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How to Lose Weight in a Matter of Days

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
How to Lose Weight in a Matter of Days
Starving yourself is not the route to lasting weight loss. Photo Credit: Bine Å edivy/iStock/Getty Images

You dilly-dallied, and now only a few days remain before that big event for which you want to look just smashing. It's silly to think you can lose substantial weight in a matter of days, but you can create the appearance of sleekness while reducing any extra water weight and bloat. Resist the urge to subsist on cabbage soup or lemon water -- quick fixes that may give you temporary weight loss but that will likely lead to a return of the weight as soon as you go back to your old ways. Use the few days you have to set up good habits that can start you slimming and help you achieve a sustainable, healthy weight for the long run.

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Step 1

Cut back on your calorie intake.
Cut back on your calorie intake. Photo Credit: Warren Goldswain/iStock/Getty Images

Cut back on your calorie intake, but not too much. Reducing your calories below 1,400 per day for women and 1,700 per day for men can make you lose energy and cause your body's calorie-burning engine to shut down.

Step 2

Avoid salty, and highly processed foods.
Avoid salty, and highly processed foods. Photo Credit: Kraivuttinun/iStock/Getty Images

Avoid salty and highly processed foods which have excess sodium that can lead to water retention and bloating. Eat whole foods that have minimal additives, preservatives and flavorings.

Step 3

Eat reasonable portions.
Eat reasonable portions. Photo Credit: margouillatphotos/iStock/Getty Images

Keep your serving sizes reasonable. Fill at least half of your plate with leafy-green vegetables, sans calorie-laden dressings and sauces, and reserve another quarter each for 3 to 4 ounces of protein, such as skinless chicken, egg whites, white fish or lean flank steak, and 1/2 cup of whole grains, such as brown rice, oats or quinoa.

Step 4

Snack smart.
Snack smart. Photo Credit: CGissemann/iStock/Getty Images

Snack smartly. Eat every few hours for a total of five or six times per day, but keep each meal or snack to 200 to 350 calories. Choose healthy snacks such as raw nuts, fresh fruit, cut-up veggies or low-fat plain yogurt with berries. Stay away from soda, fancy coffee drinks, sweets and salty chips; all contain empty calories and derail your efforts to look slimmer soon. Eating consistently prevents extreme hunger than can lead to binges and keeps your metabolism humming so you burn calories all day long.

Step 5

Avoid gas producing foods.
Avoid gas producing foods. Photo Credit: Mike Watson Images/moodboard/Getty Images

Avoid gas-producing foods that can cause bloating and give you the appearance of a big tummy. Limit intake of chewing gum and candies with sorbitol, a nonsugar sweetener, and certain raw vegetables, including cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, onions and cabbage, which are common gas-producing culprits.

Step 6

Exercise smarter.
Exercise smarter. Photo Credit: Maridav/iStock/Getty Images

Exercise smartly, not more. Hit the gym for short, intense workouts to burn maximum calories and turn on your fat-burning mechanisms. A study in a 2007 issue of the "Journal of Applied Physiology" found that doing seven interval workouts consisting of 10 bouts of four minutes of all-out effort followed by two minutes of easy work over two weeks increased participants' fat-burning capacity during exercise. You may not have two weeks, but fitting in two to three of these sessions over the course of four or five days can help you burn immediate calories and may encourage fat loss.

Step 7

Drink plenty of water to avoid bloating.
Drink plenty of water to avoid bloating. Photo Credit: Eduard Titov/iStock/Getty Images

Drink eight to 10 8-ounce glasses of water daily to prevent bloating caused by dehydration. Adequate hydration also prevents you from confusing thirst with hunger and can help you stick to a clean-eating regimen.

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