How do you lose weight fast for a special event?

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Answered by: Brynne, An Expert in the Weight Loss 101 Category
Tempting as it is to lose weight fast for a wedding, vacation or class reunion, the drawbacks can outweigh any possible benefits. You need to work off an extra 3,500 calories to burn each pound of fat, which is why experts recommend that you lose no more than 1 to 2.5 pounds per week. Fasting or crash-dieting can cause your metabolism to slow down, meaning that the 10 pounds you lost the week before the cruise may all come back during your first week at sea. Fad diets tend to have a narrow focus and lack balanced nutrition. This can result in fatigue, headaches, digestive issues and even lead to dull hair and skin and brittle nails.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to look better in a hurry.

Don't starve yourself . A balanced diet that contains at least 1,500 calories for women and 2,000 calories for men which includes fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats will not only help you lose weight quickly and safely, you will see the benefits in your hair, skin, nails and overall mood. Eating several small meals throughout the day will keep you from getting too hungry and varying your menu will keep you from getting bored.

Drink at least 32 to 64 ounces of water every day. Staying hydrated keeps your blood moving and helps it flush wastes and toxins from your body. Add lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit slices to flavor and cinnamon sticks or whole mint leaves for a little spice if you don't like it plain.

Avoid alcohol. Aside from the empty calories, drinking lowers your inhibitions, making it that much harder to resist when the nachos call your name at midnight.

Cut out salt and starchy carbohydrates like bread and refined-flour pasta. Salt makes you retain water, which can cause bloating. Refined starches have a high glycemic index. Eating them causes a spike in your blood sugar levels. Your pancreas responds by releasing insulin to vacuum up the excess sugar, leading to a sudden drop in your blood sugar levels. That tells your brain that you're hungry, which can lead to overeating and between-meal snacking. Choose whole grains, nuts and seeds instead of fries or chips to help keep your blood sugar levels steady and your appetite under control.

Keep moving. Anything you can do to burn calories safely will help you lose weight fast. Weight-bearing exercise can build and tighten muscles, helping you to look slimmer and more firm while burning calories more efficiently even when you're at rest. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity --such as walking -- at least five times per week, in combination with strength and flexibility training. You aren't going to get ripped abs and a baby-smooth butt in one week no matter how hard you work out, but all-over stretching and firming methods such as Pilates or yoga can help you look and feel healthier and more fit.

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