I was a bit loath to write this series of articles because I despise most things connected with the idea of “rapid weight loss.”
Wild promises of losing upwards of 1 pound per day, and the extreme weight loss measures that go with them, are a big reason why many people ultimately fail to achieve and maintain their weight loss goals.
The reality is you have to look at getting and staying fit as a LIFESTYLE change, not a quick fix.
Chasing quick fixes leads to yo-yo dieting, which doesn’t necessarily physically impair future weight loss efforts. but sure is psychologically defeating.
Proper weight loss. however, is slow and steady, never leaves you feeling starved or run down, and even allows for building muscle and strength . This is, by far, the best way to go about losing weight.
So, with that said, let’s get to why I am writing this article series.
I’m writing these articles to help people that are desperately seeking rapid weight loss, and are willing to just about do anything to get there.
Common reasons for this are things like…
- Weddings and other celebrations
- Impending dietary doomsdays (holidays and vacations usually)
- Post-binge moments of self-loathing
Whatever your reason for wanting to lose weight fast, in this three-part article series, you’re going to learn how to safely, healthily, and rapidly lose weight…up to 15-20 pounds in one month…WITHOUT sacrificing a bunch of muscle or your metabolism, or any other aspect of your health.
By following the strategies in these articles, you will lose weight quickly, but there are downsides:
- If you lift weights or engage in resistance training, your performance is going to suffer.
- You may find your energy levels low at certain time in the day, and may feel a bit grumpy.
- You may have to deal with mild issues of hunger and cravings.
Nothing too extreme in terms of “side effects,” but they can be annoying nonetheless. Fortunately, you can rest easy that you won’t be harming your body.
How long you use the strategies in this article are up to you, and should be based on how you feel.
If you feel great, then keep it up for as long as you desire. If you really don’t like how you feel, then use them to kickstart your weight loss efforts, and then follow a more “relaxed” approach such as those I espouse in my books .
Alright then, enough intro. Let’s start losing some weight, beginning with the nutritional side of safe, healthy, rapid weight loss.
The Best “Diet” for Rapid Weight Loss
In order to lose fat, you need to give your body less energy (food) than it burns every day, as measured in calories.
This is known is creating a “calorie deficit .” No calorie deficit, no losing fat, period.
Now, many “rapid weight loss” solutions call for severe calorie restrictions (eating very little every day). This is not the way to go, and can lead to metabolic damage, excessive muscle loss, extreme irritableness, and more.
Instead, you want to put your body in a mild calorie deficit.
Specifically, you want to feed it about 20% less calories than it burns every day. By doing this, along with the other strategies in these articles, you should be able to lose upwards of 2-3 pounds per week while preserving your metabolic health, energy levels, mental balance, and mood.
Doing this effectively requires a few steps.
Determine How Many Calories You Should Be Eating Every Day
An accurate way to measure how much energy you’re burning is to use the Katch McArdle formula to determine your basal metabolic rate (BMR), and multiply it as follows:
- By 1.2 if you exercise 1-3 hours per week.
- By 1.35 if you exercise 4-6 hours per week.
- By 1.5 if you exercise 6+ hours per week.
This gives you a good approximation of your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which is simply the total amount of calories you’re burning each day.
Now, to create the mild calorie deficit, you’re going to simply eat 20% LESS than that number every day. Calculate this by multiplying your TDEE by .8.
For example, I’m 6’2, 29 years old, and I weigh 192 at 7-8% body fat, and I exercise about 6 hours per week. Using the Katch McArdle formula, my TDEE is about 2,900 calories per day.
2900 * .8 = 2,320, which I would just round down to 2,300.
Okay then, you now have your “daily calorie deficit” number.
The next step is to work out how this translates into grams of protein, carbs, and fats every day, because the ratios that you will eat are important when you’re trying to maximize weight loss and muscle preservation.
Convert Your Daily Calories Into Macronutrient Needs
In case you don’t know what a “macronutrient” is, it’s defined as follows:
A macronutrient is any of the nutritional components of the diet that are required in relatively large amounts: protein, carbohydrate, fat, and minerals such as calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and phosphorous.
An important part of rapid weight loss is manipulating the amounts of protein, carbs, and fats you’re eating. To facilitate losing weight quickly and healthily, your diet is going to be high in protein, relatively low in carbohydrate, and moderate with fats.
Because while low-carb diets aren’t by any means necessary for weight loss. research has shown that they can result in more rapid short-term weight loss . This is mainly due to shedding water. but hey, it makes you look leaner, so we’ll take it.
