Losing weight isn’t an easy process, no matter how big or small the goal.
When it comes to losing 100 pounds (45 kg) or more, the large number can seem quite intimidating, especially if you’re just getting started.
Fortunately, there are proven strategies that can help you.
Here are 10 tips to help you lose 100 pounds safely.
To lose weight, your body needs to burn more calories than it consumes.
There are two ways to do this — eating fewer calories or exercising more.
Tracking your calorie intake helps you stay aware of how many calories you consume per day, so you can know if you’re on the right track or need to make adjustments.
In fact, a review of 37 studies including more than 16,000 participants found that weight loss programs that involved tracking calorie intake led to losing 7.3 pounds (3.3 kg) more per year than programs that did not (1).
The number of calories you need to consume per day depends on various factors, such as your starting weight, lifestyle, sex, and activity level.
To determine how many calories you need to eat to lose weight, use the calculator here.
The two most common ways to track calorie intake are with an app or food journal.
That said, it’s important to note that simply tracking calorie intake may not be the most sustainable approach to lose weight.
However, tracking calories can work exceptionally well when paired with healthy lifestyle modifications, such as eating more vegetables or exercising regularly.
Tracking your calorie intake can help you stay on track with your weight loss goal, especially when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle modifications.
Fiber is a type of indigestible carbohydrate that can aid weight loss.
In addition, studies have shown that fiber, especially soluble fiber, may reduce the production of hunger hormones, such as ghrelin, and increase the production of fullness hormones, such as cholecystokinin (CCK), glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), and peptide YY (PYY) (4, 5).
By curbing your appetite, fiber may help reduce your calorie intake and lead to effortless weight loss (6).
For example, one dated review found that increasing daily fiber intake by 14 grams was linked to eating 10% fewer calories daily and weight loss of 4.2 pounds (1.9 kg), without making other lifestyle or diet changes (7).
That said, more recent research is needed.
Foods that are high in fiber include most vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and seeds. Alternatively, you could try taking a fiber supplement, such as glucomannan.
Fiber can help you stay full for longer, which in turn may reduce your calorie intake and help you lose weight.
To lose 100 pounds, increasing your protein intake is important.
In one study, women with excess weight whose diet comprised 30% protein lost 11 pounds (5 kg) over 12 weeks, without restricting their calorie intake (13).
Moreover, a higher protein diet may help prevent weight regain. For instance, a study found that consuming supplemental protein, which resulted in a diet comprising 18% protein compared with 15% in another study group, prevented weight regain by as much as 50% (14).
Choosing healthy foods, such as meats, seafood, eggs, nuts, seeds, and legumes in favor of other foods is a great way to increase your protein intake.
Increasing your protein intake may help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism, curbing your appetite, and reducing belly fat.
Reducing your refined carb intake is an effective way to lose weight.
Refined carbs, also known as simple carbs, are sugars and refined grains that have been stripped of nutrients and fiber during processing. Common sources of refined carbs include white bread, white flour, pasta, sweets, and pastries.
Refined carbs are not only a poor source of nutrients but also tend to have a high glycemic index. This means they are digested and absorbed quickly.
For example, a study including 2,834 participants discovered that a higher intake of refined carbs was linked to carrying more belly fat, whereas a higher intake of whole grains was linked to carrying less belly fat (18).
Also, it’s a good idea to cut back on soda, juice, and energy drinks. These beverages are often packed with sugar and calories, lack other nutrients, and contribute to weight gain over time — all without filling you up (19, 20).
Aim to swap refined carbs for whole-grain alternatives, such as brown rice, quinoa, couscous, and whole-grain bread, or for more high protein foods.
Choosing more whole-grain carbs and protein-rich foods instead of refined carbs can help you stay full for longer and aid weight loss.
With a goal such as losing 100 pounds, willpower alone is not always enough to ensure long-term success.
That’s where accountability is important. It helps you stay on the right path for weight loss success and allows you to make adjustments along the way.
One way to stay accountable is to weigh yourself more frequently. Research has shown that people who weigh themselves more frequently are more likely to lose weight and keep it off, compared with people who don’t weight themselves as frequently (21).
Lastly, you could try partnering with a friend who has similar weight loss goals, or joining an in-person or online weight loss community. Doing so can not only help you with your goal but also make things fun to help keep you motivated (24).
Staying accountable can help you lose weight. Several ways to do so is weighing yourself regularly, keeping a food journal, and having an accountability partner.
In addition to being healthy, vegetables have other qualities that can help you lose weight.
Also, vegetables tend to have a high water content, which gives them a low energy density. This means vegetables are low in calories for their weight.
Consistently choosing low energy density foods, such as vegetables, in place of refined carbs, allows you to eat the same quantity of food and still slash your calorie intake (26).
In fact, studies show that adults who eat vegetables more frequently tend to weigh less (27).
Vegetables are high in fiber and have a low energy density, meaning they can help you stay full for longer while consuming fewer calories.
Exercise is important when it comes to losing a lot of weight.
Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, is a popular form of physical activity that helps burn calories and promotes heart health (28).
In fact, studies have shown that cardio alone can aid fat loss.
