The idea of “losing weight fast” either sounds scary or exciting, depending on what comes to mind.
Some people opt for starvation diets — extreme diets that restrict calories far below what our bodies need each day.
These diets are not safe, number one, plus they make us feel miserable. Number two, they don’t work. Number three, with these diets we wind up losing muscle mass rather than excess fat.
While they can help us lose weight quickly, they can also lead to a 20 percent reduction in our lean muscle mass and, even more dangerously, to a 20 percent reduction in the size of our organs, as well!
In fact, the body’s systems don’t reset after starvation.
That’s because the body adjusts itself to prioritize significant weight loss at the expense of body fat mass and lean muscle.
Extreme dieting also lowers our metabolism, specifically our basal metabolic rate (BMR). That means once we return to a normal calorie level, the body can’t adapt. The body stores the extra calories as fat, which is the exact opposite of what we wanted.
Look at the example of The Biggest Loser reality show. A study found that 13 of 14 contestants regained a significant amount of the weight lost within six years of competing.
Without further adieu, here are 5 things that both women and men can do to safely lose weight fast:
1. Down more veggies
Although we might have bad memories of our Aunt Matilda telling us, “Eat your broccoli!,” science shows that she and Aunt Matildas everywhere were on the right track.
Loaded with nutrients, you can feast on vegetables without fear that you’re going to go over the 20–50 net carbs limit per day.
Some of the best veggie sources are: broccoli; Brussels sprouts; cabbage; cauliflower; cucumber; kale; lettuce; spinach; Swiss chard; and tomatoes.
2. Eat more fat
Although this goes against the margarine mania and anti-fat fallacies of years ago, don’t fear the fats.
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential (good) fats that the body can’t directly manufacture, so it needs to get them from food. These fatty acids are crucial for brain function, joint function and heart health, and that’s just for starters.
Omega-3s are mainly found in fish, like wild-caught Pacific salmon, sardines, mussels, rainbow trout, and Atlantic mackerel from Alaska, but they’re also found in flax seed, walnuts and leafy green vegetables.
Try to consume omega-3 fats through diet when possible, but you can also obtain these healthy fats from fish oil supplements.
And don’t forget that you can have some avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil and (gasp!) even a little butter.
3. Curb those carbs
We need carbs. But with that said, it’s important to note that not all carbs are created equal.
We want fewer simple carbs and sugars, and more complex carbs. Complex carbohydrates are found in such foods such as whole grains and vegetables.
Good examples of low-glycemic vegetables are listed in “Down more veggies” above!
4. Lift some weights
By pumping iron a few times a week, you’ll be able to burn a bunch of calories and keep your metabolism from slowing down.
The more muscle we build, the better our body composition, the faster our metabolic set point, and the easier it is to burn fat, even afterwards when we’re at rest.
Studies on low- or moderate-carb diets show that exercise can help you gain muscle while losing hefty amounts of body fat.
Aim to do strength training exercises three times a week, three or more sets of 6 to 8 reps — up to a point when you start to feel fatigue.
But if lifting weights is not a safe option for you, see if you can do some walking, jogging, running, cycling or swimming instead, since both cardio and weight-lifting help with weight loss.
5. Eat more protein
Eating more protein has been shown to increase metabolism by 15 to 30 percent, which can enhance a feeling of fullness, making us less likely to overeat. Protein also helps safeguard lean muscle while the body burns off extra fat.
And soy is one of your best options. As to which protein sources are best, meat (by weight) has a maximum protein level of 26 to 27 percent. Soybeans, by comparison, boast 36 to 38 percent protein.
As for protein quality, while meat does have a high protein efficiency ratio, soybeans score higher than beef on a measure of protein quality called the “Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score.”
Soybeans have a complete amino acid profile — meaning they have all nine essential amino acids — and they are considered a “high biological value” protein source.
Almased, on the other hand, is one part of a safe and nutritious approach to weight loss that can last because it’s easy.