I was asked recently, is it possible to lose weight in as little as two weeks?
I can almost guarantee this person is in for a bumpy ride. The signs are clear this isn’t a lifestyle change that the person understands and is prepared to pay the price to achieve the result they are after. The facts are rapid weight loss is often generally unhealthy weight loss.
A sustained effort
To lose weight and keep it off requires a sustained effort and real commitment over the longer term. If you have excess weight and follow a healthy routine of regular exercise and good healthy eating habits you can lose some weight quickly sure, however, it should be remembered that those who start dieting and regular exercise will generally see greater weight loss in the first two weeks to a month than at any other time. This can be frustrating for many as their initial weight loss is a great source of motivation but as your body adjusts and the pounds take a little longer to lose this initial motivation will be short lived.
The most important thing to remember when attempting weight loss is there is no ‘magic pill’. The best way to lose weight in the long term is to adopt a long-term approach, one that is attainable. Don’t attempt to lose weight for summer, instead, lose weight for life by making lifestyle changes. There is no point whatsoever taking on a weight loss program that you cannot sustain. In the following article, I will attempt to outline some home truths about weight loss and dispel some common myths that, unfortunately, tend to hold many people back when it comes to achieving a healthier weight.
Don’t attempt to lose weight for summer, instead, lose weight for life by making lifestyle changes.
The right mindset
Let’s cut to the chase. In my experience, those who struggle to lose weight are fixated on finding the easiest way to do it. As a result, they fall into the trap of fad dieting and purchasing all manner of fitness products and programs, looking for an easier way. Guess what, the health and fitness industry knows this and those who market these products and programs know most people are looking for a quick fix and as a result they market their products this way. They speak directly to you and focus on what you want rather than what you need. You may be surprised to learn that more than one-third of the population of the United States, are considered overweight or clinically obese. You may also be surprised to learn that over half this number are members of a health club, but only a little over 16 million people will visit their health club more than once every three days. Great marketing, no question.
It’s pretty clear the so-called ‘easy solutions’ to weight loss just lead to more frustration. There’s a lot of work involved in seeking an easier way, so why not direct your energies the right way and get your mindset correct before beginning. As the old saying goes, nothing worthwhile was ever easy and this is very much the case when it comes to sustainable weight loss. There really is a price to pay, it just comes down to if you are prepared to pay it. Science dictates that if you eat well and exercise you will lose weight, it’s a simple fact and basically means anyone can transform their current body if they are unhappy with it, just don;t make the mistake of thinking it’s not going to be difficult.
Don’t overcomplicate things
If you have a simple approach to weight loss and appreciate that it will be a challenge and prepare yourself you will start well ahead of the pack and be better equipped to deal with the tough times, the times when motivation is lacking or temptation is weighing you down. Lastly, when you do succeed you will realize you are grateful there isn’t an easy way, that sense of achievement wouldn’t be the same if there a magic pill you could simply take once a day to achieve your goal weight and that is what will sustain you and allow you to keep the weight off.
The key to weight loss is reducing your intake of calories. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? and in reality, it is not all that complicated. Reducing your calories can be done by reducing your actual intake firstly and by ‘burning’ excess calories through exercise. While there are many fad diets claiming the latest breakthrough for weight loss promoted online, unfortunately, due to information overload most people attempting to lose weight overlook the basics and that is where most of the problems start.
For example, if you are using more calories than you are consuming you will lose weight. If you exercise and, as a result, consume more calories to sustain your exercise regime you won’t lose weight regardless of how much effort you put in. Weight loss is equal parts effort and discipline and equal parts understanding how your body uses and stores food.
Understanding your body’s metabolism is critical when it comes to weight loss. It is never a good idea to undertake weight loss by starving yourself as you will only slow down your metabolic rate. Slowing down your metabolic rate will hinder your efforts to lose weight in the long run despite the effort and sacrifice you are undertaking.
Metabolism by definition equates to the amount of energy your body requires to carry out regular function. For example, your body will use some energy with every function it performs including sleeping. Those with higher fat percentages will typically have a slower metabolism while those with a higher percentage of muscle will have a faster metabolism. In recent times, it has been proven that promoting muscle growth by doing regular weight resistance training will actually your metabolic rate. This will in turn, help you to lose weight.
Kick start weight loss by avoiding these foods
There’s nothing wrong with dieting, but I believe it’s much more effective to simply adopt healthy eating habits so you can be more flexible with your eating. Following a regimented diet can certainly work but instead, if you choose to just avoid unhealthy foods you will find it much easier to fit your nutritional needs into your schedule.
