Weight loss is not as hard as you think it is. Two weeks may seem not enough to drop any meaningful amount of weight, but there are safe ways to drop a handful of unwanted kilograms in a short period of time.
Fad diets and promoters of weight loss pills will have you believing otherwise, but there are safe and effective ways to lose weight in 2 weeks or less. Let’s take a look.
Why Lose Weight?
There are several great reasons why one should lose weight.
1. Reduces Risk of High Blood Pressure and Stroke
Controlling your weight can help reduce high blood pressure and stroke risks. Extra pounds strain the circulatory system and may cause high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and sleep apnea. Losing at least 10% of your current weight can help decrease your blood pressure and stroke risk (1, 2).
2. Reverses Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is also a very serious health condition that causes elevated blood glucose level. According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 8% of Americans suffer from it (3).
There is a link between type 2 diabetes and obesity. One study looked at 30 patients aged 20-65 who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for 3-6 years and were not using insulin. They were from Scotland and England.
Half of the group were placed in a strict weight loss program. Their diet was replaced by milkshakes and soups for 3-5 months, with a maximum of 853 calories daily. This was followed by a gradual reintroduction of solids and support to maintain their weight loss long term. The control group, on the other hand, were given traditional diabetes care and continued their medications.
Results showed that nearly half or 46% of people in the weight loss group had normal blood glucose level after a year as compared to only 4% in the control group. The researchers think that this was because weight loss reduced fat inside the liver and the pancreas, allowing them to return to normal function (4).
3. Controls Asthma and Allergy Symptoms
Not all people know that weight loss and allergies are related. Excess weight may worsen asthma and allergies. It negatively affects the adrenal glands, which take part in controlling asthma and allergies. Excess weight also decreases respiratory function, which may exacerbate asthma symptoms (5).
4. Relieves Symptoms of Osteoarthritis
Weight loss and arthritis also have a strong connection that is tied to inflammation in the body. One study found that a weight loss of 10% can help improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis (6).
A newer study analyzed data collected from 240 overweight and obese patients with painful osteoarthritis of the knee. They are at least 55 years old and had a sedentary lifestyle. Most were white females. Results showed that those who lost 20% or more of their body weight had significantly less inflammation. They reported less pain and could walk farther in a 6-minute test as compared to others.
5. Boosts Memory
Mental weight-loss benefits can go further, boosting memory. One study in Sweden looked at 20 overweight postmenopausal women. Results suggest that obesity-related problems in memory function are reversible with weight loss. Brain-activity has increased in regions that are very significant for matching faces or identification (7).
Another study done at the University of Columbia found that exercise may change the brain in ways that protect memory. Regular aerobic exercise can help boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in learning and verbal memory (8).
6. Improves Sleep
The prospect of getting a good night’s sleep is a strong weight-loss motivator. One study on 33 obese patients with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome showed that weight loss, induced by low-calorie diet and behavioral changes, can significantly improve sleep quality and daytime sleepiness.
Another study conducted at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine looked at 77 overweight patients with either prediabetes or type 2 DM. Most complain of sleep apnea, insomnia, daytime fatigue. Six months after, they had lost approximately 15 pounds and reduced their belly fat by 15%. Sleep quality improved (9).
Researchers from Oregon State University also found that people who exercise for at least 150 minutes weekly slept better and felt more alert and active during the day as compared to those who did not exercise much (10).
6. Changes Mood Positively
People who are overweight normally have imbalances, which includes the hormones that affect mood. As a result, losing weight can change your overall well-being positively and decrease the risk of depression.
A review of 10 studies investigating the relationship between weight loss and mood change was done. Results showed significant positive changes in mood were noted in 6 out of 10 studies. These positive changes were related to active participation in the treatment program (11).
Avoiding serious medical conditions aren’t the only great reasons why one should lose weight. In addition to these health benefits, one may also experience a healthier lifestyle after slimming down. Many successful losers report a more active social life, greater confidence, good sleep, less stress, better body image and mood, improved sex life, and heightened energy.
While the above-mentioned medical and lifestyle benefits of losing weight are enough to motivate you to stick to a good diet and exercise program, others do it to improve the quality of their relationship with others. For example, some people want to lose weight to save their marriage.
