.
One of our members asked us what causes a hot flush, or flash, after eating? The question came through our contact form, where we invite readers to send in any topics they’d like to see us research. So, we spent a few hours to learn the causes of hot flushes that are not menopause, here is a summary of what we found:
What is a Hot Flush?
For those who have not experienced one, it can be hard to explain. Basically, it feels the way it is named: a rush of hotness that crashes through the body like a wave of boiling water. It is a sudden uncomfortable sensation of body heat, usually resulting in quick sweats and accompanied by heart palpitations and flushed skin. Hot Flashes are usually caused by hormonal changes in both women and men which affect the brain part (hypothalamus) which controls body temperature. Body temperature rises, blood vessels quickly dilate, and stress responses are stimulated.
Not Menopause, not Andropause
Hot flushes are usually associated with menopause or andropause when hormonal changes in ageing people trigger the hypothalamus to misbehave. However, the hot flashes we are writing about today are caused by neither menopause nor andropause.
Here’s an extract from the question we received:
“… my face, neck, chest and upper arms are suddenly hot and sweat pops out uncontrollably. It does not happen every time I eat but it only happens after I eat and it does not seem to be related to what I eat because sometimes its dairy meat or salad or bread. I am a bit concerned it might be hot flushes but I am still young and definitely not near menopause and besides being a bit overweight I am generally very healthy. Is there a particular food I should be concerned about?”
Now before we go any further, remember that the calcount team is not in any way shape or form medically qualified to offer health advice. We’re just sharing the results of our personal research so please consult your doctor before you take any action because of this post.
5 Triggers can Cause a Hot Flash after Eating
Unfortunately, the exact cause of a hot flush experienced after eating is unknown. The problem is that the phenomenon is hard to study because experiments and measurements would need to be made at exactly the moment of the hot flush in a controlled environment. This is difficult to do for an individual, let alone a controlled scientifically determined cohort. At this stage, the best we can do is narrow causes down to 6 triggers which have been somewhat determined:
Gustatory sweating, also known as Frey’s Syndrome is a distressing condition caused by nerve damage which affects people who have a malfunctioning parotid gland. The parotid gland is supposed to produce saliva when the nervous system signals that food is about to be chewed. However, for people suffering from Gustatory Sweating, the nerve signals go to sweat glands instead, so that sweat is produced rather than saliva. For some people, this sudden sweating is distressing and feels like a hot flush. Even thinking about food can trigger sudden sweats on the face, neck, and head.
The cause of Gustatory Sweating is usually nerve damage, which in turn is usually caused by diabetes mellitus, facial injuries (for example, through surgery), tumour growth, or a viral infection like shingles.
Unfortunately, nothing can be done to repair this nerve damage at this stage of medical advancement. The best that doctors can do is inject a type of Botox to stop the sweat glands from working temporarily.
Food Allergy and Intolerance
Whilst it is not yet well understood, there is evidence that food allergies and intolerances can cause hot flushes for some people. The hypothesis is that the body releases a stress hormone (cortisol) when undergoing an allergic reaction. This creates a hormonal imbalance which, similarly to menopause and andropause, interferes with the hypothalamus to cause a hot flash. The frustrating aspect of this hot flush trigger is that it is difficult to pinpoint because it does not happen every time the allergen is eaten. Even if the sufferer knows what they are allergic to, their internal hormonal balance influences whether a hot flush will occur.
Common avoidable food ingredients which are known to set off hot flushes in some people are: caffeine, sulphites, monosodium glutamate, and alcohol.
We mentioned earlier on in this article that diabetes can cause nerve damage which leads to Gustatory Sweating, but the disease has another aspect which can trigger hot flashes. Sometimes, after eating a sugary meal, the body releases a large amount of insulin into the blood. Insulin is a hormone which works to regulate the amount of sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream. The insulin spike causes low blood sugar, which in turn pushes the stress hormone button, which leads to a hot flush. This low blood sugar condition is known as hypoglycemia and is most associated with diabetes.
As you might expect, treatments to control diabetes can alleviate hot flushes after eating.
Some foods contain chemicals which cause blood vessels to open wide to allow blood to flow through quickly. This opening of blood vessels is known as vasodilation and chemicals which cause vasodilation are called vasodilators. When blood rushes through widened blood vessels near the skin, flushing occurs. The vasodilators can also stimulate temperature sensory cells in the skin, causing a sensation of heat. This hot flushing sensation can then trigger stress hormones and a full-blown hot flash might occur.
Normally, vasodilating foods are a good choice because they help circulation, but if they are triggering hot flushes you might want to reduce them from your diet. Common vasodilator containing foods are chilli peppers, capsicums, alcohol, chocolate, and garlic. You can read our in-depth article on garlic here.
