With the holidays rapidly approaching, a lot of us will soon be consuming a lot more calories than we usually do during the rest of the year. Be proactive! Drop a few pounds BEFORE the holidays to give yourself a little cushion. What is the BEST way to lose weight fast? Well, continue reading and find out.
Halloween is the unofficial beginning to the dreaded “Holiday season”. The holidays bring a lot of fun and joy and all that jazz, but they also bring a lot of extra eating and snacking and drinking. All this joy tends to accumulate around our midsection in the form of unwanted pounds.
I know a lot of folks deal with the same struggle when it comes to losing weight. You probably work hard during the spring and summer months, lose a few pounds, and then fall arrives…you gain back most (if not all) the weight you lost during the year. And then next year you start all over again. And the cycle continues, losing and gaining the same 10 pounds over and over again. I know this happens to me. I guess it’s not that bad if you are happy with your weight and you are just trying to maintain. It definitely can work as long as you aren’t gradually gaining more weight than you are losing each year.
But, for those of us who want to lose a little weight, this method is frustrating. Each year you probably tell yourself “this is the year I’m not going to gain that weight during the holidays”. But then Halloween comes and you have a bunch of extra Halloween candy sitting around. What are you gonna do, throw it away? No, that would be too wasteful…
Less than a month after Halloween there’s Thanksgiving…enough said. After Thanksgiving you’re instantly right in the middle of the holiday madness. Christmas cookies, egg nog, hams, prime ribs, desserts galore. We should consider ourselves lucky just to make it out alive, much less worry about a few extra pounds!
But this year is going to be different! We are all going to lose some weight before all this starts so that we can enjoy ourselves during the holidays. If we do gain a couple pounds, that’s ok. Because that added weight will only be bringing us back up to where we were. Ok, we’re motivated, we can do this! Now let’s put together a game plan…
Exercise + Diet = Faster Results
So, we know that exercising burns calories. Well, I’m assuming we all know that. It does. The more we exercise, the more calories we burn. Different exercises burn calories at different rates, and a lot of it has to do with the intensity at which we are doing those exercises. As we burn calories, our bodies will start burning fat for the energy it needs. This is how we lose weight, our bodies burn the stored fat we have and that fat disappears. Sounds easy enough, if only it was.
If you aren’t watching what you are eating, then you will have to do a lot of exercise to burn enough calories to really lose weight. For some of us that might not be a problem, you may have time to exercise for 2 hrs a day. I know I don’t. But if you do, maybe you can lose weight fast with exercise alone.
The rest of us are going to have to change our diet. If we eat fewer calories, our bodies will start burning that stored fat a lot sooner! Of course you can lose weight simply with diet, people do it all the time. If you cut the amount of calories you are consuming to the point where you are burning more calories a day then you are eating, then you will lose weight…but it could take a while depending on how drastically you cut your calories.
I personally think dieting is more difficult than exercising. But I enjoy exercising. I also really enjoy eating. So for me, dieting alone doesn’t work well.
But back to the point I’m trying to make. The key to losing weight fast is to combine diet with exercise! Eat less and exercise more and you will lose weight! The less you eat and the more you exercise, the faster the pounds will drop. But we have to be healthy about it. Starvation diets are no good- you won’t feel good and you will probably over compensate and put on more weight than you lost. It can also really slow down your metabolism, which will make it MORE difficult to lose weight.
The first part of the equation I want to discuss is diet. Ultimately, we want our body to burn more calories than we are consuming. It helps to know how many calories your body needs daily so you can decrease your calorie count based on that starting point. There are a bunch of different equations out there to try and figure it out yourself. One I heard a few years ago that was interesting was to take your goal weight and add a “0” to the end of it and that’s how many calories you need to consume daily to reach that goal (example: If I wanted to weight 185lb, then I need to eat 1850 calories/day).
Interesting idea, but not super accurate. Now, we have access to calorie calculators online that do a nice job of figuring out for us. I like this one, takes into account age, height, weight, activity level.
Regardless of what your starting point is, you need to DECREASE your calories from your normal intake. Health professionals recommend a goal of dropping 1-2lb per week to make sure we are doing it safely. Remember, if you drop much more than this it’s just going to be water weight anyway. We want to lose fat, not water! Becoming all dehydrated isn’t going to do you any good.
