Edited by James Quirk, Krystle C., Jack Herrick, Brett Fechheimer and 497 others
Tired of carrying around those extra pounds? The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to create a low-calorie eating plan that you can stick to for a long time. If you just want to drop a few pounds fast, there are plenty of techniques and tips you can adopt to help you reach your short-term goals, too. Scroll down to Step 1 to learn more.
Method 1 of 4: Trying Quick Diets
1Try the water diet. This diet involves drinking a daily total of about 64 fluid ounces (8 cups) of cold water, at regular intervals throughout the day. Drink a glass of water before each meal to suppress your appetite. Doing this will help you get into the habit of limiting the portions of food you consume during each meal. By drinking water, you will feel full before a meal, thus helping you consume less calories.
- Keep in mind that this is not a water only diet. Water-only diets can actually be quite dangerous if done for too long a period of time. Your body needs nutrients to stay healthy and maintain a strong metabolism. If you drink only water for more than a couple of days, when you start eating again you run the risk of gaining even more weight because your metabolism will have slowed tremendously.
2Do the Mediterranean diet. While no diet out there has been proven to work, the Mediterranean diet may come closest. It's based on the traditional ingredients and cooking styles of people living near the Mediterranean sea. Research has shown that people adhering to this diet have reduced risk of heart disease - plus it helps you shed pounds and look lean and trim. Focus on eating the following foods (and eliminate bread, dairy and processed foods):
- Olive oil
- Beans and other legumes
- Red wine
3Try the paleo diet. Back when cavepeople still ruled the earth, they didn't have time to bake cupcakes or fry potato chips. The paleo diet (short for paleolithic) seeks to recreate the same diet that our early ancestors ate, claiming that our systems are not built for modern ingredients and cooking styles. You eat meat, vegetables, fruit, and other foods that would have been available back then, and avoid anything paleo people would't have had.
- No artificial sweeteners or grains are allowed.
- Some people incorporate intermittent fasting into the paleo diet as well to speed up weight loss.
4Do the Whole30 diet. The idea behind this diet is to eliminate all processed foods from your diet for 30 days to cleanse your system of artificial ingredients and other processed items that are hard on your digestive system. After 30 days, you'll notice a reduced waistline and higher energy levels.
- Avoid grains, dairy, sugars, legumes, alcohol and all processed foods.
- Eat meat, vegetables, some fruits, and drink plenty of water.
5Do the raw food diet. If you dislike meat and are tired of cooking, this one's for you. The raw food diet consists entirely of foods that have not been cooked. You lose weight by consuming loads of fresh vegetables and fruits. Coconut milk, nuts, seeds and other uncooked foods are also allowed on the raw food diet.
- Dietitians don't recommend staying on the diet for long periods of time, because eliminating entire food groups can leave you without essential nutrients.
6Do a juice cleanse. This method is also known as the Hollywood diet.. There are many different kinds of juice cleanses out there. However, the main concept is to only consume juices made from raw fruits and vegetables. The cleanse will remove toxins from your system, helping you lose weight while also making you feel more alert and healthy.
- Most juice cleanses last for one to three days, though some will go up to seven days at a time. You can either buy a cleansing package from a health store or company online, or you can buy your own juicer.
- Be sure you incorporate plenty of vegetables into your juicing routine. Fruit juice contains a lot of sugar, and drinking a lot of it will cause you to gain weight instead of losing it.
- Some of the most popular cleanse brands include Cooler Cleanse, BluePrint, and Life Juice.
7Consider the Master Cleanse. The master cleanse is a liquid-only diet that consists of a “lemonade” (lemon, cayenne pepper powder, maple syrup, and water), a salt-water drink, and herbal laxatives. The diet lasts for 16 days--three days of easing into the diet by only eating raw fruits and veggies, 10 days of the liquid only diet, and three more days easing back into solid foods.
- Be aware that this diet should only be done for very short-term weight loss and is supposed to function as a detoxifying cleanse rather than a strict weight-loss routine.
8Try the cabbage soup diet.This diet claims it can help you lose up to 10 pounds in one week. The diet lasts for seven days with each day’s eating regimen changing from one day to the next. Each day, dieters eat cabbage soup, along with a limited selection of fruits, vegetables, or a lean meat.