Hot Food and Drink
Unfortunately, some people are overly sensitive to food temperature. A hot mug of tea might be just what you feel like having after coming in from a cold day outdoors, but it could trigger a hot flush. In the same way that vasodilating chemicals widen blood vessels, so does heat from any source. Hot weather, a hot bath, the sauna, or a bowl of steaming noodle soup, all cause vasodilation. As we wrote in the previous paragraph, vasodilation can start a hormonal chain reaction which results in the dreaded hot flash.
This cause of hot flushes after eating is the easiest to avoid; simply let your food and drink cool to a manageable temperature before you eat.
Conclusion – What Causes a Hot Flush after Eating
There are at least 5 possible causes of a hot flush after eating, most related to how the hypothalamus controls body temperature. Whilst there is not much that can be done about Gustatory Sweating, the other causes like Food Allergies, Hypoglycemia, and Vasodilating Foods can be addressed somewhat effectively. Remember that hormonal balance is key to the proper function of the hypothalamus, so try to reduce stress and avoid foods which irritate.
Rice starch is densely packed with calories, and it is not possible to remove the starch without destroying rice completely. Luckily though, there are ways to reduce the food energy you get from eating rice. Read on to discover 3 methods you can use to cut starch calories from rice.
Starch in Rice
The calories in rice primarily come from starch, which is one of the three major types of carbohydrates (the other two being sugar and fibre). By weight, starch makes up about 60% of uncooked rice and approximately 30% of cooked rice. When rice is cooked, each grain absorbs water so that the amount of starch is “diluted” by volume.
From a dietary perspective, starch comes in two forms: the first type is easily digested, and the second is the resistant type which cannot be digested by humans. The easily digested type of starch quickly finds its way into the bloodstream whilst the resistant type moves deep into the gut where it nourishes the “good” bacteria found there. Rice contains both digestible and resistant starch.
It is good to remove the digestible starch from rice, if you would like to eat less-fattening rice.
Cut Starch out
Carbohydrates, in the form of starch, are usually the main source of excess calories in unhealthy diets. Simply put, starch is carbs and carbs must be reduced if your aim is to sustain a calorie deficit to lose weight. Without further ado, here are the 3 methods to cut the calories you absorb from rice starch:
Method 1: Dilute your Rice
The best way to reduce the calories from rice is to eat fewer of them in the first place! You can do this by either reducing your rice portion size, or by mixing low-calorie “fillers” into your rice.
The problem with simply eating less is that you will feel less sated, both physically and mentally. The stretch receptors in your stomach will not signal to your brain that enough food has been eaten, so you will remain hungry even if you have had enough.
Trick your Stomach
The best way to trick your stomach whilst adding healthy foods to your diet is to increase your vegetable intake to compensate for the reduced rice portion. Chop up a bunch of carrots, or leafy vegetables like red cabbage or kale, cook as preferred, then mix and shake the lot into cooked rice. The vegetables and air from the mixing process will add lots of volume to the rice, so that you can eat the same “amount” whilst reducing the volume of rice.
Remember to use low-calorie vegetables or meat to dilute your rice. Crumbled cauliflower will work much better than grated potato!
Method 2: Make the Rice Starch Indigestible
Food scientists have long known that the process of cooking changes the chemistry of food in many varied ways. The way you cook and prepare rice has a big impact on the amount of digestible starch it will contain when you eat it. Prepared a specific way, it is possible to cut the amount of easily digested starch by up to 50% for some rice types. Here’s how:
Add Coconut Oil
Add two teaspoons of coconut oil to every cup of raw rice you cook. The oil must be added to the rice from the start of the actual cooking process, so that they cook together. Some of the oil will bind with some of the starch in the rice, changing its chemical content. After the rice is cooked, it must be cooled down completely to room temperature or below. During the cooling process, the starch/oil combination undergoes chemical changes to form an amylose lipid complex, otherwise known as resistant starch (the indigestible type).
There is still lots of digestible starch in the rice, and of course there are added calories from the coconut oil, but weight-for-weight, rice cooked in this way has significantly fewer digestible calories than regular boiled/steamed rice.
Re-heating the cooled rice will not reverse the process, so you don’t have to eat it cold to access the calorie savings.
As an aside, this process works for other types of starch-containing foods as well, but care should be taken with the amount of oil added, as oil calories can easily swamp the starch-change benefits.
Method 3: Get rid of Loose Starch
A third way to reduce the calories you get from eating rice starch is also related to reducing the amount of digestible starch. When you add water to uncooked rice, the water becomes cloudy with tiny white particles which are washed off the outer surface of each grain. These tiny bits of rice flour have an extremely high starch content and they are easily digestible.
