You’ve got a high school reunion in two months, and you want to look fabulous. And, for you, that means losing about 15 pounds. Is it time to try a crazy crash diet, like eat nothing but cabbage soup or lemonade? Probably not. Crash diets can mess up your metabolism and ruin your skin, plus make you so weak and moody that you’ll drive everyone crazy. Not exactly the kind of image of success and beauty that you were aiming to project, right? So what’s the fast, healthy way to lose weight? Read on.
Shows like The Biggest Loser tell us that it is possible to shed a lot of pounds without totally risking your physical and emotional well-being.
This includes careful calorie count an regular exercise (at least 7 hours a week). And, since this kind of weight loss does have an impact on your body, you really need to get doctor’s clearance and supervision if you plan to lose 10 pounds or more a week.
You may want to start with a safer and more realistic goal of 3 pounds a week. This gradual loss can still mean a significant loss of 10 or more pounds by the end of the month—and done properly, you’ll feel the extra benefits of higher energy levels, glowing skin, better libido, and lower stress levels. That’s the kind of motivation that will help you stick to the program even after the reunion (or wedding, or whatever it is that you’re trying to lose weight for).
So how do you do this? First of all, burn 500 more calories than you consume. (Check online calculators or meet a nutritionist to find out your ideal calorie intake.) This will, in general, help you lose about 2 pounds of fat a week. If that’s too slow for you, then just intensify the exercise—don’t cut the calories further. Ideally you should be sweating for an hour, and if you want to double the calorie burn, don’t work out for two hours, work out twice a day. If you starve yourself, your metabolism will slow down.
You can also reduce bloatedness by cutting back on salt and starch, which makes your body retain water. That alone can lead to losing 5 pounds from fluid loss. (Eating pineapple and yogurt with honey can also help with bloatedness.)
Focus on eating fruits and vegetables (swap your potatoes or rice for salads or steamed leafy greens) and take your protein from lean meat, skinless poultry breasts and fish. You can also eat these foods which can increase metabolism and lower food cravings.
Certain eating rituals can also prevent overeating. Drink a lot of water, since people often confuse hunger with thirst. And a glass of water before eating can also fill your stomach so you eat less. Avoid mindless eating (munching in front of the TV, nibbling snacks at your desk) and eat only from a plate. Keeping a food journal can also help you become more aware of diet-busting patterns, such as emotional eating or eating from boredom.
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