News flash: crash diets rarely give you permanent weight loss. But even if you know your chances of achieving lasting weight loss are slim, you may still want to work towards a short-term goal. Maybe you need to lose a few pounds for an upcoming wedding, class reunion, or beach vacation. There is nothing wrong with losing weight fast, as long as you do it in a safe manner.
Having a goal to work toward can be a great motivator. What about after the big event? If you're going to lose weight fast and keep it off, you'll need to be ready to stick with what works.
It's not a smart idea to give yourself a week to lose 10 pounds. Plan ahead and give enough time to make the changes you desire. The contestants on rapid weight-loss TV shows devote themselves to at least seven hours a week of vigorous exercise, a very strict diet, and are under a doctor's supervision. In these circumstances, losing 20 pounds in a week is possible. However, most normal people with normal lives can expect to lose around three pounds a week with lots of exercise and a healthy diet.
Starving yourself is never a good idea. If you are already healthy, a short time of strict calorie reduction probably won't hurt you, but keep your doctor informed of your plans, take a multivitamin, and eat protein- and potassium-rich foods.
Any weight-loss plan must take into account the number of calories consumed and the number of calories burned. To lose weight, you'll have to burn more calories than you consume. It is estimated that to lose one or two pounds in a week, you'll need to burn 500 more calories than you eat each day. That translates to eating 3,500 fewer calories in a week than you burn. To lose even more, you'll need to exercise more and eat less. Remember that it's unhealthy to consume less than 1,200 calories a day. Limiting starches and salt will help prevent fluid retention, thereby helping you lose weight faster. The more pounds you have to shed, the faster the weight comes off.
A healthy diet for rapid weight loss should consist mainly of fruits, veggies, soy products, skinless poultry breasts, egg whites, nonfat dairy products, shellfish, and 95-percent lean meat. Drink plenty of water, don't skip meals, and steer clear of fast foods and high-fat snacks.
To keep yourself accountable, check your weight each day and keep a food journal.
Fad diets often sound too good to be true. And they usually are. Anything that promises you'll lose more than two to three pounds a week or that uses laxatives, fasting, detoxification pills, diet pills, or potions are not safe. A pill or type of food will not burn fat. Combining a low-calorie diet with exercise is what sheds those pounds. Keep in mind that losing weight too quickly will cause you to not only lose fat, but also muscle. This causes your metabolism to slow and makes exercise difficult.
The physical demands caused by rapid weight loss are associated with serious health risks. These include dehydration, gallstones, malnutrition, electrolyte imbalances, headaches, fatigue, constipation, irritability, menstrual irregularities, muscle loss, and hair loss. Also remember that following a crash diet, most people find that their weight comes right back. So lose weight, but do it safely!