Quick Weight Loss Methods That Work
Dieters are often tempted by the words “quick weight loss” or “lose weight fast.” Many trendy weight loss programs promise that you will lose weight quickly and keep it off. The problem is that many of those fad “crash” diets aren’t realistic and don’t work. But that isn’t necessarily because quick weight loss is bad.
Losing weight quickly can actually be part of a healthy weight loss plan. If you want your weight loss to last, however, the fast weight loss phase has to be part of a larger, more comprehensive approach that includes long-term lifestyle changes to help you maintain your slimmer physique.
Quick Weight Loss Methods
So how do people lose weight quickly? Common methods include low calorie diets (LCD) and very low calorie diets (VLCD). Dieters should know the difference before they choose a weight loss plan.
- Low Calorie Diet: Weight loss programs that provide 1,000 – 1,200 calories per day for women or 1,200–1,600 calories per day for men are considered to be low calorie diets. According to the Weight Control Information Network, these diets often include regular foods that are sometimes combined with meal replacement shakes or products.
- Very Low Calorie Diet: VLCDs are often liquid diets or diets that include little or no regular food. Very low calorie diets provide up to 800 calories per day. These diets generally require medical supervision and can only be maintained for a short period of time. Patients who are obese may work with their physicians to lose weight on a VLCD, like Optifast, to improve their health.
Popular Diets to Lose Weight Fast
You’ll see some trendy low calorie diets, including the M-Plan Diet and the 3-Day Military Diet advertised online and in fashion magazines or tabloids. Their attention-grabbing strategies often appeal to dieters who are looking for something new and something easy. The plans are generally not backed by legitimate weight loss companies, physicians or registered dietitians and they are usually not effective for long-term weight loss.
But some low calorie diets are endorsed by brands that you’d recognize. Nutrisystem, for example, has Fast 5+ Kit to help new dieters lose five pounds in their first week. During that week, dieters follow a structured eating plan that provides approximately 1000 calories.
Dr. Anthony Fabricatore is the Vice President of Research and Development for Nutrisystem. He says that the Fast 5+ Kit is meant to be part of a long-term plan. He explains that “after the first week, customers transition to the calorie level that is tailored to their estimated metabolic needs to support a continued 1-2 pound loss per week.”
But Nutrisystem is not the only commercial diet program to include fast weight loss as part of the first weeks of the plan. Diets like Atkins and The South Beach Diet also include a low calorie stage in the beginning to boost your weight loss.
Why (Some) Quick Weight Diets Work
So why would a dieter follow a short-term, low-calorie diet if their rate of weight loss is ultimately going to slow down? According to Fabricatore, short-term quick weight loss can provide a boost to dieters. In his experience as a clinical therapist he sees dieters gain two specific benefits.
- Quick results. When people start a diet, they invest time, money and effort. If they get a quick return on their investment, they are more likely to continue to invest and stick to their plan for a longer period of time.
- Positive beliefs. When a dieter believes that they can lose weight, they boost their chances of reaching their weight loss goal. It’s a concept that psychologists call self-efficacy; the belief that you can carry out a specific task. A week of successful quick weight loss can help you to boost your belief system and build self-efficacy.
Quick Weight Loss Drawbacks
Low calorie diets and very low calorie diets are not for everyone. Very low calorie diets are only appropriate for people who are under medical supervision. In most cases, they are used with people who are obese or whose health is at risk because of their weight.
Low calories diets, like the Fast 5+ Kit by Nutrisystem, are not always medically appropriate for dieters with diabetes or other medical conditions.
In addition, transitioning off of a low calorie diet can be problematic. After quick weight loss, dieters must either switch to a more traditional diet or go back to their old eating habits. People who go back to their old eating habits are likely to gain the weight back. And dieters who move to a traditional diet can be disappointed when their weight loss slows down or stalls. But, Fabricatore says that this disappointment can be prevented if a dieter has clear expectations about the transition from the beginning of the diet.
And lastly, quick weight loss diets, alone, don’t provide dieters the opportunity to learn important healthy habits that they need to sustain their goal weight for life. This is why transitioning to a longer term traditional weight loss plan is important. When dieters invest in a well-balanced comprehensive long-term weight loss plan – that may include a fast weight loss phase – they learn healthy habits like portion control, finding time for exercise and moderation. Ultimately these are the skills that will keep them lean for life.