There are a ton of weight loss gimmicks out there, and many of us are willing to try them all. Whether it's taking supplements like ashitaba or arranging our plate as a visual diet trick, there are plenty of seemingly harmless tricks out there to consider. But the latest diet fad is a little, well, dubious: the moon diet. Apparently, the moon can help you lose six pounds in 24 hours, according to devotees.
Also appropriately known as the werewolf diet or lunar diet, the moon diet is based on the concept that the moon has an effect on our bodies that's similar to its gravitational pull on Earth's oceans and rivers. The reason it's even a topic is because word on the street says several major celebrities follow the theory (but we can't name names, as there's no proof).
The concept is fairly simple. According to moonconnection.com, you have two plan options: the basic moon diet or the extended moon diet. On the basic, you're required to fast with only water and juice on either the full moon or new moon. The expected results include a cleansed body that is as much as six pounds lighter thanks to a drop in water weight.
The extended moon diet is similar, except you fast during each of the major phases of the moon.
Now whether the plan really works (and is healthy) is the question. Nutritionist and author of The Small Change Diet Keri Gans says, "Absolutely not. If you look at the science, there's no conclusive evidence to support this diet."
Though she does admit it's possible to lose six pounds in a day, it's just not likely. "If so, it's water weight that you have lost, which you can gain back just as quickly," she says.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend aiming to reduce only 1-2 pounds of weight per week for an effective and safe weight loss. Losing more than that is not advised because it may cause more harm than good.
Losing 5 pounds a week comes to reducing your food intake by 3500 calories over seven days. The value that represents the decrease in calorie intake is known as the calorie deficit. If you want to lose 5 pounds in a week, you will need to reduce your food intake by 17,500 calories, which is a huge calorie deficit. If you weigh 250-pound, you will need to reduce your daily calorie intake to about 1,250 calories per day, an amount that is too low amounting to starvation.
Reducing calorie intake drastically can reduce your weight by 5 pounds a week. However, this weight loss is not just from fat loss.
Our body weight is composed of muscle, water content, and fat, which vary as per our diet, lifestyle, and the physical activities we perform. When rapid weight loss such as losing 5 pounds of weight a week is achieved with a highly calorie-restricted diet, you lose out on the muscle mass and water as well. Without hydrating yourself, you can fall prey to dehydration. Losing on the muscle can make your metabolism slower because metabolism also depends on your muscle mass. A slower metabolism makes it hard for you to lose weight. Your bones may become more porous and brittle.
Rapid weight loss programs are considered unhealthy in the long term because they can make you fatigued, give you headaches, compromise your digestion, and even cause hair loss. You may also develop a medical condition known as gall stones (cholelithiasis), which may need surgery.
Remember, losing a few inches around your waist and hips is more important than weighing less on the scale. The focus should be on building muscle mass as well as losing the excess fat in the body.
What are healthier ways of losing weight?
A slow and steady weight loss is a healthier and sustainable weight-loss strategy than rapid weight loss.
Instead of simply keeping a check on calorie intake, concentrate on making smart dietary changes and following exercise regimes that support a healthy body and weight.
Here are tips for safe weight loss:
- Substitute high-calorie, low-nutrition food with low-calorie, high-nutrition food
- Opt for food containing whole-grain cereals instead of processed, packaged foods, such as white bread
- Choose boiled, roasted, or baked chicken over the fried chicken
- Cut back on soft drinks and instead replace them with fruit smoothies or unsweetened fruit juices
- Look for the fat content in dairy milk and go for low-fat milk
The American Heart Association recommends moderate physical activities of 30 minutes for 5 days a week or 150 minutes of activities spread over the week. To lose more weight, you can stretch it to 300 minutes a week. To spice it up and stay motivated, you can perform a combination of various exercises or physical activities that are dispersed throughout the week.
- Aerobic activities (also known as cardio exercises, endurance activities): These include brisk walking, jogging, cycling, dancing, Zumba, and swimming.
- Strength training: Gaining one pound of muscle through strength-training exercises will help you burn 5-10 extra calories a day.
Chronic stress that is poorly managed may lead to elevated cortisol levels that stimulate your appetite. This may cause you to gain weight or make losing weight difficult for you. Activities like deep breathing, yoga, and meditation are proven stress-busters that can help you shed that extra weight.
You can stay in touch with a healthcare provider or a certified dietitian to counsel you throughout your weight loss journey. This method has been shown to accelerate the weight loss program than trying to manage it all alone.
How to Lose 5 Pounds in One Day
Have you experienced this before? You wake up one morning and you feel puffy, bloated, sluggish and uncomfortable. You step on the scale and guess what? You weigh 5lbs more! How could you gain extra 5lbs in less than 12 hours?
You are not alone, I go through this myself occasionally. Let’s first understand that, you didn’t just gain 5lbs of fat overnight, but rather, you gained 5lbs in water weight! Fat takes more time to accumulate, so it isn’t really possible.
Water makes up about 50 to 60% of our total body weight. Water levels can make our weight fluctuate by as much as 2 – 5 pounds in a single day. When water builds up in the body, it can cause bloating and puffiness, especially around your tummy, legs and arms.
There can be a number of reasons for your body to retain water; lack of sleep, stress, eating too much salt food or carbs the day before, hormonal changes during menstruation or even travelling on long haul flights.
Although water retention in the body is not serious, it can cause us to feel sluggish, uncomfortable and even frustrated with our weight loss goal. Here are 5 simple lifestyle changes you can do to lose that extra 5lbs of water weight!!
1) Reduce your salt intake
Your body needs salt to function, but too much salt in your diet can lead to water retention. This is especially true if you are already dehydrated.
This doesn’t mean you should just limit the amount of salt you add into your cooking, but a high salt intake is usually due to a diet high in processed foods such as processed meats, fast foods, canned foods, sauces, frozen ready meals, chips and packaged snacks. Salt is also added a lot into takeaways and meals in the restaurant.
Reduce on your salt intake by cutting back on all the processed food and cook for yourself, because that way, you’re able to control the amount of salt in your diet.
2) Eat Potassium Rich Foods
As an electrolyte, potassium works with the sodium in your body to help regulate the fluids around your cells and prevent you from retaining excess water. Potassium helps to reduce water retention in two ways, by decreasing sodium levels and increasing urine production. It basically acts as a natural diuretic.
Consume more potassium rich foods such as dark leafy greens, bananas, tomatoes, avocados, sweet potatoes and coconut water.
3) Drink more water
Yes, your body is holding on to water, and one of the possible reasons is because your body is in a state of dehydration hence it tends to hold onto as much water as it can. By drinking more water, you restore the fluid levels in your body and flush out excess water and sodium in the body.
Replace all your sugary drinks, alcohol and even coffee with water. If you struggle to drink just plain water, then try making your own naturally infused water with fruits and vegetables. This is also one of the easiest methods to lose weight and boost your metabolism.
4) Reduce on Carbs
When you eat carbs, your body uses some as energy immediately and converts the used energy into glycogen. Hear this, for every gram of glycogen your body stores, comes with about 3 – 4g of water. Hence, cutting down on carbs is a quick way to use up the excess glycogen stored in the body, which also helps to get rid the excess water in the body.
This doesn’t mean that you should completely cut carbs out of your diet, because your body needs carb for energy. Reduce on high carb foods such as bread, pasta, rice, tortillas, bagels and pastries and increase your protein intake, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds.
