As the holidays approach us, everyone wants to look better for those family and friends gatherings and dodge an ugly sweater party for a fitted cocktail dress. I am no different, and like everyone else, dieting is HARD! Even getting myself psyched about dieting was hard. Some say it is almost impossible to lose weight in a week, let alone lose weight in 2 weeks. It is in fact possible, but you must have diligence to lose weight quickly. I set out to test several of these diet methods, and failed miserably at most of them. What I found to work was the general dieting approach, which I will get into below, but I will also show you the other alternatives out there. Good luck to you if you are more hardcore than me.
The General Approach to Dieting
I have tried several different kinds of diets, most only last me a couple of days to a week. They produce short-lived results and mostly leave me feeling really hungry or really thirsty. You have heard it over and over again that a life-style change is the only real way to shed those pounds and keep them off, but I’m here to show you how to lose those last 5-10 pounds that you have been trying so hard to lose.
First, set a goal. Whether it is a concrete number on the scale, a pair of skinny jeans you want to squeeze into, a new belt notch, or just to stave off the muffin top, having a goal lets you know how to measure your progress.
Make your goal visible. Hang that dress on the back of your door or on your mirror. Wear that belt more often. Write sticky notes to yourself and place them around the house. (My notes are on my mirror and fridge, and a digital one on my computer desktop. They all read “Fat Camp Starts TODAY!”)
Less food in your mouth = more pounds lost. This doesn’t need to be a complex idea, it is really just simple. To help solve this major problem, every diet plan constructs a different approach. For me, I just used the power of mind over matter, and looked at overall end of the day calorie intake. There are many strategies for this, but I will list my favorites:
- Have a food journal. Sometimes this gets a little obsessive, but at least you have to think about if you really want to write down another pink, sprinkle donut.
- Set an eating schedule. Many diet plans make big money telling you when you can or cannot eat food. Do this yourself: you can even use Google Calendar to send you pop up reminders to get up for a break, eat a small snack or go for a walk. I recommend setting up a plan with small meals throughout the day. Eating every 2-3 hours is a good idea. This keeps your body from getting too hungry and prevents overeating when you are hungry. Many diet plans also recommend not eating after 9pm or closer than 3 hours before bedtime.
- Drink more water. Flavored water or teas can help as long as they have 0 calories and definitely no sugar. My thoughts on drinking more water are: if you are trying to shed the pounds, snack on water. Save food and snacks for meal times and drink more fluids in between. Also by drinking more water, you will get the bonus exercise of making more trips to the bathroom. I always carry a water bottle with me and am constantly sipping throughout the day.
- Exercise. Well duh. This is the other hard part about losing weight. There are a bunch of tricks to get around this or to incorporate exercise into what you are already doing, but here is the truth: If you want to lose those last few pounds or really make a difference in your weight loss progress, you have to set aside time to exercise and make your workout count. If you pick a two week window where you will be very dedicated, set aside 45-60 minutes a day to do hard aerobic exercise with 10-15 minutes of resistance training. (Muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells.) You will see the results of your work! Stick to it. Then you can go back to doing maintenance workouts with your new bod.
- Keep Yourself Busy. When you are busy, you tend to think about food less and eat out of boredom less.
For the Hardcore Dieters
Hats off to you for the determination. My recommendation here is that you will see all the results you want based on the effort you put into your two week diet.
Start with a Cleanse. Now a cleanse is not the best way to lose weight, but this will kick off your diet and get detox your system. Pick one that suits your needs and don’t be afraid to modify or supplement the cleanse for your body.
- Shop ahead of time for the ingredients you need for your cleanse and meals to follow. This will help eliminate excuses to crack open the box of mac n cheese.
- Try blended foods for a couple of days after the cleanse. Broths, freshly juiced or blended foods are a good way to come off a 3 day cleanse and get your body ready to accept more foods. Might seem weird, but you really can blend almost anything. Keep it simple though: blend raw fruits and veggies mixed with juices or broths. Watch sugar and sodium content.
- You can also try eliminating certain items from your diet. Try no dairy and no meat for two weeks and your body will feel refreshed!
- This is also a good time to incorporate a new veggie or fruit into your diet. For more excitement, look up healthy recipes using that specific ingredient and have fun with it.
- Steam or poach your foods. This eliminates many of the oils, salts, fats and carbon that goes into other cooking methods. Many asian cultures use “blanching” as a way of preparing vegetables.
- Exercise. You will find that doing a light, simple workout will already take its toll on your body, as you are eating fewer calories already. Use your workout time to focus on toning exercises with light weights, simple cardio for 30 mins or a Yoga class.
I am definitely not the best dieter out there, but even in my two weeks, which included a fair amount of cheating on my diet plan, I managed to lose 3 pounds. My best words of advice, pick a diet plan that is set for 2 weeks, and stick with it! Challenge yourself! Whether it’s for you or for a loved one, healthy eating and a healthy body weight have major implications on your quality of life and can decrease your risk for many co-morbidities associated with increased BMI.
Resources to help you plan