October 13, 2005 9:00 PM   Subscribe

What is the quickest way possible to lose weight?

Need to lose 30 pounds by x-mas....Help!!
posted by flipmiester99 to Health & Fitness (42 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You have 72 days - from now to December 25 - to lose 30 pounds of fat. Each pound of fat is roughly equivalent to 3500 calories. That's 105,000 calories to rid yourself of, which means that you need a caloric deficit of 1460 calories per day. Essentially this is impossible for someone who seems to have not thought this all the way through. You would need to weight train three or four times a week, do cardiovascular exercise three times a week, and eat extremely healthily. I don't know your height or weight, but trust me, this is not a goal to be taken lightly.

A more realistic goal for an overweight man would be to lose 20 pounds, which is not shabby. If you are a woman I would say that you could probably lose about 15 pounds in that time. You might make it to 30 pounds if you are carrying a great deal of water; I don't know for sure.

If you are comfortable posting your sex, height, weight, and approximate body fat percentage I think that we can get you a solid program that won't result in you gaining the weight back in a matter of months.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:17 PM on October 13, 2005

I lost 100 lbs. on exercise & Atkins over roughly 8 months. My vitals (cholesterol, etc.) are all excellent. My doctors love me, and I don't argue with my parents over food anymore.

I should emphasize that my rate of loss was unusually rapid. I should also emphasize that it's really important you stick to it over a long time. In other words, I don't want you do commit to a low-carb lifestyle, lose the weight, have a ball, and then go back to your old eating habits and gain even more weight.

People will tell you that a low-carb lifestyle is short-on-nutrients, heart-attack-prone, and so on. I can tell you from personal experience that it's all nonsense. If you follow the lifestyle as it is described in the book, and stick to actual food (rather that "specially formulated low-carb products"), chances are high that you'll find yourself in a healthier place than you are now.

Good luck, whatever you do. I know how hard losing weight can be.
posted by betheon at 9:28 PM on October 13, 2005

I don't want to start an Atkins/anti-Atkins flame war, but I can tell you from personal experience that everyone I know who has done it has lost significant amounts of lean muscle. Unless you want to run the risk of being a skinny fat person - low weight but high body fat - I would stick with the old method of eating right and exercising.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:43 PM on October 13, 2005

I'd be interested to know this as well. I'm trying to lose 10 pounds in about 3 and a half weeks.

Currently I'm planning on a diet of about 1200 calories based mostly on protein, fruits, and veggies, and weight training 4 times a week, cardio 5 or 6.

My height is 5'11", my current weight is around 214, and I'm not sure of my BMI.
posted by mhuckaba at 9:45 PM on October 13, 2005

It's not healthy to lose more than 2-3 pounds per week, so be careful. If you invest in clothes that are tailored and fitted, you'll appear slimmer, which can buy you time to lose those last 5-10 pounds or so.
Good luck, stay healthy.
posted by idiotfactory at 9:51 PM on October 13, 2005

You would need to weight train three or four times a week, do cardiovascular exercise three times a week, and eat extremely healthily.
And in doing that much exercise you would probably end up gaining a fair amount of lean muscle, which works in the other direction making it even harder to actually come out 30 pounds lighter. Of course, replacing fat for muscle will make you look a lot better, so the end goal of improving your overall appearance will have been achieved. But it still sounds relatively unrealistic to expect to lose that much weight and still remain healthy.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:52 PM on October 13, 2005

Currently I'm planning on a diet of about 1200 calories based mostly on protein, fruits, and veggies, and weight training 4 times a week, cardio 5 or 6.

My height is 5'11", my current weight is around 214, and I'm not sure of my BMI.
posted by mhuckaba at 9:45 PM PST on October 13

That's way too little food. You would probably go into starvation mode which has all sorts of problems associated with it, and it would severely limit your strength, energy, and fat loss. 2100-2300 calories a day would peel off about two pounds a week at that weight and activity level.

And in doing that much exercise you would probably end up gaining a fair amount of lean muscle, which works in the other direction making it even harder to actually come out 30 pounds lighter.

