Lose weight fast!
March 21, 2012 11:53 AM   Subscribe

I need to lose a bunch of weight by next Tuesday morning. How can I do it?

We've been doing a biggest loser contest at work, and next Tuesday is the final weigh in. I've been leading the entire contest (started in January at 323 lbs - down to 282 lbs). But since we're doing it by percentage lost and not actual poundage, a little scrawny dude is threatening to snatch my victory from me.

How can I lose a whole bunch of weight between now and our Tuesday morning weigh-in?

I'm 30 years old and 6'3", so I'm not incredibly worried about health effects over this short burst. I plan to resume my new healthy lifestyle after the weigh in, but looking to get crazy this last 6 days or so.

No illegal drugs. No dipping tobacco (that's what wrestlers in high school did to shed a few pounds to make weight, and my wife forbids it). To date I've been doing cardio for 30 minutes a day, and limiting myself to 1500 calories. Thought about cutting off all intake of solids or liquids for 24 hours before weigh in, but I've been told if your body goes into 'starvation mode', it stops burning as many calories.

So, lay it on me - what should I be doing? There's a grand on the line here.
posted by po822000 to Health & Fitness (46 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You will lose a ton of water weight if you switch to seriously low carb.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:55 AM on March 21, 2012 [17 favorites]

Here's my vote - cut off all meat and dairy products and get your daily caloric needs from fruits and vegetables. Limit any added fats to the bare minimum needed to choke down your vegetables. :-)
posted by machinecraig at 11:59 AM on March 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

Are you trying to cut weight for Tuesday in 6 days, or Tuesday in 13 days?
posted by mercredi at 12:02 PM on March 21, 2012

You should up your cardio to at least an hour a day.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:02 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Avoid all salts. Drink only plain water. Zero-carb diet.

"Starvation mode," while real, will not happen to you in this short of a timespan. A normal person could consume ZERO food for several weeks before this would happen.

Things that would lose serious water weight, but not recommended:
The SRS BUSINESS high school wrestlers at my school (they have the record for longest winning streak in any sport) used to take diuretics for several days before weigh-ins. They'd also wear trash bags with holes cut out of them overtop of sweatsuits and jogs laps for hours in the Florida sun. They also used to snort powdered Gatorade. I'm not sure what exactly this did, I think it made them want to spit a lot, losing even more water.
These guys were in tip-top shape, and, as you see in the link, they never lost. But results may vary for a normal person that isn't 17 years old in peak athletic performance.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:03 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Calories are irrelevant in this short a term. To cut weight quickly, you need to look at losing water weight and/or depleting your glycogen stores. In other words, try doing the Atkins induction or similar.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:03 PM on March 21, 2012 [7 favorites]

Best answer: 1) Dehydrate yourself. Instructions.

2) This is not healthy. At the extreme, it can kill you.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 12:05 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Tuesday in 6 days - March 27th.
posted by po822000 at 12:05 PM on March 21, 2012

Slim fast will help you get off any water weight in the short term.
posted by Gilbert at 12:08 PM on March 21, 2012

Machinecraig has it right (fruits and veggies). Added suggestion: warm liquids (tea, bouillon) will help you feel less hungry.
posted by deborah at 12:08 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Thought about cutting off all intake of solids or liquids for 24 hours before weigh in, but I've been told if your body goes into 'starvation mode', it stops burning as many calories.

This is a myth. There is research that intermittent fasting is actually good for you. Very good, potentially. Your body will not suddenly freak the fuck out over a day of not eating.

So don't worry about that. I go about 18-20 hours without eating every day or every other day.

More info on intermittent fasting.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:10 PM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

Here's my vote - cut off all meat and dairy products and get your daily caloric needs from fruits and vegetables. Limit any added fats to the bare minimum needed to choke down your vegetables.

High-carb is not the way to shed water weight, and for that matter cutting something as filling as fats will generally provoke an increase in caloric intake and/or a decrease in feelings of satiety. Cutting protein to lose weight is as stupid as it sounds.

OP, take care not to inadvertently do something stupid and get dehydrated or get your electrolyte balance out of whack. The sane thing to do is to drink plenty of water, cut sodium intake as low as you can, and reduce sugar intake. Eat enough fiber to keep things moving. Intentional dehydration, beyond cutting out the excesses of the modern American diet, to win a simple bet is a dumb idea.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:10 PM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

Since it's not on your prohibited list - amputation?