How do we know that this rice powder is more fattening than rice grains? Because over many years, in human cultures which have cultivated and eaten rice for generations, it is common knowledge that sickly people with poor digestion can be sustained with it. A common home remedy for upset stomachs and feverish children is to give them cooled rice water which sustains their energy levels through the illness.
If we know that rice has both resistant and digestible starch, and that the loose powder that comes off rice is easier to digest than rice grains, then perhaps the powder has a higher proportion of digestible starch than the grains. Alternatively, it is simply easier to digest because it is in a “pre-chewed” powder form. In any case, it cannot hurt to get rid of it before you eat the rice!
Rinse Rice thoroughly
To get rid of loose rice starch, simply rinse it well before cooking, so that the water poured off it runs clear instead of cloudy. If you have enough time, try par-boiling your rice, then rinse and cool, then cook to completion.
Combine all for Low Calorie Rice Starch
To make low-calorie rice and get the maximum effect of reducing digestible rice starch use all three methods in combination. First, rinse the rice until the runoff water is clear. Then, boil the rice in water for three minutes. Take the rice off the heat and rinse well in cold water, until the runoff is clear again. Mix in two teaspoons of coconut oil for every cup of uncooked rice, then return the rice to low heat until steamed through. When cooked, allow the rice to cool completely. Before serving, reheat and mix in a portion of chopped, cooked low-calorie vegetables.
When asked to recommend a “guaranteed” weight loss plan, our reply is that everyone will probably lose weight with a 1500 calorie diet. You will likely lose at least 2 kilograms for the first month you stick to a 1500 calorie diet. The thermodynamic logic of a 1500 calorie diet is straightforward. What’s more, we know from repeated studies that it is generally a healthy target for most people to aim for.
Basic Weight Loss Equation
As we discuss in other articles, weight loss is unfathomably complicated, but also blindingly simple. If you eat more calories than you use through normal body function and extra physical activity, you will gain weight. If you use more calories than you eat, you will lose weight
Fat has about 7600 calories per kilogram, so you will lose approximately 500 grams of fat for every 3800 calories you burn. 3800 calories burned over the course of a week is about 540 calories per day (3800 divided by 7 days). Following this simple logic, you would need to reduce daily calories by 500 to lose about 500 grams per week.
Of course, all other things are not equal because cellular metabolism does not happen in a vacuum. There are a thousand influencing factors related to body composition, metabolism, and hormonal balance. The human body is not a spreadsheet so we cannot use a simple formula to plot an easy graph to accurately predict actual weight loss. However, we know with certainty, there will be weight loss when there is more energy taken out than put in.
In fact we know, from hundreds of studies, that people usually lose about 500 grams in body weight for each week that they reduce their average daily food intake by 500 calories.
We eat more than 1500 Calories per day
It is hard to know exactly how many calories are being absorbed and used by our bodies daily. Luckily, there are convenient methods anyone can use to make good estimates. If your weight is stable, then the energy you are putting in is balancing the energy being taken out. Thus, you can estimate how many calories you eat by measuring the energy going in and out of your body.
In the lab, scientists use sophisticated measurement devices and controlled environmental conditions on closely monitored test subjects to measure calorie intake and expenditure. This level of analysis is far beyond what the everyday person needs.
Instead, you can measure incoming calories by using a tool like our calcount Calorie Tracker to keep a food diary which adds up the total calories in the food you eat. Those food calorie counts are based on average calories in similar foods as measured in the lab by food scientists.
You can measure outgoing calories by applying a credible total daily expenditure formula to your personal body metrics like weight, gender, age, and height. Our calcount Calorie Calculator does exactly that.
Alternatively, you can get an estimate of your calorie consumption by reviewing the findings of large-scale scientific studies. According the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the average daily food consumption in developed countries is between 3200 and 3800 calories (this includes food waste). Our own FSANZ reports that the average Australian eats 2079 calories (8700kJ) per day, based on surveys.
Looking at our own data, the calcount team concludes that we collectively eat a median of 2650 calories per day.
Want to Lose Weight? You can, with a 1500 Calorie Diet
So why do we often recommend the 1500 calorie daily target? Because we need to consider a few key factors when picking a good general calorie target for a weight-loss diet:
Effective for weight-loss
Perhaps most importantly, we want the calorie target to be at a level where noticeable weight is lost in a reasonably short time. Since we know that most of us are eating more than 2000 calories per day, and that a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day causes effective weight loss, then a target of 1500 calories becomes a compelling proposition (2000 minus 500). In theory, you will probably lose at least 2 kilograms for the first month you stick to a 1500 calorie diet. In practice, you will lose more or less than this, depending on your personal circumstances.
