Following a low calorie diet doesn't mean you have to starve yourself. You just have to watch what you eat and how much you eat. The MedlinePlus website notes that losing 1 to 2 lbs. per week by reducing your caloric intake by 500 to 1,000 calories per day is a healthy rate to lose weight. As a result, you can lose close to 6 lbs. in 20 days. Incorporate exercise into your diet plan to burn more calories.
Subtract 1,000 calories from your daily caloric intake to lose approximately 2 lbs. per week. Note that men shouldn't go lower than 1,500 calories per day, and for women, the lowest level recommended is 1,200 calories a day, according to The MedlinePlus website. Reducing too many calories triggers your body's starvation mode where it holds onto fat, instead of reducing it, out of fear of starvation.
Replace your daily three meals with six smaller meals eaten every three hours. According to the Critical Bench website, eating frequently stimulate your metabolism and prevents hunger and cravings.
Avoid white carbohydrates because they cause your blood sugar levels to spike resulting in cravings and increased appetite. Replace them with complex carbohydrates that digest slowly and keep you feeling full longer, so you eat less. Eat brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and beans. Lower the amount of carbohydrates you eat as the day goes by. Eat most carbs early in the day.
Fill up on vegetables and fruits because they are naturally low in calories and rich in fiber. Eat lean cuts of meat such as chicken and turkey instead of fatty meats such as pork and beef. Avoid cutting out fat completely. Use unsaturated "heart-healthy" fats over trans fats and saturated fats.
Look at food labels to find out what the nutritional content is. Keep in mind that labels often indicate the calories for just one serving when the total content may contain several servings.
Exercise for 30 minutes daily to burn calories. Walk, run, bike or swim to bring the heart rate up. Work out longer or add high intensity bursts to burn more calories. Perform different kinds of cardio to keep challenging your body and to prevent boredom.
Add weightlifting to your work out regimen. Work your arms, legs, shoulders, stomach and back on three non-consecutive days of the week. According to the Stronglift website, weightlifting prevents the loss of muscle tissue and stimulates metabolism to burn fat all day long.