In a perfect world, you would be able to lose weight slowly and steadily. You would also have plenty of advance notice about upcoming events involving tight dresses, swimsuits, or just lots and lots of photography. But this is the real world, and sometimes you just need to lose weight in a hurry.
Starving yourself definitely isn’t the answer, so let’s get that out of the way right now. If you have a week to lose weight, there are safer and healthier ways to trick your system into letting go of as much extra “fluff” as possible.
Here are the seven rules to live by.
Get Your Protein
Protein helps tackle weight loss on two fronts: it is very satisfying, and it’s a better option for burning calories than empty carbs or sugars.
Whole proteins are best. Those chocolate chip cookie dough protein bars you see in stores are designed for people who are powerlifting or running marathons, so while they’re definitely packed with protein, they are also crammed with unnecessary carbs and calories.
Some great options would be eggs, chicken breast, turkey, lean ham, fish, and real Greek yogurt.
No Processed Foods
This might be a difficult rule to follow, but wherever possible, opt for whole, fresh foods over anything that comes in a wrapper. One of the sneaky pitfalls of processed foods is that they are often packed with sodium or other preservatives, which can cause you to retain water, bloat, and carry more weight than you need to. A one-week detox cutting out all processed food could help you drop a few pounds in a hurry.
Drink Plenty of Water
It is easier than you might think for your brain to confuse hunger and thirst signals. In fact, some studies suggest that one of the reasons behind excess weight gain could be that we are snacking when we ought to be drinking.
Water helps out in a few ways. First, it keeps you hydrated, meaning your body can let go of any excess fluid it was retaining. Second, drinking water with your meal can help you feel full, so you’re less likely to go in search of snacks an hour after eating. Third, water is great for your digestive system: it helps keep things moving along, so you’re not retaining any weight that way either.
Alcohol can cause weight problems in a number of different ways. Alcohol itself has a lot of calories, and if you tend to drink cocktails which are mixed with fruit juices or sodas, a single drink could begin rivaling the caloric value of a meal.
Alcohol also tends to lower your inhibitions when it comes to snacking and food choices, meaning you may wind up working against yourself if you drink.
Lastly, alcohol can cause water retention and bloat. In other words, if you have only one week to drop as much weight as possible, step away from the bar.
Load up on Water-Based Fruits and Vegetables
Not all vegetables are created equal. Some, such as peppers and onions can cause gassiness and bloat. While others, such as cucumber, spinach, lettuce and asparagus all encourage your body to let go of retained fluids.
Fruits can do this too. The aptly named watermelon makes a delicious sweet snack, while also helping you lose retained water, and potassium-rich fruits such as bananas and oranges have a very similar effect. Plus, there’s plenty of fluid and fiber in fruits and vegetables, meaning they’re an all-around healthy choice.
Get Plenty of Fiber
The best way to take in fiber is through eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber is important because not only does it help to keep you feeling full, it also aids your digestive health. And if you plan to go heavy on the protein, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough fiber, since protein can be difficult to digest.
Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals
Rather than eating three large meals per day, try eating five or six smaller ones. This prevents those hunger pangs and blood sugar drops which can occur between meals, and also helps keep your metabolism working full-time.
Having to lose weight in a hurry is never ideal, but there are safe and unsafe ways to accomplish this goal. These seven rules will keep you healthy, hydrated, and feeling full while your body lets go of a few extra pounds.