For people who are overweight, losing weight can be an important part of improving their health and well-being. The faster you lose weight, the faster you can enjoy better health, more energy and higher self-esteem.
It is possible to lose weight very fast, if you are willing to take the right steps. However losing weight too quickly can be dangerous. If you aren’t careful, you can start to lose muscle and damage your organs, instead of losing fat. This guide will introduce the basic concepts to losing weight fast while staying healthy.
If you are trying to lose over 30 pounds in a short amount of time, you should speak with a doctor before you begin, so your doctor can monitor your progress and your health. If you can afford it, working with a personal trainer can make it easier to lose weight quickly and the trainer can help you lose weight in a way that is healthy.
Losing weight is a lifetime commitment. You can lose weight fast, but if you don’t make an ongoing commitment to changing your life, that weight will come right back. The weight yo-yo, losing weight and putting it back on over and over again, is even unhealthier than being overweight. Make the decision now to make the changes in your life to lose the weight and keep it off.
WHAT IS LOSING WEIGHT TO YOU?
So you want to lose weight. You’re BMI is high, you’ve gone up 2 dress sizes, you look awful in your swim trunks. Maybe you just want to be healthier and in better shape. Whatever you are thinking of doing, your goal is unlikely to be ‘losing weight’. You want to lose inches off your waist, drop 10 pounds or to get six pack abs. You want a healthy BMI, you want to lose fat, or get a sexy body. What does ‘losing weight’ mean to you?
Define your goals. If you don’t know what your goal is, you’ll never reach it. Once you’ve defined your goal, break it into small pieces. Set a time frame for each small piece.
Let’s say your goal is to lose 2 inches off your waist. You can break that down into smaller goals of wanting to lose ½ inch each week. Keep your small goals reasonable. It is possible to lose 20 pounds a week, but only if you aren’t work, spend all your time dedicated to losing those pounds, and have a good doctor and trainer helping you. 5 pounds a week is a healthier and more reachable goal.
EXERCISING FOR WEIGHT LOSS
One of the most important things you can do to lose weight fast is exercise. Not just any exercise – it has to be the right kind of exercise. Many women have had the experience of diving into an exercise program to trim their waistline – and instead dropping a bra size! Guys, this can happen to you too – clearly defined arms are great, but if your goal was to lose the spare tire, beautiful biceps don’t help much.
This guide won’t go into the variety of exercises available – that would take an entire book. Instead, here are some suggestions on how to pick the right exercise for your goals.
Get a whole body workout:
Make sure that you are exercising every part of your body. Every muscle group should get at least a quick work out.
Focus on your target area:
While it’s important to work everything, if your goal is to lose fat on your waist, focus most of your exercise on your core muscles. If you want to get of underarm flab, work your chest and arms. If you’re not happy with your bottom, squats and lunges are your friends.
Don’t focus on your heart rate:
Cardio exercises are wonderful for staying healthy, keeping your heart going strong, and keeping weight off. They aren’t the best exercises for fast weight loss. If you’re goal is to lose weight fast, don’t watch your heart rate, and just work your muscles.
Go for strength training:
Weightlifting and other strength training exercises are some of the best exercising for weight loss. Building muscle takes a lot of energy, and burns a lot of fat.
Exercise every day:
If you want to lose weight quick, put in at least a half an hours exercise every day. Exercising for a half an hour straight (not ten on ten off, but half an hour non-stop) raises your metabolism for 24 hours.
Alternate your program:
Fat doesn’t get burned while you exercise – the weight loss comes after you exercise, when your body is recovering and building new muscle. Have two different exercise programs. Hard and easy, arms and legs, cardio and strength training. Split it up whatever way works best, and alternate each day. This way your body has time to rebuild and recover (and burn fat) in the areas that are getting a break.
Watch for plateaus:
After you’ve been exercising a while, you’ll hit a point where no matter how hard you try, you can’t lose any more. This is called a plateau. When this happens, it’s time to change up your exercise routine.
DIET PROGRAMS TO LOSE WEIGHT
Everything here is based the assumption you are exercising every day and really working your muscles. Which is why a lot of the advice in this section will fly in the face of everything you’ve ever heard about dieting. Frankly, diets are lousy ways to lose weight fast for most people. For some people they work wonders, but overall . . . Well, here’s a look at a different approach.
The first rule of eating to lose weight when you are following an exercise program is eat more.
Yes, you read that right. If you are exercising, working your body hard every day, you need more calories. If you don’t eat more, your body will start destroying muscle, rather than building it. You’ll lose weight from the muscle lose, but you won’t lose fat. Plus, you can make yourself sick. So when you are hungry eat.
