When starting a diet, you may want to see results fast, and that’s often because of your motivation for losing the weight in the first place. You might be trying to squeeze into a new bathing suit before vacation, or you might be trying to look your best for an upcoming high school reunion – and you waited a little too long to start dieting.
Unfortunately, many of the diets out there that claim to help you lose a significant amount of weight quickly are complete bunk, with some being downright dangerous. You have to be careful when starting any diet (always check with your doctor first), but you have to be especially careful when trying to lose weight quickly; as with everything else, there’s a right and a wrong way to diet.
Is It Possible to Lose 10 Pounds in Two Weeks?
The first thing you might want to know is if it is even possible to lose ten pounds in two weeks. That might sound incredibly unhealthy to you. But actually, the answer is “yes,” it is definitely possible, and it can absolutely be done in a healthy way.
The first thing many people resort to, and the one thing you should NEVER do, is starving yourself. If you don’t eat, then you can’t possibly gain weight, right?
Wrong! Not only is starving yourself unhealthy, but it actually leads to weight gain. That’s because your body goes into disaster recovery mode, and it saves up every bit of the food that you do eat in order to keep you alive.
That’s right – your body worries about and looks out for you without your even realizing it. If it thinks it’s not going to be fed for a while, it will hoard everything you eat like a squirrel storing nuts for the winter.
If that weren’t enough, starving yourself actually lowers your metabolism. So when you do start eating properly again, you’ll burn food off much slower, and it will take you twice as long to lose weight.
To lose weight quickly and safely, there are two key areas that you need to focus on: the food that you eat, and the amount of exercise that you do. Though, you also have to take into account the amount of sleep you get and your individual body; what works for one may not work as well for another.
You will need to put in a lot of effort and have a good deal of determination in order to meet this goal, but you can do it. The key is to lose the weight and keep it off, as many fad diets will help you meet your goal, but you’ll only gain the weight back almost as quickly as you lost it.
Calorie Deficits, and What to Eat
You might have heard of a “calorie deficit,” but you might not be entirely sure of what that is. Simply put, you have to burn off more calories than you eat – this puts you in a “calorie deficit.”
You can achieve this deficit in one of two ways: you can simply eat fewer calories each day, or you can burn off the extra calories that you do eat. Obviously, a combination of the two will result in successful weight loss as well, but you need to watch how many calories you cut so that you’re not starving yourself either.
So how do you cut calories while making sure that you’re still getting enough to eat? By eating the right kinds of foods.
You can’t go wrong with fruits and vegetables for a start. Lean proteins (like lean meats, fat-free dairy options, and eggs) and whole grains are good, too. You want foods that are high in fiber so they help you feel fuller longer, reducing your need to fill up on more calories.
Most of us don’t drink enough water whether we’re on a diet or not, and it’s important to stay hydrated. A key indicator as to whether you’re getting enough to drink is when your urine is either clear or pale yellow in color.
Remove all processed food options from your diet, and try to limit your sugar as well. For this, I know it’s a daunting task, but you’ll need to read the labels of everything you purchase in the supermarket.
A single serving of orange juice can have up to 40 grams of sugar in it, a container of flavored yogurt up to 20. Even milk and bread contain sugar, and when you’re only allowed between 25-50 grams of sugar per day (depending on who you ask), then you’re already getting most, if not all, of your sugar for the day simply by having a glass of juice with breakfast, or a side of yogurt with lunch.
And don’t even get me started on soda. A 12 oz. may contain up to 39 grams of sugar, whereas a 20 oz. bottle – the size you usually buy to go with your slice of pizza at lunchtime – contains a whopping 65 grams! If you’re a woman, you’re getting nearly three times the recommended limit of sugar per day in one drink!
Try to drink water whenever possible. You could also opt for tea, which some experts say is even healthier than water. If you can’t stand the taste of plain water, you can always toss a few raspberries or blueberries into it, or squeeze in some lemon juice.
Exercising the Right Way
It goes without saying that any exercise is better than no exercise, but did you know that certain exercises are better for losing weight faster than other exercises? Building up muscle mass by pumping iron helps you burn fat continuously without doing much at all, but, of course, that takes a lot longer.
To lose weight fast, cardiovascular exercise is the way to go. Activities like running, biking, and swimming are all good ones, and you can mix some resistance training in there as well. Building up your muscle mass increases your stamina so that you can do more of that running, biking, and swimming (and you’ll also be building up those muscles to burn off calories long past your two-week deadline).
The next question is: how hard should I work out? You want to aim for a moderate level of intensity. What this means is that you should be able to carry on a conversation while exercising without having to gasp for air.
Of course, you can always throw in a few higher-intensity sessions over the course of the week, but you don’t need to kill yourself in order to meet your goal. (Once again, don’t forget to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.)
Remember that calorie deficit I mentioned earlier? You want to make sure that you’re averaging a daily 2,500-calorie deficit, and this deficit can be achieved through healthy eating and responsible exercise.
What I mean by “responsible exercise” is that I don’t want you overexerting yourself and/or hurting yourself in order to achieve your goal. That isn’t healthy, and you want to achieve your goal by making yourself feel better in the process, not worse.
You can normally achieve such a deficit by exercising for between one and two hours each day. I know that sounds like a lot, but if you choose an exercise you really love, like swimming or playing a sport, then it doesn’t feel like a chore but more like a fun hobby, and the time just melts away.
To Supplement, or Not to Supplement
The closer you get to your two-week deadline, the more nervous you might feel about not being able to achieve your goal on time, and you may consider taking weight loss supplements. The short answer here is that you shouldn’t.
While supplements may help you meet your goal, they, like fad diets, will only help you keep the weight off for a short amount of time before you gain it all back again. The beautiful thing about changing your diet and exercise habits is that you will put yourself into a pattern that you’ll be more likely to stick to, and you can establish healthier habits for life that way.
Like everything else in life, anything worth doing is worth doing well, and the last thing you want is a cheap victory. Put in the effort, the hard work, and the dedication, and you can absolutely lose 10 pounds in two weeks, and you can absolutely do it in a healthy way.
Eat your fruits and veggies, drink your water, skip the soda, and exercise without killing yourself. Fill up on proteins so that you don’t feel snackish throughout the day, and make sure you’re operating at a calorie deficit (even if you have to count calories) to ensure that you are losing weight at a healthy rate.
When you’re fitting into that dress and looking fabulous at your reunion, your smile will be extra wide from knowing that you made a promise to yourself and you did everything you could to keep it – and you did it!
Have you ever tried to lose 10 pounds in two weeks? Were you successful? Did you find anything in particular that worked for you that isn’t mentioned here? Let us know in the comments.