It is important to tweak your diet in order to drop your body fat percentage.
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Whether you have a special event coming up or you're just tired of not being able to fit into your favorite pair of skinny jeans, reducing your body fat can seem like a dire emergency. The good news is, there are ways to tweak your diet and exercise program to accelerate fat loss. The bad news is, it's not going to happen overnight.
The fastest way to reduce your body fat percentage is to lower your calorie intake and increase your activity level.
How to Accelerate Fat Loss
Fat loss depends on myriad factors, many of them out of your control. For example, your genetics play a role in how easy it is for you to lose fat, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, as do any health conditions you might have or medications you may be taking. However, your calorie intake and expenditure is one area you can control.
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By reducing your calorie intake and increasing your physical activity level, you can create a calorie deficit so that the calories you consume each day are lower than the calories you expend. This causes your body to cease storing fat and start burning it.
Maybe you're already doing the calorie deficit thing, but you're not seeing results as fast as you'd like. In that case, you may need to further reduce your calorie intake and up the ante on your exercise program. These two modifications will help you create a deeper calorie deficit and speed up the drop in your body fat percentage.
Stick to a Safe Rate of Weight Loss
The deeper your calorie deficit, the more weight you'll lose in a shorter period of time. How much? Well, one widely accepted theory is that 1 pound contains about 3,500 calories, and for every 3,500-calorie deficit you create, you'll lose 1 pound.
That theory's got its flaws because fat loss doesn't fit into a nice, neat little equation. It's affected by many different things and moves at different speeds for different people.
But you can use that concept to understand a calorie deficit, and then set your goals accordingly. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you create a daily calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000, you can lose approximately 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week, 4 to 8 pounds per month and so on. Perhaps you're already working with a 500-calorie deficit — to speed things up, it will pay to strive for that 1,000-calorie deficit.
Now you might be thinking, "I could create a 2,000-calorie deficit and lose double the fat in the same amount of time!" Don't go there. Losing weight very quickly isn't healthy, and it won't result in lasting fat loss.
Rapid weight loss often requires a very low-calorie diet and changes in exercise that are unsustainable over the long term. Additionally, losing weight quickly doesn't necessarily mean you're losing fat. The Mayo Clinic suggests that it's difficult to burn that many fat calories in such a short time, and you might be losing water weight and muscle mass instead.
How Long Does It Take to Lose 1 Percent Body Fat?
There are no official guidelines on what rate is healthy when it comes to dropping body fat percentage, but according to the American Council on Exercise, it's generally safe and doable to lose 1 percent body fat in about a month.
Balance Your Diet
Depending on how many calories you currently eat, you can make some headway with your diet. Theoretically, you could karate chop 1,000 calories from your diet and you wouldn't even have to exercise. But that is likely to be very challenging. Plus, exercise is good for you.
Instead, aim for a more realistic 500-calorie deficit. This doesn't take too much calorie counting or deprivation; often it just means making a few small changes to reduce your intake of less-healthy foods and increase your intake of more nutritious foods.
Foods to Avoid
The first thing to stop is sugar. You can't consume a lot of sugary foods and beverages and get lean. Not only is sugar bad for your health, non-nutritive and not filling, but it also has effects on appetite and satiety that can cause you to overeat, according to Harvard Health Publishing. Some foods are obvious sources of sugar:
- Cookies, cakes and pastries
- Ice cream
- Soda and sweet tea
But there is added sugar lurking in places you might not expect it, like:
- Granola bars
- Flavored yogurts
- Ketchup, barbecue sauce and dressings
According to the University of California San Francisco, 74 percent of packaged foods contain added sugar. On the ingredients label, these sugar sources have at least 61 different names that you might miss if you don't look closely enough. Sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, barley malt, dextrose, maltose and rice syrup are just a few.
Foods to Eat
As you are decreasing your sugar intake, increase your intake of lean protein and dietary fiber. Both of these nutrients digest slowly, staying in your stomach for longer and thus, helping you feel full for hours (read: less likely to reach for a snack).
