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A Few Effective and Easy Ways to Lose Weight Fast

By Patrick Drew, updated November, 2013

tape around waisteSKINNY SKINNY SKINNY… Everywhere I look I see the word skinny. Or derivatives of it like thin, lean, healthy (meaning thin)… plastered all over the magazines, the television, the billboards etc. There are shows going on in almost every country worldwide focusing on models, fashion — the next top model and so on. It seems everyone is looking for easy ways to lose weight fast. There is a global fascination and obsession with being skinny, as epitomized in a global blockbuster "The Devil wears Prada" — "since two became the new four and zero became the new two." Nigel

"And just when I am about to faint… I eat a cube of cheese." Emily — The Devil wears Prada

Yet at the same time, did you know that worldwide obesity levels recently reached an all time high? In countries all over the world, men and women, young and old, are gorging themselves on fatty, sugary junk foods, and are getting fatter and fatter as a result. So much so in fact, that nutritional and medical experts were recently forced to reach the startling and frightening conclusion that children of this generation will actually have a shorter life expectancy than their own parents! That in itself is frightening enough. But when you combine that with the fact that diseases and illnesses relating to our diets are also on the increase, you just know that something has to be done, and fast! The “proof in the pudding” is the massive deluge of new diets hitting the media these days. But the "pudding" is not just about dropping weight, it's about losing weight in a healthy, sustainable way. What use is weight loss if those pounds of fat return (often with friends)? We will discuss many of these new (and not so new) diets later.

These conclusions did actually have a pretty productive effect on people, as many of them are now ditching the burgers for salads, and swapping the cola for water. If you've decided that enough is enough, and you'd like to drop a few pounds and become healthier in the process, then this article is for you. Contained within, we'll be looking at a few easy ways to lose weight. So, let's get started.

Lose weight fast… but not too fast — The KEY cardinal rule to losing weight is really very simple… Consume fewer calories than you use… and you will lose weight. But beyond that, you also have to consider that 1 pound of weight loss distributed as 95% fat and 5% muscle is a heck of a lot better than 25% fat and 75% muscle. This is what most fast diets do to you, they erode your muscle mass in the process. Your muscle mass sustains your metabolism (since lean muscle burns calories even while at rest), so if you eat up your muscles your weight will return with a vengeance the minute you try to eat normally again. In the end, after all the nonsense we have been exposed to for decades, the best weight loss method today is really the same as it was years ago — eat balanced, eat unprocessed foods, eat wholegrain carbs, avoid empty calories from sugary snacks & drinks, and exercise more. Read more here about creating your very own proper nutritional plan.

What you want is steady, consistent, and sustainable weight loss. Weight loss of no more than 2 pounds per week is a reasonable limit for most people. Believe it or not, 2 pounds a week really means losing weight fast — because if you do it right its going to be mostly fat — so you will feel and see it faster than other methods. For this, you need to eat less than you burn, so try to eat at least 500 calories less than you need in a day. Follow the advice below and check out our calcluators in the right hand column to estimate your caloric needs.

Become more active — If you really want an easy way to lose weight, you're going to have to get more exercise. This doesn't mean you need to spend 3 hours a day in the gym, heck, you can exercise without even stepping foot in a gym if need be — although that is often not ideal. The important thing is that you actually become more active and do more exercise. You could go swimming, go for a walk around your favorite local beauty spot, go for a jog around the block, or even do a spot of housework. Did you know that cleaning, DIY, and gardening are all great forms of exercise, and will all help you to burn calories? A morning's gardening for example has the potential to burn close to 800 calories. So, bike or walk instead of driving or taking the bus, take the stairs instead of the elevator, etc. Make it a point to be active virtually every day.

The KEY cardinal rule is really very simple… Consume fewer calories than you use… and you will lose weight.
health breakfast

Exercise — having just stated that you do not need to go to the gym to lose weight… maybe it might still be a good idea! A gym has a number of advantages to it — some physical and some psychological. Firstly, it is easy to make a commitment with a friend to meet at the gym, and thus it is easier to stick to your plans. Once there, you may also be motivated by all the other active people. However, most importantly, the gym has lots of resistance training equipment like barbells and dumbbells. Resistance training is not only extremely important for your weight loss efforts — as it builds muscle and protects you from muscle loss as you lose weight — but it also strengthens/maintains your bone density, even as you age!

To lose weight through exercise it is best to combine cardiovascular exercise (at 55-85% of your maximum heart rate — see Cardiovascular Training) with weight training and interval workouts/sports. You can read more on this in Your Fitness Plan Part 1. However, the key thing to remember is that by varying your exercise, you can positively affect your metabolism and also become fitter, stronger, faster, and generally healthier. Even if you have a very busy schedule, try to get in at least 3 cardiovascular workouts (of at least 30 minutes, preferably longer) and 1-2 weight training sessions (of about 45 minutes) per week. Intensive exercise like most sports or interval training are also extremely useful for losing weight — arguably more useful than cardio — however they should probably never fully replace cardio due to its other health benefits.

Eat healthier and cut out the junk — If you're serious about getting in shape, then you're going to have to kiss junk goodbye. Instead, swap these fatty, salty, sugary, artificial foods for fresh, natural and wholesome produce instead. Fresh fruit, vegetables, seafood, lean meat, nuts, healthy oils, and slow release carbohydrates should become your best friends. These foods are packed full of the right macronutrients as well as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other natural goodness that your body and immune system will simply love. They're low in saturated fat, and if combined together in the right recipe, will taste absolutely delicious. You'll feel great, have more energy, and will actually lose weight in the process… providing you don't overdo it.

Above all, cut out foods and drinks with sugar added to them, try to minimize intake of processed foods, stay away from refined carbohydrates (like white flour), and keep your staturated fats (found in animal products) low.

Choose water — Whether you like the taste of water or not, (although technically it has no taste) you need to make sure that you make it your staple beverage on a daily basis. If you enjoy sugary soft drinks or artificial fruit juices then you need to make some drastic changes. The human body is composed of almost 80% water, and all of the major organs require a steady supply in order to function correctly. Water will help flush toxins from your body and hydrate you and your cells. For a really healthy beverage, take a large jug of filtered or mineral water, fill it with ice, slice up plenty of your favorite fruit, and add to the jug of water. Citrus fruits work especially well, and will supply you with a good dosage of immune system boosting vitamin C. There is no magic number to hit when it comes to drinking water — just make sure you listen to your body and prepare for periods of activity, being exposed to heat, etc.

Make gradual changes — Remember, slow and steady wins the race when it comes to weight loss. So, do not shock your body and get overwhelmed by cravings by going from totally unhealthy to healthy overnight. Instead, make changes here and there, taking small steps towards something you can live with. For example, start by replacing all soda with diet (and later with water or other healthy beverage), eliminating deep fried foods, switching from whole milk to skim, etc.

In other articles we will discuss various diets, the pros and cons of each — as well as the various dangers involved.

As always, remember to ask your doctor about your particular situation.

Summary

  • Be more active in your daily life
    • Walk or bike instead of driving
    • Take the stairs
    • Do more housework
  • Start exercising regularly
    • Cardiovascular training
    • Resistance training
  • Eat balanced & sensible meals
  • Cut out or limit:
    • Empty calories from junk foods
    • Excessive saturated fats
    • Alcohol
    • Excessive salt intake
  • Increase intake of:
    • Fresh produce
    • Wholegrain & unrefined carbs (in moderation)
    • Unprocessed foods
  • Implement changes slowly so that they are not temporary


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