5) Sweat it Out!
Finally, sweat it out! If I know that I’ve been naughty the day before and wake up feeling extremely bloated, I’d hit the gym first thing in the morning for a sweaty cardio session to get rid of the excess water in my body.
This also helps reduce the swelling in your skin, so you don’t look so bloated and puffy. Exercise also improves blood flow and circulation, which helps reduce fluid buildup in your body, especially in your legs and feet.
When you exercise, do remember to increase your water intake by 0.5 – 1L to avoid dehydration.
It’s very important to figure out why you’re retaining water in the first place and address that problem accordingly. Is it due to too much salt in your diet, not enough exercise, too much stress, or a poor diet full of processed foods? However, if water retention persists or causes a lot of problems in your life, then you may want to see a doctor.
To lose weight and maintain a healthy weight long term comes down to exercising regularly and eating a well balanced diet on a daily basis. There’s no quick fix, so don’t buy into the gimmick of someone telling you that you can lose 5lbs of fat in a day! That’s just water!
If you've ever researched methods of losing weight, you probably know that losing weight gradually and safely is better than a "quick fix." However, from time to time you may want to shed a quick 5 lbs. of water weight simply to better fit into a special dress or attend an important event. If so, there are some relatively easy approaches which, if done safely, can help you temporarily shed 5 lbs. and gain confidence in a pinch.
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Drink lots of water. This might seem like counter-intuititve advice for losing water weight, but it works, says Fitness magazine advisory board member Michele Olson. In fact, water flushes sodium from your bloodstream and stops the body from retaining more water. Olson suggests drinking eight cups of water a day two days before your special occasion, and scaling back to six cups the day of the event.
Decrease your sodium intake. Possibly the biggest culprit when it comes to water bloat, sodium causes your body to hold extra water. The MayoClinic.com advises that you avoid seasoning your food with extra salt if you're looking to drop some fast water weight. Keep in mind that many foods, particularly prepared foods, already contain a fair amount of sodium. Read nutrition labels and avoid foods that have high sodium counts.
Try caffeine, within reason. The MayoClinic.com cites caffeine as a natural diuretic, meaning that it prompts you to urinate more frequently and flush extra water from your body. While caffeine may be useful in this capacity for the short term, you should be very careful in using this approach. The MayoClinic.com warns that because caffeine is a stimulant, too much of it could cause adverse effects like jitters and insomnia.
Load up on fruits and veggies. Water-rich fruits and vegetables like cucumber, celery, and watermelon can help achieve the same effects as drinking the 8 cups of water and will only add to your water-flushing efforts, says the MayoClinic.com. In addition, fruits and vegetables can help you feel full while delivering very low calories.
Sweat it out. Michele Olson of Fitness magazine suggests doing a vigorous exercise routine that makes you sweat heavily. This clearly will help you lose water from your body, and also is very likely to burn some last-minute calories. For ongoing weight loss, you can continue to incorporate a workout routine into your daily schedule.
Whether you're trying to drop 5 pounds as the first milestone in a larger weight-loss goal, or you're trying to shed that last stubborn bit of fat, lifestyle changes can help. Good news: if you have a lot of weight to lose or live a very active lifestyle, you'll likely be able to lose 5 pounds in two to three weeks. Add diet modifications to avoid water weight and you'll likely achieve your 5-pound weight loss more quickly.
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Create a Weight-Loss Plan
When dieting for healthy weight loss, you can expect to lose an average of 1 to 2 pounds of fat each week. If you have a greater amount of weight to lose — or are very active or lose weight easily — aim for a 2-pound weekly weight loss that will allow you to shed 5 pounds of fat in a little over two weeks. If you're already slim and trying to shed the last 5 pounds, expect your weight loss journey to take at least five weeks — possibly as long as 10 weeks.
Regardless of your starting weight, you'll need to cut calories to reach your goal. If you have a larger body size or you're very active, you probably burn a higher number of calories each day, so you can cut more calories to lose weight quickly. For example, a person who burns 3,000 calories a day could cut calorie intake to 2,000 calories a day. That 1,000-calorie gap means burning about 1,000 calories' worth of mostly body fat each day — enough to add up to 2 pounds over the course of a week.
On the other hand, if you have a smaller body size, are close to your goal weight or live a sedentary lifestyle, you burn fewer calories and should cut calories less aggressively. Someone who burns 2,000 calories per day, for example, might be able to cut only 250 to 500 calories per day — enough to lose 1/2 to 1 pound a week. While this might be slower than you expected, it's still the quickest way to lose weight safely.
Drop Water Weight Fast by Cutting Sodium
You'll need to wait a few weeks to drop 5 pounds of body fat, but you may be able to lose a few pounds of water weight by cutting sodium intake. A sodium-laden diet can inflate your weight on the scale; sodium forces your body to retain water, so you'll gain water weight even if you haven't put on fat. That water weight can be significant. Theoretically, just 200 milligrams of extra dietary sodium, or about 13 percent of the daily limit for most American adults, can result in a gain of 1 pound of water weight. So, if you're taking in 1,000 milligrams of sodium from, say, a fast-food meal, you could gain 5 pounds simply from fluid retention. As you go back to your regular diet and lower your sodium intake, you'll shed the excess water weight. That could allow a 5-pound weight loss in less than a week from lost water weight.
Sodium-Lowering Diet Tips for a 5-Pound Loss
Limit your sodium by avoiding packaged foods, as well as restaurant meals and fast food. Instead, opt for naturally low-sodium foods like vegetables, whole grains, fruits, unsalted nuts and lean proteins, along with healthy fats. Limit sodium-laden cottage cheese, salad dressings, condiments, sauces and breads. Although these foods are healthy, their salt content triggers water retention.
Use lower-sodium — and weight loss-friendly — alternatives. Make wraps using hearty sodium-free collard leaves instead of sodium-laden wheat tortillas. Season your meals with antioxidant-packed spices and herbs, and forgo store-bought sauces and marinades that contain sodium, sugar and fat. Make large batches of low-sodium, freezable recipes — like vegetable soups or chili — for a healthy alternative to store-bought frozen meals, and pack unsalted walnuts, almonds or pistachios to eat instead of salty pretzels or chips. Not only will these substitutions make it easier to meet your calorie goals, they'll limit your salt intake to help you shed water weight.
Lose Weight Quickly with HIIT
You might be able to achieve a 5-pound weight loss relatively quickly through diet modifications, but adding exercise should accelerate your results. You'll see the fastest results doing high-intensity interval training, also called HIIT. Like any exercise, HIIT burns calories, but also triggers physiological changes that elevate metabolism for hours after a workout, actually burning nine times as much fat as slow-and-steady cardio methods, according to the International Sports Sciences Association.
HIIT requires working at a high intensity for a short period of time, alternating with less intense work, so you'll get the best results if you start slow by adding just one to two intervals to your workouts. After warming up, "sprint" at maximum intensity for 20 to 30 seconds. Rest or work at a slow pace for a minute or two to recover, then complete one more 20- to 30-second sprint and recovery period. Complete the rest of the workout as you normally would. As your body adapts, add more intervals to your cardio routine to accelerate your results, so you'll keep seeing changes in your body even after your initial 5-pound weight loss.
Can you or can you not lose 5 pounds in a day? That is the question.
The answer is, yes you absolutely can. As overambitious as it sounds, you can lose up to 5 pounds in one day in the form of water and waste weight.