The vast majority of people on cutting diets - that is, caloric deficit - do not gain lean muscle at the same time they lose fat. The purpose of the weight lifting is to ensure that you don't lose too much muscle, rather than gain it.

That said, it is important to remember that the number on the scale is far less important to appearance and health than body fat percentage. Anyone looking for inspiration and lots of useful data should visit http://www.johnstonefitness.com.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:07 PM on October 13, 2005

Essentially this is impossible for someone who seems to have not thought this all the way through.

Incidentally, I didn't mean to be a jerk there; I just wanted to emphasize that it is a major commitment and lifestyle change, though obviously worth it.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:09 PM on October 13, 2005

Optimus, I think part of the reason for that is because the body tends to burn what you eat. Most people, when doing low-carb, end up eating high protein. So the body burns protein.

A truly GOOD Atkins diet would get a majority of the calories from fat, but that's REALLY hard to do in any kind of normal supermarket. Buying food that's largely fatty/oily is almost impossible. So people eat protein, the body digests protein, and eats muscle.

I don't think it's really a failing of Atkins so much as it not mixing well with the low-fat obsession.
posted by Malor at 10:12 PM on October 13, 2005

I am not even close to a doctor, but I am having great success so far on Weight Watchers.
posted by synecdoche at 10:22 PM on October 13, 2005

The trouble with going as low as 1200 kcal, mhuckaba, is that if you are too far in calorie deficit, your body will decide that you are starving. You will then find your metabolism slows right down (and your weight loss with it) and/or you will have uncontrollable appetite. 500 kcal per day seems to be the wisdom on how much you can be in deficit and still not trigger these starvation changes. A so-called refeed or eat-all-you-want day once or twice a week would be a good idea too.

Point of reference: I went from 83kg (4 July 05) to 78 kg (30 Sept) in 3 months, which is about 11 pounds in your silly measurement system. Judging by impedance bodyfat measurement and calipers, it's pretty much all fat. Done with high intensity internal training (rowing) three times a week and an HST weights programme three times per week, and no real diet mods other than avoiding crappy snackfood and binge drinking. I reckon that's about as good as the average person who has a day job can do.

That's a noticeable difference too - people have been commenting.

Original poster, don't get sucked into unrealistic plans that'll leave you looking even worse by Xmas when you fall off the wagon. Exercise as hard as you can, three times a week, and don't eat crap food, and you will look much better by Christmas. If you're already quite overweight you'll do better than me, I wasn't really overweight to start with.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:24 PM on October 13, 2005

Why 30lbs?

Really... it sounds like you picked that number because you needed something to latch onto. Are you trying to fit back into old clothes that don't fit you anymore? Losing fat and losing weight are different, yet related things. It's kinda circular...

Building muscle burns fat. Muscle weighs more than fat. Losing fat makes you skinny. Being skinny lets you [[insert reason for weight loss here.]]

Does that make sense?
posted by glyphlet at 10:28 PM on October 13, 2005

Optimus Chime and i_am_joes_spleen are right on the money.

30 pounds seems like a very arbitrary number. Is it a bastard child of a New Years "resolution?"

Sometimes I wonder if askme is used by journalists trying to trick us to get a story... but, sorry...

30 pounds is a lot, given the timeframe - and losing it has dramatically different effects depending on which part of the body it's lost from. In many women, rapid weight loss disproportionately involves reduction in breast size...

Changes in weight/body-size/body-shape done slowly in a comprehensive manner (manner and timing of caloric intake, manner and frequency of physical exercise) is preferable than a potentially health-harmful drastic regimen. Unfortunately, the comprehensive and less-unsafe way takes far more time.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 10:50 PM on October 13, 2005

Optimus, I think part of the reason for that is because the body tends to burn what you eat. Most people, when doing low-carb, end up eating high protein. So the body burns protein.

A truly GOOD Atkins diet would get a majority of the calories from fat, but that's REALLY hard to do in any kind of normal supermarket. Buying food that's largely fatty/oily is almost impossible. So people eat protein, the body digests protein, and eats muscle.

posted by Malor at 10:12 PM PST on October 13

I don't want to be a butthead but I don't buy this at all and it makes no sense to me. Where did you hear this?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:56 PM on October 13, 2005

I agree with Optimus - the Atkins, done correctly, may provide results. Done incorrectly, can provide better results - but negatively affect health even more than if it was followed correctly.

