How To Lose Body Fat: 7 Best Ways To Burn Body Fat Sustainably In 2023

Christine VanDoren, Nutritionist
Ellie Busby, MS, RDN
Learn how to lose body fat in a healthy way by incorporating these seven tips into your regular fitness and nutrition routine in 2023.
how to lose body fat
Regular healthy habits can help you lose body fat. Photo: Ba Le Ho

Losing body fat[1] does a lot more than enhance your appearance. It also leads to improved health, comfort, and possibly a longer life. More body fat is linked to a higher risk[2] of diabetes, heart disease, and even certain kinds of cancer. 

So, getting rid of excess fat makes sense. Do you know how to lose body fat effectively? 

A combination of specific workouts, healthy eating habits, and quality lifestyle choices is crucial to losing body fat safely and efficiently. This will help reduce overall body fat, including visceral belly fat, which is especially dangerous for your health. 

Here are the top seven ways to lose body fat — according to the most recent science.

7 Ways To Reduce Body Fat Effectively

Here are seven tips for losing body fat in a healthy way:

  1. Avoid processed foods.
  2. Drink more water.
  3. Exercise properly.
  4. Drink coffee or green tea.
  5. Get a good night’s sleep.
  6. Eat more quality protein.
  7. Do strength training.

7 Best Ways To Burn Body Fat Safely

The best way to detox and burn body fat is to make long-lasting lifestyle changes. People who rapidly lose weight often do so by following the latest fads or weight loss trends — such as an ultra-low fat diet — but the results are almost always short-term and carry a risk of weight regain.[3]

Want to lose fat in a sustainable, healthy way? Here are some ways that won’t have you gaining it back and keep the weight off for good.

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Avoid Processed Foods

Many people eat a diet full of ultra-processed foods,[4] and this can quickly lead to a high body fat percentage. Rethink your daily food choices. Avoid the inflammatory, refined oils and unhealthy fats found primarily in fast food, baked goods, and processed snacks.

While grocery shopping, always check the labels.[5] Manufacturers usually don’t advertise their unhealthy ingredients. However, as you get into the habit of reading labels, you’ll notice unhealthy ingredients — like sodium, partially hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, and other trans fats. Avoid these products and anything high in sugar, calories, and salt. 

Instead, choose healthy fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. These foods are nutrient-dense and fiber-rich, which help you feel fuller so you don’t overeat.

Drink More Water

how to lose body fat
Water helps you stay hydrated and promotes weight loss. Photo: Shutterstock

Avoid high-calorie sodas, juices, alcohol, and other sweetened drinks, and drink more water. A third of Americans[6] consume too much sugar — mostly via sugary drinks.[7] Cutting back will reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and a host of other chronic illnesses[8] — as well as body fat. 

Most adults don’t drink enough water.[9] However, staying properly hydrated[10] is vital when burning fat —especially when exercising and losing fluids through sweat. 

How much water do you need? The National Academy of Medicine[11] recommends 2.7 liters for women and 3.7 liters for men daily. This recommendation includes the water obtained from foods, too. In terms of drinking water, aim for six to eight cups daily.[12] Increase that amount when working out in hot weather to stay properly hydrated.

Here are a few tips to help you stay hydrated:

  • Try adding flavor with fruit slices such as lemons, oranges, and limes to your water.
  • Include cucumbers, lettuce, and celery in your diet due to their high water content.[13] 
  • Fill your water bottle before you leave for work, school, or running errands. If you bring it along with you while you’re out and about, you are more likely to drink water than to purchase sweetened liquids.

Exercise Properly

Even a simple routine, like taking a brisk walk each morning, can do wonders for anyone who wants to burn more calories than they take in. If you kick it up a notch with aerobic exercise such as a jog, swim, run, or ride a bike, you’ll burn even more.

Try to get in at least 30 minutes of high-intensity cardio — such as high-intensity interval training — a few times a week if you can. One great perk of high-intensity cardio is that your metabolism increases — even 14 hours[14] after exercising. 

Before choosing exercises designed to burn belly and thigh fat, check with your physician or a certified personal trainer for recommendations. They can guide you in picking the right combination of strength training, cardio, and mobility routines.

Also, consider joining an exercise club or gym, and you’ll socialize with more people committed to exercising. If you’re enjoying yourself and making friends, you’ll be more likely to stick with new, healthier routines.

Drink Coffee Or Green Tea

Many studies show that increased coffee or tea intake is linked to less body fat[15] and might increase your success rate when losing body fat. 

Why? Caffeine increases your metabolism and the breakdown of fatty acids.[16] Studies show that drinking a cup of green tea or coffee before a workout can enhance fat burning.[17] 

To reduce calorie intake, avoid adding sugar, cream, sugar, or artificial sweeteners[18] to coffee and tea. Instead, try a splash of low-fat milk or a plant-based milk alternative.