But slightly more seriously: if you donate a pint of blood right before the weigh-in, Google says that will shave about another pound off. Obviously this isn't a good idea.
posted by XMLicious at 12:20 PM on March 21, 2012 [6 favorites]

I did this once, this old man who absolutely did not need the two hundred bucks was going to steal the competition! I was obviously a bratty 23 year old, but I did end up winning.

This isn't particularly healthy, but it worked. I dropped about 10 lbs the weekend before the weigh in. Starting Saturday, I didn't eat. I walked almost constantly, it helps you sweat and takes your mind off the fact that you are not eating. I took some pamperin, the pms pill, to get rid of extra water in my system. When I got hungry beyond reason I ate took a bite of pizza, chewed it up, then spit it out. Ha.

See how silly that sounds? Do it if you want, you can lose some major water weight in a couple of days, but its not a very fun or grown up way to spend a weekend.
posted by stormygrey at 12:24 PM on March 21, 2012

Response by poster: So I'm getting conflicting answers - it looks like some folks advocate no carbs, others advocate veggies only. Sounds like garbage-bag sweatsuits and an over-the-counter diuretic are in my near future, but what should I eat (if anything).

Inspector.Gadget - totally wouldn't do this if it weren't for such a short burst. Definitely not advocating this for everyone. I'm always with someone in case something backfires and an ambulance is needed.
posted by po822000 at 12:24 PM on March 21, 2012

I've done an orange/ grapefruit fast before and lost a ton of weight in a short time. Basically, I ate as many oranges and grapefruits as I wanted but nothing else. it's obviously not healthy for the long run, but it works for short term dieting.
posted by gt2 at 12:26 PM on March 21, 2012

Best answer: No one's mentioned making sure your intestinal tract is empty? Do something to clean out your system and at your size, that's several pounds down.

And yes, no sodium (well, as little as possible) for a few days.
posted by BibiRose at 12:26 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

So I'm getting conflicting answers - it looks like some folks advocate no carbs, others advocate veggies only. Sounds like garbage-bag sweatsuits and an over-the-counter diuretic are in my near future, but what should I eat (if anything).

If we had figured out weight loss, there wouldn't be an obesity problem. I just want to say congratulations on losing 41 lbs. You win regardless of the contest, dude or dudette.

College wrestlers have to cut weight very specifically so I'd just find out what they do.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:29 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you really want to do this, drink a a bunch of water, take 20mg ephedrine/200mg caffeine 3x/day (separated by 4 hours per dose), a multivitamin, 10g fish oil, a potassium and magnesium supplement, and drink a cup of salty broth. No food necessary; you'll live for 6 days.

24 hours before weigh-in, abstain from the salt and cut way back on the water. Traditional wrestler diuretic dehydration methods are not recommended.

I don't recommend this as a healthy, effective, or sane way to lose fat while maintaining muscle mass. I don't recommend this to anyone for any reason. But if the prize is worth it and you have the willpower and you guys are neck and neck right now, you'll win.
posted by a_girl_irl at 12:32 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Another vote for Atkins. Check out the forum here, low-carbers discussing how much weight they lost in the first week or two of the diet. Some people lost up to 20 pounds in the first week!
posted by jabes at 12:40 PM on March 21, 2012

There are a lot of different approaches to long-term weight loss, but I have never found anything that works as well in the short-term as a low- or no-carb diet. You will seriously lose a bunch of water weight. I've lost almost 10 pounds of water weight in a single week when I've gone from a crappy high-carb diet to a very, very low-carb diet (like 20-40 grams of carbs a day, max). The weight probably won't stay off very well, but it would probably help a lot in the short term. In the short term, cutting meat and fats probably won't do anything for you except make you much, much hungrier.
posted by dialetheia at 12:41 PM on March 21, 2012 [4 favorites]

Just don't eat for as long as you can before the competition, and take diuretics and laxatives at the recommended dosages, and go easy on salt. If you get hungry have a nice cup of strong black coffee or a stick of celery or a few pickles.