The key to losing weight through diet is in what you eat. To start with, pack on the protein. Yes, most diets will push salad and yogurts and fruit slices unlike just the sight of ‘healthy food’ are unappetising. See what we mean:
- And yes, you should eat lots of fruit and vegetables (more on that in a minute) but for exercise you need energy, and that means protein. Now, be picky in your protein. You want lean cuts that aren’t swimming in grease. Go light on gravy and steak sauce, instead look for marinades and other healthy ways to add flavor. Don’t get all your protein from meat – nuts and beans all have lots of protein. A peanut butter whole wheat sandwich is a great source of protein and fibre.
- Speaking of fibre, watch your carbs. Complex carbs – fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, are definitely good foods for losing weight. They fill you up while staying light on calories, so you can eat lots of them. Stay away from white bread and other ’empty’ carbs. While they aren’t bad in and of themselves, they don’t give any nutrition and they leave you wanting to eat more than you need. If you get munchy and like frequent snacks, go for whole grain pretzels, carrot sticks nuts and dried fruit.
- Even worse than the ’empty’ carbs are sugars. Soda, candy, cake, and so on. While you don’t need to cut them out of your diet entirely, don’t have more than one sugary serving a day. And remember – most soda cans are 2 servings. Stay away from non-sugar sweeteners like Splenda and asparatame – studies have found that people who drink diet soda and artificially sweetened snacks actually put on more weight.
- Definitely avoid greasy foods and fat. While they don’t make you gain weight directly, they do slow your metabolism down, making it harder to lose weight, and they are just generally unhealthy.
- If your goal in trying to lose weight is to get a specific body type, take a minute to check reality. There is nothing wrong with working to get a six pack, or get the body you’ve always dreamed of, but be honest with yourself when you do.
Some people will never be able to get a six pack. Most women who have been pregnancy have had the muscles stretched so much it is impossible. Some men have the wrong body type. People with big bones will never look like waif thin super models or J. Crew models. Plus, contrary to pop culture, a lot of people find curvy women and cuddly men very sexy.
If you want a better, fitter, tighter body, go for it, and more power to you, But when you do, be honest about your goals, and your options. Driving yourself into anorexia or other illness when you have a wonderful, beautiful body already doesn’t help you or anyone else. Go for the fittest body you can get, but accept your body for what it is, and don’t be ashamed of it.
AFTER WEIGHT LOSS
What you do after losing weight is just as important as what you do to lose weight. It’s called maintaining. If you shed forty pounds through hard exercise and healthy eating, than go out and buy a six pack of beer or chocolate cake, and spend a week on the couch watching American Idol, you’ll have that weight back on before you know it.
If you want to enjoy your weight loss, you need to make sure you’ll keep it.
At the same time, you don’t need to keep up the same level of exercise and eating habits you had while you were losing weight. You need to find a healthy medium.
EXERCISING TO MAINTAIN WEIGHT
Once you have reached your major goal, it’s time to change up your exercise program. Your goal now is to maintain the success you’ve achieved. Now is the time to focus on cardio. Run, swim, bike, join an aerobics class, whatever works to get your heart rate up and keep it up. You still want to keep up the strength training, but where before strength training was the focus and cardio was secondary, now you reverse it. Make cardio your heavy work out, and include some strength training to maintain muscle tone and general fitness.
As an alternative, if you enjoy the strength training, and want to keep seeing your muscles grow, you could continue the strength training and start getting into a focused bodybuilding program. No reason not to if that’s your thing. If you’ve endured the strength training until now to get the body you have now, than it’s okay to cut back on it. Work out every other day, and focus on cardio, and keep one day of strength training a week or so.
EATING TO MAINTAIN WEIGHT
Like with exercise, you want to strike a middle ground. Keep up the healthy habits that lost the weight for you, but treat yourself also. If while you were losing weight you had a small desert every other day, It’s okay to have one every day. Enjoy a bag of chips now and again; just don’t go through more than a bag a week. A bit of gravy won’t hurt, but make it a once in a while thing.
Maintaining the weight you want is all about moderation – keep the diet you were one, but in moderation. Let yourself have the bad stuff now and again if you still like it – but in moderation. Enjoy your food. Just keep staying away from the grease – no matter how much weight you’ve lost that stuff is always bad for you.
Losing weight fast requires some real changes to your lifestyle, and keeping it off means those changes can’t be temporary. But it can definitely be worth it. You’ll feel better, have more energy, look better and enjoy life more. So set your goals, make a plan, and get out there. We know you can do it.