Fast weight loss diet methods come in many flavors. For example, you could lose weight super fast by eating nothing but 1,000 calories of cold stone ice cream cake every day and call it the Stone Cold Weight Loss Diet.
(sadly required disclaimer: before you even think about trying the Stone Cold Diet, that was sarcasm, and NO, we don't even remotely recommend it!)
Of course the effects of a ridiculous 1,000 calorie ice cream cake diet, such as losing lean mass and not addressing (and in fact exacerbating) the underlying problem which is insulin control, let alone the possibility of developing a dangerous eating disorder, make this kind of fast weight loss diet an unwise approach. Yet, at least science is clearly able to explain such a diet, while other diets promoted to unsuspecting consumers have no credible science to support their absurd claims (but that doesn't keep radio stations from happily accepting their ad dollars!).
Here is a sampling of just a few crazy weight loss claims that Americans so badly want to believe, recently heard on Orlando, Florida radio stations:
"lose 2 pounds per day... our special technology resets your metabolism... our hormone injection makes you burn fat... our special laser will give you a bikini body in 30 days"
When you cut through all the hype, pseudo-science and out-right scam weight loss programs being marketed across Florida from great university towns like Gainesville and DeLand, to retirement favorites like The Villages and Ocala, to the beautiful treasure coast town of Vero Beach,
...there are 5 unmistakable proven success factors when it comes to a trustworthy fast weight loss diet.
Fast Weight Loss Diet Tip # 1: Accountability
Of all the varied approaches to slim down and maintain a healthy weight, there is one 'weight loss secret' beyond all others that stands out - Accountability.
It's human nature. We don't stick to anything unless we are being held accountable. In rare cases, you find people who hold themselves accountable and just get after it. However when we dig in to their success we find there are factors in their lives that are driving that accountability.
Accountability in any form is certainly helpful, but weight loss research shows that professional support with regular in-person visits, is the absolute best form of accountability when it comes to a fast weight loss diet. Furthermore, the largest weight loss study to date confirms the benefit of intensive lifestyle intervention for long-term weight maintenance.
With the help of caring professionals who actually believe in you, you can get the accountability you need without drastic measures such as dangerous pills and weight loss surgery.
Fast Weight Loss Diet Tip #2: Journaling
Closely related to the accountability factor, is keeping a detailed meal journal. The research on the results of those who keep a journal vs. those who do not is crystal clear as this food diary study shows.
Again we should not be surprised here. If you are trying to improve at any skill or habit, you must have daily metrics that indicate if you are on track to acheive your goal. Not keeping a journal after weight loss is one of the main observances of dieters who regain their weight within the first year vs. those who don't.
Even continuing to journal for just 2-3 months while checking in with a professional weight loss provider after your weight loss goal is achieved can make a big difference as you learn to adopt a new healthy balanced eating pattern.
Fast Weight Loss Diet Tip #3: Low Carb beats Low Fat, Both is Even Better
Even in the face of strong evidence supporting low carb as superior as a fast weight loss diet, we still have professionals hanging on to low-fat, high carb diets... if by a thread.
It's not that low-fat is necessarily bad (our protocol is both low carb and low fat), but high-carb is detrimental when combined with moderate to high amounts of fat.
Another downfall of most low-fat approaches is the lack of adequate quality and quantity of protein, leading to muscle loss and over stimulation of insulin, something we are trying to prevent in a therapeutic low carb diet.
That being said, there is some interesting evidence for extreme low fat diet approaches. This <10% fat approach has some compelling outcomes data but is not consistent with what is being advocated in typical 30% low fat diets. It also does not indict meat as the problem, as most low fat advocates do.
The data are consistent with our successful approach of teaching clients how to separate carbs from fats as an effective weight management program.
Fast Weight Loss Diet Tip #4: Meal Replacement
In a perfect world, we could just present weight loss clients with a sound nutritional plan and a few cooking lessons. As the research on meal replacement for weight loss indicates however, we do not live in a perfect world.
Why do supervised fast weight loss diet plans with a meal replacement out-perform whole food supervised plans with over 6x as much initial weight loss? Not only that, the research shows 2x as much weight loss is maintained long-term with access to one meal replacement per day as in this meal replacement vs. energy restriction diet study.
Most of our readers can figure out why this might be, and not even need the research to know what logic already spells out. In a crazy world full of temptation and stressful overworked lifestyles, it's too easy to get off track of a well designed diet when preparing your own meals 3 to 4 times per day.
Meal replacements bring practicality and feasibility to any fast weight loss diet and long-term plan to keep the weight off. This approach is not about eating out of a box or drinking your meals, it's about maintaining the right macro-nutrient mix and portion control.
This does not mean the avoidance of whole foods. Focus on a combination of whole foods and partial meal replacements which allows for sound nutrition and positive long-term behavior change. The first phase of the weight loss program in our clinics includes 3 daily partial meal replacements, then clients transition to using one full meal replacement shake as a tool to manage maintenance.
Fast Weight Loss Diet Tip #5: Exercise for weight maintenance, not weight loss
Of all the weight loss misunderstandings, this one is the most common. This is isn't a debatable fact, yet walk into a gym and ask how many people are there trying to lose weight.
In our clinics we get clients regularly that have struggled to lose weight all the while they are hitting the iron, running, spinning and crunching for 2-3 hours per day.
As Gary Taubes stated in his recent interview with David Perlmutter M.D., you can't change one end of the energy balance equation without affecting the other. Here's another study that helps explain the adaptive qualities of metabolism.
If that doesn't convince you, just think about the simple, un-debatable biochemistry. One pound of fat is worth 4,000+ calories (newer data suggests it may be closer to 7,000 in some cases). You'd have to run a marathon, and then keep going another 5-10 miles to burn that many calories. In other words exercise, is an extremely inefficient fat burning method. You can get much farther by altering your calorie input, and even further by lowering your intake of insulin stimulating foods.
Not only is exercise an inefficient weight loss strategy, it can actually compromise your results. Your body will catabolize its own muscle to sustain any intense exercise when you're on a calorie restricted diet. Losing lean mass is the worst possible outcome because that is your calorie burning engine and important for maintaining insulin sensitivity.
You're much better off sticking with light, conversational exercise (we provide coaching on flexibility and postural exercise) while following a low-carb fast weight loss diet as described above. If you're keeping your carbohydrates around 40 grams per day and also avoiding all but essential fatty acids, you'll be able to get to your goal weight faster, then resume your more intense activity.
But when it comes to weight maintenance (and insulin sensitivity maintenance)...
Exercise is vital. As this study graphic explains, short sessions of intense resistance training is especially beneficial to your metabolism. Once you reach your desired weight, be sure to integrate an exercise plan that is appropriate for you and approved by your physician. Exercise is most definitely important for ongoing health, just not as part of a fast weight loss diet.