So, this is how we’re going to set up your daily macronutrient intake:
- 45% of your calories from protein
- 20% of your calories from carbohydrate
- 35% of your calories from fat
The math on this is very simple to work out. A gram of protein and carbohydrate contains about 4 calories, and a gram of fat about 9, so…
- Multiply your “daily calorie deficit” number by .45, and then divide this by 4. This is the number of grams of protein you should eat daily.
- Multiply your “daily calorie deficit” number by .20, and then divide this by 4. This is the number of grams of carbohydrate you should eat daily.
- Multiply your “daily calorie deficit” number by .35, and then divide this by 9. This is the number of grams of fat you should eat daily.
For example, if your “daily calorie deficit” number is 2,000, then…
- 2000 * .45 / 4 = 225 grams of protein
- 2000 * .20 / 4 = 100 grams of carbs
- 2000 * .35 / 9 = 77 grams of fat (which you could simply round down to 75)
Okay, so now you know how you’re supposed to get your calories in. Let’s move on to the next step.
Create a Precise Meal Plan to Follow
The biggest mistake many people make in trying to lose weight is they don’t create and follow a proper meal plan.
That is, they don’t plan or track what they eat, and almost always err on the side of eating too much, not too little.
Fortunately, doing it right is very simple:
- Open up Excel or an equivalent
- Open up www.calorieking.com
- Start looking up the macronutrients and calories of various foods you like to eat.
- Build meals one food at a time, and include EVERY substance with calories (sauces, creamers, condiments, etc.)
- Play with both meal composition and timing as desired–focus on eating healthy foods you like, and on a schedule you like
- Tweak everything until you’re happy with the foods and meal timing, and are within 100 calories of your target
- Follow the meal plan every day
Honestly, that’s all it takes.
As you’ll see, you won’t have much room in your numbers for junk food. You want to stick to healthy, low-calorie foods that give a lot of volume for the calories (which helps you feel fuller).
- Lean red meat
- Veggies and fruits, especially fibrous ones
- Low-fat dairy like cottage cheese and Greek yogurt
- Oils such as olive or coconut oil
- Grains like rice and quinoa
When I’m dieting to lose weight, I always include a generous serving of fibrous veggies with my lunches and dinners, and often include fibrous fruit likes apples with snacks.
That said, don’t think that you have to restrict everything you like to eat for fear of it not being a “good carb” or otherwise “approved” by some other dietary method you’ve read or followed in the past.
So long as you hit your daily numbers, WHAT you eat doesn’t matter when it comes to weight loss: HOW MUCH is the key. (Read my article on flexible dieting if you want to know more about this.)
If you want a little indulgence, like some chocolate after dinner or some cheese with your dinner or what have you, simply work it into your numbers.
Meal timing and frequency is completely up to you. Eating more or fewer meals per day isn’t going to help or hinder your weight loss .
Here are a few examples of meal plans we make for people as a part of my custom meal plan service. They should help you:
If you get hung up on the meal planning and would rather just have a plan created for you, tailored to your food preferences and schedule, we would be happy to help you .
Stick to the Meal Plan Every Day
I already stated this above (point #7), but I’m going to give it special emphasis…
You ONLY eat what’s on your meal plan–nothing more, nothing less. No having a few extra bites of every meal, no spontaneously adding some oil for cooking your veggies or butter on your toast, no doubling up on the cream in your coffee.
These “little” on-the-fly modifications add up over the day and can SIGNIFICANTLY impair fat loss.
Another point is “cheat” or “free” meals–meals wherein you eat more or less anything you want.
While you’re trying to maximize weight loss, do not have any “cheat” or “free” meals. They are nice psychological boosts, but they DO slow things down, even if only by a little (and they only become necessary when you’re lean, working on getting really lean).
In the Next Article:
Using Exercise to Maximize Weight Loss
Okay then, that wraps the nutrition side of the equation, and part 1 of this three-part series.
In the next article in this series. we’re going to talk about how to use exercise and supplementation to help you get the most out this “rapid weight loss diet.”
Click here to view part 2 of this article series
What do you think about the advice in this article? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
How to get lean and build serious muscle and strength, faster than you ever thought possible…
If you want a "paint-by-numbers," step-by-step blueprint for building a muscular, lean, strong body. faster than you ever thought possible. then you want to check out my books.
I've also learned a lot about what DOES work, and I wrote Bigger Leaner Stronger and Thinner Leaner Stronger to teach you EVERYTHING you need to know to build the body you've always wanted.