Five dietitians share their best tips for safe weight loss when you’re looking to shed some kilos, and fast.
When it comes to weight loss, we generally want it as quickly as possible.
While it needs to be said that more extreme weight loss (more than two kilograms a week), is likely to be largely fluid loss (as opposed to fat loss), the research does suggest that initial weight loss helps to predict long term weight loss success.
It appears that when we see significant changes on the scales it motivates us, and helps to keep focus on weight loss goals.
Then there are times in which we need to drop a few kilos quickly – to fit into an outfit, get ready for surgery, or even feel a little better in our own skin for a big event.
If this is the case, and you want three to five kilograms off ASAP… what do dietitians – the professionals who spend their entire day talking food, health and weight loss goals, suggest you do to drop weight quickly, but also safely?
We asked a few weight loss specialists to share the very tricks they use themselves and with their own clients.
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Nicole Dynan: Eat in sync with your circadian rhythm
Nicole Dynan from The Good Nutrition Co, uses several strategies to help induce relatively quick weight loss results on the scales.
“The first thing I tell clients is that fluid is your friend. All you need to do is have a glass of water before a meal. It is an old trick, but it works by helping the stomachs receptors to trigger a feeling of ‘fullness sooner’.”
“Next, I focus on plate size. It has been shown that eating off smaller plates encourages you to eat much more slowly, savour your food and eat less overall.”
“And finally, I work closely with clients to time their meals and eat in sync with your circadian rhythm. As our metabolism has adapted to daytime food and night time sleep, by simply avoiding snacking and eating at night with behavioural strategies such as ‘closing the kitchen’ after dinner and brushing your teeth after eating you significantly reduce calorie intake, which in turn can support weight losses of 0.5-1kg a week.”
Jamie Rose Chambers: Try intermittent fasting
Jaime Rose Chambers is a dietitian who specialises in intermittent fasting, and says that the most powerful way she sees her clients achieve fast weight loss results, is to skip a meal a day.
“Intermittent fasting has a strong and growing research base to support its use in weight control. I find that my clients do extremely well when they skip breakfast or dinner and prolong their overnight fast, which means they eat over a shorter time of the day – usually about eight hours, which naturally reduces calorie intake.”
“The added benefit is that when you do eat, you can eat your normal diet, so no calorie-counting or cutting out food groups like many fad diets. It becomes an easy diet approach to adhere to long term.”
Chloe McLeod: Shift the focus to veggies
Chloe McLeod specialises in nutrition for peak performance and regularly works with athletes who need to drop the kilos as quickly as possible. She says there are two key areas she focuses on when the goal is fast weight loss.
“It may sound simple, but if you shift the focus of each meal to have a vegetable base (such as a breakfast bowl with lots of veggies and eggs, a salad or soup for lunch and ½ a plate of veggies or salad with dinner), instantly you reduce calorie intake by as much as 300 calories a day.”
“That simple change in which you are eating more but focusing on lower calorie foods will result in at least half a kilo a week weight loss.”
“The other important area we do not often think about is reducing salt intake. With diets that contain a lot of processed foods, so too do they contain a lot of salt. When you actively limit your overall salt intake to 2000mg a day or even less, again you will drop at least half a kilo pretty quickly.”
Jonathan Stedman: Swapping heavier for lighter
The specific types of foods we choose each day too can be a focal point when weight loss is the goal. Jonathan Stedman AKA ‘The Guyetitian’, says that a ‘low residue diet’ can help when the goal is getting a flat belly fast.
“All you need to do is cut right back on your dietary fibre intake for two to three days and swap heavier foods such as bread, pasta and legumes for lighter options such as tinned fruit, yoghurt, egg whites, lean meat, white rice, peeled and cooked vegetables.”
“This swap helps to reduce the bulk of food you have consumed and result in a two to three kilogram weight loss, as there is less food digesting in the large intestine. And while this is not ideal for health long-term, it is an effective strategy.”
And like Chloe McLeod, Jono agrees that limited salt is extremely important to shed water weight. “Most processed foods contain added salts. So sticking to light whole foods that are also rich in potassium and water – like celery, and all salad veggies, will help to strip any extra fluid kilos quickly.”
Rachel Hawkins: Adjust the quantities
Rachel Hawkins says her approach is slightly different to more extreme regimes when it comes to quick weight loss, as she suggests clients simply eat the way they usually would, but just adjust the quantities.
“I find that incorporating small daily serves of a person’s ‘soul food’, such as chocolate will result in better weight loss as they are more likely to be satisfied with the foods they are eating – making it less likely they will ‘break their diet’ and binge eat.”
“Small frequent meals too helps to ensure that my clients do not get overly hungry and binge eat; loading up on vegetables in turn helps to keep the calories controlled, supporting weight loss. Here it is about eating more of the low calorie foods overall, and complimenting the diet with controlled amounts of what they love to eat.”
Susie Burrell is a Sydney-based dietitian, nutritionist, speaker, and author. Connect with her Instagram.