Rapid fat loss requires strategies that are hard to maintain long-term. Weight lost too quickly is mostly water weight or lean muscle, so it will quickly be gained back. If you want to lose body fat safely and effectively, a maintainable approach that includes lifestyle and dietary adjustments is essential; patience and consistency is more important than how quickly you lose it. By making these changes, you'll reduce your risk of medical conditions, such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which are associated with excess body fat.
Set a goal, keeping in mind that losses of no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lose 2 pounds in a week by creating a daily deficit of 1,000 calories through a combination of diet and exercise.
Eat smaller portions and replace high-calorie foods with low-calories foods. Drink water instead of sugary sodas, and eat fruit or non-fat frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Consume whole grains, fruits, low-fat dairy, lean protein and vegetables. Include tuna, rolled oats, grapefruit, green tea and hot peppers in your diet as these foods increase your metabolism so you burn more calories, according to Shape.com.
Perform 300 minutes of moderate cardiovascular exercise per week, as recommended by the CDC. Cardiovascular exercise, such as a game of doubles tennis, brisk walking, bicycling or water aerobics, will effectively burn calories. If you can talk, but not sing as you exercise, you have achieved the correct pace.
Include high-intensity interval training in your cardiovascular routine. For 15 minutes, alternate between easy-to-maintain and high intensities during your cardio. For instance, walk for two minutes, and then sprint for one minute before returning to your two-minute walk. You burn more calories both during high-intense interval training, and in the 24 hours after finishing your workout.
Strength train at least two days per week. According to the CDC, strength training increases your metabolism by 15 percent; unlike fat, muscle tissue is active and burns more energy. Strengthen the muscles in your arms, legs, shoulders, back, chest and stomach. Work your way up to doing two or three sets and eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise, using enough weight so you can't do another repetition after finishing a set.
Tips & Warnings
- Consider hiring a certified trainer to teach you proper exercise form.
- Skip at least a day between strength-training exercises so muscles have time to recover.
- Consult a doctor before beginning a weight-loss regimen, especially if you've been inactive or have an injury or medical condition.
- MayoClinic.com: Fast Weight Loss: What's Wrong With It?
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Aim For A Healthy Weight
- Shape.com: 5 Fat-Burning Foods that Speed Up Metabolism
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Shape.com: 8 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Why Strength Training?
- Photo Credit BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images