Whether too much eggnog over the holidays or a particularly indulgent vacation has left you wanting to lose a few pounds, odds are you want them off as quickly as possible. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to lose weight. In fact, doing it wrong could leave you weighing more than you did when you started your diet, wreaking havoc on your body in the process.
Very restrictive crash diets have a number of negative effects. By severely restricting your caloric intake, you can send your body into starvation mode. This can cause dehydration, malnutrition, headaches, dizziness, irritability, and even gallstones in some people. And because the dietary changes in a crash diet are a quick fix rather than sustainable lifestyle changes, it’s not uncommon for the weight to return. In fact, in many cases, you’ll regain more than you lost. The up-and-down fluctuations in weight associated with yo-yo dieting can greatly increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, or death. All of which is to say a super-restrictive fasting or “cleanse” type diet will probably do you more harm than good, unless you’re advised and monitored by a doctor.
But there are safe ways to lose weight relatively quickly in a manner that is sustainable long-term. A quick way to jumpstart weight loss is to cut the stuff that’s not good for you, specifically sugar and alcohol. Drinking a soda with lunch and two light beers in the evening can add an additional 400 calories to your day. That’s like eating an extra daily meal and hoping you still lose weight. Sadly, that’s not how weight loss tends to work. However, getting rid of those junk calories will go a long way toward creating the calorie deficit you need to slim down.
Starchy foods like grains, potatoes, and corn are another calorie-dense food group you can cut back on. Eliminating those foods or mostly replacing them with vegetables, fruit, proteins, and fat is a great way to lose weight. A study published in Obesity linked high protein consumption to a reduction in late night snacking and a greater feeling of satiety throughout the day, which is crucial when you’re trying to stop caving to cravings. Adding healthy fats to your diet will also go a long way towards keeping you feeling full. Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine even found that there’s no link between saturated fat intake and risk of coronary heart disease, so go ahead and add some satisfying fat to those meals.
Eliminating sugar and alcohol and cutting down on carbs from grains and starches will lead to relatively quick weight loss. To keep the weight off, slowly reintroduce those food groups into your diet, keeping your intake slightly lower than when you packed on those pounds in the first place. Follow these steps and you can lose a few pounds in a month and keep them off for life. And to start your healthy eating journey, add the 25 Foods That’ll Keep You Young Forever to your menu on a regular basis.
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