Trying to get lean before party season or a holiday?
Whether you've got a friend's wedding, a party or a holiday coming up – you may be wondering how to lose weight quickly but be careful, do it too fast and it will haunt your metabolism in the long run.
These are the common mistakes people make when trying to get lean fast.
1. CUTTING CALORIES WITHOUT CONSIDERING YOUR BMR
The simplest formula for how to lose weight quickly is to burn off more calories than you consume. If you are starting from 2,000, 1,500 calories is a safe calorie amount where you will still lose weight without compromising nutrition.
However you need to personalise your approach. No two people are the same and as such cutting calories based on general advice can lead you to eating too little and not seeing results.
2,000 calories is recommended for women, but that doesn't take into account your BMR or basal metabolic rate – that's the speed your body processes food just by being alive – nor does it factor in your current weight or activity level.
2. MESSING WITH YOUR METABOLISM THROUGH FASTING
Health benefits of the 5:2 diet have been identified, but there are risks to your metabolism when you try to lose weight through fasting.
Put simply, your body can go into starvation mode. Often it will use the food from the meals that you do eat and store it as fat, a fuel reserve just in case you don’t eat for another 10 hours.
Not only can this do the opposite of help you lose weight quickly in the short term, it can also have a detrimental effect on your metabolism.
3. NOT EATING ENOUGH CARBS
If by trying to lose weight quickly you're paying a good few visits to the gym, then this mistake will hit you hard.
While low carb diets can be effective they are often unsustainable. Not only that, they can leave your body crying out for fuel, fuel that it then takes from the wrong place.
The way our body uses the key macro nutrients - carbs, fats and protein - is in that order. Your body will burn a certain amount of carbohydrates in the form of glucose first, then it leaves a little store and then it will switch to fat and the fats stores leave some reserve and then it will switch to your protein stores and that’s your muscle.
This means if you’re not eating enough, especially of carbohydrates and fats, your body will start to burn it’s own muscle and the less muscle you have the harder it is to burn fat.
4. EATING EXTREME BUT VAGUE MACROS
Macros may be the buzzword in healthy eating but if you don’t understand how to program your diet this way you can end up obsessing over My Fitness Pal, without any real understanding.
The likely result is that you’ll cut carbs where you shouldn't and going heavy on the protein.
Instead, to keep your portions in check, look at your plate, it should be divided with half green vegetables, which are fibrous carbs, a quarter of your plate should be starchy carbs like sweet potato, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and then a quarter of your plate should be a lean protein, with a small about of fat.
Up the carbs if you've done endurance work or you're feeling especially tired.
5. FORGETTING THE IMPORTANCE OF HYDRATION
Water is your fat loss friend. Drink plenty of water, at least 2-3 litres a day.
If you are hydrated, you won’t overeat. If we are dehydrated, we can mistake thirst for hunger and end up eating and snacking unnecessarily, when really all your body is asking for is water.
6. OPTING FOR LOW FAT OR DIET FOODS
Why do 'low fat' versions of foods still taste so good? It’s not magic, it's sugar.
Most ‘diet’ options tinker with the salt and sugar to compensate for the reduction in flavour lost through taking out the fat.
There is an argument that all energy is equal if you expend it, most of us spend the day sat at our office desks. The problem with this and eating foods with more sugar in them is the effect it has on your blood sugar levels.
The more peaks you have, the more troughs there will be, and that always leads to one thing - snacking (or hanger).
Cut out the sweet stuff. Abs start in the kitchen and sugar loves to live around your waistline. Cutting out the sugar and the sweet stuff, even the healthy and raw desserts, will help reduce belly bulge.
7. LEAVING YOURSELF HUNGRIEST AT NIGHT
Going to the gym in the morning and giving yourself tiny portions are likely to lead you straight to the biscuit tin come 9pm.
To avoid falling off the wagon make sure you're 'clean, lean and green' from lunch onward.
When trying to lose fat fast close the kitchen after dinner and try to eat early. Have a light dinner before 7:30pm and then stop the evening snacking.
This will give your body a mini break overnight and let your body get on with its normal functions of resting and repairing while you sleep, instead of digesting. You will wake up feeling fresher and actually feel hungry in the morning when you break this mini overnight fast.
8. EXPECTING TOO MUCH
A sure fire route to disappointment and unhealthy choices is simply giving yourself to much work to do or having unrealistic (unhealthy) ideas about how you want to look.
Fundamentally, if you want a fit body in the summer, you need to build it in the winter.
Any sort of quick result isn’t something that’s going to be healthy or sustainable. You should maintain a healthy mentality all year around, that way when you do get to summer it’s not so much hard work.
Practice self-love. Make peace with your body and thank it for all that it does for you. Be okay with where you are on your journey right now. Know that people are usually too busy worrying about how they look, to notice how you look in your bikini. Rock your bikini and your body wherever you are and know that confidence looks sexy on every body.