You’ve got a class reunion just weeks away and you need to drop some weight fast. What do you do?
Well, you can panic and think of excuses to not attend. Or, you can try the “4 F’s of Fast Weight Loss.”
I first stumbled upon this approach while interviewing Dr. Paul Rivas, the author of The Cheater’s Diet (HCI).
Dr. Rivas says fast weight loss relies on four key factors: frequent small meals, fluids, fish and fiber.
Before you dive into this approach, please note: you should not attempt a fast weight drop for more than a week or two at a time — and you should always return to a sustainable and slow weight loss plan immediately afterwards.
Keep in mind that fast weight loss could set you up for even faster weight regain.
“Extreme outcomes require extreme measures,” Dr. Rivas notes. “The routine I’m about to recommend isn’t easy. That’s why I don’t suggest you try it as a long-term diet strategy.
Eat small amounts of food 5 or 6 times a day. This has the effect of keeping insulin levels steady. Fruit, V-8 drinks and cheese sticks all work well as mini-meals.
“This sort of schedule will help you maintain a feeling of fullness, keep your calorie intake low and stoke your metabolism,” Dr. Rivas says. “You’ll run like a high-octane metabolic machine.”
Studies show that we’re not getting enough water and that’s screwing up our kidney function, which, in turn, slows down weight loss. Here’s how.
“When the kidneys, whose job is removing waste from the bloodstream, don’t get enough water, they don’t function properly and something has to pick up the slack,” Dr. Rivas explains.
“So that job goes to the liver. Among the liver’s normal functions is turning fat into a form that your body can use as fuel. When the liver is distracted by doing the job of the dehydrated kidneys, however, it can’t devote as much effort to its own work, fuel manufacturing, so more fat remains unused.”
For best results, drink at least two quarts (eight cups) of fluid per day PLUS an extra cup for every 3.5 points your BMI exceeds 25. Don’t know your BMI? Go online and search for a BMI calculator. You’ll need to know your height and weight to make it work.
NOTE: Fluids consumed don’t have to be simply water. You can also opt for flavored waters, tea (green and black work best), coffee, fresh lemonade and soup.
Eat your protein first — and eat as much as you like — during your three main daily meals.
Fish — especially tuna, salmon, sardines and herring — is the best source of protein for good health, but chicken and turkey breast are acceptable options, as are pork loin, turkey sausage and turkey bacon.
“Eating protein makes you feel sated more quickly, so without even realizing it, you’ll find yourself reducing the number of calories you consume at meals,” Dr. Rivas says.
Fruit and whole-grain cereal provide the best fiber. Fruits highest in fiber, include apples, pears, plums, cherries, strawberries and prunes.
Beans are another good source, and they offer quality protein as well. You can also try a salad of chickpeas, kidney beans and green beans sprinkled with some vinegar and olive oil.