Let's face it: losing weight isn't fun because it's associated with hard work and commitment. Still, if you want to lose weight for an upcoming special occasion, a gradual approach is best. Ideally, you're able to create a healthy lifestyle that doesn't feel like you're overexerting or depriving yourself. You can start seeing results in as little as four days while still maintaining your sanity.
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Eliminate Those Calories
Losing weight isn't rocket science -- it all comes down to calories in versus calories out. Fast weight loss can make you feel sick and sluggish, and is often lean muscle tissue or water weight that's easily gained back. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend weight loss at a gradual rate of one to pounds pounds per week. Since there are 3,500 calories in one pound of fat, you can lose a little over one pound in four days by creating a daily deficit of 1,000 calories.
Skip the Cookies
Estimate how many calories you normally eat, and then clean up your diet and change your eating habits to contribute to your caloric deficit. Smaller portion sizes and replacing fattening, high-calorie snacks, such as chips and cookies with veggies and fruits, can make a big difference, as can replacing alcohol and sugary sodas with water. Your nutrients should come from lean protein, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy and whole grains, not from foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, salt and sugar.
Sweat Off the Weight
Exercise burns calories and is essential to weight loss. For optimal benefits, the CDC recommends doing one hour of cardio on most days of the week and strength training on two days. To lose weight in four days, give your workout schedule a boost by doing one hour of cardio on Monday and Wednesday, and a resistance training circuit on Tuesday and Thursday. Whether you enjoy jogging, riding a bike, or exercising on an elliptical machine or stair climber, maintain a pace that still allows you to talk, but not sing. During strength training, work all major muscle groups and complete eight to 12 repetitions and two or three sets of each exercise.
Rev Your Metabolism
Boosting your metabolism can speed up your weight-loss effort. Include high-intense intervals in your cardio routine, because this triggers you to burn calories up to 24 hours after your workout. Just speed up your cardio to a vigorous pace for one minute before returning to a moderate pace for two minutes. Do this five times during your workout. To get a metabolism boost from your diet, Dr. Mehmet Oz suggests increasing your lean protein consumption, spicing up meals with hot peppers, and drinking cold water and green tea.
- Helpguide.org: Healthy Weight Loss & Dieting Tips
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight: What is Healthy Weight Loss?
- National Institutes of Health: Aim for a Healthy Weight
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Shape.com: 8 Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
- Oprah: Dr. Oz Reveals How to Rev Up Your Metabolism All Day Long