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Natural Remedies and General Health

How To Lose Weight Fast

lose weight fastHow To Lose Weight Fast, the million dollar question with almost as many answers, however it pretty much boils down to this, eat less and exercise more. The problem with doing this for “rapid” weight loss is that the methods are quite drastic and difficult to maintain, thus making results short lived. Whilst there is nothing wrong with using rapid weight loss techniques, some thought should be given to how you are going to maintain your gains (or losses!) longer term which we discuss in another post How To Lose Weight Sustainably.

So, working on the oh so obvious principle of eating less and exercising more, how can you achieve quick results? Usually through a combination of fad / crash or starvation dieting aided with supplements and appetite surpressants or through dramatically increased levels of exercise and healthier eating. It is not possible (well, certainly not safe) to crash diet and increase exercise levels.

How Fast Should You Try to Lose Weight?

The recommended rate at which you should try to lose weight is around one and a half pounds per week, or six pounds per month. That is a lot less than most people looking for rapid weight loss have in mind, by definition they are in a hurry. However, that rate of weight loss is safer and due to it being set at a certain pace over a longer period implies a sustainable method based on longer term lifestyle changes has been applied. Most health professionals do not advocate rapid weight loss, invariably they will advise you choose sustainable methods.

Fad Diets or Crash Diets

Fad Diets can seem pretty extreme depending on your current lifestyle. They definitely work, but few people are able to maintain the regime for long and so results are often cited as being short lived, and that is not difficult to appreciate when you see some of the regimes such as the Cabbage Soup, Juice and Water Juice Diets (here here and  here).

Advantages of Fad Diets

  • They work
  • You will lose weight rapidly

Disadvantages of Fad Diets

  • Boring, sould destroying even!
  • Unsustainable
  • Weight invariably comes back unless you back them up with longer term changes
  • Encourage YoYo dieteing (repeated crash dieting followed by weight gain)

How Fad Diets Work

Understanding how fad diets work is really easy. Almost all are nothing but a period of fasting supplemented with some kind of supplement or low calorie foodstuff to keep you going through it all. Put simply, you don’t eat anything with calories in it. You are not “starving” yourself as you do get to eat something, but these diets are invariably pretty tough and extreme, which is why they only tend to last a few days.

The Psychology of a Fad Diet

The motivation of a fad diet is also easy to understand:

  • Fast results
  • Short term motivator – an upcoming wedding for instance
  • Short term goals – easier to stay focused for a short period
  • End always in sight – “only 4 days to go!”
  • Happy / uplifted by success

Fad diets are often a case of “biting the bullet” and as the end is always within sight / reach success rates are high. As results are also fast it is easy to stay motivated once you see the pounds falling off. These results can be inspiring and rewarding and can really help you stay on track.

But it must come to an end… you cannot maintain these diets for long and at the end of the diet what happens then? All too often we see a pattern along the lines of:

  • Reward – I deserve a slap up meal for that!
  • Return to old habits
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of motivation
  • Depression

And the cycle starts over again, and this leads to the well documented process of yoyo dieting which is cited as being more damaging to health than not having dieted in the first place.

An Alternative Approach to Fad Dieting

Take the concept of a fad diet and try to build it into something more sustainable. So for example, rather than using a juice diet as part of a crash process incorporate one smoothie per day into your existing diet and cut something else out.

Rather than fasting for a week solid, try intermittent fasting, perhaps every Sunday.

Avoid falling into the “reward” trap. It is better to make a smaller gain and not feel the need / justification to reward yourself with something counter productive, again you can find more information in our other post on sustainable weight loss here.

Weight Loss Supplements

Some say all supplements are nothing but snake-oil (read our guide on how to avoid fake supplements here) but that is not necessarily true, there are a number of both natural and synthetic supplements and drugs which can help with short term weight loss. However there are usually a number of questions attached to their use:

  • Do they work
  • Are they safe (or even legal!)

Natural remedies are popular because they are usually considered to be safe, the question with these is always how effective they are (do they work). At the other end of the scale are things that are absolutely guaranteed to work but are considered dangerous and depending on where you live are often illegal. A great example of that would be amphetamines, they certainly suppress appetite and increase activity levels and in some instances are prescribed for weight loss (at least in some countries). They also happen to be an addictive stimulant which can cause a range of other medical problems and are completely illegal elsewhere.

In between these two extremes are a few products that are accessible, safe and to a point are effective. They do not offer massive gains but can help and are popular as an “easy to achieve boost”.

 

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