What Works for Weight Loss?

Well, it happened: I gained my “freshman fifteen.” Actually, I gained a little more than that. I’m pretty upset about it.


Somehow, this weight gain kind of snuck up on me. I didn’t notice until I was significantly heavier than I used to be, and now I’m very upset about it. I want to lose this weight, and I want to lose it fast!


Obviously, searching the internet for ways to “lose weight fast” means seeing a lot of scams. So I thought I’d ask the experts: what is the best way to get thinner as fast as possible?


You’re not going to like our answer, but here it is anyway: you should not try to lose weight as fast as possible.


It’s true that it is possible to lose weight very quickly. While the “calories in/calories out” formula is overly simplistic, it is a decent approximation of how many weight-loss plans work–and drastic plans that starve your body of calories can be downright dangerous. Then there are plans that cause your body to lose weight in unhealthy ways: pills that dehydrate you and deceive you into thinking lost water weight is lost body fat, for instance, and “cleanses” that “flush” your body–by starving you of solid food and, therefore, dehydrating you (yep, it’s that water weight deception again).


Even plans that actually cause rapid fat loss are a bad idea. There’s a limit to how quickly your body can lose weight safely, and it’s about 1-2 pounds a week. If you lose weight faster than that, bad things will happen: you’ll suffer mood swings, sleep poorly, and mess with your digestive tract in scary ways that could result in abdominal pain–or worse.


And diets often fail for the simple reason that they are diets. With extreme plans, you’re eating and behaving abnormally in order to achieve a new weight. When you return to your normal habits, you will soon find that you also return to your “normal”–and unhealthy–weight.


So what actually works? The answer is sustainable lifestyle changes. Small but significant changes in your lifestyle are going to give you long-term results that actually last. It’s better to exercise three times a week for the rest of your life than to exercise twice a day for a month, and it’s better to eat more vegetables regularly than it is to go on a veggie smoothie cleanse for a week. You may lose weight more slowly, but you’ll do so safely, and you’ll keep the weight off.

We’re not cruel, here: you can, of course, incorporate elements of dieting into your plan. Counting calories and macronutrients can help you plan out a mild diet while also putting into place the habits that will permanently change your underlying lifestyle. Even diet pills like Hydroxy Elite and Lipodrene can play a role in your weight loss. And if you really, really want to incorporate part of the latest diet fad into your routine, that’s not the end of the world. But what is really important is that you remember that these short-term measures need to be a part of a long-term plan that involves real change in your eating and exercise habits. When you reach your goal weight, you can stop some short-term measures, but you need to have established the habits that will help you maintain your new weight–or it will be right back to your old life and old weight.

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