Q: I have an event coming up in a few weeks that I would like to drop a few pounds for. What is the safest way to do this?
You may not be able to lose two or three pounds of actual body fat in just a few weeks. But you might be successful in shedding water weight, and giving yourself a digestive cleanse which can make your waistline appear smaller not to mention give your energy levels a nice boost.
Some things you can do if you're trying to drop a few pounds and look your best for a special occasion but you don't have a lot of time:
Reduce your salt intake. If you normally eat at restaurants or order a lot of takeout food it's time to make the switch to homemade lunches. This is just better for you in general, and you might want to stay in the habit even after your special occasion is past.
Choose a whole food. For example, a roast chicken made into chicken salad at home will contain far less sodium than say, chicken nuggets, a fried chicken sandwich or even cold cuts of chicken breast from the grocery store.
Eat whole grains. If you normally enjoy white bread or a white roll with your sandwich, switch to whole wheat or another whole grain blend. If you typically have pasta or white rice with dinner, switch to brown rice. Whole grains are better for your digestion and they will help food move through your system more quickly.
Increase the amount of water you drink. Experts typically recommend 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. However, some say that you should strive for a gallon. If you can't do a gallon (did someone say potty break?), at least shoot for six to eight.
Try a lemon water cleanse in the morning. Many weight loss experts swear by a morning drink of water with fresh lemon squeezed in before breakfast. This is said to jumpstart the digestive system.
Another option is to drink a couple teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and water first thing in the morning to kickstart your system.
Increase intake of fresh vegetables. Fresh green lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, and peppers all contain good amounts of both water and fiber to speed up digestion and give your metabolism a boost.
Adding some cooked cruciferous and green leafy like cabbage, broccoli, spinach or kale. These types of vegetables are more difficult to digest when eating raw, but the body accepts them nicely after cooking, especially with garlic and oil.
You will notice with all of this increase of produce intake as well as all of the water that you likely are using the bathroom more often than you normally do.
This is a sign that your effort is working, and after a couple of weeks you will likely see that you have lost a few pounds on the scale as a result of water weight and access waste buildup being shed.
Stay away from typically salty foods. We talked about choosing whole foods instead of ordering take out or eating at restaurants. But what about salty foods hiding in your pantry?
Anything that is boxed and from your freezer section likely contains high amounts of sodium that cause you to retain water and weigh more than you actually might.
If you do enjoy frozen entrees, check the label and if the serving size is under 300 mg per serving that is typically a low salt meal.
Stay away from sugary drinks. We talked about having lots of water. Sugary drinks are notoriously full of empty calories. They're not a healthy weight loss friendly substitute for clean water.
So if you normally treat yourself to a glass of soda with dinner, a bottle of sweet tea in the afternoon or an energy drink after you exercise, switch over to water or maybe some flavored Seltzer that does not contain sugar. Herbal tea is another option if you're getting tired of drinking water all day.
Reduce the amount of bread and starch that you eat. Here's a good way to whittle your waist in a bit of a hurry, trim away excess amounts of starch.
Example, if you normally enjoy a sandwich on a big big roll, switch to thin slices of bread or try hollowing out the roll so that you aren't consuming quite as much starch. If you typically fill half your plate with mashed potatoes, cut it down to a quarter of a plate and fill the rest with fresh salad or cooked cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli or cabbage.