There are some basic foods to reduce if you are attempting to lose weight. The first and most obvious is to reduce your intake of fatty foods, we call these ‘sometimes foods’ for the fact that they should only be consumed sometimes.
Foods that are high in fat include:
- Processed Meats such as Sausages, Salami.
- Ice Cream
- Animal Meats – such as lamb
- Soft Drinks
There are good fats and bad fats, however. Saturated fats are associated with poor health and heart diseases. While polyunsaturated fats will actually lower your cholesterol and are in most cases good for you.
Foods that are low in saturated fats include:
- Fruit and Vegetables
- Lean meats
- Grains such as cereal, pasta, and rice.
By reducing your saturated fat intake and replacing this with foods high in protein and fiber, you will be promoting muscle growth which as noted above promotes a faster metabolism. A faster metabolism will assist with burning fat.
Actionable Tips for Losing Weight
Drink more water
There is evidence that suggests drinking water does increase your bodies metabolic rate. Water is also a natural appetite suppressant. If you are seeking the fastest way to lose weight in 2 weeks drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day is a must.
Consume smaller more frequent meals
Proven to provide you with a balanced supply of energy. Eating smaller portions more often also prevents the urge to snack between meals. Eat a good breakfast, try to eat a light evening meal which should consist of lean protein and vegetables. People are more sedentary at night and your body will store what you don’t use.
Reduce sugar consumption
Don’t be fooled by the 99% fat-free packaging. Fat-free they may be, but most are certainly not fattening free. If you check the nutrition guide on the back of the packet you will notice foods such as these have enormous amounts of sugar (e.g. marshmallows). Sugar essentially increases your insulin level and causes our bodies to stop burning fat. Sugar will also drain you of energy if you are looking for the fastest way to lose weight in 2 weeks this is when cravings will most certainly strike, testing your resolve.
You need to be doing at least 40 minutes of exercise 3 times per week if you are serious about losing weight. Diet plays a huge role in weight loss, but you need to create a deficit in your calorie intake by burning fat. If you can handle it running is going to burn fat faster by virtue of increasing your heart rate for longer. If you are not up to running make sure you are at least walking (and a brisk walk at that) for 40 minutes per day. Whatever you do don’t push yourself beyond your capabilities, it’s pointless. If you exhaust or injure yourself on day one you won’t exercise as effectively the following day.
Reduce Salt Intake
Salt is 40% Sodium. Sodium essentially causes your body to retain water, which is the last thing you need if you are seeking to lose weight. Salt is commonly found in processed fatty foods, think of it as a warning flag.
Get Plenty of Sleep
While the research is inconclusive and there is plenty of debate on both sides. My personal belief is a lack of sleep does not allow your bodies organs to perform at their best. It will also leave you with less energy which is far from ideal if you are trying to lose weight. Remember you will be relying on high energy levels to get the most from your exercise routine.
Staying on Track
Weight loss has a certain momentum associated with it. What does this mean? Put simply, if you do start regular exercise and improve your nutrition you will see results in a short period of time, particular if you are quite overweight. These results then motivate us to keep pushing on which in turn leads to even greater results which in turn lead to even greater motivation. Now while it’s true most overweight people will see greater results initially as their body adjusts over time this will balance out to some degree and you will continue to lose weight. It’s also accepted that as we replace fat with muscle our metabolism adjusts and over time you will find it easier to lose weight.
To maintain this momentum I have included a few basic tips below to help keep you focussed on your weight loss goal.
- Exercise at least three times per week
- Get your week off to a good start and always exercise on a Monday
- Focus on changing unhealthy dietary habits by removing unhealthy foods from your home, in short change long-term habits
- Be realistic with your goal setting, make it sustainable
- Reward your achievements and use them for further motivation
- If your diet blows out don’t quit! Get back on the horse as soon as possible and understand that there will be setbacks
- Remember why you are trying to lose weight at least once per day and be motivated by sustainable things
- Have a long term goal with milestones along the way to help keep you on track
- Surround yourself with healthy influences
- Accept it will be a challenge and relish it
You might be surprised to see most of the tips above focus on mindset as opposed to the tactics for losing weight. The fact is your mind will be your biggest obstacle and will succumb to temptation and pressure long before your body will. Remember what the mind can conceive the body can achieve.