Protein has the added benefit of temporarily increasing your metabolism as your body digests it. According to a November 2014 research review in Nutrition and Metabolism, the digestion of protein can boost metabolism by as much as 30 percent, whereas carbs top out at 10 percent and fats at 3 percent.
Also, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, eating more protein may help you preserve muscle mass as you lose weight, which can have beneficial effects on your metabolism. Muscle is metabolically active, and the more you have, the higher your resting metabolism. If you're strength training as part of your weight-loss program, that will be doubly important.
Choose lean sources of protein, such as chicken, fish and beans. Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains to fill up on fiber.
Boost the Burn
If your current exercise program consists of walking the dog for 20 minutes every morning, you're going to have to kick things up a notch or two if you really want to lose fat fast.
Exercise — both aerobic and strength training — burns calories while you're doing it, and added muscle mass bolsters your metabolism. At a minimum, you should be getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' (HHS) Physical Activity Guidelines.
However, aiming for even more exercise than that can dramatically increase your results. For additional health and fat loss benefits, the HHS suggests a goal of 300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week. Moderate-intensity activities include:
- Brisk walking
- Water aerobics
- Cycling at a pace slower than 10 miles per hour
- Playing doubles tennis
Vigorous-intensity activities include:
- Jogging and running
- Swimming laps
- Singles tennis
- Bicycling faster than 10 mph
Whatever you enjoy doing, do as much as you can. It's a good goal to aim for 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise every day of the week, or as often as possible.
You should also make time for two total-body strength training sessions each week, targeting all the major muscle groups, per the HHS. Not only is this going to help you lose fat faster, it's going to give you the fit physique you want once you have lowered your body fat percentage enough to reveal the muscles underneath.
An effective strength-training program doesn't need to be complex or time-consuming. Stick to compound exercises that use more than one muscle group at a time to get the most bang for your buck. You can get a total-body workout by doing three sets of eight to 12 reps of the following exercises:
If you have more time, incorporate some additional exercises:
- Bench press
- Lat pull-downs
Aim to use a weight that is challenging enough to fatigue your muscles by the final rep. As you get stronger, gradually increase the weight or the number of reps to continue to challenge your muscles.
The time it takes to lose 5% of body fat varies depending on various factors such as your starting weight, body composition, diet, exercise regimen, and genetics. However, generally speaking, it's safe to aim for a weight loss rate of 1-2 pounds per week.How can I lower my body fat percentage quickly? ›
- START STRENGTH TRAINING. ...
- FOLLOW A HIGH-PROTEIN DIET. ...
- SQUEEZE IN MORE SLEEP. ...
- ADD VINEGAR TO YOUR DIET. ...
- EAT MORE HEALTHY FATS. ...
- DRINK HEALTHIER BEVERAGES. ...
- FILL UP ON FIBER. ...
- CUT DOWN ON REFINED CARBS.
The time it takes to lose 5% of body fat varies depending on various factors such as your starting weight, body composition, diet, exercise regimen, and genetics. However, generally speaking, it's safe to aim for a weight loss rate of 1-2 pounds per week.How long does it take to lose a percent of body fat? ›
“Generally speaking, it's safe to lose 0.5% total body fat per week, or 2% body fat per month.” An easier way to measure it at home is approximately 1 to 2 pounds a week, depending on your starting weight.How long does it take to lose 5 pounds of body fat? ›
It generally takes 2-3 weeks to lose 5 pounds in a healthy and sustainable manner. So it's important to know why this is important to you. If y'all know my story, I struggled with my weight for years!How to reduce body fat to 20%? ›
“You can do low-intensity workouts for longer, which will help you feel more accomplished while still burning calories and fat,” he adds. Shoot to sweat three to five times a week. Don't skip cardio, but since more muscle equals more calorie burn, work strength training into your routine as well.
- lean meat and poultry, oily fish, and eggs.
- milk, yogurt, and low fat cheese.
- protein powders such as whey, hemp, rice, and peas.
- beans and pulses.