But how can you lose weight safely? How fast?
A Safe Rate for Weight Loss
Generally, health experts recommend a weight loss of 1-2 pounds weekly (12, 13). This rate demands a deficit of approximately 500-1000 calories daily, which can be achieved by increasing physical activity and consuming fewer calories.
Why Do A Slow and Steady Rate?
To achieve permanent weight loss, you must learn how to incorporate healthier habits that you can live with and maintain. This includes healthily satisfying your cravings and hunger by smart snacking, eating more vegetables and fruits, and reducing portion sizes. It also means finding a workout routine that you’ll truly enjoy.
This will result in a steady pace of weight loss, which is easier to maintain to reach your long-term goals. It may take time to build these good habits, but as soon as you become accustomed to them, losing weight and keeping it becomes a lot easier.
With a slow and steady rate of weight loss, your body metabolizes fat to provide enough energy to compensate for your calorie deficit. You will not lose muscle mass and you’ll have a more fit and toned body.
Why Not Do Rapid Weight Loss?
At the beginning of your weight loss journey, you’ll be impressed with the drop of as much as 10 pounds in the first couple of weeks brought about by the changes in your eating habits and water weight loss. After that, however, you must slow down. If not, you risk losing muscles, which can decrease your metabolic rate over time.
Rapid weight loss will also involve habits that are quite hard to maintain like eating too few calories and exercising at intensity levels greater than what is appropriate for your level. The use of unhealthy pills and supplements, along with food restriction can also put you in danger.
These practices may lead to nutrient deficiencies and injuries due to overuse. As soon as you stopped dieting, there is a greater chance that you will succumb to your old habits and gain back the weight you lost.
How to Lose Weight in 2 Weeks?
1. Focus on Eating More Whole Foods
Eating more whole foods should be easy for most people. It is sustainable and will help you improve your overall health. You can see whole foods everywhere! These are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fish.
Evidence showed that consuming more whole foods can significantly reduce your body weight, blood glucose levels, and your risks of heart disease and diabetes.
If you are not used to eating whole foods, you can start with small servings. Choose your favorite veggie or fruit and add it to your daily diet.
2. Do Not Overdo Reducing Calories
You must understand that for you to lose body fat, you must create a caloric deficit. That would mean reducing your calorie intake below maintenance level to prompt burning of stored body fat for energy. But cutting too many calories would also result in excessive muscle loss.
That deficit can be classified as small, moderate, or large based on how low you can go and how much you reduce your daily calorie intake. Each degree has its own advantages and disadvantages. But in most cases, a moderate deficit, which is approximately 20% below the maintenance level, works for most people. Generally, females are encouraged to reduce intake by 300-400 calories and men by about 400-600 calories (14).
Why not go for a larger deficit? Will it not help in reducing more fats faster? Excessive reduction in calorie intake may cause hormonal issues, hunger, disturbances in sleep, mood swings, decreased libido, lethargy and metabolic slowdown. These are quite hard to sustain, which may just cause you to stop all at once. Also, a huge caloric deficit will have a negative impact on exercise.
3. Consume Enough Protein
When cutting calories, you have to make sure that none of them comes from proteins. Protein intake is the single most important dietary requirement in maintaining muscle mass. It is likewise the most satisfying nutrient capable of making you feel full longer and is less likely to be stored as fat when taken even in larger amounts.
Get your ideal amount of protein daily while considering several factors like carbohydrate intake and level of activity. An intake of 6-8 grams of protein per body pound is the sweet spot for people who want to keep a positive nitrogen balance when under caloric deficit.
4. Go Easy on Cardio and Do HIIT
For most people, weight loss and cardio go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. But as mentioned earlier, recovery after a workout is greatly affected when calories are reduced. For this reason, the exercises you are doing, including cardio, may need to be adjusted. Cardio can help you lose weight, right? That’s true. But is it necessary? The answer is no.
There are several ways to make your strength training more intense so that you can include cardio workouts at the same time. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) can be helpful.
Doing a stationary bike or sprints on a treadmill can effectively burn calories not only during training but also through the excess post-workout oxygen consumption. Unlike other cardio workouts, HIIT recruits more type 2 muscle fibers over type 1, thus preventing muscle loss. This makes losing weight more effective.
