With June just around the corner, time is running short to get your body into skin-baring condition.
It’s not healthy to lose weight really fast, but let’s be honest. We all get to that point of desperation where we have only a short amount of time to drop the pounds.
What to do?
Here are eight healthy ways to shed a few pounds (in the short term, at least) categorized by how much time you have to slim down. While none of the following tips is a permanent weight-loss solution, the advice can help you fit into that dress you bought two months ago for your best friend’s wedding, or look good in pictures from your upcoming vacation to Mexico.
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If you have eight weeks…
This is a noninvasive procedure that helps get rid of unwanted and stubborn fat. CoolSculpting uses special cooling technology to eliminate fat from the body without surgery. Each session lasts only about an hour, and you can return to normal activities immediately after the procedure is complete. Some effect can be seen after just one session, though more dramatic results are realized about eight weeks afterward.
How it works: The physician will position the cooling device on the area of the body to be worked on and pull the “bulge” in between two panels. Patients experience a firm pulling pressure — enough to ensure that the tissues will be cooled efficiently. The first sensation felt by most patients is an intense cold pressure, but this soon subsides and most people read, work on a laptop, or even nap during the procedure.
CoolSculpting is not for everyone. A doctor will determine if you are a candidate, as well as how many treatments you will need, during a one-on-one consultation prior to any procedure. Prices vary depending on individual needs and treatment lengths. You can find a local CoolSculpting provider at www.coolsculpting.com/find-a-center.
If you have less than a month…
Commit to ‘Jumpstart to Skinny’
Ever watched NBC’s The Biggest Loser? Trainer Bob Harper has written a new book, Jumpstart to Skinny, that details how to lose up to 20 pounds in just three weeks. Don’t worry; you don’t have to work out for several hours a day like show contestants to get there.
Recognizing that this time of year is when people want to lose weight quickly and will do whatever it takes to get there, Harper aims with this book to help men and women reach their goals, but in the healthiest way possible.
The strategy starts with what Harper calls the 40/40/20 plan. It’s his way of ensuring that you get the right amount of the three macronutrients in your diet: protein, carbohydrates and fat. That means each meal should be made up of 40 percent carbs, 40 percent protein, 20 percent fats. Vegetables are freebies, so you can eat as many of them as you want throughout the day. His book breaks down the types of carbs, fats and other foods that you want to consume throughout the day. It also helps you decipher which foods you’ll want to stay away from during those three weeks.
The plan also has serious calorie restrictions. For women, it calls for 800 calories a day. For men, it’s just 1,200. Harper arrived at these recommendations through years of experience working with overweight and obese clients, extensive research, and from testing the program on his own body.
Check out Jumpstart to Skinny, now available on Amazon.com, and in just three weeks you could shed some serious weight. Be warned; this program is not for the faint of heart. You’d better be ready for some tough love from Harper, and possibly some struggles in those first few days. But three weeks later, you’ll be thanking him for your new bod!
Double vegetable intake, cut carbs in half
If you want to drop weight quickly, cutting back (or completely) on starchy carbohydrates can help. This list includes bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, cereal and crackers. According to Dr. Melina Jampolis, CNN’s diet and fitness expert, and author of The Calendar Diet: A Month by Month Guide to Losing Weight While Living Your Life, increasing vegetable intake can help you keep your portion sizes while reducing total calories consumed. So, you feel full on fewer calories.
A recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health discovered that participants who were trying to maintain their weight loss burned more calories eating a low-carb diet. The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that participants on a low-carb diet burned about 300 calories more a day than those on a low-fat diet.
For you real go-getters out there, go ahead and cut out sugar and processed grains as well. It can be tough because these items are fairly ubiquitous in our food, but these carbs are the least satisfying to your body and the lowest in nutrition.
Cut out alcohol, increase water intake
Calories from the liquids you consume can add up quickly. Cutting out alcohol before your event or vacation can help you reduce your overall calorie intake. Doing this alone is great, but upping your water consumption is even better.
James Conley, owner of James Conley Fitness, said, “Water makes you feel full so you don’t eat as much. That is why most fitness professionals suggest a glass of water before every meal.”
Do this just to stay hydrated. The human body is made up of mostly water. “A hydrated body can perform better and longer, resulting in more calories burned.” Not to mention, it’s important for your digestive system.
“Some are under the impression that water flushes fat out of your system,” Conley added. “This is, of course, a myth.”