You must note that this is not permanent weight loss and the water weight will likely be regained if your body goes back to retaining water.
Therefore, take care to implement longer-lasting dietary and lifestyle changes for more permanent results.
Until then, here is how to get rid of the 5 pounds in one day.
How to Lose 5 Pounds in A Day without Exercise
1. Wear A Sauna Suit
While sauna suits may not be the go-to method of losing weight on a normal day, trying to lose 5 pounds in one day isn’t normal either – thus it calls for some compromises.
Sauna suits have been used since time immemorial to lose water weight. This is why athletes workout in them just before being weighed in order to clock in the preferred weight. They induce sweating, through which you lose all the excess water in the body.
Only resort to wearing sauna suits with the express permission of your physician and do not do it for more than 20 minutes.
2. Stay Hydrated
On the day that you plan to lose your 5 pounds, take water and stay hydrated. Why would you take water when planning to lose water weight, you may wonder?
This is because when you are dehydrated the body produces an antidiuretic that makes it retain water. More water retained equals more water weight.
Drinking water, on the other hand, will help the body expel extra water and retain much less.
3. Keep Off the Salt
All sodium sources should never see the light of the day if you are planning to lose 5 pounds in a day.
As you consume salt, the body tries to match up your consumption with the water it retains in order to maintain the sodium-to-water balance. The more you consume, the more it retains.
4. Stack Up the Proteins
Proteins are more metabolically active than carbs and fats. This means it takes more calories to synthesize them and transform them into nutrients the body can actually use.
But that is not all. Proteins inhibit the release of sugar into the system, and anybody who wants to lose any kind of weight knows too much sugar is bad news.
Better still, proteins are more filling than carbs and record a lower calorie count. Eating proteins will thus keep you fuller for the better part of the day. You will not be giving in to hunger and cravings to offset your intake. Get protein from lean meats such as chicken breast.
5. Get a Good Night Rest
Sleep deprivation slows metabolism, according to research. The last thing you want when trying to lose 5 pounds in one day is low metabolism.
Go to sleep early and rest for at least eight hours in order to get your metabolism in good form.
6. Stay Stress-Free
Stress causes the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which induces craving for sugary, fatty food. A 2007 study found the presence of cortisol in the hair of 2,000 overweight participants’ hair – a direct link of stress to unhealthy diet.
This is why most people find solace in junk food whenever they are stressed – turns out it is science. Try as much as possible to be stress-free to ward off stress-induced cravings.
7. Cut Down on Carbs
Keep off the starches on the day that you plan to lose 5 pounds. Starches help the body retain more water and are easy to digest.
This means the body will use it up quickly and you will be hungry again in a short while. Foods like white bread, pasta and cookies should be off the menu of that day.
8. Pack on the Fiber
Just like proteins, fiber gives the body such a hard time to digest, in fact, most of it is not digested at all. It demands more energy and more time, thus more calories. It fills you up for longer.
Whole grains, fruits, and dark leafy veggies are rich in fiber. Yet other key benefits of fiber-rich foods is they help in digestion, passage of food through the gut and enables easy bowel movement. This will come handy in getting rid of the waste weight.
9. Eat Foods with Natural Diuretics
Diuretics cause you to pass urine more frequently, thus getting rid of water and waste weight. Eating foods that are rich in diuretics can help you lose retained water.
Such foods include seeds like pumpkin seeds and nuts, fruits and veggies like watermelon, asparagus, Brussel sprouts and teas like dandelion tea.
10. Keep Yourself Busy
Move around, and this does not mean you have to take part in physical exercises. Walking to the grocery store instead of taking the car can help you break into a much-needed sweat.
Cleaning the house, organizing your house, clearing out a room are some of the simple activities you can do to remain active.
11. Steer Clear of Processed Foods
Most processed foods are high in starch and calories. They are also very high in sodium.
In fact, most of your sodium intake comes from processed foods than from table salt. Be very wary of highly processed and refined foods.
12. Avoid Sugary Drinks
The mind does not register these drinks it does solid food, according to this study. Even though you will be taking in calories, you will not be feeling full. The extra sugar will also cause the body to retain water.
Bonus: Take a Cup of Coffee or Tea
They contain diuretics that will inspire a bowel movement. Make sure you don’t add sweeteners to these beverages. Not even natural sweeteners.
The reason why we emphasize on the day you want to lose the 5 pounds is, you can only do this for one day – never more.
Trying to lose 5 pounds each day for two or more consecutive days will put your health at great risks. More so, your body will react by storing more calories and inducing your appetite.
With that said, you can lose weight rapidly and keep it off if you follow this simple and safe weight loss plan.
Trying to lose 10 pounds? It’s not always all rainbows, unicorns and butterflies. And, it’s certainly not donuts, cake and cookies, either! But, it is possible, if you’re committed to real consistent changes.
The happy news is that if you focus on consistency in a few key areas, you just may be surprised how relatively easy it is to accomplish weight loss. To get you started, here are a few tried and true tips:
1. Start your day with water and continue drinking it all day.
You may have heard that you need to drink water to lose weight before, but have you actually implemented it? Start now! When you begin the day with a tall glass of water, you may just be more inclined to go for a healthier breakfast or even hit the gym. Plus, morning hydration can also help you stay regular.
Drinking water is important for all cellular functions, and hydration aids in weight loss. It’s common to suffer from that 3 p.m. slump due to dehydration alone, and many people confuse thirst for hunger.
So, up your energy in the afternoon and skip the chips by staying hydrated all day. Aim for 64 ounces a day (it’s a good goal for all of us, even if specific needs vary) and of course, skip the soda.
Health & Wellness 9 signs you might be dehydrated
2. Make protein a priority.
Protein is needed to build and repair muscles, for blood clotting and it also helps us to stay satisfied. Studies show that eating protein for breakfast may help increase your satiety (how satisfied you feel) through the day and help prevent nighttime noshing. Ever wonder why on the days you skip breakfast, you can’t stop eating cookies at night? Lack of adequate protein may be to blame.
Health & Wellness How to get more protein in your diet — without meat
Protein aids in satiety by affecting the hormones which control hunger and the rate at which food empties from our stomachs. It also has the highest thermal effect of food (TEF), meaning it burns the most calories during digestion, versus carbs and fat. At a loss of where to begin in the morning? Try these high-protein breakfast options and remember to choose lean protein sources.
3. Eat your greens.
Green veggies get five gold stars. They are packed with fiber and water volume, both of which help you to stay full and regular. They’re also loaded with antioxidants which help fight disease and inflammation, and, of course, they’re low in calories.
Fighting inflammation with antioxidants can aid in weight loss. Foods that are high in the antioxidants vitamin C, E and beta carotene may help reduce fat storage by regulating your body’s use of the hormone insulin. Greens are an excellent source, but you can also find these compounds in citrus fruits, almonds and sweet potatoes.
My favorite greens are broccoli rabe and spinach, and I recommend getting in greens at least twice a day. During meals, fill up on greens first, and you’ll find that you naturally begin to eat less of the perhaps more “unhealthy” parts of your plate.
Health & Wellness Why you’re not losing weight — even if you think you’re doing everything right
4. Make fat your BFF.
Eating fat doesn’t make you fat (overeating anything of course will cause you to gain weight). Actually, it can help make you thin. Fat tastes good and helps to keep you satisfied. It also helps you burn fat by taking fat out of your cells, so you can use it for energy.