HIIT can likewise help build more muscles and burn more fats if done correctly with rest. In a research published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, the result showed that those who exercised at 1:1 work-to-rest ratio gain significantly more muscles than those who did a 2:1 interval (15).
Doing just the right amount of exercise. You need not kill yourself in the gym all the time. Nutrition will still be the greatest factor in losing fat.
5. Intermittent Fasting
You may have heard of intermittent fasting or IF and if you were bulking then, there’s a good chance you laughed at the idea. Now that you’re cutting, though, now would be a good time to actually try this.
Intermittent fasting is a form of disciplined eating rather than a weight loss protocol. It involves mainly eating only when you’re hungry, consuming all the calories you need in one or two meals, and literally not eating anything until the next eating schedule the next day. The period between your last meal and the next meal is when you fast.
The science is actually sound and is actually rooted in how our ancestors used to eat. Studies also confirm that you don’t really lose muscle during IF if you do it right, and that you won’t get hungry too.
However, there are some details to make IF optimal. Ideally, you wake up when the sun rises, workout, go to work, and have your first meal afterward. Your next meal (or the last meal for the day) should be within six hours after your first meal. Let’s say you had breakfast at 9:00 am, your last meal should be at 3:00 pm. You then let your body burn fat for energy until the following day.
Some people go for one meal a day, some even try 24 hours without eating. What matters is you know what you’re doing and the best way to do that is to have someone coach you.
6. Avoid Sugary Drinks
Cutting back on sweetened drinks is a good idea as they are being linked to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, insulin resistance, fatty liver, and cavities in both kids and adults.
Though this is easier said than done, gradually minimizing your intake can help remove this habit long-term.
7. Sleep Well
Sleep is definitely important for health. If you lack sleep, you become more prone to weight gain, heart disease, and even depression.
There are several reasons why most people lack sleep. It could be because of work, school, and other extracurricular activities. Even if you have a very busy schedule, you have to make adjustments to allot time for quality rest and sleep. Learn how to prioritize and get rid of activities that aren’t really that important.
Screen time before bed is one perfect example. Keep away your gadgets and turn off the TV when it is bedtime. Switch off your lights to make your room more conducive to sleep. Avoid consuming caffeine late in the afternoon or evening. If possible, stick to the same sleep schedule every night so your body can find its natural rhythm and settle into a regular sleep-wake cycle. These are some easy tips to help improve your sleeping pattern.
8. Get Rid of Convenience or Fast Foods
How often do you take convenience or fast food, which includes cookies, chips, and frozen meals for a quick snack, lunch, or dinner? Though these items are readily available and may also be tasty, they can have detrimental effects on your health, especially if eaten regularly. Fast foods are associated with obesity and increased risks of heart disease and diabetes.
Make a commitment to limit your consumption of fast foods and cook more meals at home to easily lose weight!
9. Cook Meals At Home
As mentioned earlier, choosing a healthier version of your favorite meals makes it easier for you to lose weight. The best way to ensure better food quality is to prepare and cook them at home. Research suggests that people who eat 5 or more home-cooked meals per week are 28% less likely to be overweight, compared to those who are eating fewer than 3 home-cooked meals weekly.
If you have a very busy schedule, this can be a challenge. But you can start small. Prepare one meal a day, then gradually increase the frequency over time until it becomes a habit.
10. Drink More Water
Water is always a very good beverage to drink. Not only does water nurture your metabolism, but it also helps you postpone meals. Quite a similar effect as snacks.
Have you ever thought you were hungry but then after you drank a glass of water, you felt like you could go a bit more without eating? That is because we sometimes mistake thirst for hunger. When we are properly hydrated, we are more mindful of the state of our bodies.
Water will always be better than soda or any other beverages such as juice. So make sure you consume water daily and in healthy amounts.
Make a commitment to try out this practice. There are several ways to meditate and you can easily find helpful guides in books and apps online.
Always remember to lose weight safely, following experts’ recommendations. There’s no need to rush. The best to keep it off is with long-lasting lifestyle changes. Eat healthily and do physical activities slow and steady.
If you are not sure where and how to start, how many calories to cut out based on your weight, or how to do it safely, you may always consult a doctor or a dietitian.