Historically “slow and steady” has been the default recommendation from health professionals when it comes to weight loss.
In reality though, when someone wants to lose weight, they generally want to lose it quickly and indeed in recent years weight loss recommendations have changed slightly as research has emerged to show that relatively quick weight loss is predictive of weight loss success.
This means that dropping a few kilos quickly, and seeing a result on the scales within a few days, as opposed to a few weeks, appears highly motivating, encouraging us to continue with any diet and exercise changes adopted.
When it comes to fast weight loss, the key is to opt for strategies that are evidence based, and ultimately sustainable, so that even weight lost quickly can be maintained.
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So, if you want to get rid of a few pesky kilos as soon as possible, here are the easiest, and scientifically sound ways to do it.
Find your focus
It takes a couple of days following a lower calorie diet to burn through your fuel stores and induce weight loss. This means that to achieve a significant drop on the scales you need a good period of time, or at least five to seven days of relatively strict eating.
This also explains why a few days of strict eating can quickly be negated by extra eating over the weekend and result in no weight change over the course of a week.
Time-wise this means that if your goal is to lose 3-5kg quickly, you need to dedicate at least a couple of weeks of relatively strict eating to achieve your goals.
Once you have lost your initial 2-3kg after a week or two, you are then well on your way to reaching your weight-loss goals.
Limit your eating hours
The human body is programmed to have a number of hours without food each day to support digestion, metabolism, gut health and hormone regulation, yet modern life can see us eating and snacking constantly so we are lucky to have an eight to 10-hour break from eating.
Limiting the number of hours in which you eat each day naturally aids energy control and metabolism, as we are more likely to feel hungry each morning after an extended overnight fast.
This means that committing to a period without eating for at least 12, and up to 16 hours each day, and ensuring energy is consumed within an eight to 10-hour period is an easy way to drop kilos without severe energy restriction.
Double your veggie intake
Not only can you swap a meal for a low-kilojoule soup or salad to support weight loss, but doubling your vegetable intake each day by including extra salad or vegies at each meal will again help to reduce your overall energy intake per meal by as much as 400 kilojoules.
All you need to do is make sure that half your plate is loaded up with low-energy salads and vegetables, and as such reduce the portions of protein and carbohydrate on your plate.
Think a veg-rich juice with breakfast, or eggs with extra vegetables; a salad or soup with a lunch wrap or sandwich and then less meat and more roasted vegies with your evening meal. Ultimately you are eating more overall, but fewer kilojoules, which is a great way to diet.
Cut the snacks
Unless you’re extremely active, or eat your first meal of the day very early, if you are enjoying three well-balanced meals each day, chances are you do not need to snack.
Focusing on filling meals that contain plenty of salads and vegetables should keep you full and satisfied for three to four hours.
This means if you eat your first meal by 8am and lunch by noon, at most you will need one small snack each afternoon.
Cutting back your snacks and opting for light options such as berries, a piccolo coffee, vegies with tzatziki or a cup of two of popcorn will slash at least a couple of hundred kilojoules from your diet and help you to drop 2-3kg quickly minus any fad diets or extremely low-energy programmes.
Susie Burrell is a nutritionist and dietitian.