Losing weight is a goal many people share. However, focusing on losing weight fast may actually backfire.
Research shows that people who lose weight quickly (through fad diets) often fail to maintain the lost pounds. Additionally, speedy weight loss can cause you to lose more muscle and water than fat.
Set Realistic Weight-Loss Goals
Some people set goals that are way off from what their body actually needs. For example, many dieters aim for losing too much weight too quickly by trying to lose 10 or 20 pounds in a week. This is unrealistic and often unhealthy.
Instead, people should focus on setting realistic and attainable goals for themselves. Aiming to lose a certain amount of weight over the course of a month or year is a good start. Changing habits is another important aspect to consider when setting goals. This includes replacing sugary drinks with water and naturally flavored waters, eliminating processed foods from the diet, and strength training to burn calories.
It’s also a good idea to break down the long-term goal into several short-term goals for each month. For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds in three months, you could try to lose four pounds in the first month and then two pounds each in the next two months because early weight loss is often faster.
Don’t Cut Too Many Calories
Calories are one of the keys to weight loss, but cutting too many can slow your metabolism and cause you to miss out on vital nutrients. A pound of fat is about 3,500 calories, so if you’re losing weight fast it’s important to create a large enough calorie deficit each day to lose about a pound per week. Start your day with a combo of lean protein, filling fat (like egg yolks or unsweetened Greek yogurt) and fiber from veggies or 100% whole grains to set you up for success.
Avoid packaged foods that contain excessive calories, sugars and refined carbohydrates to reduce bloating, hunger and cravings. Get 7-9 hours of sleep each night to help keep your metabolism burning all day.
Don’t Fast for Long Periods
While intermittent fasting can help you lose weight and reduce abdominal fat, it can also have negative effects when done for extended periods of time. Prolonged fasting can cause blood sugar levels to drop, which can result in a loss of energy, dizziness and even confusion. It can also affect your blood pressure, which is why it’s important to work with a doctor to ensure you’re properly monitoring these levels.
It’s also important to break your fast slowly, particularly after a long period of time. Trying to immediately jump back into eating can lead to overeating and gastrointestinal distress. When you do eat, start with small meals and light foods, such as soups and cooked vegetables or lean meats.
A good way to avoid these problems and ensure you’re getting enough calories is by using a plan such as Noom, which allows you to eat normally for five days of the week while following a reduced calorie intake on the remaining two days. This helps you gradually adjust your body to lower calorie diets while still enjoying dinner with friends and family.