- The soup is made up of green onions, celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots, one head of cabbage, and some low-sodium bouillon. Dieters also have the option to add a can of V8 juice or some spice-only soup mix.
9Try the fasting diet. The idea behind this diet is that our bodies were built to go through both times of feasting and times of famine--as such, we should occasionally recreate the ‘famine’ part. This diet requires that for two days each week, you should only eat 500 (if you’re a woman) or 600 (if you’re a man) calories. On those fasting days, dieters should stick to eating only vegetables, seeds, legumes, and some fruit.
- This diet requires that you continue your exercise regimen on fasting days as well as on regular days.
- Ease into it by fasting for 1/2 day and seeing how you feel before you commit to longer-term fasting.
10Consider the HCG diet.This is a highly controversial diet that combines injections or supplements of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) with a severely restricted calorie intake.The calorie restriction alone (only 500 to 800 calories per day) is enough to promote weight loss in most people; it is significantly under the recommended daily calorie allowance, even for people attempting to lose weight. People give themselves doses of HCG via injections or in drop form.
- Many studies have been done on the value of HCG, with the results being shaky at best. While some people swear that they lost 25 pounds during the HCG diet, many scientists say there is absolutely no value in injecting yourself with HCG and that it can in fact be dangerous to do so.
Method 2 of 4: Making an Eating Plan
1Count calories. Knowing how the minimum amount of calories your body needs to function correctly will help you make your own personalized healthy eating plan and lose weight in a way that's quick but sustainable. Your individual calorie needs will vary based on age, gender, height, and activity level. There are online calculators you can use to determine the amount of calories you should be consuming each day.
- You can also figure out how much you should be eating by scheduling a consultation with a dietitian or a physician to discuss your weight loss goals, special dietary needs, current eating habits, and potential areas for improvement.
- Develop a meal plan. Choose meals that have a healthy balance of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, good fats, and lean proteins. A typical dinner plate should be filled with half vegetables or fruits, half whole grains and lean protein.
- The DASH diet, the TLC diet, the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Weight Watchers diet and Volumetrics all provide great meal plans to help you lose weight starting today. Run an internet search on any of the diets and meal plans to find out more.
2Eat foods that suppress your appetite. Eating balanced meals will not only provide you with low-calorie nutrition, it will also help to suppress your appetite so you won't overeat and foil your plans to lose weight. There are certain foods that keep you feeling sated for hours. Try incorporating the following foods into your diet:
- Leafy greens
- Dark chocolate
- Spicy foods
3Keep a food diary. Write down every meal, snack, and drink you consume as well as the approximate quantities for an entire week. Writing down what you consume actually helps us to remain mindful of what we put into our bodies and acts as a motivator to stay healthy. If you can, write down the number of calories that go along with each meal or snack you eat.
- Don’t forget to include coffee mix-ins, condiments, and other additions to your daily diet.
4Identify your food triggers and plan accordingly. Food triggers are the activities we do that make us want to snack. For some people, it's sitting down to watch a movie at night; for others, it's studying late at night. If you know your food triggers, you can plan for them--fill your house with healthy snacks or have them on hand.
- If you don’t purchase the unhealthy foods that you love to snack on, you will be less likely to sabotage your diet.
5Watch your portion sizes. Incorporate appropriate portion sizes into your meal plan. For instance, a healthy snack of almonds and dried cranberries can turn into a huge calorie source if you don’t pay attention to quantities. Also, preparing pre-apportioned healthy snacks can help you avoid mindless overeating and can make it convenient to grab a healthy snack.
- Make a list of what you'll need for these meals, and don't stray from your list when you get to the grocery store. Looking at market circulars can also give you ideas and even cut costs by buying weekly sale items and seasonal produce.
6Don’t skip meals. Eating a healthy breakfast increases your rest metabolic rate earlier in the day, keeps your energy levels high, and may help you resist the urge of high-calorie snacks throughout the day. Plan to eat a small snack or meal every two to four hours to keep your metabolism active. Eating regularly also keeps your blood sugar stable and reduces unhealthy calorie binges or deviations from your meal plan.
7Avoid tempting grocery aisles. Avoid the areas in the grocery store that stock sodas, cookies, ice cream, pizzas, and other fattening and highly processed foods, so that you are less likely to purchase unhealthy options. If you can’t see them, you can’t be tempted by them.