The misperception here ... fuggit. The problems with Atkins (and espcially how many people *misunderstand* and *misscarry* that particular regimen) has been WIDELY debuinked already. No need for me to rant.

This is from quick google search and it's an ok, if not comprehensive, explaination (first item, but the rest of the article is solid).
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:09 PM on October 13, 2005

Sorry, I can't help myself.

Calories in/calories out is the top-level equation. If you feel hungry, snack on some salad or complex granola.

Like the anecdote about Chinese food "it's good but you're hungry again in an hour." It's because American "Chinese" food is high in simple-to-digest carbohydrates (polished white rice) and fat (you have no idea how much, and if you do - it's more than you think) and very low in dietary fiber.

Sure, fat takes a little longer than simple-ish carbohydrates to digest, and complex proteins offer less calories/weight-volume, but that not the whole story. Fiber makes easy-to-digest carbohydrates stay around longer. The spike in blood glucose from breaking down and absorbing the simple-er carbohydrates sets your system up to want that level of blood-glucose. Also, fiber helps add volume to the stomache and mechanically affects the nerves that can induce the sensation of hungriness. Adding more fiber helps you not to feel hungry as quickly after a meal.

Yes, proteins provide less calories per weight/volume, but the human energy system nominally uses complex proteins as basic building blocks, not as a primary source of energy. Using complex proteins as an energy source results in lot of unwanted (and potentially hazardous) byproducts.

Also, the human brain uses glucose (a breakdown product of "carbohydrates") as the main source of energy. The brain uses fats and proteins very very very (very) inefficiently as energy sources and there are hazardous byproducts produced when it's forced to, when starved of carbohydrate breakdown products..

So, without fiber (or maintaining a below-optimal amount of fiber), proteins and fats in diet can offset the feeling of hungriness, to an extent, but it's NOT a good way of doing it.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:32 PM on October 13, 2005

Given that research shows that the most effective programs for long term weight loss involve slow loss, perhaps the question you should be asking is, do I want to lose this weight for good, or do I want to lose it for Christmas?
posted by nanojath at 12:19 AM on October 14, 2005

A little info, I've lost almost 40 pounds of fat since mid June, so I'm at about 10 pounds a month. I've been doing about 60 minutes of cardio and some less than serious weight training (benching about 200) 4-5 times a week.

I usually try to restrict myself to around 2000 calories a day, and try to eat lots of fresh veggies and only drink water and tea(without sugar). I'd like to lose more, rapidly, because I don't want to have to buy clothes during this further transition period (my goal is between 30 and 40 pounds off, and I need to buy new business casual clothes in 2 months for work), and then again when I reach it.

I'm already muscular, it is just covered in fat.
posted by mhuckaba at 12:57 AM on October 14, 2005

Optimus, I got it from Atkins' book myself. He actually says something that I construed to mean what I posted above. It's possible I misunderstood it.

I won't have access to my copy for about another ten days, but if this thread is still alive then, I'll try to find the section in the book that says this and quote it to you.

I CAN tell you that the 'shock treatment' to get Atkins going for people that are very resistant to fat metabolism is about 1000 calories/day of almost pure fat.

I truly believe that Atkins being a 'high protein' diet is a huge misconception... not on his part, but on the part of most of the dieters. It's only high protein because that's the only low-carb option available in most American stores.
posted by Malor at 1:05 AM on October 14, 2005

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) has shown some efficacy in weight loss. An overweight adult male will need about 4 grams of it a day, though. The brand actually used in the study was Natrol's Tonalin, but other brands (which should be chemically equivalent) are much less expensive. Liquid CLA tends to be more economical than the capsules.

The ECA (ephedra, caffeine, aspirin) stack is effective although it's tough to get ephedra these days.

I have found that 5-HTP supplements taken at bedtime can really reduce my carb cravings. Others have reported similar results with chromium picolinate. These are fairly cheap and may be worth a try.

