Quick weight loss diets have been around since the world’s first dieter looked at their belly and thought, “I need to lose a few pounds – NOW.”
Even though experience has shown that quick “fad” diets usually result in temporary weight loss, dieters are still looking for the Holy Grail: A diet that lets them lose weight fast and keep it off.
While there is no miraculous instant weight loss trick, you can take steps to speed things along without resorting to a quick weight loss diet. Here’s how:
Are you eating too many calories?
The problem might be that you’re eating too few. Years of yo-yo dieting can slow down your metabolism by 30%. To get it back on track, you’ll need to eat enough calories to fuel your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
You can find detailed BMR calculators online. They will tell you how many calories you need to get through a day. If you exercise or have a physically demanding job, you will need more. Try to get most of your calories from lean protein, whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables.
Don’t let an initial weight gain scare you off; your body needs time to repair itself. Once you’ve spent a few weeks or months eating an appropriate number of calories, your metabolism will speed up and the pounds will fall away.
You can easily lose a pound a week by sticking to a balanced diet, or two pounds a week if you add exercise.
Most quick weight loss diets don’t include any form of physical exercise. They encourage you to lose weight rapidly by eating very little. While that can lead to a quick initial weight loss, the weight will come back when you start to eat normally again. Plus, quick weight loss diets don’t provide the same health benefits as a balanced diet and exercise.
Experts agree that the best exercise routines include cardio and strength training. If you have a lot of stress in your life, you should also consider yoga for stretching and relaxation. Three to five hours of cardio exercise plus one or two hours of strength training are enough to make significant changes in your body shape and fitness level.
Exercise provides all kinds of health benefits. It will improve your mood, help you sleep soundly, make you stronger and leaner, and improve your balance. It also protects your heart and wards off metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes. These are perks that quick weight loss diets cannot offer.
Forget Starvation Diets
We’ve all heard the tales of celebrities who drank nothing but lemonade with maple syrup and cayenne pepper to quickly slim down for a role. What we don’t hear about is the aftermath: Those same celebrities regained all the weight as soon as they ended their quick weight loss diets.
Don’t put your body through the stress of quick weight loss diets. At best, you’ll end up tired, hungry, grouchy, dehydrated, and heavier than before. At worst, you could seriously damage your metabolism, making it impossible to lose weight even when you eat very few calories.
To maintain a healthy weight, your body needs to be healthy. Feed it right, move it often, and give it the hydration it needs to perform at its peak.