Fast, Safe Ways to Lose Weight

Losing weight is a struggle for many people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 60 percent of adult women in the United States are overweight or obese. Being overweight increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and some types of cancer. Losing weight fast can provide motivation to stick to a diet plan and keep exercising.

Consider Low-Carb Diets

Low-carbohydrate diets provide quick initial weight loss, and, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, might be more effective than other types of diets for the obese. Food selection is crucial on a low-carb diet. Choose heart-healthy fats, such as canola oil and olive oil, and lean sources of protein.

Ramp Up Your Exercise Program

Physical activity burns excess calories, speeding weight loss. The Harvard School of Public Health reports that members of the National Weight Control Registry, a group of 5,000 people who have lost at least 30 pounds each and kept it off for at least one year, have something in common. Successful weight-losers burn, on average, 400 calories each day through exercise. This amounts to 60 to 75 minutes of brisk walking or 35 to 40 minutes of jogging.

Cut Calories

Members of the National Weight Control Registry consume about 1,400 calories each day, considerably less than the average American. Although many diets advocate higher levels of calorie consumption, if the goal is quick weight loss, 1,400 calories is a reasonable goal. Athletes and others who are extremely active might need to raise their calorie consumption.

Make Nutritious Choices

The American Dietetic Association points out that cutting calories can lead to health issues if you don’t make wise food choices. Many diets advocate splurging on treats or allow you to eat whatever you want as long as you don’t go over a particular number of calories, but using your already-limited number of calories on snacks and junk food is not a safe way to lose weight. Choose lean meats and low-fat dairy products, and fill your plate with vegetables. Use fruit as a sweet treat at the end of your meals.

Never Drink Calories

Low-fat dairy products are an exception, but, otherwise, cut out the sugary sodas, alcoholic beverages and fruit juices. Eat real foods, drink plenty of water and unsweetened tea, and have an occasional diet soda as a treat. Cutting out sugar-sweetened beverages dramatically cuts calorie consumption, as most contain about 250 calories per serving. Cutting out alcohol has the added benefit of adding willpower, which makes sticking to a diet plan a little easier. For many people, indulging in food often goes hand in hand with enjoying alcoholic beverages, and each drink is full of extra calories.

About this Author

Amy Hunter has been a writer for 12 years. She typically writes about health and lifestyle issues, and enjoys writing about hiking, camping, trail running and other outdoor activities. Her work has appeared in Sacramento Parent, ASPCA’s Animal Watch and other print and online publications.