Health & Wellness Why fat is good for you
As with any food, portion control is key, but be sure to get fat in consistently throughout the day (about 30% of your calories should come from fat). Instead of having a big apple for a snack, have a small apple with two teaspoons of almond butter. And, instead of sugar-laden, fat-free salad dressing go for olive oil and vinegar mixed with herbs and spices.
5. Listen to your body.
Listening to your body is key when it comes to losing weight. Focusing on whole, real foods packed with protein, healthy fat, fiber and antioxidants is crucial (and I’d rather you overeat these foods than chips and dip, and cupcakes) but learning how much to eat by listening to your body is going to be key when it comes to losing weight.
I teach my clients to rate their hunger using the “hunger quotient.” This is the number (related to a feeling) to describe how hungry you truly are. You want to aim to be between a 6 and a 4 at the beginning and end of your meals and snacks. A 6 is “slightly hungry” and a 4 is “slightly satisfied.” When meals and snacks are skipped during the day, HQ gets thrown off and it is easy to end up making poor food choices and overeating.
6. End your night with meditation.
Stress affects every aspect of your health, including your weight. Even exercise probably won’t do the trick if stress is throwing your hormones out of whack. Prolonged excess stress not only causes an imbalance in your hormones which leads to weight in the mid-section, but it also increases free radicals (think inflammation), and it can increase emotional eating.
Jeff Cavaliere explains the “time prescriptive” eating method that can kickstart weight loss when done correctly.
In a new video on the Athlean-X channel, Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. shares his advice on how to quickly start losing weight, and how fast weight loss results can become self-propagating. He explains that it all comes down to not just what you eat, but how you eat.
You’re probably familiar with the concept of time restricted eating, also known as intermittent fasting, where a person eats all of their meals for the day within a limited window of time. Instead, Cavaliere recommends trying an alternative to this called time prescriptive eating, where you are eating at allocated times throughout the day: specifically every two and a half hours.
“It’s a self-regulating, self-correcting method if you do this appropriately, but you cannot change the rule,” he says. “This is not a bodybuilder approach to eating. I’m not talking about the anabolic benefits of eating six times a day. What this does is it starts to institute a few things. We start to learn portion control, what is and is not hunger, and also what foods do a better job of keeping you full.”
Sure, a months-long healthy diet is the real key to lasting weight loss. But you can lose weight quickly and safely. Here’s how
If only I could lose 5 pounds by Friday.
So goes the all-too-common refrain, often overheard in dressing rooms, ladies restrooms, and spin classes galore — or, let’s face it, anywhere there’s a mirror and a captive female listener who’ll pretend to care.
It’s not like we’re obsessed with being something we’re not, but a flatter belly or looser jeans asap would definitely come in handy for an impromptu beach weekend or party where we expect to see an ex. The thing is, most of us don’t think it’s possible to look 5 pounds thinner that fast. But here’s a shocker: It’s do-able. And you don’t need to go on some long-term, healthy foods diet to lose weight that quickly.
Don’t just take our word for it. Our favorite experts say that depending on your body type, it’s realistic to drop 5 pounds in five days — or at least lose enough water weight, or trim enough inches, to make it look like you have, which is all that really matters. Best of all, none of the following ways to look skinnier involve crash dieting, funky pills, or hunger pangs that’ll make you run for the nearest vending machine at 4 p.m.
Instead, these tips involve eating good-for-you foods, staying adequately hydrated, exercising for a reasonable amount of time, and breathing deeply — all stuff that we should be doing anyway to help our bodies thrive in the midst of our stressful, busy, and emotionally exhausting lives (funny how these are the factors that contribute to a lot of weight gain in the first place). And while each tip is designed to make an impact on its own, combining a few of these can only help you lose weight more quickly.
So put down that diet soda and get a jump on sliding into those skinny jeans by Friday. Here’s how.
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A little-known diet called ProLon — which consists of eating only soups, crackers, nutrition bars and olives for 5 days — got a major boost after Gwyneth Paltrow tried it on “The Goop Lab” in 2020. NY Post photo composite
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You can thank — or blame — Gwyneth Paltrow.
In early 2020, on her Netflix series “The Goop Lab,” the actress-turned-lifestyle guru tried a five-day dietary program called ProLon that supposedly mimics fasting and has adherents consuming just 700 to 1,100 calories per day.
On the show, Paltrow struggled with the restrictive regimen (she was quite hungry) but ultimately called it “pretty incredible,” and said she saw 1.7 years shaved off her biological age, per a blood test. A previously little-known, fringe diet was gobbled up by the mainstream.
Since it was launched in 2016, ProLon has seen “explosive growth,” as president of the company’s consumer division, Manos Spanos, told The Post. Sales last year are expected to be around $70 million, triple what they were three years ago, he said, and the company secured $20 million in a recent fund-raising round.
While the company says that the purpose of diet is “to trigger rejuvenation,” it notes that weight loss may occur, with participants in a clinical trial averaging a loss of 5.7 pounds after doing the five-day, $249 program three times in three months. “The Real Housewives of New York City” star Sonja Morgan is a ProLon customer, and celeb fans reportedly include Eva Longoria, Jennifer Aniston and Kate Hudson.
Debbie Allen Wright first tried ProLon after seeing it on “The Goop Lab.” AIREN MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY
‘I’ve become very fond of olives’
Debbie Allen Wright said that the hunger pains are worth it. She first tried ProLon 18 months ago after seeing it on “The Goop Lab” and now does it every few months with the change of season.
“After my first five days, I saw profound results,” said the 54-year-old Massachusetts-based health coach and lifestyle reporter for “Great Day Connecticut.”
She dropped five pounds in five days, which she said was less important to her than the other health benefits — a higher heart rate variable (a sign of cardiac health, which she checks on her fitness band) and improved energy.
She was also inspired to drink less red wine, something she really enjoys. “I felt so good [after ProLon] that I wanted to cut way back,” she said.
Foods that are part of the program. JONATHAN YOUNG
The program’s premise is that it mimics the purported benefits of fasting — which ProLon claims include cell renewal, mental clarity, improved metabolic health and fat loss – while allowing one to eat, sorta. The diet features five boxes of food for each of the five days. Breakfast is typically a nut-based nutrition bar and herbal tea; lunch and dinner are dehydrated plant-based soups that are prepared from packets.
There’s also a special “L-Drink” made from vegetable glycerin that can be sipped all day long. Snacks on the program include olives, tea and special crackers.
A box from the ProLon program. Courtesy of ProLon
“I’ve become very fond of olives,” said Wright. “They taste amazing when that’s all you can eat in between your soups.”
Health or hype?
So what’s the science behind the cleanse — and does it glorify crash dieting? The specifics are a closely guarded secret attributed to the program’s creator, Dr. Valter Longo, director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California.
“There’s $32 million worth of R&D behind this and 20 years of research,” said Spanos, noting it’s been conducted in partnership with various universities. “There is no pixie dust.”
“After my first five days, I saw profound results,” said Wright, a 54-year-old Massachusetts-based health coach and lifestyle reporter for “Great Day Connecticut.” AIREN MILLER PHOTOGRAPHY
Still, ProLon has Instagrammers and TikTokers helping to promote the product in exchange for free products and money. But, Spanos is quick to note, it’s not a multilevel marketing company akin to BeachBody or Herbalife.