Decreasing your calorie intake by 500/day, equates to about 1lb of weight loss per wk.
Decreasing your calorie intake by 1000/day, equates to about 2lb of weight loss per wk.
Ok, 1000 calories is a lot. This is true. I’m going to use myself as an example. I used the online calculator above and based on my size and activity level, it says I can eat about 2800 calories a day to maintain my current weight. If I want to lose 2lb per wk, I need to cut that to 1800 calories. 1800 calories would be doable for me I guess, but I would be hungry…a lot…probably all day.
This is why it’s so much harder to lose weight with diet alone. It takes A TON of discipline. I could stick to an 1800 calorie/day diet for 3 wks and lose 6 lb. That would be nice, but it would be an awful 3 wks and you probably wouldn’t want to be around me…I get very irritable when I’m hungry.
Instead, I suggest you aim for cutting at least 500 calories out of your normal diet. Spread over 3 meals, you are cutting roughly 165 calories out of each meal. What does this look like in the real world? Here are a few examples to help:
- A slice of bread is typically 75-100 calories, subtracting bread can easily reduce intake by hundreds of calories a day
- Soda- a normal soda packs about 150 calories, cut this out completely and see a big difference
- A glass of juice in the morning packs about 100 calories
- A small bag of chips is at least 150 calories
As you see, small changes with each meal, spread throughout the day can reach the 500 calorie mark. You will want to include a lot of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins. Drink water! I know it isn’t much fun, but stay motivated. Remember, you want to lose that weight fast!
Ok, so we are cutting 500 calories out of our diet. But don’t we want to cut 1000 calories to lose that weight faster and reach at least 2lb/wk? Yup, but fortunately we are also exercising! We are going to make up the other 500 calories with exercise.
Great thing about exercise is that you burn calories while you are doing it, but your body continues to burn additional calories as you go through your day. Your metabolism increases. You have more energy. You feel better. And, you lose weight faster.
If weight loss is the primary goal, we are going to want to burn as many calories as possible with each workout. This means we are going to have to be doing full body, cardio style workouts.
The mode of exercise is completely up to you. But we should be aiming for about 500 calories burned per day to give us that 1000 calorie deficit each day. How do we burn 500 calories a day through exercise? Let’s take a look at a few examples:
- Running: depends on body weight, but most folks will burn 120-150 calories/mile-> 3 miles = ~450 calories
- Walking: most people average ~100 calories/mile-> 5 mile walk
- Crossfit workout: so many different options, hard to compare, but doing this style of workout can easily burn 200-300 calories in 20 min; workout for 40 min to get in the 400-600 range.
Keep in mind, the great thing about exercise is that you can split it throughout the day and get the same benefit. Walking for 5 miles might sound like a lot, but if you are walking throughout the day, it becomes a lot more doable. If walking is your exercise of choice, you should pick up a pedometer (if you haven’t already). I like the Fitbits because they keep track of all your data for you, makes it easier to keep track and reach your daily goals.
For more exercise ideas and calorie counts, check out my post on burning fat: What Is The Best Exercise To Lose Belly Fat?
Time To Lose Weight…Fast!
Ok, we have a plan. Cut 500 calories a day out of your diet, try to burn another 500 calories a day with exercise. This 1-2 punch is going to torch 1000 calories a day! This will lead to at least 2lb of weight loss per week. Depending on your current fitness level and metabolism, you may even notice a little more weight loss at first, but everyone is a little different so these numbers are only estimates.
Point is though, significantly reducing what you eat and increasing your activity level WILL LEAD TO FASTER WEIGHT LOSS!
It’s almost Halloween, that gives ya about a month to hit it hard before Thanksgiving gets here. A month! You could realistically be 4-8 lb lighter! That would give you a lot of leeway with your holiday eating. Although I think I heard last year that the average person really only gains 1-2 lb during the holidays…so you would come out way ahead if you pull this off. And I know you can!
Plus, wouldn’t it be nice to get a head start on the New Year’s resolutions? Oh wait, after losing this weight you may have to come up with some new resolutions.
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on losing weight fast. Don’t fall for any fad or gimmicky sales pitch. You don’t need to buy anything to lose weight fast. Cut your calories, increase exercise, follow the above guidelines and I promise you will lose weight.
As always, leave me a comment with your thoughts or questions and I’ll get back to ya. Happy Halloween!