Fast weight-loss
June 24, 2005 10:58 AM   Subscribe

How can I lose weight quickly?

I need to lose around 25lbs. I'm not obese but I'm uncomfortable with the way I look right now and I want to lose the extra weight as quickly as possible.

I have cut way down on calories and am exercising every day, but I'm still not losing weight (though I have only made these changes in the last couple of weeks). I have never used diet pills (though I'm not against using them).

I don't have any eating disorder issues and I don't want to be super-skinny, I just want to be able to fit into last year's summer clothes and get fitter.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (35 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The more gradually you lose the weight, the easier it will be to keep off. That said, to speed up the process you can further reduce the calories you ingest and focus on aerobic exercise (e.g. running, biking, swimming) only.

The only faster way to lose weight would be to stop eating altogether...
posted by pmbuko at 11:04 AM on June 24, 2005

just remember when you start any new workout routine you're going to gain a little weight initially as the fat you burn gets turned into muscle. So just keep at it through that. Don't judge yourself by weight initially but how you look/feel.

There's no good superfast way to lose weight. just eat healthy and exercise every day and you'll be fine
posted by slapshot57 at 11:07 AM on June 24, 2005

This doesn't answer your question, exactly, but you're basically doing what you can already. Unfortunately, when you make a sudden change like you have, your body goes into the proverbial starvation mode, and tries to hold onto the weight. The only suggestion I have is to make sure that the kind of food you're eating is not only low-calorie, but healthy. You're not going to lose weight is your daily food intake consists of a McDonalds apple pie. Eat plently of salads, cooked grains, some lean protien, and drink lots of water. And keep up the daily exersize.

At the risk of giving unasked for advice, I will say that losing weight quickly is very unhealthy and can lead to various health problems. And as pmbuko pointed out, folks who lose weight fast almost always gain it back. What you need to do is make gradual lifestyle changes that promote healthy eating and exersize. Your body took time to get the way it is now, give it some time to change back.
posted by Specklet at 11:07 AM on June 24, 2005

I find this article conveys techniques given to a couple of friends of mine who have hired personal trainers to lose fat. Again, that's lose fat, not lose weight (muscle, water). Because it's more important what, when and how often you eat, rather than simply cutting calories and having your body lower it's metabolic rate to compensate.

The site discusses techniques for bodybuilers, but applies to anyone regardless of training method since it focuses on diet type and doesn't get into training specifics, except point #8 for cardio, which is also very important.

Give it more than a couple of weeks, and as with anything, consistency is key. However, keeping weekly tabs on things makes certain you don't waste your time with a wrong routine. It'll take a few weeks or months at least to reach any plateau, either way.
posted by Blue Buddha at 11:08 AM on June 24, 2005

*Reminds self that spelling skills are lacking, and should utilize spell checker.*
posted by Specklet at 11:08 AM on June 24, 2005

A bit controversial, perhaps, but assuming you live in the US, ephedrine is no longer banned here. In small dosages, supplements which contain ephedrine may help your body lose fat by increasing your metabolic rate. You should see a doctor before taking anything, however.
posted by Rothko at 11:16 AM on June 24, 2005

If you properly cut calories, you should lose weight at 1-2 pounds a week. Clearly this is not especially noticeable over short time periods, due to standard fluctuations of weight due to water intake and scale accuracy.

Stick it out and you should see progress.
posted by smackfu at 11:18 AM on June 24, 2005

What you are already doing sounds correct. It takes some time to get on the downward slope but once you do it starts coming off pretty quickly. Reduced caloric intake and plenty of exercise (even anaerobic) is the answer. Note that with a reduced caloric intake, you will feel more tired, and it will be harder to motivate yourself to exercise. You need to beat back this feeling and keep getting out there. Your energy level will eventually increase to match the demand.

FYI, I'm doing exactly this and I've lost 15lb, but it took a little while to really get things rolling. Note also that you may hit plateaus, and don't take that as a sign you're doing something wrong. There are adjustments you body will be making that may not result in lost weight at all times.
posted by knave at 11:20 AM on June 24, 2005

I've seen people lose weight crazy fast on a variety of prescribed diet pills (dextro-amphatemine? I'm not sure the exact amphetamine, but I'm sure it was speed based). I don't know how your relationship with your doctor is but it really works well. Of course the same people promptly gain the weight back after they go off the junk. Not a problem with a good prescription plan.

