The best way to lose weight fast typically relies on severe caloric deprivation–below 1,200 calories per day. The main problem with shedding pounds too quickly is it almost never lasts for at least 95 percent of fast dieters. That’s because nagging hunger and low energy wear people down really quickly. In addition, crash dieters may also suffer side effects that affect their health and appearance.
There is not a good way to drop pounds quickly–more than two pounds a week–because dropping pounds fast will most likely affect your health, metabolism and muscle mass. You’ll also probably gain those pounds back as quickly and you lost them.
A Slower Metabolism
Even the most stubborn dieters who maintain very low-caloric diets find that their body usually fights back and goes into “famine” mode fairly quickly where it functions more efficiently on fewer calories. When the body operates more efficiently on fewer calories, the metabolism usually slows down too.
A slower metabolism means fewer lost pounds or worse, none at all. In addition most people who drop pounds quickly regain them back just as fast, and in many instances, they gain even more additional pounds. Only about five percent of people who get slim quickly keep those extra pounds off permanently, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder Student Wellness article “Recognizing Fad Diets.”
Effect on Health
Some believe the best way to lose weight quickly is to follow a low-calorie diet. However, while aiming for a minimum caloric intake of fewer than 1,200 calories a day will probably yield quick results, it will probably also leave you feeling sluggish and unable to exercise, according to Elizabeth Somer in Shape magazine’s article “10 Things You Must Know About Calories.”
Not eating enough calories can also lead to valuable muscle loss and a sluggish metabolism as well as increase your chances for gallstones and heart problems, says Somer.
Effect on Appearance
If you drop too many pounds too quickly–besides affecting your health–it may also affect your appearance.
Tina Botnick who runs a Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Weight Control Program says, “Every time you cut calories to less than 1,000 a day, the body switches into a survival mode.” Being in survival mode lowers metabolism to maintain life on starvation rations of food. Then to compensate “the body quits growing hair and eyelashes.” Crash dieters also have skin that has a gray or yellow hue rather than a healthy ruddy one (qtd. in Bates).
So if you’re starving yourself because you’re freaking out about looking good in a bathing suit or trying to squeeze into a tight outfit for an upcoming event, think about how beautiful your newly thinner self is going to look with dull hair, fewer eyelashes and skin that looks like cardboard.
The Best Way to Lose Weight Fast is to Lose No More Than Two Pounds a Week
Here are some weight loss tips if you want to shed pounds as quickly as possible but stay within the recommended maximum weight loss guidelines of health experts who suggest losing no more than two pounds a week:
- Estimate the number of calories you ate every day for the last seven days.
- Divide by 7 to find your average daily caloric intake.
- Reduce intake of average daily calories by 1,000.
- Don’t consume fewer than 1,200 calories a day.
For example, to drop two pounds a week, you will need to reduce your intake of weekly calories by 7,000 (one pound equals 3,500 calories). Deduct 1,000 calories from your average daily calories. Since exercise counts as a deficit, the calories burned during exercise can be deducted from the 1,000 calories.
For instance, if your average daily caloric intake is 2,400 calories, reduce them down to 1,400. On days you exercise, add the number of calories burned. If you burn 300 calories exercising, adjust your caloric intake up 300 calories which means you could consume 1,700 calories a day and you should still lose about two pounds a week.
The amount you drop may vary a little depending on your current physical condition. In other words, a person who is extremely overweight or obese will probably drop more weight each week than someone who is only five to ten pounds overweight.
Go for Permanent Weight Loss Instead of the Quick Fix
According the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute most people who try to reduce extra pounds only focus on specific goals rather than lifestyle changes such as “following a healthy eating plan, watching portions sizes, being physically active, and reducing sedentary time [which] are much more effective.”
Instead of aiming for losing a specific number of pounds, choose to make overall behavioral changes that include regular exercise and healthy eating habits. You should also evaluate the types of food you eat and choose the best and most healthful diet foods to lose weight.
Avoid the immediate gratification of crash dieting, which will most likely affect your health and appearance. Don’t lose more than two pounds a week, and more importantly, incorporate healthy, permanent lifestyle changes that will help you get slim and stay slim forever.
Bates, Karen Grigsby. “A Crashing Loss.” Los Angeles Times Magazine. August 12, 1999.
“Control Your Weight.” National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
“Recognizing Fad Diets.” University of Colorado at Boulder.
Somer, Elizabeth. “10 Things You Must Know About Calories.” Shape. July 2004, Vol. 23 Issue 11, p168-172.