Another thing perhaps worth trying out is something I read about at the Freakonomics blog by a guy who did lots of weird little experiments on himself. He theorized that flavor is a trigger for appetite, and that if you consumed calories without flavor it would curb your appetite. He suggests oils or sugar water before meals, a total of 250 calories or so a day IIRC. Some people say it doesn't work at all but it seems to work for him and some others, and it's easy enough to try. (The Freakonomics guys have changed blog software so that material seems to be gone now, unfortunately.)
posted by kindall at 1:15 AM on October 14, 2005

Taking the question at face value - is liposuction an option?
posted by benzo8 at 1:16 AM on October 14, 2005

mhuckaba, I am SERIOUSLY impressed. There must be a shitload of muscle under there.

Bloody well done.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:45 AM on October 14, 2005

For me:
  1. Cutting out alcohol as much as possible
  2. Replacing all snacks (crisps etc) with fruit
  3. Cutting out as much processed food as possible, and certainly all Ready Meals etc (inc. all Heathy Option Meals etc)
  4. Preparing all my food with fresh, natural ingredients
  5. Doing 30-40 minutes of hard exercise (i.e. 3/4 x 10 minute pieces as hard as I could do, then recover for three minutes and start again, not just pootling along for 40 minutes, barely breaking a sweat) on the rowing machine 4 times a week
I lost about a stone in two months, going from 12 stone to 11 (for ref, I'd say 10 and a half would be ideal for me).
posted by Hartster at 2:04 AM on October 14, 2005

Thanks for all the replies..For those that are interested heres my stats...Male, 30yrs old...5'9 - 5'10 (not really sure) and 202 Pounds. I weighed 150 in HS and i know that is way too skinny for me however i think 170Lbs to 175Lbs should be about right.
posted by flipmiester99 at 6:41 AM on October 14, 2005

Give yourself more than two months to lose all that weight. Here's what recently helped me lose twenty pounds this summer:

1. Make it a game to eat 1/2 to 3/4 of what you normally eat for every meal. You *can* do it if you set your mind to it. Accept you'll always be a little peckish for the duration of the diet but this is a good thing.

2. Cut down on processed carbs and avoid chips, snacks, dessert. Convince yourself that this is temporary and worth it.

3. Weigh yourself every morning to gauge your progress but ignore the actual weight in favor of the running 30-day average which lags behind the weight but is more accurate.

4. Walk for 45 minutes every day.

By eating less I dropped a pound a week and when I started walking every day I started dropping two pounds per week. If you need incentive The Hacker's Diet explains the reasons for the recommendations above and includes a nice little Excel and PDA app for monitoring weight and taking weighted averages.

Good luck!
posted by tut21 at 6:50 AM on October 14, 2005

Stay away from quick fixes. Eat right. Stop eating the stuff that you know you shouldn't be and you'll be fine.
posted by adamfunman at 7:04 AM on October 14, 2005

Its not so much *30* pounds...I just want to clean up my body and get healthier. I think thirty pounds is just what i need to lose.
posted by flipmiester99 at 7:11 AM on October 14, 2005

It is safe to lose 1-2 lbs per week with no other health concerns, so 20 lbs by Xmas is not unrealistic. I think 30 lbs probably is, though.

Basically, take in less calories than you burn off. I find FitDay (it's free) has been helping me a lot in tracking calories consumed and calories burned (and watching for what nutrients I need to get more of, etc.). A good start would be eating 500 calories less than you burn a day (500 calories less a day is 3500 less a week, and 3500 calories burned is a pound burned), while increasing your activity level slowly. Don't severely limit your calories to try to make this process faster; it puts your body into starvation mode, and it's unhealthy. Don't amp up your activity and workouts too quickly; you could injure yourself.

This is methodical and not dramatic, but it works. The keys are moderation and sticking to it. Control your portion sizes - healthy portions are smaller than you'd think - but don't deny yourself anything you really want to eat, just eat less of it.