Of course what it effectively does is suppress your appetite and allow you to work out hard. I'm sure it really destroys your heart and numbs the brain, but it works.
posted by geoff. at 11:23 AM on June 24, 2005

Work out. A lot. If that fails to produce the results you are looking for . . . ask your doctor about phentermine (I am, of course, absolutely not suggesting that you order it online).
posted by necessitas at 11:25 AM on June 24, 2005

I should have also mentioned, don't do anything counterproductive to cancel out the great effort you're making: sleep 8 hours a night, drink 80oz of water per day, don't drink alcohol, don't eat too many carbs as they screw with your insulin levels and make you feel hungry more often.
posted by knave at 11:38 AM on June 24, 2005

You're not going to lose weight is your daily food intake consists of a McDonalds apple pie.

Sure you can. There's nothing magical about a mcdonalds apple pie. It's calories, fat, carbs, etc. The big picture is what's important. I could eat a mcdonalds apple pie every day, and through making adjustments, still lose weight.
posted by justgary at 11:38 AM on June 24, 2005

I've found in the past that the only way i lose weight 'quickly' is when i stop trying to give myself ridiculous rules 'like no more bread' or 'no junk food ever' or 'no calories past 7pm' because it becomes way too easy to rationalise cheating on those rules. ("If i just have this one slice of bread, and that's it, then its fine cuz i'm never ever going to eat bread again", but then really you do that every other day.) On the other hand, when i just try to really eat healthfully and FOCUS on being thinner rather than focussing on the 'eating rules' i find that I actually lose weight. Also, I like to ask myself "which would be better, that chocolate bar or losing a pound this week", and I almost always choose the pound.

Another, more practical tip: try entering in everything you eat to something like Fitday. I genuinely thought i was cutting down on food, but until i tried FitDay I had no idea that i wasn't really truly doing as well as I'd hoped. As someone overweight, one's conception of an appropriate amount of food tends to skew upwards (that's how we get fat, afterall) and so it's hard to perceive what is a 'normal' meal versus a 'weight reducing' meal. Turned out I had just been reducing to a level were i was no longer gaining, but not losing yet either. Its easier to figure out if you're eating appropriately if you can quantify your calories/fat/fiber.

Oh, yeah, that's my last tip: eat lots of fiber. It keeps you full longer and so you don't eat as much. Also fiber-rich foods are generally naturally low fat/calorie foods too.
posted by Kololo at 12:26 PM on June 24, 2005 [1 favorite]

Adderall. Cut yer appetite and increase your productivity in one swoop!

Ha, I kid. Short of starvation, lots of working out, and diet pills there's no way to lose quickly, and any way that will help you lose it quickly won't be healthy or stay off.

Have you calculated how many calories you're burning compared to how many you're taking in? Record your meals for a couple of days, record the amount you exercise, and use activity calculators and nutrition calculators to figure it out.

And weight training. Definitely, definitely do weight training. You may not see a dramatic change in weight because muscle's more dense than fat, but you'll look and feel a lot better.

But are you going to see significant effects in a week? Two weeks? Probably not.
posted by schroedinger at 12:48 PM on June 24, 2005

1. Don't do it fast. 1lb/week is a sensible rate.
Your body has lots of changes to make and that takes time.

2. Don't Diet.
Make permanent lifestyle changes, slightly exaggerated. When you are happy with your weight you want to turn things down just a *hair* to keep whatever weight you are happy with.

3. Love your self.
Do it because you want to and because you love your body.

4. Figure out how to measure your progress.
Its difficult to track 1lb/week of weight loss, I weighed myself daily and calculated a simple moving average to make it visible. (Google Hacker Diet for details)

5. Good luck! It took me about 9 months (40weeks) to get my weight where I wanted it, but it was fun and I have been enjoying the results ever since.

Other things: Eat well, fat makes you feel full so eat some vegetables, some fat, some protein at every meal. Get some exercise everyday, doesn't take much.


posted by ccoryell at 12:49 PM on June 24, 2005 [1 favorite]

Make sure you eat ENOUGH. If your caloric intake goes below a certain amount your metabolism drops making it harder to lose. Plus if you diet too stringently you lose muscle mass which is incredibly counterproductive, as muscle burns many more calories than fat.