- nuts and seeds.
- avocados, olive oil, and olives.
- whole grains such as brown rice and pasta, oats, whole grain bread, barley, and quinoa.
There is more fat all around the body at the 30% level including waist, back, thighs, and calves. The waist looks larger relative to the hips, and the stomach will likely be protruding over the waist noticeably. There is no muscle separation.What 17 percent body fat looks like? ›
15-17% body fat: At this level muscles are still visible. Abs, legs, and arms have definition. There is some separation between muscles there is also some vascularity. Women don't have as much curvature in hips and buttocks because of the low body fat level.Is 25 percent body fat good? ›
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, there are healthy body fat percentages based on your age. For people aged 20 to 39, women should aim for 21% to 32% of body fat. Men should have 8% to 19%. For people 40 to 59, women should fall between 23% to 33% and men should fall around 11% to 21%.
How much weight a person needs to lose for it to be noticeable is also subjective as it depends on your frame and starting body mass index, according to Guzman. On average, a 15 to 20-pound loss (approximately 2 to 5 percent of your starting body weight) is enough to notice "significant changes in your body," he said.Is losing 10% body fat noticeable? ›
Let's say you are an average woman who is 5 feet tall, a 10-pound weight loss can be equal to losing 10% of body weight. People notice even a small decrease and you can size it down up to two sizes. But for tall and athletic women, a drop of 10 pounds may go unnoticed, and may not see a change in clothing size at all.Is 1 percent body fat loss noticeable? ›
CDC further recommends that you need to lose around 5-10% of your total body weight to notice changes. For instance, if you weigh 170 pounds, you need to lose roughly 8.3-17 pounds to notice a difference. The results should also be measured after at least three months, for certainty.What exercise burn the most belly fat? ›
The most effective exercise to burn stomach fat is crunches. Crunches rank top when we talk of fat-burning exercises. You can start by lying down flat with your knees bent and your feet on the ground.
Five percent of your body weight -- 10 pounds for a 200-pound person -- can improve all kinds of health problems, and make you feel better, too.Will I lose weight if I stop eating for 3 days? ›
During the first 5 days without food, a person may lose 1 to 2 kilograms (2.2 to 4.4 pounds) of body weight each day. Most of this weight loss is related to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.Is 20% body fat maintainable? ›
For a man with average genetics and a healthy lifestyle, 14-20 percent is a great, sustainable body fat. It's lean enough to show some decent muscle definition, but high enough that you can build strength and muscle and enjoy your life without strict diets. For a woman, a similar range would be around 21-28 percent.Is 20% body fat a lot? ›
But there's more to life than a six-pack, and a body fat percentage of up to 20 per cent is considered healthy and will help stave off diseases that are associated with higher levels of body fat.Is 20% body fat skinny? ›
The recommended ranges for healthy men are between 10-20% body fat, and for women, the ranges are 18-28%. If your body fat exceeds these ranges, but you have a normal weight when you stand on the scale, you may be skinny fat.What burns fat the most? ›
Working out is the best way to burn fat. When most people think of fat loss workouts, they think of cardio, but strength training should not be overlooked. Strength training is designed to improve strength and endurance with repeated resistance movements.
- Lift weights at night. ...
- Drink a casein protein shake. ...
- Take a cold shower. ...
- Drink green tea. ...
- Sleep in a colder room. ...
- Explore intermittent fasting.
