When looking to lose weight, slow and steady wins the race, right? Not anymore!
While there are plenty of different ways to lose weight, perhaps no approach has been as misunderstood and distrusted as ‘rapid’ weight loss. Certainly any diet that advocates for drastic and extreme measures to lose significant amounts of weight in a short time frame should be treated with caution, but there is more to ‘rapid’ weight loss than the negative connotations associated with a crash diet.
As an accredited dietitian and founder of rapid weight loss meal program Be Fit Food, I know that under the right dietary conditions, rapid weight loss is not only achievable, but the result can be more significant for your long term success at keeping the weight off.
The good news is, the science is on our side. Research is beginning to suggest that there is an association between the rate of initial weight loss and long term success. Of course, one of the immediate benefits of rapid weight loss is that you see results more quickly and are more motivated to stick with it as a result. However, losing weight now is only part of the picture, we also want to keep it off. It’s comforting to know that initial rapid weight loss has been found to actually reduce your susceptibility of regaining weight in the long term.
What’s the science behind rapid weight loss?
To achieve rapid weight loss we are looking to induce a state known as ‘mild nutritional ketosis’, a high fat burning state that the body enters when deprived of its primary fuel source, carbohydrates.
By reducing your carbohydrate intake, your body starts converting stored body fat into an energy source instead, producing ketones in the process. These ketones are produced after about three days (which is a sign you are in the ketosis zone), at which point they can suppress the appetite which makes dieting much easier to sustain.
How can I achieve it?
There are a lot of ways to achieve rapid weight loss, however, many of them will leave you hungry and unsatisfied. Here are five kick-starter tips and tricks to get you on the right track.
1. Reduce your carbohydrate intake to between 50 – 70 grams per day
The body’s preferred fuel source is glucose which you largely consumer in the form of carbohydrates found in bread, cereals, grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, dairy products and sugar. To achieve rapid weight loss through ketosis, you need to get your body to use up its glycogen stores so it will instead resort to fat stores for fuel. Keeping your carb intake between 50 – 70 grams per day keeps your glucose reserves low enough that your body will continue burning fat.
2. Reduce your calorie intake significantly below your estimated energy requirements (personalised advice from a health professional is recommended).
A calorie deficit works in conjunction with your low carb intake to boost the speed of your weight loss. Your ticket to weight loss is ketosis, but how much you restrict your energy intake will determine how much weight you lose.
3. Stick with it!
Ketosis is an extremely sensitive state to maintain, so even indulging in one snack that increases your daily carbohydrate intake level will take you out of ketosis and mean you need to start the cycle again.
4. Snack right
By all means, you can increase your overall daily calories (as the deficit is only needed to prompt weight loss when in mild nutritional ketosis) but be sure to select low carb snacks. This will ensure you are still operating in ketosis, however, your rate of weight loss will slow.
5. This is a short-term kick-start
While the appetite suppressing aspect of ketones will make it easier to stick with the reduced carb intake, and the rate of weight loss will keep your motivated, this should not be used as a long term diet. As a general rule, stick with a rapid weight loss plan for two – four weeks for great results before transitioning to a healthy meal plan.
Kate Save is a weight loss dietitian, diabetes educator, exercise physiologist and founder of Be Fit Food, a real-food rapid weight loss program.
Like this? These are 3 science-backed benefits of the keto diet, and this is your kitchen checklist if you’re going keto.