Diets with severe calorie restrictions might seem like the simplest option to lose a few pounds quickly, but they slow down your metabolism to a crawl, making it easier to quickly gain back the weight and store more fat in the long run.

Discover the best ways to speed up weight loss, by making sure your metabolism is running at its maximum potential. From eating the right foods at the right time to exercising in an efficient way, here’s what you can do to drop the extra weight faster.

1. Avoid Crash Diets

If you’re getting less than 1,200 calories per day, you’re on a bad diet. You’ll lose the water weight, and then your body will start losing muscle mass instead of burning the fat deposits. Crash diets are bad because they push your body into starvation mode, slowing down your metabolism and making it easier to store fat when you can’t take it anymore and start binging.

2. Eat More Snacks

After you set a healthy daily calorie goal, one of the best ways to speed up weight loss is to spread them out in more meals and snacks. Eating small portions every two to three hours will keep your metabolism active. That way, you’ll burn more calories and increase your chances at getting rid of the extra pounds by the time your deadline arrives.

3. Go Organic

Chemicals in processed food can mess with your weight loss efforts in a lot of ways, but even if you include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet, you still have to make sure they’re organic. Traces of pesticides in produce can lead to a slowed down thyroid function, which impacts your metabolic rate.

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4. Drink Tea

One of the best ways to speed up weight loss is to stay hydrated, but tea can be better than water. You can’t replace it complete with black tea, and even green tea can make you jittery when you have too much of it. Find the balance between green and herbal tea, in order to reap the benefits of antioxidant polyphenols which also contribute to a higher calorie burning rate.

5. Sleep More

When you’re sleep deprived, you’re a lot more likely to overindulge, but that’s not the only reason to make sure you get 8 hours of sleep every night. By letting your body rest for longer, you’re improving your calorie burning potential when you’re awake as well. Allow yourself a good night’s sleep and you’ll also benefit from lower levels of cravings triggering hormones.

6. Exercise the Right Way

The more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn. Increasing your resting metabolism by exercising is very important. Interval training and strength training are two of the best ways to speed up weight loss. By alternating a few minutes of regular exercise with up to 60 seconds of intense ones, you’re maximizing your calorie burning potential.

7. Spice It Up

One of the easiest ways to make sure you’re keeping your metabolism at full speed is to include a little spice in every meal. Chili peppers, ginger, and even cinnamon can kick your metabolism into the next gear temporarily, so adding them to more meals and snacks means more calories end up getting burned instead of stored.

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8. Stick to Black Coffee

Forget about adding empty calories to your coffee. While caffeine is a great way to keep your metabolic rate high, you’re sabotaging it by adding sugar and creamers, whether they contain dairy or not. If you’re lacking energy, one of the best ways to speed up weight loss is to start your day with black coffee and continue with black or green tea to avoid a crash. Taurine, found in many energy drinks, can also contribute to a higher metabolic rate, but it’s important to avoid energy drinks that are loaded with too many artificial flavors.

9. Make Breakfast Count

With or without any caffeine, your body needs to start burning calories right away after you wake up. Always have breakfast in 30-60 minutes after you’re up and make sure it includes lean protein, complex carbs and healthy fats.

10. Chew More

The time you take to chew your food can contribute to the feeling full sooner. One of the best ways to speed up weight loss is to opt for more chewy foods, including nuts and fiber rich fruits and veggies.