I'm 155 and can drop 3-4 by being dehydrated just from being hung over. I bet you can get 5-10 this way.
posted by ftm at 12:50 PM on March 21, 2012

When it's warm like this, I eat a TON of broccoli, kale, and other leafy greens. And I always put on about three or four pounds of water weight. Fruits and vegetables are NOT the way to drop weight quickly. They're great for you, don't get me wrong. But low carb is the way to go when it's the number on the scale that matters.

At your weight, if you go to 20g of carbs or less (total, not net) from now until Tuesday, you'll probably drop anywhere from 8 - 15 pounds. That will be water weight, as your glycogen stores diminish.

You may get what we call "induction flu," meaning you'll be jittery and have a headache (take an ibuprofen).

OR, you may end up feeling spectacularly good, in which case send me a message and I'll give you some links to sites that discuss how to go low-carb for good. :)
posted by artemisia at 12:51 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]

Another vote for Atkins induction.
posted by Falwless at 12:51 PM on March 21, 2012

No-carb, no salt, then do the tuna and water diet for the last three days. It should do the trick.
posted by np312 at 1:02 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Nthing Atkins induction. Cut your carb intake to less than 20 grams per day.

As with all diets, Atkins does not work for everyone, and those for whom it DOES work experience varying results. I lost 33 pounds in 67 days on Atkins, and the first week I think I lost 8.
posted by DWRoelands at 1:13 PM on March 21, 2012

Fast. For the next six days. You can still enjoy tea/coffee, drink water and multivitamins, but stop eating anything else.

It may kill you. You may faint at the office. It might trigger other bad stuff.

OTOH, it may work very well. It's not that crazy of an idea.
posted by jpeacock at 1:17 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

No carbs, no veggies. Coconut oil. Wander through the Lyle McDonald archives.
Cardio isn't going to burn fat, and you might end up so hungry that you eat more. Go into deep ketosis and dump all the water weight.
Fruits and veggies will not help you dump the water weight--the fiber will retain that water.
Don't fast--you need something to push out the water and that's protein.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:25 PM on March 21, 2012

Eat as little as you possibly can, and then only a few bites of salad or a few nuts. No processed carbs, dairy or meats.

Not eating makes you lose weight because you're starving yourself. It's simple.

And then, if you want to go the extra mile, dehydration 48 hours before the weigh-in is the way to go.
posted by devymetal at 1:46 PM on March 21, 2012

Google model talks about losing weight before Victorias secret show, its a recent article possibly featuring Miranda Kerr, and do what she does. Models and body builders know more about this than anyone!
posted by fshgrl at 1:49 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

PS Juice fasting is good for this, too.

And 1500 calories per day is waaay too much to shift the scale in the amount of time you're talking about, btw. This is all about ingesting as few calories as possible.

The exercise factor is fairly irrelevant, other than to keep your metabolism up. For this purpose it would be better to lift weights rather than do cardio since you'll be on a very low calorie diet, and there is excellent evidence suggesting lifting weight does more to keep the metabolism up than cardio when one is dieting.
posted by devymetal at 1:50 PM on March 21, 2012

Not diet related but in case a few pounds makes a difference. Weigh your clothes and especially shoes. Ditch all the heavy fabric you can.
posted by oneear at 1:59 PM on March 21, 2012 [3 favorites]

Claritin D and massive caffeine doses can seriously help kill food cravings, if that's a worry for you. It basically (for me) mimics the effect of crystal meth.
posted by coolguymichael at 2:13 PM on March 21, 2012

Water fast. I find that I usually drop around 3-4 pounds a day when I just am too busy or forget to eat. I'm not sure whether or not you want to do this for 6 days straight though, maybe just for the last one or 2 days.
posted by astapasta24 at 2:14 PM on March 21, 2012

Yeah, lightweight clothes/shoes. Hair, too -- if you have a ton of hair, get a drastic cut. Make sure you're not wearing any jewelery at the weigh-in, your pockets are empty, don't wear a belt. Probably not going to make a huge difference, but it can only help. Other than that, it's mainly just a matter of showing up to the scale with nothing in your intestines (so don't eat for a day or so beforehand, and maybe even take some laxatives shortly before the weigh-in) and as dehydrated as possible while still being able to stand up and move around (so don't drink either, and maybe even take a diuretic). Neither of those things are good for you, but you know that.