If by chance you are already eating 1500 calories or less per day and still want to lose weight, please see a doctor for medical advice.
Safe for most people
Given the enormous number of personal attributes and health conditions you may have, no general advice or information could replace the professional guidance of your own doctor. However, based on available published research, 1500 calories per day is an accepted healthy target for most people. Consider that a typical so-called “starvation-diet” or VLCD (Very Low-Calorie Diet) has a daily target of about 800 calories. According to many sources, the average healthy person normally eats 2000 calories. In some extreme cases, doctors actually recommend VLCDs. The mid-point between the VLCD and a 2000 calorie diet is 1400 calories, so 1500 calories cannot too low of a target. At 1500 calories, provided your diet includes all the recommended micro-nutrients, you will be fine.
Achievable with effort
Make no mistake, for people accustomed to eating north of 2800 calories per day, a 1500 calorie diet is hard, very hard. However, there are some tried and tested methods to make it easier to cope with. Some people can achieve a necessary reduction in calories by simply downsizing their portions by swapping regular plates and bowls for smaller ones. Others find that changing their food mix from carb-heavy to protein-heavy does the job. Yet others take up the challenge by trying whichever diet trend happens to be popular now. Suffice to say that the 1500 calorie diet comes in many different forms, some of which are suited to just about everybody.
Ideally, with specific meal plans, regular check-ins, calculated exercise, and tailored mental coaching anyone can home in on a desired body weight goal. Unfortunately, the type of intense professional attention that highly specific nutrition and exercise programs require usually put them out of reach for normal people. Instead, the average person needs an easy-to-grasp concept to motivate practical action.
A 1500 calorie diet is a single fixed point target which a person can focus on for the duration of their mission to lose weight. Stay on it for weight loss, then come off it when the desired weight goal is reached. Switch macro-nutrients and portion sizes and meal timing around randomly to prevent boredom and to stimulate beneficial hormonal cycles. Rinse and repeat until lifestyle habits change to the point where weight stabilises at a healthy level.
How about 1600 calories?
Yes, you will lose weight on a 1600 calorie diet. You will also lose weight on a 1400 calorie diet. Hence, 1500 calories is a good daily calorie target, because it is between the “hard” and “less effective” calorie counts. In practice, if you aim for 1500 daily calories, you will eat between 1650 and 1450 calories per day. Done consistently, this will be enough of a deficit to let you see real progress over a few weeks. At a 1600 calorie target, the average daily deficit will be smaller, but still effective enough to see real progress.
Of course, this assumes that you are currently in the habit of eating more than 2000 calories per day. You can get a more exact understanding of what an individual target looks like by using the calcount Calorie Tracker.
Example Meal Plan to Lose Weight with a 1500 Calorie Diet
For best results, use the calcount Calorie Tracker to record and track your calories throughout the day. This example 1500 calorie daily diet plan should give you an idea of what a 1500 calories day looks like:
Breakfast 400 Calories
One regular slice of toast with jam (no butter).
Half a cup of unsweetened cereal (e.g. cornflakes) with one cup of reduced fat (lite) milk.
One cup of unsweetened coffee with reduced fat milk.
Half a cup of orange juice.
Lunch 370 Calories
One medium-sized apple.
One roast beef sandwich made with two regular slices of bread, one thin (deli-style) slice of roast beef, one slice of burger-style cheese, lettuce (1-10 leaves), tomato (2 slices), and one tablespoon of reduced fat mayo.
Dinner 630 Calories
170 grams of chicken breast, or 85 grams of salmon cooked in oil and lightly seasoned with choice spices.
One medium baked or boiled potato with a teaspoon of butter.
Half a cup of steamed green beans.
Half a cup of steamed carrots.
One regular slice of bread or one dinner roll.
One medium banana.
Snack 100 Calories
25 pistachios, or one large boiled egg, or two cups of strawberries.
Drink 0 Calories
Water, and/or unsweetened coffee or tea without milk
You will lose weight on a 1500 calorie diet if you stick to it for at least 3 weeks. This is because you will be creating a calorie deficit of about 500 calories per day. If you burn 500 calories per day, you will lose about 500 grams of body weight per week. Provided that you are generally healthy and eat a balanced diet, the 1500 daily calorie target is safe and effective.
Use this handy calcount Calories by Age tool to calculate how many calories a day you should eat, depending on your current age. Age matters when it comes to the rate of calorie burn, because our metabolism slows as we grow older (and wiser).
