When you finalize the plans for your wedding, decide to go to your high school class reunion, or want to change the way you look to improve your dating life and job prospects, losing weight often becomes a priority. About 70 percent of all adults in the United States are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And while health experts recommend gradual weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week as a safe goal, it’s quite possible that you’ll find yourself up against a deadline where you need to lose weight faster than that.
Rapid weight loss isn’t ideal, but fitness models, celebrities, and athletes do it all the time. It’s possible to ramp up your weight loss, but there are a few things you should know.
Lose Weight Fast: How to Do It Safely
The best approach to weight loss is eating a healthy, calorie-controlled diet, and getting regular exercise. If you’re obese, adjusting your diet and exercising can help you lost a large amount of weight in the beginning. Think of The Biggest Loser TV show. In the early weeks, some contestants lose 10, 20, and 30 pounds in a week.
Why do You Need to Lose Your Weight Fast?
Before you dive into a plan to lose weight rapidly, you should consider your reasons. Why do you need to lose weight fast? Is it worth the mental and physical challenge? Can I extend my weight loss goal, or is there an approaching deadline? Think about the reason you need to lose weight rapidly before proceeding.
Easy Ways to Lose Weight Fast:
When you’re ready to launch an all-out assault on your body fat, there are multiple strategies you can use to lose weight. Many people find that combining a few of these strategies produces the best results in the least amount of time.
Diets for Fast Weight Loss
One of the best dietary approaches to rapid weight loss is following a calorie-controlled diet. Use a calorie calculator to find out how many calories you should eat per day to reach your target weight. This typically requires you to cut your typical calorie consumption by an estimated 500 calories per day. One you figure out how many calories per day you should be consuming to reach your weight loss goal, plan to get your calories from fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes, whole grains, and lean meats. Drink plenty of water instead of soda, and eliminate sugar sweetened drinks, candy, pastries, chips, and all processed foods. Eating a protein-rich, fiber-rich, low-calorie diet is the best dietary approach to rapid weight loss that won’t leave you feeling hungry.
Precautions to be taken. Even though you might think skipping meals will aid in weight loss, don’t do it. Skipping meals actually slows your metabolism. When your body recognizes a lack of food, your metabolism slows to conserve energy. Make sure you’re eating regularly to maintain your metabolism to encourage weight loss.
Exercising for Fast Weight Loss
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 60 minutes a day of aerobic exercise along with two days of strength training for weight loss. Running, cycling, jogging, aerobic, and zumba are excellent cardiovascular activities that burn calories and speed up your metabolism. Strength training, like weight lifting or body weight exercises, helps you build more lean body mass. And the more lean body mass you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest. If you want to achieve rapid weight loss results, you’ve got to stick to a solid workout routine to rev up your metabolism and burn a lot of calories.
Precautions to be taken. Drink water to stay properly hydrated during and after exercise. Vigorous exercise creates heat and forces your body to sweat to cool you down. Sweating a lot is a good sign that your metabolism is fired up, but you need to replace lost fluids. And make sure you don’t overdo it with exercise. Overexerting yourself could lead to an injury and leave you sitting on the couch, which isn’t conducive to rapid weight loss.
Fad Diets and Crash Diets
You can try your hand at fad diets and crash diets. Many options exist that can help you lose a significant amount of weight in a short period of time. Look for diets that encourage you to restrict carbohydrates, sugar-sweetened drinks, and snack foods, and encourage consumption of plant-based foods and lean protein.
Precautions to be taken. Studies show that an estimated 75 percent of all people who lose weight based on a crash diet, gain the weight back. Instead of addressing behavioral issues associated with weight gain, crash diets mask the problem and help you lose weight rapidly. Once you’ve completed the diet, usually one to three months, many people who lose weight with this approach resume old habits and gain the weight back.
Reduce Your Calorie Intake
Cutting calories is the name of the game for rapid weight loss. Keep a food journal for at least two weeks to get a picture of what your eating habits look like and how many calories you’re consuming per day. Then figure out an eating plan based on cutting about 500 calories a day from your diet. If your eating habits prior to beginning a rapid weight loss diet have been poor, you may be able to limit your calorie intake by more than 500 calories per day.
Precautions to be taken. Calorie control is a highly effective way to lose weight. But taken to extreme can rob your body of necessary nutrients. Keep in mind that an extremely low-calorie or starvation diet works against weight loss. If you skip meals and avoid eating, your body responds by slowing metabolism to conserve energy.
High Doses of Supplements
In a large study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, researchers looked at hundreds of weight loss supplements. While they found that many weight loss supplements don’t work, they did find that green tea, fiber, and low-fat dairy supplements did aid in weight loss. Green tea contains naturally occurring caffeine that helps boost metabolism. Fiber and low-fat dairy supplements require more energy for your body to digest, and also help raise metabolism. If you’re going to take supplements to aid in weight loss, look for options that include these ingredients.
Precautions to be taken. Some weight loss supplements contain harmful ingredients that could raise your blood pressure, risk for diabetes, liver and kidney damage, and other health problems. Check the USDA website for Dietary Supplement news, updates, and product recalls.
Weight loss surgery is always an option for rapid weight loss. But it typically requires careful planning and consultation with your doctor, along with planned recovery time.
Precautions to be taken. A recent study found that 75 percent of people who receive liposuction or other weight-reduction surgeries gain it back within a year. It’s one of the reasons most weight loss surgeries are considered cosmetic procedures. Keep in mind that any type of surgery comes with some risk for infection and scarring.
Side Effects of Quick Weight Loss
Rapid weight loss is possible if you apply these strategies to your diet and lifestyle habits. However, studies suggest that most people who pursue weight loss in this fashion will gain the weight back. Use this approach if you’re committed to losing weight for an important deadline. Otherwise, stick to a more conservative approach and aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week.