Health coach Audrey Zona is one of the promoters. The 55-year-old from Franklin Lakes, NJ, first tried ProLon herself in the fall of 2020 and said she lost five pounds and saw her energy soar. She’s done the cleanse six more times and now promotes the brand on social media as a paid ProLon ambassador.
“What I love most is how this helps to change your relationship with food,” Zona said. “During the five days, I encourage my clients and those I coach to really dig deeper and become curious about why you eat what you eat.”
But some independent health experts say ProLon is pulling a fast one.
Lorraine Kearney, a certified dietitian and nutritionist and the founder of New York City Nutrition in NoMad, called out ProLon as a “fad diet” that “reduces calorie intake to suboptimal levels” and has the potential “to trigger an eating disorder,” Kearney said.
She definitely wouldn’t recommend it to any of her clients. “It tells people to follow their rules, rather than assisting clients on how to make changes to their current diet to see results.”
“Personally, I believe no one should follow the ProLon diet plan,” Kearney said.
When we have important events coming up, we often take measures to lose weight quickly. We diet and exercise, doing everything in our power to fit into our ideal outfits. From limiting sodium to completing an extra set of ab exercises, there are many measures we can take to look and feel our slimmest. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that sustainable weight loss takes time.
In order to drop pounds and keep them off, we need to maintain healthy habits long term, constantly challenging ourselves to be better. This includes a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Most diets and supplements that promise rapid weight loss won’t give you lasting results. In order to lose 5 pounds of fat in 2 days, you would need to have a calorie deficit equal to 2.5 lb. per day. Using the frequently-quoted 3,500 calories per pound, this would mean you would need a deficit of 8,750 calories. A person of average weight would need to complete about three marathons per day to achieve a deficit of this magnitude.
So how do you slim down before a big event without running a marathon? There are many quick and healthy ways to look and feel slim. By taking measures to reduce bloat and water retention, you can lose several pounds worth of waste. This results in a flatter looking stomach with more defined muscles. Don’t resort to unhealthy quick fixes. Instead, check out our guide on how to lose 5 pounds in 2 days by avoiding bloat the healthy way.
1. Limit sodium intake.
High amounts of sodium make your body retain water. The American Heart Association recommends that individuals eat less that 1,500 mg of sodium per day. On days leading up to important events, aim to consume less than 1,500 mg to get rid of excess water.
2. Sweat it out.
Another great way to lose excess water is to sweat. Intensify your cardio at the gym for a few days and get your sweat on. This will also help you get rid of toxins lingering in your body. Try one of our Beginner Workouts to get you started.
3. Stay hydrated.
While it sounds contradictory, in order to get rid of excess water, you must drink water. When you’re dehydrated, your body hangs on to every water molecule it can find, making you look bloated. Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Hydrating will help you debloat and keep your skin, hair, and nails bright and healthy.
Skipping breakfast will not help you lose weight. You could miss out on essential nutrients and you may end up snacking more throughout the day because you feel hungry.
2. Eat regular meals
Eating at regular times during the day helps burn calories at a faster rate. It also reduces the temptation to snack on foods high in fat and sugar.
3. Eat plenty of fruit and veg
Fruit and veg are low in calories and fat, and high in fibre – 3 essential ingredients for successful weight loss. They also contain plenty of vitamins and minerals.
4. Get more active
Being active is key to losing weight and keeping it off. As well as providing lots of health benefits, exercise can help burn off the excess calories you cannot lose through diet alone.
Find an activity you enjoy and are able to fit into your routine.
5. Drink plenty of water
People sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. You can end up consuming extra calories when a glass of water is really what you need.
6. Eat high fibre foods
Foods containing lots of fibre can help keep you feeling full, which is perfect for losing weight. Fibre is only found in food from plants, such as fruit and veg, oats, wholegrain bread, brown rice and pasta, and beans, peas and lentils.
7. Read food labels
Knowing how to read food labels can help you choose healthier options. Use the calorie information to work out how a particular food fits into your daily calorie allowance on the weight loss plan.
8. Use a smaller plate
Using smaller plates can help you eat smaller portions. By using smaller plates and bowls, you may be able to gradually get used to eating smaller portions without going hungry. It takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain it’s full, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full.
9. Do not ban foods
Do not ban any foods from your weight loss plan, especially the ones you like. Banning foods will only make you crave them more. There’s no reason you cannot enjoy the occasional treat as long as you stay within your daily calorie allowance.
10. Do not stock junk food
To avoid temptation, do not stock junk food – such as chocolate, biscuits, crisps and sweet fizzy drinks – at home. Instead, opt for healthy snacks, such as fruit, unsalted rice cakes, oat cakes, unsalted or unsweetened popcorn, and fruit juice.
11. Cut down on alcohol
A standard glass of wine can contain as many calories as a piece of chocolate. Over time, drinking too much can easily contribute to weight gain.
12. Plan your meals
Try to plan your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the week, making sure you stick to your calorie allowance. You may find it helpful to make a weekly shopping list.
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I need to drop exactly 5 pounds by the end of this week. I'm 6'0 and weigh 205 currently and need to get to 200, preferably by no later than Fri, ideally by tomorrow or Thursday. From the research I've done through Google everyone says drink a ton of water and avoid carbs and sodium so that's what I'm doing currently. Drinking a lot of black coffee as well. Any other tips?
Soak in a hot bathtub for about an hour.
Add in a cup of epsom salt to enhance this process.
How I often lost 10 pounds for wrestling at 170
. Do one of the following.
Sit in a hot bath tub for an hour or two. Sit in a sauna in full sweats for a while. Do a 3-4 hour cardio/lifting workout full sweats and no drinking. Just straight up don't drink water or eat anything for a day and a half.
Any combo of that always worked.
Yep, I could lose almost five pounds overnight this way when I wrestled.
Agree! This is what I did while wrestling too. Just don't drink water the day before you need to weigh yourself. At the end of the day, if you still need to lose weight, just slap on a sweater and go for a jog / sit in a sauna until you weigh what you want.
If you just need to hit the target for a minute and can bounce right back, this is super easy.
Don't eat carbs or salt for 24 hours. The next morning, wake up and jog a mile in full sweats before you drink anything. Dry off and weigh yourself, I'd bet your a few pounds under 200.
I did this the past two mornings with very little difference, but I took a shower both times before weighing myself. Is that the reason it didn't make a big impact? I only dropped like 1 pound over 2 days doing the sweat thing
my weight can swing my up to 10lbs over the course of 24hrs. Drink a ton of water the day before. Then fast for at least 12hrs and sweat before weigh-in. For the sweating I recommend running 3 miles. for a friday morning weigh-in, drink water all day Thursday. Don't eat anything after 9pm. Wake up in the morning go for a run. Take a shit (take some fiber supplement for a few days leading up to. I use Miracle fiber from Vitamin Shoppe). Then weigh yourself. Also, you seem to be very certain about your steady state weight being 205lb. To really know your steady weight you should weigh your self 3-4 times a day. I weigh my self when I wake up, when I get home from work and before I go to bed.
The “Scandal” star sometimes goes to great extremes for shirtless scenes.
Scott Foley Between the Sheets in New Commercial
— — Scott Foley is no stranger to shirtless scenes.
However, the “Scandal” star, whose show premieres tonight, said that the real work involved with them happens in the days leading up to the shoot.
“I’m a juice guy,” Foley told ABC News. “If I have a big scene, I’ll have three or four days only having vegetable juice or something.”