8Select smart substitutes for your favorite high calorie foods. Most foods have healthier counterparts that will allow you to enjoy your favorite foods without unnecessary fat, sugar, and calories. Exchanging high-calorie processed foods and drinks for healthier alternatives can help you lose weight faster.
- Consider eating vegetarian a few days each week. By replacing meat with nutritious foods like beans, tofu, or lentils, you can cut significant amounts of your daily calorie intake while adding many nutrients to your diet.
- Eat delicious fruit for dessert rather than a processed cookie or cake.
- Swap potato chips and candy bars for snacks that are nutrient-rich and low in calories and fat. Try combining string cheese with a handful of grapes, spreading peanut butter on a few crackers, or dipping sliced red pepper into a few tablespoons of hummus.
- Try substituting vinegar and lemon juice for your ranch or blue cheese dressing.
- Cook with a tablespoon of olive oil instead of butter.
9Stop drinking sugary liquids. Sip on water, tea, black coffee or seltzer instead of soft drinks, juice energy drinks, flavored coffees, and martinis. Cutting calories with substitutions can be a lot easier than you might think. For example, a tall latte in the morning may pack 500 calories. Since a pound of body fat (lost or gained) is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories, replacing that rich beverage with black coffee can help you lose a pound per week.
- Drinking water instead of soda, coffee, alcohol, juice, or milk may help you cut hundreds of calories per day. Increasing your water intake can also help your body efficiently use nutrients, keep you energized, get the most benefit from your exercise routine, and feel full longer.
- If you can handle substituting water for all other drinks for a week, you can expect faster weight loss and see dramatic improvement in energy levels and even appearance very quickly.
Method 3 of 4: Doing Weight Loss Treatments
1Go to a sauna. Saunas may result in a loss of a pint of sweat in just a quarter of an hour. Again, this is just a way to drop water weight, making your slim down for a day or so. This is not a permanent weight loss method. You should hydrate by drinking a few glasses of water after spending time in a sauna to reduce the risk of dehydration.
- Keep in mind that time in saunas must be limited, preferably to no more than one 15- to 20-minute session per day.
- People with blood pressure or heart problems should not use saunas, nor should young children.
2Ask about a mineral body wrap. Some mineral wraps claim to help you slim down by literally making you “lose” inches off of your waist, thighs, and arms. The process involves a mineral-based cleanse that is supposed to detoxify your body, helping you shed weight, reduce cellulite (fat near the surface of your skin), and tone and firm your skin almost instantly.
3Consider other kinds of wraps. While the mineral body wrap is the most common, there are other kinds of wraps that claim to shed inches from your waistline. Again, these are not permanent weight loss options but they could help you slim down for that special day.
- Get a lipase body wrap. Lipase body wraps are another quick-slim beauty treatment that follow a two-step phase. First, an enzyme wrap is applied to rid your body of fat tissue near the surface of the skin. A second mineral wrap is then applied, designed to tighten and smooth your skin. 
- Get a European body wrap. European body wraps are another potential option for spa services aimed at dropping inches off of trouble spots. This procedure is supposed to firm and tone skin, reduce the appearance of cellulite or stretch marks, and temporarily promotes weight loss.
- Get a hot body wrap. Heat-based body wraps are perhaps a more well-known spa treatment, designed both to detoxify your body and stimulate smooth, toned skin. The heat and massage involved in most heat or steam treatments is targeted at improving circulation and helping your body slim down quickly.
4Get a colonic. Some spas offer colonic irrigation treatments, which involve physically flushing your colon with large amounts of water to remove fecal accumulation. This process may help some people who suffer from bloating, gas, and constipation and claims to spur weight loss in some individuals. However, some professionals state that colonics can be harmful if done incorrectly or purely for the sake of weight loss. Consult with a doctor before you consider getting a colonic.
5Consider liposuction. Liposuction is a surgical option for fast, targeted weight loss, generally only recommended for people with one or two specific areas of highly fatty tissue but otherwise relatively healthy body weight. Because it is a surgical procedure, it carries significant health risks and should only be performed by a licensed professional.