Apple cider vinegar isn't likely to be effective for weight loss. Proponents of apple cider vinegar claim that it has numerous health benefits and that drinking a small amount or taking a supplement before meals helps curb appetite and burn fat. However, there's little scientific support for these claims.How many pounds is 30% body fat? ›
Your body fat percentage (BFP or BF%) is the percentage of your body fat in relation to your overall weight. If you weigh 200lbs and your body fat percentage is 30%, this means that your body fat weight (BFW) is 60lbs. The other 140lbs is your lean body mass (LBM).How many pounds of fat is 30%? ›
Body fat percentage is the proportion of your body weight that is comprised of fat tissue. Example: A 155-pound female with a body fat percentage of 30% would have 46.5 pounds of fat tissue. The remaining 108.5 pounds of her body weight would comprise muscle, bone, nervous, skin, and other tissues.What body fat percentage is chubby? ›
The normal amount of body fat is between 25 and 30 percent in women and 18 and 23 percent in men. Women with more than 30 percent body fat and men with more than 25 percent body fat are considered obese.Can you see abs at 17 percent body fat? ›
For men, if you're around six to 17 percent body fat, your abs should be noticeably visible. For women, the range is 14 to 24 percent body fat. Definition will start to show on the higher end (17 percent for men, 24 percent for women), and your abs will become more sculpted as that number lowers.How much body fat percentage is noticeable? ›
Super Muscular (5-9% body fat for men or ~10-12% for women) We call this the “essential fat only” look. Muscles are clearly visible, and each muscle is distinctly defined from the next. We're looking at professional bodybuilders at this range.How long does it take to lose 10 percent body fat? ›
Unless you're an endurance athlete who needs to drop body fat for speed, shooting for 10% is probably for physique more than any other reason—you want to turn your hard stomach into a fully defined six pack or you want more vascularity. The good news? That next level can be yours within three to five months.At what bodyfat do abs show? ›
10 to 14 percent. This range of body fat is still lean, which means your abs will be visible.How many pounds is 25% body fat? ›
Ideally, a healthy woman will be around 25 percent body fat, or about 37 pounds of fat.
Most experts think the appropriate body fat range for beginning a bulk or cut should be between 10-15% for men and 20-25% for women. This range is ideal as it provides enough energy to build muscle while allowing for visible definition. Once you hit the upper end of the range, start cutting.What is the most attractive BMI? ›
Earlier research has found that the most desired BMIs are approximately 18-20, considerably below the average or typical values of young women in well-fed populations.Is losing 30 lbs in 3 months healthy? ›
Generally, most health experts recommend aiming for about 1–3 pounds (0.5–1.4 kg) of weight loss per week, or approximately 1% of your total body weight ( 33 , 34 ). Therefore, it may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to lose 30 pounds safely.How much water weight do you lose before losing fat? ›
The first week you're on a diet, almost 70 percent of weight loss is water, Clayton says, a rate which drops to about 20 to 30 percent over a couple of weeks and then stabilizes as your body starts tapping into fat stores.How many pounds is 10% body fat? ›
For example: If you weigh 220 pounds and the calculator reads you have 10% fat, then your body consists of approx. 22 pounds of fat and 198 pounds of body mass.Where does fat go when you lose weight? ›
As your body metabolizes fat, fatty acid molecules are released into the bloodstream and travel to the heart, lungs, and muscles, which break them apart and use the energy stored in their chemical bonds. The pounds you shed are essentially the byproducts of that process.Where do you lose weight first? ›
Mostly, losing weight is an internal process. You will first lose hard fat that surrounds your organs like liver, kidneys and then you will start to lose soft fat like waistline and thigh fat. The fat loss from around the organs makes you leaner and stronger.Where do guys lose fat first? ›
Where men lose weight first. According to one study, men tend to drop weight around their torsos first. However, men with obesity tend to drop it first in their arms and legs. A 2014 research review showed that men also tend to lose weight much more easily than women.Is losing 20 lbs in 2 months healthy? ›
No, it is not safe. A month is not enough time to lose so much weight. 20 pounds in a month is a drastic weight loss that can lead to health issues. The healthy amount of weight loss in a month is between 4-8 pounds a month.Why do I weigh more than I look? ›
Muscle is denser than fat, and as it is more compact within your body, as you gain muscle mass, you end up looking thinner, no matter your physical weight. So, if you've been doing a lot of strength training lately, it's likely this is the reason that you're looking fantastic but not dropping those numbers.