General eating healthier is limiting consumption of soda, alcohol, processed foods, fast food, white flour and sugar, and red meat. Replace with water, fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and beans. Try eating more raw, steamed, and lightly stir-fried food. Try eating less dairy and meat.
posted by Melinika at 7:33 AM on October 14, 2005

Oh, and I forgot to add - my parents use eDiets for menus and shopping lists . You have to pay (I think $5/month), so I haven't tried it myself, but they have found it extremely helpful, and it has worked very well for them. They've been using it for a couple of years now.
posted by Melinika at 7:36 AM on October 14, 2005

I highly recommend the NutritionData Better Choices diet.

Other tips: Try to choose foods that are high in proteins and fiber. Try to integrate into your daily diet a cup of semi-skinned milk or cottage cheese, 2 egg whites, and fruits and vegetables. Start cooking your own meals. Stop frying stuff (e.g. instead of fried chicken, I cut a chicken breast into small slices and cook it with wine), and avoid high calorie sauces. Drink a lot of water. Snack on fruit/vegetables. Replace soft drinks with water/milk/fruit juice. Try to eat six smaller meals a day. Any physical activity will help, but weight training will help you lose weight fastest.
posted by Sharcho at 7:37 AM on October 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

Don't worry about the number on the scale. Seriously. That number is not under your direct control. Instead, focus on the things over which you do have direct control, namely, exercise and diet.

I started running a month ago with the same intention as you: lose thirty pounds. I run for twenty minutes everyday. When I started, I could run about a mile and a half in those twenty minutes; now I'm up to two miles. I know that's not too impressive for you athletes out there, but it's a significant change for me. I also started eating better, by cutting a lot of junk food and increasing my intake of vegetables, fruits, and fiber. In four weeks I've noticed a substantial decrease in my waist line and a substantial increase in muscle tone, strength, and endurance. I added yoga this week, and I've already noticed an improvement in flexibility.

I haven't lost a pound.

I was discouraged when I didn't lose any weight over the first two weeks or so, but when I started seeing the other results, I realized that my body needed to do its own thing. I trust my body, and as long as I give it the right inputs, I'll end up where I need to be. It may not be thirty pounds lighter, but it will be significantly healthier and more athletic. If you have more specific questions about my experience, my email is in my profile.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 7:44 AM on October 14, 2005

Everything that's been said about eating healthier and excercising is very very true. I'd have to see more research on the Atkins approach. But from what I've read that's closer to the source (that is, Official Atkin's literature), it doesn't seem that bad. Especially the maintaining stage.

But I digress. My method isn't terribly radical, very much the "eat whole foods, more veg, fruit/exercise, weight train/count calories", however, I also like use tricks to keep myself from feeling HUNGRY.

Hunger, is really the enemy here. And the whole eating right thing goes a very very long way to reducing hunger (being that complex carbs and whole foods staying in you longer). But here are tricks I add:

-drinks lots and lots of water
-have some Metamucil (just the recommended amount) if you are feeling hungry.
-have some tuna with your meal (around 120 cals per can, and that stuff fills you up!)
-avoid at all costs things you can't count, especially fatty sugary kinds of food, as they have a mind boggingly massive amount of cals that always surprise me (e.g. Cookie Dough Blizzard, medium, 800ish cals!! well, ok, not _that_ surprising)
-if you like spicy food, make your food HOT HOT HOT. It satiates you much quicker, and apparently increases metabolism.
-if you have a sweet tooth like me, I've found diet coke to help curb that pretty well. Diet colas can help with satiety due to their carbonation. (Although I know there have been very bad things said about aspartame and the like)

And for all the folks talking about 2000 cal diet, they are all, IMHO, pretty big dudes. My frame is about a 160ish frame, so I cut to around 1400-1500 cals (given that a sedentary lifestyle of my frame will burn 2000/day).

Be patient. Losing weight for good takes a long time. But relative to how long it took most of us to get out of shape, it's still pretty fast (1-3lbs/week) :)
posted by eurasian at 7:45 AM on October 14, 2005

atkins is worthless

just from a cellular biology standpoint it is bad for your body and will not get you the healthy form you want. The reason people love it so much is you have the ~10 pound initial drop. The reason for this however is when you cut out sugars from your diet your blood glucose levels drop and so your liver turns the approximately two pounds of stored glycogen into glucose to bring these levels back up. This two pounds of glycogen is conjugated with about 8 pounds of water which also leaves your system, resulting in the initial 10 pound weight loss but none of that is fat.