Get A Good Night’s Sleep

You’re more likely to be overweight[19] if you’re chronically sleep-deprived. 

Sleep deprivation[20] interferes with appetite-regulating hormones, making you more likely to overeat and choose unhealthier foods. You’re also more susceptible to stress, triggering increased cortisol[21] levels — a hormone that contributes to fat accumulation in your stomach area.

A decent amount of sleep — at least six hours a night — is vital for losing weight, promoting muscle growth, and living a healthy lifestyle. Feeling well-rested and energized is crucial for a healthy exercise routine, too. You can’t burn fat if you’re too exhausted to exercise. 

If you have trouble falling asleep at night, these sleep hygiene tips[22] might help:

  • Shut down computers and phones at least one hour before bed. 
  • Read a book or meditate prior to bedtime.
  • Dim the lights throughout your home. 
  • Avoid late-night eating.
  • Close the curtains and blinds to limit the amount of light in your home during the night. 
  • Reduce noise by using earplugs.
  • Exercise regularly, but avoid rigorous exercise in the hours before bed.

Eat More High-Quality Protein

Protein promotes satiation,[23] so you feel fuller for longer periods of time. This helps you lose body fat and retain muscle mass.[24] A higher muscle-to-fat mass ratio increases energy expenditure, meaning you’ll burn more calories at rest.

Ghrelin, a hunger hormone, is responsible for promoting appetite. Diets with lean protein can reduce ghrelin levels,[23] so you’re less likely to snack. Increasing the amount of protein you eat can reduce cravings[25] for carbohydrates and sweets. 

Consider wild-caught fish, eggs, lean turkey and chicken, or plant-based proteins like tofu and beans.

Do Strength Training

how to lose body fat
Strength training helps you build muscle and stay fit. Photo: Shutterstock

Combining strength training with your regular fitness routine is crucial to reducing body fat percentage. 

Studies show that resistance training reduces body fat,[26] including visceral fat — the unhealthy fat that grows around your organs. Consistent resistance training has the potential to increase your metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more fat throughout the day. 

Building muscle in your core, upper, and lower body also has other health benefits, such as lowering cholesterol levels[27] and increasing bone density.[28]

Aim for three to five sessions per week. Gradually increase muscle mass and seek an expert’s assistance to learn the correct form, lowering your risk of injury. 

Progressive overload — when you consistently increase the intensity of your workouts — is essential for ensuring you don’t hit a wall with your weight loss at any point. Try gradually adding weight, increasing the number of reps or sets, slowing down your tempo, or adding new exercises.

What Is Body Fat Exactly?

Body fat, also known as adipose tissue,[29] is a connective tissue that extends throughout your entire body. It’s under your skin, between your internal organs, and inside your bone cavities.

Some body fat is healthy. The type of fat also differs between men and women. Women tend to have more subcutaneous fat[30] — fat under the skin — while men are at higher risk of visceral fat. This is the type of unhealthy body fat — often invisible — fat that grows around your internal organs. Belly fat is visceral fat[31] around your stomach.

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Things You Need To Know To Lose Body Fat

How to lose body fat for men isn’t much different from how to lose body fat for women. Either way, the process of losing belly fat and body fat overall[32] is challenging — but it can be done. It requires the following:

  • Hard work.
  • Patience.
  • Dedication.
  • Healthy eating habits.
  • Lifestyle changes.
  • Exercise.
  • Commitment.

Too many fad diets promise quick results and end in failure. Small steps through modifying your diet, making healthier lifestyle choices, and regular exercise are effective and sustainable ways to reach a sustainable, healthy weight.


To lose body fat and keep it off, avoid quick weight loss schemes and unsafe supplements. Instead, incorporate healthy habits into your daily routine. This includes getting a good night’s sleep, drinking water, and building muscle mass. 

Choose more whole fruits, fresh vegetables, and lean proteins. Make a commitment to exercise more and eat less processed food. These small steps all lead in the right direction and allow you to enjoy better health and long-lasting fat-burning.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to eat to burn fat?

You’ll burn more fat by eating lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, salmon, and eggs. These protein sources also promote muscle growth and repair more than carbs and fats, meaning you can exercise more.

What does healthy fat loss feel like?

Healthy fat loss[33] can improve your sense of well-being, vitality, and self-control. You may also experience less anxiety and depression.[34]

How to know if I’m actually losing weight?

If you’re also building muscle mass, you won’t be able to measure fat loss with a scale. You’ll know you’re losing weight when you begin to notice changes in your appearance, especially the waistline.

Can I lose body fat without losing weight?

Yes. Losing overall body fat[35] doesn’t always mean losing weight. This is especially true during strength training because muscle is denser than fat.


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