4 Easy Tips to Burn Fat Faster

Written and medically reviewed by Nicole Grant, RD

By Nicole Grant, RDN

The key to effective, sustainable weight loss is fat loss. So how do you lose fat? You burn it. The more you burn, the more you lose — and the faster you burn it, the faster you lose it.

Read on for four easy tips that will help you ramp up your fat-burning efforts and accelerate weight loss. From dietary adjustments to simple lifestyle changes, discover how you can enhance your body’s ability to shed fat quickly and safely.

Want to Lose Weight? You Need to Burn Fat

Weight loss is typically synonymous with fat loss. Ideally, you want to preserve as much lean muscle mass as you can and instead tap into your own fat stores for energy. When the majority of weight loss comes from fat, it tends to result in improved body composition, reduced risk of disease, and better long-term mobility. 

So, how do you encourage your body to tap into your fat stores? “Optimize your metabolic flexibility and lower your insulin levels,” says Dr. Naomi Parrella, Zero’s Chief Medical Officer. Metabolic flexibility refers to your body’s ability to efficiently switch between using glucose and fatty acids as its primary sources of fuel.

Insulin, meanwhile, is a growth hormone that, when elevated, signals the body to grow by storing excess nutrients in muscle and fat tissue. For effective fat loss, you want the opposite effect: minimizing insulin spikes to promote using stored fat for energy. By intermittent fasting, improving the quality of your diet, exercising, and engaging in other lifestyle changes such as getting sufficient high-quality sleep and managing stress, you can enhance your metabolic flexibility and reduce insulin levels, thereby facilitating more effective fat burning and weight loss.

4 Tips to Boost Fat Burning and Weight Loss

Tip #1: Start at Zero

Contrary to some popular beliefs, you don’t need to eat every 2-3 hours to “keep your metabolism up,” nor do you need to eat breakfast first thing in the morning to “wake up” your metabolism. Instead, intermittent fasting with Zero, whereby you create an intentionally longer delay between your last meal today and your first meal tomorrow, is a great way to lower insulin levels and encourage fat burning. 

As your fast begins, glucose tends to be your primary fuel. First, your body utilizes the glucose from your most recent meal. Then, it starts tapping into glycogen, which is a form of glucose stored in your liver and muscles. After about 12–18 hours of fasting (depending on your body size, metabolic health, exercise, and dietary habits), your glycogen stores are significantly depleted, your insulin is low, and your body starts mobilizing fatty acids as its primary fuel. You have flipped your metabolic switch and, as Dr. Parrella puts it, “are ready to let your body fuel off of its fat stores.” You have reached Fat-Burning Mode.

Tip #2: Reduce (or Remove!) Alcohol and Ultra-Processed Food

To boost fat burning, you want to encourage your body to choose fat over other sources of external fuel such as glucose (from carbohydrates) or ethanol (from alcohol). If given a choice of all three fuel sources, your body will prioritize ethanol metabolism first, since your body sees it as a toxin and wants to get rid of it as soon as possible. After ethanol, glucose is the preferred fuel source when you’re in the fed state, followed by fatty acids.

Highly processed foods tend to be rich in refined carbohydrates and added sugars, both of which are digested very quickly into glucose molecules. Eating these foods causes blood sugar levels to spike, along with insulin, putting you in a growth state where excess nutrients are stored, not burned. Ultimately, says Dr. Parrella, you get to choose: “Burn alcohol or the ultra-processed food you just ate, or burn the fat stored on your body.” If your goal is to lose weight, i.e., fat, aim to minimize or even avoid highly processed foods and alcohol most days of the week.

Tip #3: Exercise and Avoid a Sedentary Lifestyle

Exercise not only burns calories, but it can also help you build more lean muscle mass. Not only will this make you stronger and fitter, but lean muscle mass is more metabolically active and improves insulin resistance — both of which can encourage a faster switch to Fat-Burning Mode. Furthermore, both endurance exercise and resistance training have been shown to reduce incidence of metabolic syndrome, thereby decreasing your risk of weight gain and chronic disease such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. 

Traditional exercise in a gym is great, but it’s not for everyone. Plus, most people have sedentary jobs, so even if you exercise in the morning, you aren’t making the most of that workout if you’re stationary the rest of the day. Whether you’re a gym-goer or not, consider these tips from Dr. Parrella to engage in more movement throughout your day:

  1. Buy a standing desk and/or a walking pad.
  2. Use breaks between meetings to get in an “exercise snack” — walk up and down a flight of stairs, do some jumping jacks, or even just take the long route to the bathroom.
  3. Take a walk after dinner. Invite family, friends, or neighbors along for some added social time.
  4. Track your exercise in Zero, and complete your activity Loop to build in motivation and accountability.

Tip #4: Get Enough Sleep

Poor sleep doesn’t just leave you feeling tired, it can inhibit your ability to burn fat, as well! Short-term sleep deprivation (<6 hours of sleep per night for even just a few nights) can significantly raise your insulin resistance — meaning that your pancreas will need to pump out more insulin to do the job, leaving you in a higher-insulin state for a longer period of time. And the impact of sleep deprivation on insulin may even be more pronounced in postmenopausal women. A recent study showed that 6 weeks of <6.2 hours of sleep per night resulted in an up to 20.1% increase in insulin resistance for postmenopausal women compared to the ~14.8% average increase experienced across all participants in the study.

To optimize your fat-burning abilities, aim for at least 7–9 hours of sleep per night. Beyond helping you feel more rested — which can improve healthy decision-making during your waking hours — and improving insulin resistance, Dr. Parrella shares that proper sleep can “also help mood, cognitive function, and reduce risk of future dementia.”

Conclusion: Small Shifts in Lifestyle Choices Can Have Big Impacts on Fat Burning

Effectively burning fat and enhancing weight loss are achievable through practical lifestyle adjustments and dietary strategies. By committing to Zero, reducing intake of alcohol and ultra-processed foods, incorporating regular exercise, and prioritizing sufficient sleep, you can significantly improve your body’s metabolic flexibility and lower insulin levels. These changes not only boost your ability to tap into fat stores for energy but also contribute to overall better health, reduced disease risk, and enhanced longevity. Try out one, or all, of these tips to transform your approach to fat loss and enjoy a longer, healthier life.

Nicole Grant, RD
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