Sounds like you're doing this for the same reason all of us do: Vanity. My advice is to simply echo the "eat right, exercise more" mantra voiced above. In two months you're not going to shed 30 pounds but you're going to look and feel a lot better.

and in terms of programs, besides always hearing that weight watchers is good, I really liked The Abs Diet when I tried it. Gets you onto really healthy food and the eating 6 times a day keeps your blood glucose constant and your energy way up. It just takes a while to set up every day.
posted by slapshot57 at 7:47 AM on October 14, 2005

You can do it, but it won't be easy.

The most important component was said in the first comment. You need to create a caloric deficit by eating less than you burn off. Exercising is the best way to do this, but needs to be compounded with eating less.

Ah, but what exercise, how much of it? And how much less food, and what kind? Those are the real questions.

The "general" equation for caloric intake for fat-loss is 10% of your body weight. If you weigh 200 lbs., that's 2000 calories. You don't want to starve your body--it will simply go into starvation mode and your metabolism will grind to a halt, making your efforts futile.

What you eat is just as important. Meals should be 40% (good) protein, 30% (good) carbs, 30% (good) fat. The (good) is important, and I'll discuss it in detail later on. The reason you want a protein-rich diet is because protein has an anti-catabolic effect (you won't lose as much muscle mass when you just want to get rid of fat). Additionally, because of the way protein is digested, you increase your metabolism by as much as 30% after eating a protein-rich meal; with a carb-heavy meal you're looking at 5%, tops.

When carbs are digested, they're first converted into glucose; this sugar spike makes the pancreas produce excess insulin to compensate. The extra insulin means that the glucose gets dumped into your muscles and liver as glycogen, but anything left over is converted into new fat and stored in the not-so-friendly fat areas (adipose tissue: your ass, hips, waist and back). Insulin also inhibits the production of the hormone glucagon, which aids in releasing stored fat.

Adding more fiber helps you not to feel hungry as quickly after a meal.

PurplePorpoise is spot-on with the fiber recommendation. If you're going to eat any carbs (and you'll need carbs to stave off hunger), complex carbs are where it's at. Fiber-rich carbs digest slowly and make your blood sugar "spike" less.

The other trick to staving off hunger is to subdivide your meals. If you're only eating three times a day (or worse, two!) you're body is going to be dying for food 3/4ths of the time, and going on a calorie binge the moment you put food in your stomach. You need to train your body not to conserve its energy in anticipation for those big meals by spreading them out. Five or six meals a day is a good number. For a 2000-calorie/day diet, that's 350-400 calories a meal. Also, stay away from salt: it'll just make you retain more water.

The only thing you need to know about proteins is to avoid meats that are high in fat. That's basically it. The only fats you need are classified under "essential fatty acids." In general, you'll get all the fat you need in the meat you eat, even if it's low-fat meat like chicken breast or fish.

Here's a very short list that might help you:

Good Carbs:
  • Brown rice
  • Beans
  • Potatoes/Yams
  • Oatmeal, grains, etc.
  • Unbuttered, unsalted popcorn
  • Green vegetables
Bad Carbs:
  • Candy
  • Alcohol
  • Processed flours
  • Milk
  • Soda
  • Fruits (your body will just treat them like soda)
  • Energy bars/Sports drinks
Good Protein:
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Soy
Bad Protein:
  • Any and all red meat
  • Any and all pork
Good Fat:
  • Any of essential fats/oils that come with the good meats should suffice.
Bad Fat:
  • No fried anything.
  • Butter
  • Cream/Sour Cream
The timing of your meals is also important: save your carbs for morning/afternoon and before workouts, but not before you go to sleep. You don't want your body getting an influx of carbs right before you go to bed--most of it will just go into fat stores.

If you really, really need to hurry up the fat-loss process (and I wouldn't recommend it) you can buy Diet Fuel or a similar product (contains Ma Huang--a kind of watered-down Ephedrine--along with caffeine and aspirin). Be warned that it can cause all kinds of nasty side effects like increased blood pressure, insomnia, heart palpitations. This is not for the feint of heart (literally), but it's a short-term option. Your body will get used to it after a couple of weeks, so you'll have to cycle it. Again, I really don't recommend this.