If your primary goal is to increase your aerobic endurance or lose body fat, then you should perform cardio first. If your primary goal is to increase muscular strength, then do strength training first.What quickly burns belly fat? ›
1. Exercise: Vigorous exercise trims all your fat, including visceral fat. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days a week. Walking counts, as long as it's brisk enough that you work up a sweat and breathe harder, with your heart rate faster than usual.Is 30% body fat a lot? ›
21-24% is considered fit. 25-31% is considered acceptable. 32% or more is considered obese.What does losing 20 pounds do for your body? ›
"Losing 20 pounds, even if it's as little as 5-10% of your body weight, can reduce obesity-related risks," says D'Angelo, "and not only that, but losing 20 pounds can also help your overall quality of life, increase your mood, improve your lung function, and reduce blood sugar levels."Why is my body fat increasing with exercise? ›
As you increase musculature, fat gain can occur due to the caloric surpluses required to increase SMM. This is a well-recognized phenomenon and is commonly referred to in gym-speak as “bulking.”What does a 72 hour fast do to your body? ›
The 72-h fasting induced significant decreases in glucose level, body weight, and an increase of ketone bodies that confirmed successful fasting of the volunteers. In addition, the median of BDI-2 increased significantly (4 vs. 7, p = 0.006).How much water should I drink to lose weight in 3 days? ›
According to the studies, 1–2 liters of water per day is enough to assist with weight loss, especially when consumed before meals.How much weight can you lose on a 72 hour fast? ›
You'll lose weight
Losing fat takes more time.” Fasting proponent Fung, however, disagrees and maintains that you could lose 1.5 pounds of fat over a 72-hour period. For that reason, he recommends that people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 20 could put themselves at risk of malnutrition.
- Try High-Intensity Interval Training for Fat Loss. ...
- Resistance Train for Fat Loss. ...
- Eat at a Calorie Deficit (& Hit Your Macros Consistently) ...
- Focus on Micronutrient-Rich Foods. ...
- Manage Your Stress Levels. ...
- Get Enough Sleep.
To get to 10%, kick your workouts up to five to six days a week, White advises. That's a combination of weight training, HIIT, and cardio. Increase to heavier weights and higher intensity, focusing on not just the big muscles but also specializing in the smaller muscles to help carve that definition.
- Eat lots of fiber. Fiber is beneficial for a healthy body, and may also help you lose body fat. ...
- Exercise. ...
- Cut down on sugar. ...
- Get more sleep. ...
- Drink plenty of water.
The truth is that under the right training and nutrition programme a person can lose an average of five per cent body fat in as little as ten days.How many lbs is 5 percent body fat? ›
Losing just a few pounds makes a big difference. Five percent of your body weight -- 10 pounds for a 200-pound person -- can improve all kinds of health problems, and make you feel better, too. Talk to your doctor about whether it might help you.How to go from 30 body fat to 20? ›
- Exercise Moderately With Aerobics & Weights, Gradually Increasing The Intensity As Fat Is Lost. ...
- Gradually Cut Back On All Bad Fats, While Strategically Cutting Back On Carbohydrates. ...
- Mix Up Aerobic Sessions. ...
- Exercise Aerobically After Weight Training Or First Thing In The Morning.
Losing 10 percent of your body weight is impactful: Losing at least 10% of your body weight is clinically-significant. It can lower several risk factors for cardiovascular disease including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.Is losing 5% of body fat a lot? ›
We've got happy news for all you would-be losers: Shedding just five percent of your body weight does a lot. It's enough to decrease total body fat, visceral fat (the dangerous kind that hugs your organs), and liver fat.Does cardio burn fat? ›
Cardio is an excellent way to burn fat and lose weight. The CDC state that the right amount of cardio for losing weight will vary from person to person.Is 15% body fat realistic? ›
15-19% body fat: Normal/healthy level within the average. Slight muscle definition (shoulders and upper arms) is visible. The abdominals are not yet clearly visible. 12-14% body fat: Fit.Is 27 percent body fat bad? ›
between 18.5 and 24.9 means a person is of a “normal,” or healthy, weight. between 25 and 29.9 indicates a person is overweight. above 30 indicates a person has obesity.