There are no shortage of crash diets and detox diets on the market, all of which offer some miraculous transformation, usually at the expensive of your sanity, your wealth and your tastebuds. But it really doesn’t need to be that bad. It’s possible to lose a lot of weight in a little time without resorting to the latest fad.
Of course, and it’s actually much easier than you might think. Your body uses calories to convert to energy and it gets these calories from the food you eat. If it has more than it needs then it stores the surplus as fat; if it has less than it needs it taps into that fat reserve and burns it as energy instead.
To lose weight it’s a simple case of finding out how many calories your body needs everyday and then reducing that amount so that over the course of a week, you have burned enough fat to reach your goal. It takes approximately 3,500 calories to get one pound of fat. If you eat 100 extra calories every day for 35 days, you will put on 1 pound. If you eat 500 calories less than what you need every day, you will burn 1 pound of fat in a week.
We all like quick fixes, so it’s inevitable that people ask this question when hearing the figures quoted above. The problem is, while your body can get energy from fat stores, it can’t get essential macronutrients or micronutrients. The trick, therefore, is to make sure your body has these nutrients, but that it doesn’t quite have the amount of calories it needs to perform basic functions, therefore forcing it to eat into those fat reserves.
As for speeding the process up, it’s much better to add more exercise than to drop more calories, because exercise requires additional energy, which means a greater calorie requirement and a bigger calorie deficiency.
This is both the toughest and the easiest week. The weight will fall off you when you begin.
For the first week you should look to consume 25% fewer calories than your body needs. If the figure you arrive at using the BMR is 2,000, then eat 1,500.
35% of this should be protein. You will also need soluble fiber and complex carbs, so utilize beans and lentils as a protein source.
Keep your sodium intake to less than 1.5 grams and do not neglect fats, but make sure you get them from quality sources—olive oil, seeds, nuts, eggs.
Space your meals out, consuming 300 to 400 calories per meal, with light snacks and plenty of water. You should also drink green tea or matcha tea where possible as the added caffeine and antioxidants will help with the process.
Take it easy for this first week. On the first day you want to push yourself to see what your limits are, without doing so much that you won’t be able to move for a week. Try to push hard, but be sure to stop when you are just about reaching your limit.
For instance, if you can do 12 push-ups before failure, then do 3 sets of 10. Do the same with sit-ups and pull-ups and then hit the cardio. You can begin with a walk or a light jog. You can also do star jumps and burpees. It all depends on the level you are at. The goal is to make sure you get some bodyweight exercises in there to build muscle, while also doing 10 to 30 minutes of cardio to force your body into burning more calories.
Workout a minimum of 3 days a week and a maximum of 5. If you feel little to no muscle soreness as the week progresses, then push yourself harder. Do more cardio and more sets of bodyweight exercises.
By week 2 you should have lost a lot of water weight. The increased exercises, the improved diet and the reduced sodium will see to this. Now it’s time to target that fat.
Stick with the diet that you had the previous week, working as many whole foods in as you can. Do not rely on multivitamins and instead try to get your nutrients from vegetables, fruits, pulses and grains.
And don’t forget those antioxidants in the form of green teas and DetoxOrganics.
If you are struggling with soreness from day to day, then stick with the current program. If you’re breezing through then start incorporating more full-body cardio and try to workout for 5 days a week. Sport, swimming, sprinting and boxing are all great for this.
The goal here is to lose weight quickly, so you don’t need to worry about lifting weights, but because of the bodyweight exercises and high protein diet, you will still build a little muscle and have more definition by the end.
As you go into the final week you will have noticed some drastic changes and should be ready to finish in style.
If you haven’t lost more than 5 or 6 pounds but still feel good about yourself, then you can reduce your calorie intake further, opting for as much as 40% less than what you need. Eat a big breakfast, a light lunch, some high protein snacks and then stop eating a few hours before bedtime.
Your body will enter a fast of sorts, but you will still have the energy you need to get through your workouts.
For the final week you can also reduce your sodium to less than 1.5 grams a day and if you really want to see some definition then take a dandelion root and licorice root supplement. They are both healthy and natural supplements that will act as a natural diuretic. You still want to drink plenty of water, but by reducing you sodium and taking these supplements you will be limiting how much of that is being stored in your body.
Push yourself further and for longer, but keep a close eye on your energy levels and stop immediately if you begin to feel weak and light-headed. You know your body better than anyone and you will likely know by now if you can push harder or if you need to rein it in. In any case, the pounds will continue to melt away and your muscles will continue to firm-up.
There is a good chance that you will lose more than 10 pounds. There is also a good chance that you will fall short. However, if you give it your all and don’t allow yourself to cheat, then you will notice a substantial difference in the way you look and feel and that difference will likely motivate you to continue.
A word of warning though, the above is only a recommendation—a simple outline. It doesn’t take into account age, size, dietary needs and preexisting illnesses. You should always seek medical advice before embarking on something like this as it’s better to be safe than sorry. However, because it doesn’t require any dangerous supplements or drastic changes and is based on basic dieting and exercise, it is still healthier (and more effective) than most fad diets out there.