If you want to lose weight, you're not alone. Almost half of all Americans are trying to lose weight at any given time. While there are many things you can do to shed pounds, losing weight too quickly can be dangerous. Fad diets, diet pills, and fasting may help you reduce the number on the scale, but these methods can cause severe health complications. However, if you are generally healthy and you're determined to drop several pounds quickly, there are some techniques and tips you can adopt to help you reach your short-term goals.
Healthy Eating HabitsChange general nutrition and lifestyle habits. Adopting a number of simple but significant dietary and behavioral changes can be enough to jump-start weight loss for many people. Combining the suggestions below with your short-term diet plan will enhance your chances of reaching your weight-loss goals faster and maintaining those results in the long-term.
Develop a healthy and personalized meal plan. 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.
- When possible, write down the number of calories in each food you eat as you eat it.
- Keep in mind that the recommended serving size is often considerably smaller than the serving you actually eat.
- Don’t forget to include coffee mix-ins, condiments, and other additions to your daily diet.
- Once you have done this, you should be able to estimate your typical daily calorie intake and compare it to your goal with an online calorie calculator.
Watch your portion sizes. Look for healthy, delicious meal and snack ideas online or in cookbooks, and create a menu for the week. 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.
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 per-apportioned healthy snacks can help you avoid mindless overeating and can make it convenient to grab a healthy snack.
Don’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 snack or meal every 2 to 4 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.
Snack smartly. Swap potato chips and candy bars for snacks that are nutrient-rich and low in calories and fat. Avoid processed and packaged foods when possible, or buy snacks that have single-serving packets of 100 to 200 calories. Healthy and easy snacks include nuts, rice cakes, fresh or dried fruits, baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, and so on. Vegetables are generally very low in calories, very high in fiber, and full of flavor and nutrition, but avoid fatty dressings or dips. Fruit provides a good source of soluble fiber, releasing energy more slowly and keeping you feeling full longer. Low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt or cheddar cheese, can also be healthy snacks in moderation. 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.
Choose lean meats. Poultry and fish are naturally low in fat, and certain fish like salmon, sardines, and fresh tuna are an excellent sources of antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial to your health. Ask your butcher for lean cuts of beef or pork if you choose to buy them, and trim visible fat from meat before cooking. 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.
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.
The Mayo Clinic Diet. This plan was developed by the world-renowned medical research and treatment clinic to jump-start weight loss and promote a long-term plan for healthy and sustainable weight loss. It advertises a possible weight loss of up to 10 pounds in the first week, although results slow afterwards. This is one of the few diet plans with immediate weight loss results that are healthy to maintain in the long-term. It focuses on breaking unhealthy habits, creating healthy habits, and learning to eat and exercise well for life.
Fad DietsFad diets are any diets that are based on popularity and not scientific information. There are a variety of problems with fad diets. They are short-term solutions; if you stay on a fad diet for more than a few days, you could cause your body serious harm. Fad diets aren't the way to go if you want to permanently lose weight. They may work short term but most likely you will gain the weight back after a bit. You should always consult your healthcare provider before beginning any kind of weight loss program to make sure your body can take the added strain to its system. Here are some popular fad diets with simple instructions that claim to result in fast, short-term weight loss:
- It involves eating a low-fat, high fiber diet.
- You mainly eat a special type of cabbage soup, but you can also have moderate portions of certain fruits and vegetables, occasional meats and rice, a minimum of 4 glasses of water and a multivitamin each day.
- This diet lasts 7 days and is not recommended as a permanent solution for long-term weight loss. With this diet you reduce your food intake so much you basically starve yourself for a short period of time.
The Salt-Free Diet. This diet helps you lose water weight by eliminating water retention in the body.
- On this diet, you cannot have any salt, which includes not only table salt, but also all the added sodium found in pre-packaged and prepared foods.
- This involves preparing sodium-free products at home or avoiding processed foods all together, which also means avoiding to eat out at restaurants.
- It also involves drinking up to 2 liters (about 8 cups) of water each day to replenish essential bodily fluids, although green tea is also allowed in moderation.
- Many prepared foods have as much as 30% of your daily value. You get your daily requirement of sodium from a healthy diet; too much can cause you to retain water weight.
- Because some dietary salt is essential for good health, the Salt-Free Diet should not be followed for more than one to two weeks.
- It's important to note that this diet is more effective for those people who tend to retain water more easily than others. If you're not sure whether you're particularly prone to water retention, pay attention to your hands and feet the next time you eat something salty. If your rings are more difficult to take off, or your shoes become tighter after a salty meal, those are signs that your body is sensitive to sodium.
- Note that this diet won't make you lose any fat. It'll simply reduce your water retention and you will quickly regain the water weight once you go off this diet.