I have lost almost seventeen pounds in the last several months by exercising, eating the right portions (look this up, you will be surprised if you don't know what a portion of particular foods should look like) and by not snacking after dinner.

You really should not strive to lose more than a pound or two per week as any more than that will be muscle mass and water.

I have many more pounds to lose, but what I am doing is doable. I don't feel like I am on a diet, I feel like I am simply eating right.
posted by konolia at 1:18 PM on June 24, 2005

I lost about 30lbs in 2 months by switching to diet coke and cycling 25km a day as a commute rain or shine. I find that if you make exercise something that you have to do - like commuting - you never slack off or get too busy for it.

I find the hardest part is avoiding the excuses. You also need to weight train otherwise you lose strength with the weight.
posted by srboisvert at 1:21 PM on June 24, 2005

I've known a half-dozen close friends and relatives who have tried South Beach in the past year. It has worked for every one. Most reported a loss of 15-20 lbs. by the end of the first two weeks (the strict no-carb period).

My girlfriend's mother was the first to try it, on advice from a doctor about blood pressure. When she had lost 40 lbs. in six weeks, a couple of family members jumped on the bandwagon. She lost 60-something lbs. altogether. It's hard for me to notice change on a daily basis -- but the photographic evidence is remarkable.
posted by cribcage at 1:26 PM on June 24, 2005

I know you're in a hurry to lose weight but it's better to lose it slowly and keep it off: most sensible diet I've ever done. First week I've lost 3 1/2 lbs.
posted by stevyb at 2:08 PM on June 24, 2005 [1 favorite]

Weight-training can be a big (if invisible on the scales) boost. Fat is burned, muscle is formed... which burns more fat and results in a potentially heavier but slimmer and stronger body.

Drink lots of water, it helps your body do just about everything more efficiently.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 2:22 PM on June 24, 2005

Modified south beach worked for me. Just cut out the white stuff and eat lots of veggies. Lots of veggies. Lost 30 lbs and have kept if off most of a year.

getting off sugar took a couple of weeks to feel better but now I do not miss it. Loads of sugar in my coffee and too many cokes were my downfall. Tough habit to break, but worth it in the way I look and feel.

try it for two weeks and see what you think.
posted by vronsky at 2:23 PM on June 24, 2005

Adderal works wonders for me. Also, jogging a mile every other day and hitting the gym for some ab and bicep excersize always helps my self esteem. You have to take this shit easy, man.

My doctor threw me more adderal than I "needed" because I have a weight problem. lol.
posted by Dean Keaton at 3:39 PM on June 24, 2005

Adderall works, but it's a bad idea to use it for weight loss. It can give you all kinds of crazy side effects and if you take it too long the lethargy you feel when trying to come off it is just terrible. Please, please don't use Adderall (assuming you can even get a prescription for it).
posted by schroedinger at 3:50 PM on June 24, 2005

My brother was taken off Adderall because it apparently has caused death among some who have taken it. It's now not distributed in Canada, AFAIK. Not a good sign.

But if you want to have a beautiful corpse, go ahead.

My 2 cents: don't do any diet that seems "weird". No carbs, all carbs, only green and purple foods...avoid those diets. Maybe for a week or a month you'll have steak and eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but it's not natural. Just do what you usually do, but less of it.

A good tip is to purchase a large water bottle (the big Nalgene ones are a personal favorite) and drink as much water you can. I know you've heard it a million times, but also try to drink a few cups before every meal. The water will fill your stomach, and you'll eat less.

Some other water tips are to drink lukewarm water instead of ice cold water throughout the day, since it's easier to drink a lot of lukewarm water for some reason. Also, try to drink water through a straw, since that will also help you drink more of it.
posted by apple scruff at 4:09 PM on June 24, 2005 [1 favorite]

I was on Adderall for about nine months. It helped me in many ways, and I lost about 70 pounds. I also increased my cigarette intake to a pack a day, and when I stopped taking Adderall, I gained back all the weight. I did quit smoking, though.
posted by bingo at 5:36 PM on June 24, 2005

Well, it's all very well being moderate, but it seems to me that the moderate diets suit you if they suit you, if you know what I mean - if they happen to fit your metabolic and psychological profile. If you find a moderate diet that does work for you, then use it.

Many people feel horrendously hungry on around a deficit of 500 KCal a day or more (no matter how the deficit is created, through diet and/or exercise) which adds up to only 1lb a week fat loss (assuming normal hormonal behaviour), and this can lead to a long time of hunger-misery if you want to lose substantial fat.