Method 4 of 4: Exercising to Lose Weight
1Make time for exercise.Exercising might actually make you gain a few pounds of muscle when you first start, but it's an essential component of any long-term, sustainable weight loss plan. Regardless of how busy you are, it is essential that you make time to exercise each day if you actually want to lose weight and keep it off. Even little things like walking instead of driving to the store can affect how quickly you lose weight.
- Exercise while doing chores. Make as many trips upstairs as possible, walk the dog three times a day, and dust, sweep, and mop with vigor.
- Increase the amount of walking you do. Choose the stairs over the escalator and park as far from the store as you possibly can.
- Start a hobby that involves moving around a bit, even if it doesn't sound like "exercise." Gardening, building small projects, working on cars, or playing with animals are all great ways to burn calories.
2Try out a circuit training program. If you are trying to lose weight quickly for a particular event and don’t care about keeping the weight off, you can try a condensed workout routine. Many women’s and health magazines as well as personal trainers offer similar condensed workout routines designed to maximize weight loss and visible physical slimming within only a few days of beginning the regimen.
3Be realistic about the type of exercise you can do when starting a new program. If you are hoping to lose weight and keep it off, you will have to do more than a condensed fitness program. The best way to get into exercising is by picking exercises that you are actually going to do and, hopefully, enjoy. If you hate running, don’t make it your main form of exercise--you will need much more motivation each day than if you picked an exercise that you actually enjoy. Instead, try out different exercises until you find a few that you really love, like swimming, biking, or even Zumba.
- Remember that games like volleyball, tennis, and even Frisbee can help you burn calories while having a blast, making exercise a social and fun activity you will want to enjoy everyday.
4Take up cardio training. While a combination of cardio and resistance training are important for overall body health, cardiovascular training is what will help you shed those pounds quickly. In particular, doing aerobic base-building workouts--workouts that vary between moderate and high intensity--are the best form of cardio training.
- Fat-burning cardio routines can help you lose fat quickly, while weight and resistance training can trigger your metabolism to use energy more efficiently.
5Keep your exercise regimen interesting. Variety is the key to both promoting a healthier you and keeping you motivated. When you do the same exercise day in and day out, you put yourself at a higher risk of injuring yourself. You are also more likely to become bored, thus making it harder to find the motivation to keep exercising. While at the gym, switch between machines, join a fitness class, and add some resistance training into your schedule.
- Perform low impact aerobic activities. Moderate aerobic workouts incorporating brisk walking, cycling, aerobic machines, or swimming not only burn calories they also keep your heart healthy.
- Pump some iron. Resistance training, weight training, can help both men and women stay lean by building muscle and raising metabolism. Weight loss strategies that incorporate both aerobic and weight training boost calorie burn significantly.
6Choose workouts that require your entire body to exert an effort. This way, you work every muscle group and burn calories with more muscles at one time, like multi-tasking with your exercise. For instance, combine a form of resistance training (try raising small dumbbells overhead as you work) with your arms while you jog or cycle with your legs.
- Rest at least 24 to 48 hours between strength training sessions on the same muscle group (for instance, work out your biceps and abs on alternating days), and take one to two days off from exercising each week.
7Get enough rest. Being properly rested will help you maintain sufficient energy throughout the day, making you less likely to overeat and less prone to injury during physical activity. Sleep deficiency has actually been linked to an inability to lose fat, so getting enough sleep can really help you on your path to losing weight.Ad
Test Your Knowledge
- Fast weight loss for a specific event may be good temporary motivation, but developing a few specific goals for your long-term weight loss plans is also helpful and may keep you accountable for a weight loss plan after you achieve your initial goal.
- Remember that healthy weight loss takes effort, dedication, and consistency.
- Weight lost can take time but it will be worth it.
- No matter what a magazine article says, spot improving is a myth! When your body burns fat, it takes it from all over your body, even if all you do are crunches. No amount of crunches will get rid of that gut if they are not backed up by proper aerobic exercise and diet! Washboard abs do not come from millions of sit ups; they come from having low levels of body fat. So if that is your goal, make sure you do plenty of aerobic exercise in addition to your ab routine.
- Health professionals recommend a slow and steady weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. This is through a combination of healthy diet and moderate exercise.