For example, a study in 141 participants with excess weight or obesity analyzed the weight loss effects of doing 400 or 600 calories worth of cardio 5 times per week for 10 months, without watching their calorie intake.
Researchers found that participants who did 400 and 600 calories worth of cardio lost an average of 8.6 pounds (3.9 kg) and 11.5 pounds (5.2 kg), respectively (29).
Similarly, another study in 141 participants observed that doing just 40 minutes of cardio 3 times per week for 6 months led to a 9% decrease in body weight, on average (30).
In addition, studies have shown that cardio can help you burn harmful belly fat, which is also known as visceral fat. This type of fat sits in the abdominal cavity and is linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers (31, 32, 33).
If you are not used to cardio, try walking more frequently during the week and slowly progress toward jogging or running as you begin to feel more comfortable. If walking puts too much stress on your joints, try doing low impact cardio exercises, such as water walking or cycling.
Cardio helps you burn calories, which can aid weight and fat loss.
Resistance training, commonly called weight lifting, can assist weight loss.
It involves working against a force to improve muscle strength and endurance. Though it’s commonly done with weights, you can do it with just your body weight.
For example, a study in 61 people found that 9 months of regular weight lifting increased the number of calories they burned at rest by 5%, on average (35).
Similarly, another study noted that 10 weeks of regular weight lifting increased the number of calories burned by 7%, helped reduce blood pressure levels, and led to 4 pounds (1.8 kg) of fat loss, on average (36).
The easiest way to get started is to go to the gym, but you can try resistance training exercises, such as squats, lunges, sit-ups, and planks, at home using your body weight.
If you have never been to the gym before, consider getting a personal trainer to help you understand how to use the equipment properly and reduce your risk of injury.
Resistance training helps preserve muscle mass and may boost your metabolism, which in turn can aid weight loss.
Mindful eating involves practicing mindfulness and focusing on being present in the moment when you eat, aware of your physical and psychological hunger signals, and paying attention to your emotions (37).
There are several ways to practice mindful eating, but the most common ways include eating slowly, chewing food thoroughly, and avoiding distractions while eating, such as your phone, computer, or TV.
Research has shown that eating slowly — a mindful eating practice — can help you eat less while feeling fuller and more satisfied (38).
Another study in 17 men observed that eating slowly led to a greater release of fullness hormones, such as peptide YY and glucagon-like peptide-1, as well as greater feelings of fullness (39).
Additionally, a review of 19 studies found that incorporating mindfulness into a weight loss regimen led to weight loss in 68% of the studies (40).
Incorporating mindful eating into your weight loss routine can help you eat less, lose weight, and enjoy food more.
With a large weight loss goal like losing 100 pounds, it’s an excellent idea to seek the support of a qualified professional, such as a registered dietitian.
A dietitian can not only help you determine the best way to lose excess fat without being too restrictive but also offer you support along your journey.
What’s more, studies have shown that working with a dietitian on your weight loss journey can lead to significantly more weight loss than going at it alone, as well as help you maintain the weight loss afterward (41, 42).
Gathering a dietitian’s input is especially important if you have a complex medical condition. A dietitian can ensure you lose weight safely, without significantly compromising your health.
A dietitian can help kick-start your weight loss and point you in the right direction. This is especially true if you have a complex medical condition.
It’s important to note that losing 100 pounds will likely take at least 6 months to a year or longer.
Most experts recommend a slow but steady rate of weight loss — such as 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) of fat loss, or around 1% of your body weight, per week (43).
People with a higher initial body weight should expect to lose more pounds than people with a lighter initial body weight. However, the rate of weight loss tends to be similar percentage-wise.
For example, a person weighing 300 pounds (136 kg) may lose up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) over their first 2 weeks of dieting.
Meanwhile, a person of the same age and sex weighing 160 pounds (73 kg) may only lose 5 pounds (2.3 kg), despite consuming a similar calorie intake and exercising similar amounts.
However, it’s quite common to experience more rapid weight loss when you first start a weight loss program, particularly if you are following a low carb diet.
This is commonly due to a loss of water weight. As your body burns more calories than it consumes, it dips into its reserve fuel sources, such as glycogen — the stored form of sugar.
Glycogen molecules are bound to water, so when the body uses glycogen, it releases its bound water (44).
Though most people want to lose weight fast, it’s important to not lose too much weight too quickly.
- hair loss
- muscle loss
- menstrual irregularities
You can safely lose 1–2 pounds (0.5–1 kg) of fat, or around 1% of your body weight, per week.
Though losing 100 pounds may seem like an intimidating goal, it is possible and can be done safely by making several diet and lifestyle adjustments.
Proven strategies to help you lose weight include tracking your calories, increasing your protein intake, eating more fiber and vegetables, cutting back on refined carbs, doing more cardio and resistance training, practicing mindful eating, and holding yourself accountable.
If you’re still unsure where to start, it’s a good idea to seek professional support from a dietitian, as they can point you in the right direction, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
With a little time, patience, and a good support system, it’s possible to lose 100 pounds or more in under a year, depending on your starting point.