Foley, 42, said that in one case, he had to shoot a shirtless scene after Thanksgiving, which meant that for his holiday celebration, he could only partake in the turkey. However, in a crunch, he also knows how to lose 20 lbs. in one day using the same technique fighters use to drop pounds.
“Drink a ton of water — as much as you can — don’t eat anything, get in a sauna, sweat it out,” he explained. “When you get home, get in a bath, as hot as you can take it. You fill it with Epsom salt and really hot water — like 20 lbs. of Epsom salt so it’s so salty that the salt doesn’t even dissolve. That’s going to suck all this water out of your body. You could drop 12-15 pounds by tomorrow morning.”
However, the actor, who works with a nutritionist, said that that’s not part of his regular routine, and doesn’t necessarily recommend others try it.
Meanwhile, he laughed when asked about the diet of his co-star, Kerry Washington.
“Kerry eats some weird stuff! She came the other day with this Tupperware thing of, they look like potato chips but it was dried or flaked sauerkraut and it tasted like a foot. It was awful,” he said with a laugh. “I think she does it on purpose!”
For anyone trying to lose weight or maintain weight loss, seeing the number on the scale increase even the tiniest bit can be disheartening. Especially when you're working toward a goal, the last thing you want to see is an unexpected bump in the number after you've been diligently following a healthy diet and exercise plan.
But fluctuations in weight day-to-day are totally normal. "If you weighed yourself every hour throughout the day, you’d see dramatic shifts on the scale," Amanda Foti, M.S., R.D., a senior dietitian at Selvera Weight Management Program, tells SELF. "I prepare every single one of my clients to experience these fluctuations at some point as they are guaranteed to see them regardless if they are eating and exercising perfectly."
Even if you haven't been 100 percent diligent—say, you spent a weekend at summer BBQs cheating up a storm—"it is not possible to gain 5 'actual' pounds in one day or one weekend," Dana Hunnes, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., senior dietician at UCLA Medical Center and adjunct assistant professor at the Fielding School of Public Health, tells SELF. "It is possible, though, to retain 5 pounds of fluid in the body, particularly if you have been eating super clean."
The reason you may feel like you magically gained weight overnight can vary. Here are the most likely causes:
Your body may retain excess water for a few reasons, but the most likely is related to your sodium intake. "If you consume more sodium than normal on a given day, your body will retain more water," Foti says. Some people are more sensitive to this: For example, if you typically eat very fresh, whole, clean foods and work out regularly, and then forgo a workout and eat a super salty meal, chances are your weight fluctuation will seem more drastic than someone who typically eats more salt. "Mild dehydration can also cause your body to retain fluids," Foti says. It sounds counterintuitive, but drinking more will help your body get rid of fluids more efficiently and flush excess sodium.
For most fluid-related weight gain, "assuming you go back to your normal eating and drinking habits, the weight gain should really only last 24 to 48 hours," Hunnes says. "A lot of it will depend on how quickly your kidneys remove the excess water from your body, and whether or not you sweat out some of the excess fluid."
As you eat throughout the day, your weight may increase a few pounds until the next time you effectively empty out your bowels. If things are a little backed up, not only will you feel and look bloated, but your body will contain more weight than if you were to efficiently clear out the old to make room for the new. Make sure you're eating enough fiber, staying hydrated, and keeping active so that your bowels can do their thing.
"We can weigh 5, 6, 7 pounds more at night than we do first thing in the morning," Hunnes says. Part of that is thanks to all the salt we consume throughout the day; the other part is that we may not have fully digested (and excreted) everything we at and drank that day yet. "We weigh the least amount first thing in the morning after we have used the restroom," says Hunnes. For the most accurate reading, weigh yourself naked right after you wake up and go to the bathroom. "This will give you a true sense of your true(est) weight."
Hormonal changes right around your period can also increase fluid retention. Period-related weight gain will usually start five to seven days before your period and usually goes away by day three or four of the period, Hunnes says. "How big these fluctuations are really depend on the individual, but are usually between 2 and 8 pounds," says Foti.
Eating a modest amount of healthy carbs is good for you, but eating too many so that you exceed your calorie needs (it's easy to go overboard accidentally) can lead to both increased fat storage and extra water retention. "For every gram of carbohydrate you store as glycogen, your tissues must retain 3 grams of water with it," Foti says.
Some medications include potential side effects of weight gain. "In most, it’s due to a change in hormones causing an increased appetite and consuming more calories—aka true weight gain," Foti says. "However, there are some medications, like steroids, that cause water retention resulting in what may seem like weight gain but is simply a fluctuation due to fluids in the body." These fluctuations can be larger than those caused by diet-based water retention, and may not resolve until you go off the meds. "With this type of water retention you’ll likely feel the physical side effects in your extremities, puffy feet and hands," Foti adds.
Being healthy is really about being at a weight that is right for you. The best way to find out if you are at a healthy weight or if you need to lose or gain weight is to talk to a doctor or dietitian, who can compare your weight with healthy norms to help you set realistic goals. If it turns out that you can benefit from weight loss, then you can follow a few of the simple suggestions listed below to get started.
Weight management is about long-term success. People who lose weight quickly by crash dieting or other extreme measures usually gain back all (and often more) of the pounds they lost because they haven’t changed their habits in a healthy way that they can stick with.
Tips for Success
The best weight-management strategies are those that you can maintain for a lifetime. That’s a long time, so we’ll try to keep these suggestions as easy as possible!
Make it a family affair. Ask your mom or dad to lend help and support. The goal is to make diet or lifestyle changes that will benefit the whole family. Teens who have the support of their families tend to have better results.
Watch your drinks. It’s amazing how many calories are in the sodas, juices, and other drinks that you take in every day. Simply cutting out a can of soda or one sports drink can save you 150 calories or more each day. Drink water or other sugar-free drinks to quench your thirst and stay away from sugary juices and sodas. Choosing nonfat or low-fat milk is also a good idea.
Start small. Small changes are a lot easier to stick with than drastic ones. For example, give up regular soda or reduce the size of the portions you eat. When you have that down, you can make other changes, like introducing healthier foods and exercise into your life.
Stop eating when you’re full. Pay attention as you eat and stop when you’re comfortably full. Eating more slowly can help because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that you are full. Sometimes taking a break before going for seconds can keep you from eating another serving.
Try not to eat when you feel upset or bored — find something else to do instead (a walk around the block or a trip to the gym are good alternatives). Many people find it’s helpful to keep a diary of what they eat and when and what they are feeling. When you have to write it down, you might think twice before eating cookies. Reviewing the diary later can also help them identify the emotions they have when they overeat.
Schedule regular meals and snacks. You can better manage your hunger when you have a predictable meal schedule. Skipping meals may lead to overeating at the next meal. Adding 1 or 2 healthy snacks to your three squares can help curb hunger.
5 a day keep the pounds away. Ditch the junk food and dig out the fruits and veggies! Five servings of fruits and veggies aren’t just a good idea to help you lose weight — they’ll help you feel full and keep your heart and the rest of your body healthy. Other suggestions for eating well:
- choose whole-wheat bread and other whole grains, like brown rice and oatmeal
- eat a healthy breakfast
- keep portions under control
Avoid fad diets. It’s never a good idea to trade meals for shakes or to give up a food group in the hope that you’ll lose weight — we all need a variety of foods to get the nutrients we need to stay healthy. Avoid diet pills (even the over-the-counter or herbal variety). They can be dangerous to your health; besides, there’s no evidence that they help keep weight off over the long term.