- The healthiest way to lose weight quickly combines a healthy and nutritious diet, proper hydration, and a moderate and varied exercise routine. If you use a fad diet or other rapid weight loss technique to drop a few pounds very quickly, switch after a few days or weeks to a long-term weight loss plan that promotes healthier weight loss to protect your health and promote sustainable weight loss.
- The goal is to lose fat, not just weight in general. If you are doing strength training during your weight loss (which you should be), you might actually see an initial gain in weight. If this is the case, don't worry! You have probably lost fat and gained muscle, which is denser than fat and is much healthier.
- Keep in mind that one mistake doesn't mean you have failed. If you have taken a step backwards, re-center yourself and get right back into the habit of following your plans.
- You may be able to reduce your caloric intake by eating slowly; your brain needs about 20 minutes to get the signal that you are not hungry anymore. Taking a breather in between bites can help prevent overeating, provided you pay attention to how full you feel and stop after you are satisfied.
- Identify your source of motivation and your ultimate weight loss goals. Try writing down the exact reasons that stimulate you to reduce your weight so that you have a constant visual reminder of your goals, and be confident that you can succeed.
- Do not try to starve yourself. Neglecting to consume sufficient numbers of calories on a regular basis can result in the opposite effects you're looking for and, if sustained, can be life threatening. If you have attempted to lose weight by skipping multiple meals or drastically reducing your daily calorie intake, speak with a health professional about getting information on eating disorders.
- If you feel negative side effects from your diet or exercise routine such as dizziness, nausea, weakness, pain, lightheadedness, headaches, or other symptoms, discontinue the program and resume normal eating or activity patterns. If you feel the pain or discomfort is severe or that your symptoms are worrisome, consult a health professional.
- Do not begin a weight loss or exercise routine without first consulting a health care professional for advice. There are many health conditions that may contraindicate rapid weight loss programs or some of the other effective short-term weight loss strategies.
- Consult a physician or dietitian before adding supplements to your diet plan, as multi-vitamins and supplements are not necessary for everyone, particularly if you follow a balanced diet.
- Avoid fad diets, diet pills, and "quick-fix" diet plans that severely restrict calories or food groups. Fad diets and techniques for rapid weight loss are not always effective, and some may be dangerous. Pills, powders, and diet programs that require extreme calorie restriction, total avoidance of entire food groups, or excessive exercise can be very hazardous to health. Pills and supplements are not monitored by the FDA and may not be safe. Unless you have a medical reason for avoiding a particular type of food, a balanced and varied diet is essential for adequate nutrition and healthy, steady weight loss. Diet pills and restrictive diet plans can cause nutrient deficits, organ damage, high cholesterol, and many other dangerous health problems.
- Losing weight too quickly is dangerous and can have adverse effects on your health. Despite the title of this article, getting into shape is best done slowly. Prolonged excessive weight loss can cause considerable health problems. The safest and most sustainable way to lose weight is to do so slowly and under the guidance of a health professional.
Sources and Citations
- ↑ http://www.prisoners.com/cwaterd.html
- ↑ http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/healthy-eating/is-trying-a-water-diet-worth-it.html
- ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801
- ↑ http://thepaleodiet.com/
- ↑ http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/
- ↑ http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2014/01/24/top-fad-diets-love-them-or-leave-them
- ↑ http://www.hollywooddiet.com/
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- ↑ http://www.cabbage-soup-diet.com/recipe/
- ↑ http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2014/01/24/top-fad-diets-love-them-or-leave-them
- ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hcg-diet/AN02091
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- ↑ http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2013/09/04/the-6-weight-loss-tips-that-science-actually-knows-work/
- ↑ http://www.acaloriecounter.com/calorie-counting.php
- ↑ http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/sauna_health_benefits
- ↑ http://www.helpforhealth.net/
- ↑ http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=126814
- ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/consumer-health/expert-answers/colon-cleansing/faq-20058435
- ↑ http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/liposuction/MY00079
- ↑ http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/dieting-vs-exercise-for-weight-loss/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
- ↑ http://chrisfreytag.com/nutrition-and-exercise/work-out/daily-workout/
- ↑ http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/features/exercise-lose-weight
- ↑ http://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2013/09/04/the-6-weight-loss-tips-that-science-actually-knows-work/
- ↑ http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/lose-weight/burn-fat/8-ways-to-burn-more-fat/
- ↑ http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/lack-of-sleep-weight-gain
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