Not only does crash dieting contain an enormous amount of will power, it's also pretty unsafe. Usually you're cutting out calories and nutrients that your body needs to thrive. But all other weight loss options take too long, right? Wrong. Women's Health is here to set the record straight: You can lose weight quickly without crash dieting. Here's how!
Don't eat any one food (except for veggies) more than once per day
If you have toast at breakfast, choose another whole-grain carb like brown rice or quinoa for lunch and dinner. If you love to eat PB and J for a pre-workout snack, lay off the nuts the rest of the day. By limiting yourself to one portion of any single food, you automatically add a sort of fail-safe to your eating plan, says Rania Batayneh, M.P.H., author of The One One One Diet. Plus, even more importantly, this strategy adds a wider array of nutrients to each day—increasing your satiety and energy levels so you can crush your weight-loss efforts.
Eat legumes at least four times per week
In one European Journal of Nutrition study, people who followed a low-cal diet that included four weekly servings of legumes lost significantly more weight after just four weeks compared to those who ate the same number of calories—but no legumes. The weight-loss turbocharge may come from legumes' fiber and antioxidant compounds, since the researchers found that legume lovers had lower levels of inflammatory markers that are linked to obesity. Try adding chickpeas to your salad, cooking some lentils in the slow cooker, or mixing black beans into a Tex-Mex omelet.
Do 20 minutes of high intensity interval training
To lose weight in record time, high intensity interval training is your exercise strategy of choice. Minute-per-minute, it burns more calories than other workouts like steady-state cardio while also increasing the calories you burn 48 hours after your workout, says Taylor Gainor, C.S.C.S., co-founder of LIT Method in Los Angeles. Plus, over the long term, interval training builds muscle, which is critical for keeping the weight off, says Brown. Your exercise prescription: Perform all-out effort of a given exercise (like burpees, squats, lunges, or pushups) for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds, and repeat until four minutes have passed. Rest one minute, then repeat for a total of four rounds, suggests research from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Drink a liter of water for every 50 pounds you weigh
While increasing your water intake is vital to preventing overeating, promoting healthy digestion, and keeping your metabolism in tip-top shape, when it comes to dropping weight quickly, water is also your greatest de-bloating ally, says San Diego-based trainer Kyle Brown, C.S.C.S., who is best known for getting celebrities "cut" before photo shoots and red-carpet affairs. That's because, when your cells are dehydrated, their first course of action is to cling to any fluid that's in your system, contributing to all-over bloat. He recommends drinking a liter of water for every 50 pounds you weigh, per day. So if you weigh 175 pounds, it comes out to 3.5 liters of water. Sip consistently to prevent overloading your system all at once.
To see what else Women's Health has to say about losing weight fast, click here.
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