There's a lot of unsubstantiated rubbish out there. I am a big fan of Lyle McDonald, who is a brainy obsessive athlete, big on de-bunking. I devoured his Ketogenic Diet when I wanted to understand Low-Carb better, and now I find the most sense I have ever read in his Flexible Dieting book. If you are after fast weight-loss I would recommend his PSMF. (Protein-sparing modified fast). But really read the book. Essential. And make sure you understand it. It's rather extreme, but in terms of efficiency and also safety it is based on as good science as anyone can find at the moment, encompassing the studies of the last few years.

I'm sticking my neck out there by posting in this thread, but even though I am a cynic, who happens to be interested in fat-loss, this is by far the best information I have found. With this knowledge my partner has begun to lose fat successfully to meet weight requirements for a power-lifting meet, and I have managed to feel in control of my fat losses and gains for the first time in years.
posted by suleikacasilda at 6:00 PM on June 24, 2005 [1 favorite]

Hubby and I both did South Beach last year. We each lost about 50 lbs in 6 months and since then have dropped 10-15 more. The first two weeks stink but the sudden weight-loss is worth it. After that, it becomes a way of life and you feel much better for eating that way.

Just please, please, please do something sane. Unless you have serious weight issues, the side effects of the more drastic measures just aren't worth it.
posted by wallaby at 7:41 PM on June 24, 2005

Follow the South Beach Diet closely. Here is what happens when you do. In my case, I lost 25 lb. in the first month, and I've lost 65 lb. since Jan 1 this year.
posted by Doohickie at 7:45 PM on June 24, 2005

Oh, and by the way: On South Beach, my blood pressure went from 130/90 to 104/68, my cholesterol is now in the ideal range, I sleep better, don't snore, went from a 40 to 33 inch waist, etc. I didn't start any exercise at all until I had already lost about 25 lb. For those who say you can't lose weight unless you exercise, they're WRONG.
posted by Doohickie at 7:50 PM on June 24, 2005

Not to hijack the question, but I'm wondering if you South Beach people (or any of the "I cut out X and lost Y pounds" people) ate healthily to begin with? I've always assumed that it's hard to lose that much weight by switching your diet unless you've been eating a lot of junk to begin with.
posted by occhiblu at 9:34 PM on June 24, 2005

As I said, my South Beach experience is secondhand with close friends and family: But no, none were previously "obese," and none previously ate gobs of junk food. The hardest part wasn't giving up desserts, but giving up pasta.

It works. I agree, Don't go nuts. Give the strict two weeks their chance, and continue until you've reached your goal weight. After that, it's perfectly reasonable to add carbs back into the mix. Just keep an eye on things.
posted by cribcage at 9:49 PM on June 24, 2005

occhiblu: If you look at my weight history, you'll see that yes, indeed, I was (barely) "obese" (per Body Mass Index charts on NIH website).

I ate normal American fare- burgers sometimes, but a lot of chicken, etc. I probably snacked too much and ate too much. There is nothing "magical" about the South Beach Diet. It's just a well-planned, disciplined approach to correct some of the flaws in the typical American diet with the aim of improving blood chemistry. The diet was developed by a cardiologist for his patients so they could lower their blood pressure & cholesterol. The weight loss is kind of a side benefit.
posted by Doohickie at 10:11 PM on June 24, 2005

I didn't eat much junk food either. The differences were:
1. Cutting out super-refined/processed foods in favor of whole grains
2. Getting my energy from protein instead of sugars (including carbs)
3. Increasing my veggie consumption
So I took a not-dramatically-unhealthy lifestyle and turned it around so my body started working the way it's supposed to work and the weight fell off.
posted by wallaby at 8:44 AM on June 25, 2005

Exactly, wallaby.

The western life style promotes laziness with respect to health. Diets like South Beach are not anything revolutionary; they are just a means to help one take a mre active role in day-to-day health maintenance.
posted by Doohickie at 11:06 AM on June 25, 2005

If you are working out and creating more muscle mass - your weight will not diminish as much as your shape will change. So keep an eye on fitting into a smaller size rather than what the scale says.

And oh, for a great sweaty workout - try a spinning class. Quite effective.
posted by trii at 2:20 PM on June 25, 2005

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