Don’t banish certain foods. Don’t tell yourself you’ll never again eat your absolutely favorite peanut butter chocolate ice cream. Making all treats forbidden is sure to make you want them even more. The key to long-term success is making healthy choices most of the time. If you want a piece of cake at a party, go for it! But munch on the carrots rather than the chips to balance it out.
Get moving. You may find that you don’t need to cut calories as much as you need to get off your behind. Don’t get stuck thinking you have to play a team sport or take an aerobics class to get exercise. Try a variety of activities from hiking to cycling to dancing until you find ones you like.
Not a jock? Find other ways to fit activity into your day: walk to school, jog up and down the stairs a couple of times before your morning shower, turn off the tube and help your parents in the garden, or take a stroll past your crush’s house — anything that gets you moving. Your goal should be to work up to 60 minutes of exercise every day. But everyone has to begin somewhere. It’s fine to start out by simply taking a few turns around the block after school and building up your levels of fitness gradually.
Build muscle. Muscle burns more calories than fat. So adding strength training to your exercise routine can help you reach your weight loss goals as well as give you a toned bod. And weights are not the only way to go: Try resistance bands, pilates, or push-ups to get strong. A good, well-balanced fitness routine includes aerobic workouts, strength training, and flexibility exercises.
Forgive yourself. So you were going to have one cracker with spray cheese on it and the next thing you know the can’s pumping air and the box is empty? Drink some water, brush your teeth, and move on. Everyone who’s ever tried to lose weight has found it challenging. When you slip up, the best idea is to get right back on track and don’t look back.
Move over, intermittent fasting: Fasting mimicking are the current buzz words in the weight loss world.
As the name implies, this can offer many of the benefits of a traditional fasting routine without forcing you to give up food completely. Fasting mimicking is a unique five-day weight-loss program from ProLon. It was developed by Dr. Valter Longo, the director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California (USC) and one of Time‘s 50 Most Influential People in Health Care.
Is ProLon for you, and can it really help you lose weight in just five days? Keep reading to find out.
A Diet Program in a Box
The ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet is a proprietary plant-based restricted-calorie meal program that lasts five days. It has been scientifically designed to provide the possible rejuvenating effects of fasting at the cellular level while still providing the body with nourishment. This implies you’re able to eat without your body realizing it. During the program, your nutrient-sensing pathways might not be triggered, so the molecular definition of fasting could be met. Essentially, you could enjoy the food in the program while your body thinks it’s on a fast.
All the ingredients that go into ProLon’s prepackaged meals are carefully studied and prepared in specific quantities to provide nourishment without activating your body’s food sensing system. Each ProLon kit comes with the actual food you’ll eat throughout the program, along with a tumbler, daily meal card and program information. In each box, you’ll find five days’ worth of delicious prepackaged meals, including plant-based energy bars, soups, drinks and supplements—all designed to nourish your body while helping you lose weight.
Real Results Backed by Science
ProLon and the fasting mimicking method are the results of over 20 years of preclinical and clinical studies conducted at the USC Longevity Institute and other research centers worldwide, and sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other organizations.
According to a small clinical study from 2017 commissioned by ProLon, 100 users who completed three cycles of the ProLon diet lost an average of 2.5 kilos (5.7 pounds) and 4.1 centimeters (1.6 inches) off their waistline.* The study explains that multiple consecutive cycles of ProLon could help preserve lean muscle mass while decreasing body fat. This type of fat-focused weight loss might occur because your body is still getting essential nutrients while operating in fasting mode.
The study noted some additional benefits from individuals who completed the three consecutive cycles. For example, the researchers reported that these ProLon users were able to maintain healthy systolic blood pressure and support a metabolic balance. The study made no claims about the product addressing any diseases or medical conditions, and research outcomes should not be taken as medical advice.
Additionally, a 2021 review article published in the online journal Nature highlights that the fasting mimicking diet could help stimulate oxidative stress resistance. An important part of oxidative stress resistance is autophagy—or cellular clean-up—where the cell targets cellular debris such as misfolded proteins and worn-out cellular components for recycling, leaving the cell rejuvenated.
Where to Get ProLon
You can click here to order your very first ProLon box online for a discounted price of $189, down from its regular price of $249. You can choose the box with the original soup flavors (vegetable, minestrone, vegetable quinoa, mushroom, and tomato), or try the new set with variations such as butternut squash and black bean.
The kit also includes snack bars, olives, kale crackers, three types of herbal tea, an L-Drink (a drink comprised of plant-based glycerol and natural flavors specifically designed to provide energy and protect lean body mass during your ProLon diet), supplements and a free tumbler. Signing up for the program also gives you access to a free health coach consultation valued at $74.
What you eat is packed conveniently in a separate box labeled for each day. You can choose when to eat each box’s contents throughout the day, but to get ideal results, make sure you don’t switch any foods between days or “save” something for the next day. Don’t forget to consult with your healthcare provider before going on any kind of diet or weight loss program.
Click here if you’re ready to try ProLon and see how it could help you jumpstart your journey towards a healthier body.
*Individual results may vary.
ProLon is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
People strive to lose weight for myriad reasons, and many fall into the fad diet trap promising real results fast. While there are certainly ways to accelerate your weight loss efforts, it’s important to understand that shedding pounds too quickly can actually backfire.
Like so many parts of life, safe, successful and sustainable weight loss is more about the journey and less about a scale-based destination and rapidly approaching deadline. Read on for expert advice on the best ways to lose weight—and keep it off.
Interested In Trying The Nutrisystem Diet?
Choose your weight loss plan. New menu 2021 available. Pizza bowls, flatbreads, plant-based grain bowls and more!
Why Losing Weight Fast Isn’t the Best Goal
Though the allure of the “lose 5 pounds in a week” diet myth is strong, there are many reasons why speedy shedding may actually work against your best weight loss efforts.
First, when people lose weight rapidly, especially via fad or crash diets, they are typically unable to maintain it because the weight they lose is often more muscle mass and water and less fat mass compared to people who lose weight gradually.
“Maintaining lean muscle is important in weight loss because it plays a key role in metabolism,” says certified health coach and author of Sugar Shock and Beyond Sugar Shock Connie Bennett. “Muscle helps you burn more calories. But when you lose weight too quickly, you lose muscle and your body slows down calorie burning. Fast weight loss can even cause permanent slowing of metabolism.”
Rapid weight loss often leads to the dreaded yo-yo weight cycling many chronic dieters experience. In fact, a study of former contestants on NBC’s weight loss television show “The Biggest Loser” found the more pounds dropped quickly, the more the participant’s metabolism slowed. The study also found that the contestants regained a substantial amount of their lost weight in the six years following the competition.  Fothergill E, Guo J, Howard L, Kerns J, Knuth N, Brychta R, Chen K, Skarulis M, Walter M, Walter P, Hall K. Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition. Obesity. 2016;24(8):1612-1619.
Another Australian study of 200 participants in The Lancet found that while dieters in the study lost the same amount of weight, the group that lost weight slowly lost 10% more body fat and 50% less lean muscle than the rapid weight loss group  Purcell K, Sumithran P, Prendergast L, Bouniu C, Delbridge E, Proietto J. The effect of rate weight loss on long-term weight management: a randomised control trial. The Lancet. 2014;2(12):954-962. .