The bottom line is that liquid calories are easy to consume but often don’t satiate hunger. Cutting out alcoholic beverages, sodas and other sugary drinks can help reduce your overall calorie intake, and replacing them with water will leave you better hydrated and feeling fuller.
If you have a few days…
Wrap it up
Imagine losing 6 inches or more in one hour.
What? One hour! It’s true. If you haven’t already tried them yourself, here’s your introduction to the world of body wraps.
Body wraps come in many forms and are used for contouring, detoxifying and removing waste from connective tissue inside the body. Results may include lost inches, weight loss, reduced appearance of cellulite, and tightened and toned skin. Wraps can be applied over the entire body, specific problem areas, or even the face and neck. Some body wraps are recommended for use over several treatments, but others can show results after just one session.
This weight-loss solution is good if you are running particularly short on time, perhaps for an event the next weekend. Prices range from $100 to $200 per treatment, depending on the type of wrap. Wrapped In Wellness on South Hulen in Fort Worth has several types of body wraps and other services to help you look your best in no time. www.wrappedinwellness.com
Hit the juice
And no, this doesn’t mean steroids.
According to livestrong.com, “the main benefit of juicing is that it gives you the vital micronutrients such as vitamins, enzymes, and antioxidants.” Juices (and smoothies) can be low in calories, and contain little to no fat, depending on the ingredients.
You might ask, “Why not just eat the vegetables and fruits that I would be drinking in a juice?”
If we’re being honest, we don’t do that — and we probably won’t start. Blending fruits and vegetables into delicious juices (or even smoothies) helps you pack your diet with great foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories, and they take very little effort to prepare.
To start a juice or smoothie diet, you’ll need a blender or a juicer. You don’t need to go on a diet solely based on juices to see results. The website livestrong.com recommends drinking one glass of juice 30 minutes before a low-calorie meal, or replacing a meal with two glasses of juice. Be careful not to exceed more than four glasses of vegetable-fruit juice a day, as this can cause digestive discomfort.
You can find countless recipes by running a simple search online for “juices and smoothies for weight loss” or something similar.
Time’s up. You need to lose weight today…
Savor the sauna
A common trick for athletes who need to meet certain weight goals at periodic check-ins, sitting in a sauna can result in lost water weight. Though it is definitely a temporary fix — most people put the weight back on soon after losing it — it can help you shed a couple pounds in a pinch and keep it off in the very short term. Be careful, though. Sitting in a sauna can put you at risk for dehydration, so listen to your body and don’t overdo it.
While James Conley, owner of James Conley Fitness, said he is not a fan of the sauna, he added that “the reality is the sauna really does work. Boxers have been doing this for years to ‘make weight.’”
In a sauna, the hot temperature raises your body temperature. This forces your body to cool itself by producing sweat. Since there is no circulating air in the sauna, your body cannot properly cool itself because the sweat never evaporates off your skin. When you get out of the sauna, you have essentially lost only water weight. “Most fitness professionals will tell you to weigh before and after workouts, then rehydrate back to your pre-workout weight,” said Conley.
The easiest place to get to a sauna is at your local gym. Aim for a 30-minute sauna session (perhaps after a workout for even more calorie-burning). Be sure to drink water after you get out in order to rehydrate. (Side note: You can actually do this for a couple days up until your event for more weight loss, but if you’re really short on time, doing it once, the day of, can’t hurt.)
Pop an anti-gas pill
And stand up straighter. Good posture helps you appear taller and thinner, so push your shoulders back and look proud.
If that’s not convincing enough for you, just take an anti-gas pill. Anti-gas pills will relieve bloating and make your stomach appear flatter. If you’re going to be baring your tummy in a bikini today, or you want to feel less self-conscious in a form-fitting outfit, pop an anti-gas pill before you head out as a final effort to slim down. They can be found at any pharmacy in the OTC section for just a few dollars. But remember that this is a quick fix. Don’t take any medication daily without checking with your doctor.
In the end, steady weight loss over time through a healthy diet and exercise are best. “About two to three pounds per week is healthy,” Conley said. With clients who have more to lose, he has them do more cardiovascular training to decrease their percentage of body fat. “But I always do strength training to assist in the process.”
If you find yourself with a month or two to shed pounds, you have time to make appropriate changes in your diet and exercise routine and still see results. In the long run, “eating foods low in fat with plenty of fruits and vegetables combined with exercise [cardio and strength training] is the healthiest way to go,” Conley summed up.
In the short run though, these eight tips will help you slim down and shape up. And as with any weight loss program, it is recommended that you consult your doctor first.