The kind of exercise you do isn't nearly as important as the frequency and intensity of the workout. A general muscle-building routine will actually work as a good starter (bench press, crunches, leg press, cable rows, etc.), but should be supplemented with a good amount of cardiovascular exercise. Whatever your preference (bikes, stairmasters, cross-country skiing, etc.) be sure you keep a good active heart rate for at least 30 minutes, ideally 45 mins. - 1 hour. Alternate days for your muscle-building/maintaining routine and your cardio, and give yourself a day of rest each week.

Best of luck to you in your efforts.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:18 AM on October 14, 2005 [3 favorites]

Typo: caloric intake should be 10 times your body weight, not 10%!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:19 AM on October 14, 2005

Here's how I lost 40 pounds.

Cutting out all sugar in my diet. Didn't go Atkins carb crazy. Ate anything I wanted as long as it didn't contain sugar or corn syrup. (the hard part was avoiding the corn syrup. It's added into a lot of foods.)

Avoided fruits during the diet as well.

I walked at least two miles a day.

The weight flew off.
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 9:39 AM on October 14, 2005

What the others said re 20lbs is doable 30 would be hard to do in a healthy way and should involve intensive review by a health professional.

As far as weight reduction and maintence diet's I'm a big fan of the Hacker's Diet. It's simple, easy, healthy, and you start seeing results in couple weeks. The eat watch program that goes with it provides a lot of positive feedback.
posted by Mitheral at 9:50 AM on October 14, 2005

Pick up road cycling. You'll drop like a rock.

Alternatively: go on long backpacking trips/camping trips where you're a) limited in how much food you can bring, b) are distracted, and c) are burning quite a lot anyway.
posted by devilsbrigade at 10:15 AM on October 14, 2005

No sugared beverages. NONE.

Exercise at least five-six days a week. Cardio and weights, with the weights every other day.
(Doing this with the goal of getting in SHAPE will train your body to use fat for fuel.)

Watch your portion sizes but at the same time make sure you eat enough so you don't go into starvation mode. (Trust me, this is important.)

Drink a crapload of water.

Don't eat anything after your evening meal, and try not to have that meal too late.

Bulk up with fruit and veggies. Also try to eat soup and other foods that contain a higher proportion of water (this is called volumetrics.)

I am a five foot tall female who has lost thirty five pounds by the above since April. Not trying to do it quickly. And I lost a dress size BEFORE the scale showed much of a loss.
posted by konolia at 11:52 AM on October 14, 2005

Bulk up with fruit and veggies.

Vegetables, yes. Fruits, NO. Your body will treat fruits like it would treat soda: a huge glucose spike, causing a huge insulin response.

You could, you know, try reading what has been previously written.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:54 PM on October 14, 2005

Your body will treat fruits like it would treat soda: a huge glucose spike, causing a huge insulin response.

Not exactly. Sugar from fruits is metabolised at various rates, depending on the preparation. If you drank fruit juice, the rate is relatively quick compared to taking stewed/tinned fruit. The slowest rate is from eating whole fruit, as the stomach has to breakdown the cells in the fruit to release the sugar. Whole fruit with edible peelings tends to be high in soluble fiber, which inhibits glucose uptake. I agree, however, that if you're trying to lose weight it's better to bulk up on vegetables than fruit, but there's no need to cut out fruit entirely, like you should with soda.

You could, you know, try reading what has been previously written.

There's no need to be impolite, especially when your previous statement isn't really accurate.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:19 AM on October 15, 2005

If you're serious about losing that kind of weight in that amount of time, yes, you should cut out all but (as you say) the most fibrous fruits like green apples (with peel). "Not exactly" doesn't change the point of contention, which is that fruits are treated primarily as simple sugars, and should be avoided. She suggested "bulking up" with fruits, which is a terrible idea if you're trying to lose weight. Thus, "isn't really accurate" isn't really accurate.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:33 AM on October 15, 2005

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