It happens. You packed on some unwanted pounds, and you’ve come to terms with the fact that maybe you ate a few too many cookies (okay, and a few too many times), or you downed too many cans of soda a little too often. Those homemade fried chicken cutlets your mother in law makes are irresistible…there’s no way you can have just one. And hey, chicken is healthy, right?
It’s so easy to have the ‘I’ll-just-have-one’ mindset, but let’s be honest. Despite the best of intentions, one often turns into two, two turns into three and there you have it. Or have you ever secretly pulled junk food out from the garbage can in your kitchen? I know I’m guilty of doing it. (Tip: throw whatever is tempting you in the trash outside, where it’s harder to get to.) If any of these things are hitting home – or even if they’re not and you just know it’s time to make some extra pounds disappear – we have suggestions on how to get the results you want, and options for how long it can take you to get there.
First remember, the extra weight didn’t just appear overnight, so it won’t disappear overnight either. If you put in the work, it’s possible to drop those pounds quick, but it will take discipline and self control. It’s mind over matter, and your first step is to focus on your mind. I’ll tell you why. The word ‘diet’ has such a negative connotation. We think…restrictions, temporary, deprivation, but the reality is we’re all on a ‘diet.’ If you eat hamburgers and french fries every day, all day, that’s a diet. It’s not a good diet, but it is in fact, a diet. That’s why I hate that word.
How to Lose Body Fat Fast and Safely
Before you cut something you love immediately, let’s talk strategy. There’s a reason why low carb diets (there’s that word again!) are so popular. Our bodies don’t digest carbs as fast as things like veggies and lean proteins. Wanna know the secret? It’s because carbs turn to sugar and we don’t process sugar as well. Eliminate that culprit all together, and you’ll see changes, but the sustainability of them is questionable. So instead of forgetting about eating some brown rice all together, give yourself a cut off time. A good strategy to follow is to nix the carbs after lunch time. You won’t feel deprived, and your body will have ample time to digest it.
Portion control is another big (no pun intended) one to include in your strategy. Now before your jaw drops in shock, keep in mind that we’re exposed to such large plates laden with salt at restaurants that it is understandably difficult to keep things in check. But here’s a good rule of thumb to follow when it comes to portion sizes:
- Veggies – one cup
- Fresh fruit – one cup
- Carbohydrates – half cup
- Lean protein – 5 ounces
- Healthy fats – quarter cup
You can keep it simple by following the USDA’s guidelines, which suggest filling half your plate with fruits and veggies. Stay away from foods that are fried, and plan to grill, saute, or steam your food instead. It can be just as flavorful, especially with the myriad of seasonings and herbs at your disposal. It’s easier to burn fat fast once you’ve eliminated the bad ones and say goodbye to cooking methods that work against you.
Don’t forget that exercise is important too, so aim to be active a few times per week. If you need a little push to get you going, ask a friend to join you. Or, pick up a cute outfit to wear that makes you feel good. Then do what you can, whether it’s walking, running, a spin class, or some quality time with free weights. And don’t compare yourself to anyone else. That’s a big one. Some activity is always better than none.
Losing 5-10 Pounds in 1-3 Weeks
The less time you have to lose weight, the stricter your lifestyle will become. You’re about to give your system a jolt – and that’s not a bad thing. The following changes can lead to results:
- Limiting your carb intake to no more than one serving per day, and no later than a mid-morning snack.
- Eating a limited amount of low sugar fruits only, such as berries
- Minimizing your intake of starchy vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and squash
- Choosing a dinner that is made up of veggies and lean protein only
- Becoming that customer at a restaurant. You know, the one who orders steamed everything, substitutes any starches for spinach, and insists on no butter or oil on anything
Shed 20 Pounds in 4 Weeks – Two Months
You can still achieve that ‘I feel skinny’ feeling when you’re not in as much of a rush to get there. In fact, you may find it easier to do it this way, because that ‘I’m on a diet and can’t have that’ cloud over your head is more likely to disappear. You can:
- Treat yourself to your favorite dessert or a decadent night out – but limit it to once a week
- Enjoy a glass of wine once a week – but plan for it
- Eat fruits that are higher in sugar like watermelon and pineapple periodically to satisfy a sweet tooth. (Tip: try a cupful of frozen mango as an after dinner treat. It’s sweetness can help kill cravings for candy and ice cream.)
Getting fit fast can be within reach, and most of it happens in the kitchen believe it or not. Form healthy habits, incorporate regular exercise into your schedule, hold yourself accountable, and stay motivated. You’ll get there. Just keep your eye on the prize.
Healthy snacks to keep at your desk
- Raw almonds: this heart-healthy snack keeps you feeling full without taking up precious storage space in your desk. Either pick up the pre-packaged, one portion size bags or save some bucks by rationing your almonds out at home in plastic bags.
- Apples and peanut butter: get your crunch on with this nutrient-dense fruit. Combine it with a spoonful or two of peanut butter (the no sugar added kind) for an afternoon treat that nixes the 3:00pm slump fast
- Beef, turkey, or pork jerky: if it sounds like a snack for gym rats, think again. Not only is jerky a high-protein option, but it’s available with all types of gourmet seasonings.
- Bananas: these little yellow guys pack a big nutritional punch, providing loads of vitamins and minerals. Bananas tend to brown fast, so it’s best to snack on them sooner rather than later.
Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a ‘diet’ or ‘program.’ It’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in eating and exercise habits.
Source: Center for Disease Control