Further compounding the issue, when people lose weight rapidly, appetite often increases as metabolism decreases, making it almost impossible to keep the pounds off. A study in Obesity reports our bodies prompt us to eat 100 calories more per day for every pound lost  Polidori D, Sanghvi A, Seeley R, Hall K. How Strongly Does Appetite Counter Weight Loss? Quantification of the Feedback Control of Human Energy Intake. . Obesity. 2016;24(11):2289-2295. .
Popular fad diets also very often result in nutrient deficiencies. “And rapid weight loss—especially when you cut carbs—is often largely water,” says registered dietitian Ellen Albertson, Ph.D., author of Rock Your Midlife. “What’s more, if daily calories are low, the body may also use muscle mass as fuel, further reducing metabolism, as muscle mass is metabolically active.”
The bottom line: Shedding weight sensibly is the way to go. Experts usually say a safe rate is losing around half a pound to 2 pounds a week. With that goal in mind, here are some tried-and-true ways to drop pounds and keep them off for good.
15 Expert-Backed Tips for Safe and Sustainable Weight Loss
1. Implement Long-Term Lifestyle and Behavior Changes
When trying to lose weight, ban the word “diet,” suggests Albertson. Dieting can be unpleasant and make you hungry, so you constantly think about food, which is exactly what you don’t want when trying to lose weight. Instead, she recommends thinking of weight loss as a part of getting healthier and concentrating on taking care of your body first.
“Weight loss is complicated and you don’t have total control over the number on the scale, but you do have control over what you eat, how much you move and other factors that impact weight, such as stress and sleep,” says Albertson. She suggests setting SMART—specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-sensitive—goals and rewarding yourself when you hit them.
2. Focus on the First 5% to 10%
Instead of saying, “I need to lose 25 pounds,” and overwhelming yourself with what seems like an impossible goal, look toward the health benefits that can come from even modest weight loss.
“Set smaller, achievable targets,” suggests Bennett. “Losing only 5% to 10% of your total body weight (TBW) can greatly improve your health and lower your risk for illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.”
3. Reduce Your Intake of Ultra-Processed Carbs and Sweets
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals what you eat is most important for weight loss  Ludwig D, Ebbeling C.. The Carbohydrate-Insulin Model of Obesity: Beyond “Calories In, Calories Out.” . JAMA Intern Med. 2018;178(8):1098-1103. . The pounds will come off more quickly if you improve the quality of the foods you ingest.
“One of the healthiest ways to shed weight is to reduce your intake of sugar and rapidly metabolized carbohydrates,” says Bennett. “In particular, you want to cut out or drastically curtail your intake of high-glycemic-load foods, such as sugary snacks, processed carbs and soft drinks. When you avoid or cut back on French fries, chips, crackers and the like, you’ll speed up your weight loss.”
4. Eat More Plants
Research shows a plant-based diet not only promotes weight loss, but is also easier to stick to than a low-calorie diet  Turner-McGrievy G, Mandes T, Crimarco A. A plant-based diet for overweight and obesity prevention and treatment. Journal of Geriatric Cardiology. 2017;14(5):369-374. . Plus, it’s nutrient dense and has numerous health benefits.
“Produce supports weight loss because it’s rich in fiber and water, which are both calorie-free yet take up space in your stomach so you feel full,” says Albertson. In fact, a Brazilian study found a direct correlation between increased fruit and vegetable consumption and enhanced weight loss  Sartorelli D, Franco L, Cardoso M. High intake of fruits and vegetables predicts weight loss in Brazilian overweight adults. Nutrition Research. 2008;28(4):233-8. .
Albertson suggests aiming to consume five daily servings of produce to start and working up to seven to nine servings a day. “Start your day with a green smoothie, have a salad or cut up vegetables with your lunch and eat fruit for snacks and desserts,” she says. “For supper, have more stir frys, incorporate veggies into your pasta dishes and stir them into soups.”
5. Pump Up Your Protein
Increasing your protein consumption can help reduce appetite and help prevent the loss of muscle mass.
Unexplained weight loss is a noticeable drop in body weight that occurs even if the person is not trying to lose weight. The weight loss does not come about because of diet, exercise or lifestyle changes. Weight loss of 10 pounds or more, or five percent of body weight, over a period of 6 to 12 months is considered “unexplained.”
Unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of a serious condition or illness. For this reason, it is important to seek medical attention if you (or a family member) have weight loss that cannot be explained.
Who is at risk for unexplained weight loss?
Unexplained weight loss can occur in anyone. However, it is most common (and most serious) in people who are over the age of 65. Even unexplained weight loss of less than 5 percent of body weight or 10 pounds may be the sign of a serious condition in older people.
Symptoms and Causes
What are the causes of unexplained weight loss?
Unexplained weight loss can be caused by conditions that range from mild to very serious. The causes can be physical or psychological, and include:
- An overactive or underactive thyroid gland. The thyroid gland helps regulate your body temperature and control your heart rate and metabolism (the process that turns the food you eat into energy). (an inflammation of the bowels)
- Heart failure , a condition in which the adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys, do not produce enough of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as peptic ulcer or ulcerative colitis
- Dental problems or anxiety
- Side effects of prescription medications (allergy to gluten)
- A parasitic infection
- Drug abuse
- Undiagnosed eating disorders
- Swelling of the pancreas
- Alcohol or drug abuse (swallowing problems)
Diagnosis and Tests
When should I see a doctor about unexplained weight loss?
You should consult your physician if you have lost more than 5 percent of body weight or 10 pounds without trying in a period of 6 to 12 months. This is especially important if you have other symptoms, too.
How is unexplained weight loss diagnosed?
To diagnose your weight loss, your doctor will give you a physical examination and ask you such questions as:
- How much weight have you lost?
- When did the weight loss begin?
- Are you taking any medications?
- Have your eating patterns changed?
- Are you exercising more?
- Have you been sick recently?
- Are you feeling tired more often?
- Do you have any dental problems?
- Do you have any problems with swallowing?
- Have you been vomiting?
- Are you experiencing stress?
- Have you had any fainting episodes?
- Do you have increased thirst?
- Are you urinating more than usual?
- Do you have diarrhea?
- Are you depressed?
- How much alcohol do you drink per day?
The answers to these questions will help your doctor determine if other tests might be needed, such as blood work and imaging scans (X-rays, etc.).
Management and Treatment
How is unexplained weight loss treated?
Unexplained weight loss is treated by identifying the underlying condition (the condition or illness that is causing the weight loss). If no underlying condition is identified right away, your doctor may recommend a wait-and-see approach, along with a special diet.
For instance, your doctor may recommend that you use nutrition shakes to get more calories, or add flavor enhancers to your food to improve the taste so that you eat more. You may be also be referred to a dietitian for advice and counseling.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/31/2018.
- NHS Choices. Unintentional weight loss. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/unintentional-weight-loss/) Accessed 9/4/2018.
- American Academy of Family Physicians. Unintentional Weight Loss in Older Adults. (https://www.aafp.org/afp/2014/0501/p718.html) Accessed 9/4/2018.
- American Academy of Family Physicians. Information from Your Family Doctor: Unintentional Weight Loss in Older Adults. (https://www.aafp.org/afp/2014/0501/p718-s1.html) Accessed 9/4/2018.
- American Cancer Society. Signs and Symptoms of Cancer. (https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-basics/signs-and-symptoms-of-cancer.html) Accessed 9/4/2018.
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