LIFE

How To Lose Weight Fast (And Safely)

Juice cleanses or 'detoxes' aren't one of them.

13/07/2017 7:08 AM AEST | Updated 13/07/2017 3:06 PM AEST
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How To Lose Weight Fast

If you've ever Googled "how to lose weight fast'" you're not alone. Whether it's for an impending wedding or event, or you've noticed some weight gain (thanks winter), many of us are looking for ways to look slimmer quickly.

So, can you lose weight fast (and safely)?

"It really depends on how much weight you have to lose and the time frame in which you do it," nutritionist Fiona Tuck told HuffPost Australia.

"If it's a kilo or two then this can be lost relatively quickly. However, losing a huge amount of weight in a short amount of time can put excess strain and stress on the body, cause muscle loss, put the body into starvation mode and can put a strain on the heart, and is not a healthy way to lose weight."

Basically, you can lose weight quickly, but it's not the best option and doesn't beat steady long-term weight loss.

Successful weight management comes down to a life-long commitment to a healthy lifestyle, which combines eating healthy foods, forming a healthy relationship with food and keeping physically active.

"Studies show it is more effective to aim for gradual weight loss as opposed to rapid weight loss," accredited practising dietitian Anna Debenham said. "This is because you are more likely to lose weight and keep it off when it's lost gradually. In addition to this, it is healthier for your body to lose weight more slowly."

As accredited practising dietitian Alexandra Parker explained, focusing on short-term weight loss doesn't change our eating habits and lifestyle for the better.

"Generally we find that people who want quick fixes are not necessarily in the right frame of mind to lose weight," Parker told HuffPost Australia. "So much of healthy eating and weight loss is about having the right mind frame and changing your eating behaviours for the long term.

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Focus on a healthy lifestyle, rather than a fad diet.

"Successful weight management comes down to a lifelong commitment to a healthy lifestyle, which combines eating healthy foods, forming a healthy relationship with food and keeping physically active."

Particularly when it comes to reaching body composition goals, personal trainer and founder of Flow Athletic Ben Lucas highlights that we can't expect to see changes in a few days or a week.

"I often see clients who come in and say they want to work on their arms or legs for an event or occasion, and believe toned, sculpted arms can be achieved in a few short sessions," Lucas said.

"When it comes to making physical changes in our body, this can take weeks of dedication. So, in terms of fitness, it doesn't happen overnight."

With all this in mind, if you do want to lose weight fast, here's how to do it relatively safely. Remember, seek advise from a healthcare professional before starting any diet.

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1. Cut out refined carbs

"Many people can lose weight rapidly simply by cutting out refined carbohydrates such as white pasta, white rice and sugar," Tuck said.

Other refined carb foods include lollies, biscuits, pastries and chips.

"High carbohydrate foods can encourage the body to store fluid, hence the puffy face when people overindulge in junk food and alcohol."

Here are handy tips on how to avoid buying junk food at the supermarket.

2. Control your portions

Controlling your portion sizes can help you lose weight, although Parker and Debenham recommend doing this under healthcare supervision to avoid under-eating.

"Tightening up portion sizes and cutting down on certain foods can work in the short-term, but not forever," Parker said.

"The key to safe weight loss is not to cut out any food groups completely, but rather reduce overall portion sizes. There is a fine line here as cutting down too much on these foods can hinder your ability to meet your nutritional requirements," Debenham said.

Try these eight doable portion control tips.

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3. Focus meals on protein and vegetables

"Choose lean protein and veggies and salads, and limit saturated fats," Tuck said.

While reducing carb intake can be effective, Tuck urges people to not follow this style of eating for long.

"Long-term eating in this way, such as cutting out whole grains and high carbohydrate foods, is not recommended as it can put the body at risk of nutritional deficiencies," Tuck said. "Including carbs is important for brain function and energy, however choosing whole grain, nutrient-rich options is the healthier choice."

Here's a whole library of delicious, healthy meals.

4. Do boxing

"In addition to dietary changes, I would have them working on strength which includes cardio, such as boxing," Lucas told HuffPost Australia.

"Boxing activates multiple muscle groups as well as gets the heart rate up. The idea behind this is that you start burning the calories with the aerobic demands of boxing, but also work on resistance training using your arms, which continue to burn energy after.

"Additionally, you help to tone, especially in the abdominal region, thanks to the demands of a strong core for twisting, ducking and punching."

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Exercise is as good for the body as it is for the mind.

5. Ditch alcohol and stay hydrated

Alcoholic drinks -- whether they're marketed as 'low carb' or not -- are packed with empty calories, meaning that cutting down or ditching alcohol altogether can have a dramatic effect on weight.

"Eating lean and clean with a diet made up mostly of vegetables, protein and a little bit of fat can help shed kilos quickly," Lucas said. "Ditching refined carbohydrates, sugar and alcohol will also make a noticeable difference. Staying hydrated also helps to prevent fluid retention."

What not to do

When trying to lose weight quickly, health experts suggest to steer clear of doing these things.

"Avoid dramatic long-term calorie reduction. This can cause dizziness, affect blood sugar and can even lower metabolism and deplete nutrients if performed over a long period of time," Tuck said.

"Avoid fad diets that remove food groups for more than a couple of weeks, or which recommend an excess of a particular food group, as this can become nutritionally imbalanced."

The same goes for skipping meals, which does more harm than good.

"A common danger is skipping meals, which is unsafe. If you continuously skip meals, your body thinks it is being starved and may hold on to fat reserves rather than shed them," Lucas said.

"Depriving yourself could also end up in a binge. Instead, reduce your portion sizes rather than eliminating a whole meal."

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Skip the juice cleanse and focus on whole foods instead.

Parker also warns against going on detoxes (they don't work) or taking pills or supplements that promise rapid weight loss. When it comes to long-term weight loss and weight maintenance, slow and steady wins the race.

"There is no magic pill or miracle cure. Cutting down on portion size, including a variety of fresh whole foods daily and eating three meals a day (with light snacks if required) is the most sustainable long-term fix to weight loss," Tuck said.

"Healthy eating needs to become a way of life. And including daily exercise is important for energy, mood, metabolism, self-esteem and heart health."

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