Other than that, you'll lose roughly a pound for every 3500 calories you burn above and beyond your intake (which you probably already know) so you may be able to shave off another pound or two in six days but since you're already dieting and exercising there's less headroom there. You could definitely exercise more than you are now, but of course the more dehydrated you are the more dangerous it is for you to exercise long and hard. So there are limits, to be sure.

Seems like about all you can really do, to me. Other than showing up with a few hundred helium balloons, I mean.
posted by Scientist at 2:23 PM on March 21, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestion on clothes - actually, since we're all dudes we strip down to undershirts/pants and socks for the weigh in.
posted by po822000 at 2:35 PM on March 21, 2012

Please be careful with the pseudoephedrine and Claritin D. They can mess with your heart, especially if you're already doing other stuff like dehydrating yourself.
posted by IndigoRain at 2:52 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Be very careful with being very dehydrated and rehydrating quickly after weigh-in. Extreme electrolyte imbalance can cause significant heart problems and/or kill you.

Seems a bit safer to do this with diet and a colonic the afternoon/evening before weigh-in.

Leave bags of salty snacks around scrawny dude's work area...
posted by quince at 3:18 PM on March 21, 2012

So I'm getting conflicting answers - it looks like some folks advocate no carbs, others advocate veggies only.

Carbs and salt contribute to water retention (as does creatine, so it's fine to eat meat but don't eat only steak and don't take creatine supplements). Juice is exactly the wrong way to go, as it is basically sugar water and you don't even have the benefit of all the fiber in the original fruit or veggie to slow the sugar uptake.

If you are limiting your food intake, you will want the fiber. You might even lose a pound or so...
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 3:48 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

The people suggesting eating just carbs do not know what they're talking about. Eliminating carbs will make you use up your glycogen and therefore lose water and therefore lose weight. There may be some debate over whether this is the best way to lose weight over the long term, but irbid certainly the best way to lose weight over the short term.
posted by OmieWise at 6:19 PM on March 21, 2012

Please reconsider taking any kind of drugs to quickly drop the last few pounds. Eat little, stay hydrated, try to make sure you're as empty as you can be right before weigh-in. It's seriously not worth the health risks to win a bet. You've already lost 41 pounds, and that's fucking awesome!
posted by xedrik at 7:36 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you have been dieting for weeks already, I don't think you'll get as big an effect from the Atkins induction style eating people are talking about. You probably haven't been eating as many carbs as most people do to start with. And probably already lost a fair bit of water weight. Maybe still worth a try, though.

I also don't think you should combine the suggestions of dehydrating yourself and donating blood. Trying to give blood while dehydrated can be very slow and painful, and probably dangerous, since the reason they recommend drinking fluid afterwards is to increase your blood volume back to normal quickly. I have heard that too low a volume of fluid in your blood can in extreme cases lead to stroke.
posted by lollusc at 7:56 PM on March 21, 2012

Oh, I in that comment I totally forgot to mention my actual suggestion: peppermint tea. For me, anyway, it seems to have a very diuretic effect.
posted by lollusc at 7:57 PM on March 21, 2012

I lost 8 lbs in a week from first phase of the Dukan Diet. V similar to Atkins, I believe.
posted by pyjammy at 8:53 AM on March 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Weighed in today, and I start the day of this post at 281, weighed in at 270 (and won). Total since Jan. 3rd: 53 lbs. What did I do?

1. Atkins. No more than 20 total carbs a day, max of 1500 calories still.
2. Diuretics. Nothing crazy, but over the counter pills from CVS. They stick it next to the Midol and took as prescribed (though my symptoms, being a dude, were not per-menstrual).
3. Laxatives. Took what I thought was a single dose Sunday night. The packaging was not clear and I think I actually took five doses. I paid for that on Monday.
4. 42 hr. fast. I didn't eat since Sunday dinner until the way in about an hour ago. Partly to stay empty, partly because I didn't trust my stomach after the laxative.

In the end, I ended up winning by a comfortable margin, so I really ended up not having to do all of this. And by around dinnertime on Monday I was miserable. Definitely ready to get back to a normal, healthy diet and lifestyle.
posted by po822000 at 8:54 AM on March 27, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by BibiRose at 9:38 AM on March 27, 2012

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