When we say, “eat this many calories”, we do so on the assumption that you want to maintain your current weight. To lose weight, eat fewer calories. To gain weight, eat more calories.
Many factors determine how many calories a person needs to eat each day, such as the person’s current weight, exercise level, gender and of course, age. Of these main factors, age is the one that will change, no matter what else happens to the person.
Ageing bodies Slow Down
Age is an important factor when it comes to calorie burn, for the simple reason that it affects the speed at which your body uses the calories you eat. This rate of energy use can be thought of as the “metabolism”. More specifically, the key change with age is a reduction in the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
Even though the body is constantly repairing itself, things just do not get fixed “good-as-new”. There is a gradual build-up of cellular detritus and harmful substances at the smallest scales which negatively affect essential functions. Things like telomeres get shorter. Processes just fall apart in the end. This gradual and general degradation leads to a measurable decline in the speed at which the body extracts energy from food.
For a more detailed explanation of the metabolism and the other factors which affect it, read our Calorie Counter page.
In addition to the slowing BMR, advancing age is often associated with a general slowdown in activity levels as lifestyles change. It is not unreasonable to assume that a 21-year-old is likely to have a more energetic day-plan than a 56-year-old! Reduced activity means that less energy is needed throughout the day, leading to a feedback loop which facilitates a reduction in muscle-mass and metabolism.
If you are “getting-on” in years, you can break the loop, defy the trend, and prolong your faster metabolism rate by exercising regularly. If possible, do activities that make your muscles work hard.
Increased muscle mass is the surest way to keep your BMR humming as you age. Exercising will not stop you from ageing, but it will keep you healthier for longer!
Calories a Day by Age Table
To get a credible answer for the question “How many calories a day should I eat by age?”, we can apply average heights and healthy weights to generally accepted Estimated Energy Requirements (EER) equations. Thus, this tool will work very well for people who are of average height, healthy weight, and do not do any exercise other than normal day-to-day activities. If you do more exercise than a sedentary person, you can use this table to estimate your required calories by age:
Men, High Level Exercise
Women, Moderate Exercise
Women, High Level Exercise
76 and up
This is a simple tool, primarily designed to shed some light on what effect aging has on daily calorie intake requirements. If you want a more detailed calculator which factors in your exact height and weight as well as your age and gender, head on over to the calcount Calorie Calculator. To dig even deeper and find out what your recommended macronutrient intake is (and much more), explore our Calorie Tracker.
Read our top 4 ways to swap carbs for other nutrients! Carbs are the sugars, starches and fibres found in plant and dairy products. They are one of the three macro-nutrients your body uses to power up (the other two being fats and proteins). Studies have found that our typical Australian diet can contain relatively more carbs than we need, so it may be a good idea for us to re-balance our macro-nutrient intake towards proteins and fats rather than remaining carb heavy.
Swap Carbs, start today
You might have heard about the “keto-diet” or “paleo-diet” or “Atkins-diet”? They are all based on the idea that we lose more excess weight and feel healthier when we go low carb. If you want to mix things up and cut carbs, here is our list of the top 4 ways you can start today:
Don’t forget that sugar is a carbohydrate! When it comes to cutting carbs, a quick and effective action is to drop the sweetened drinks. Bottled soft drinks, sugared coffees and tea, fruit juices: all of them are swimming with carbs.
A typical can of fizzy drink contains about 38 grams of pure carbohydrates in the form of sugar, so get that fridge-friendly box of cola out of sight.
Instead, opt for water or unsweetened coffee and tea.
Swap starchy snacks like biscuits, chips, toast, muesli bars and instant noodles for high-protein snacks like beef jerky, boiled eggs, canned salmon and Greek yoghurt.
High-protein snacks tend to take the edge off hunger much more effectively than high-carb snacks, so people tend to eat less of them.
It is in the name: “cereal”. Cereals are grains, and grains are the primary source of carbohydrates in our diets.
Half a cup of muesli will typically contain about 35 grams of carbs, so ditch your breakfast cereal and opt for eggs and bacon instead.
If eggs and bacon turn your stomach in the morning, try yoghurt instead.
Condiments and sauces are often overlooked as potent sources of carbohydrates.
Tomato sauce, gravy, BBQ sauce, salad dressing and chip dips are common daily additions to our carb load. These condiments are often highly flavoured with concentrated sugars, so beware.
Instead, try using simple vinegar and/or virgin olive oil as a flavourful dip and dressing.
Hopefully, this post did not come across as being anti-carb. Whilst there are clear benefits to balancing your diet away from them, they should not be cut out completely from a healthy diet. Being able to swap carbs for other macro-nutrients is an important skill when calorie counting.