It’s January, which means New Year’s resolutions, which means…. Weight Loss!
Generally, our approach to weight loss is this: if you get healthy, you’ll get to an appropriate weight. Get healthy first, lose weight as a side effect.
But because it’s weight loss month (we have three weight loss events this month–two of which you can register for below), we’ll throw a bone out for ambitious weight losers: How to Lose 10 Pounds in One Week.
It’s not easy, but it is possible. Really, your key ingredient is discipline. But there is a formula, and here it is.
For the first four days of your week, you’re going to only consume liquids. Acceptable liquids include: water, lemon water, bulletproof coffee (coffee with fats, i.e., butter, coconut oil, ghee, etc.), bone broth and protein shakes. Bone broth is probably the best option, because it helps heal a leaky gut in the process. But you can mix and match. Have coffee in the morning, drink lemon water until the evening and have a protein shake for dinner.
Unacceptable liquids include: fruit juice because it’s full of sugar, milk because it’s sugar, alcohol of any kind. Alcohol is a huge reason people can’t lose weight. I had a patient once who was doing everything right. She was intermittent fasting (we’ll talk about that below), she was maintaining a good macronutrient ratio (again, we’ll talk about that below), she was exercising regularly, but she wasn’t losing weight. I finally discovered she was drinking a glass or two of wine every night with dinner.
As soon as you introduce alcohol into your system, your liver stops whatever it’s doing (hopefully burning fat) and allocates energy toward processing the alcohol. I’ve heard people say things like, well vodka isn’t bad for your weight. It’s true that it’s not as bad as beer, but it’s really the alcohol that’s the problem, not the other ingredients.
After your four-day liquid fast, the final three days of the week, you’ve got to intermittent fast. What this means is that instead of waking up, eating breakfast and having three meals a day (plus however many snacks), you skip breakfast and only eat lunch and dinner.
Basically, you limit your eating to an 8 hour period between noon and 8pm. You do not, under any circumstances, eat anything before noon or after 8pm. If you want to be even more intense about it, limit your eating window to six hours—say noon to 6pm or 2pm to 8pm. Whatever is easier.
The question then becomes, what can you eat during those 6-8 hours? That brings us to…
Starting with what you cannot eat: obviously sugar and simple carbohydrates, which includes all grains. That means cutting out all fruits as well. Also, watch out for artificial sweeteners. You might just think, “Oh it’s fine, I’ll just drink diet soda.” Don’t do it! Artificial sweeteners contribute even more to weight gain than sugar—if you can believe it. Splenda, for example, suppresses the creation of important thyroid gland hormones, which are crucial for maintaining weight. With those hormones suppressed, you get an increased appetite, lower metabolism and weight gain.
What you want to eat is almost totally composed of good fats and proteins. You can add in just a little bit of green, leafy vegetables as well, which contributes complex carbohydrates to your diet.
You want the ratio to be as close as you can get to 65% fats, 30% proteins and 5% green veggies. There is a lot of overlap, so keep that in mind. For example, a salmon fillet counts as both fats and protein because of its high omega-3 fatty acid content. Raw cheese is more fat than protein, but is still high in protein. Try to balance these things best you can.
Other than that, great fats include coconut oil, avocados, grassfed butter, raw cheese, nuts (in moderation because too much turns into sugar), olives, olive oil, flax seeds, flax seed oil, avocado oil, etc.
Speaking of oils, don’t be fooled into thinking that all oils are good. Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils are going to derail any weight loss efforts, clog your arteries, make you gain weight and cause inflammation, among other things. So that means no canola oil, no sunflower oil, no corn oil.
The good news is, amidst all the foods you CAN eat, you can eat AS MUCH as you want during your 6-8 hour intermittent fasting regimen. “As much as I want?” you ask. Yes, and I’ll explain why when we get to the weight loss myths portion of the article.
Exercise or anything too strenuous is not recommended during a liquid fast. You will feel weak, you will likely feel nauseous, have a headache, be irritable, etc. This is not simply because you don’t have food in your system (that’s completely unrelated as you can easily go several weeks without food before you starve). No, it’s because you are releasing powerful toxins into your system so they can get flushed out and give your body a clean, weight loss-ready slate.
Once you’ve gotten through your four-day liquid diet fast, and you’ve started eating solid foods, my recommendation regarding exercise is to go on one or two brisk walks per day. Don’t do anything too strenuous until at least a week or so into intermittent fasting when your body has grown accustomed to it.
Two Persistent Weight Loss Myths
Weight Loss Myth #1: Counting calories is the key to weight loss. It’s simple math: less calories going in than going out.
It makes a lot of logical sense. If you only eat 1,200 calories but you burn 2,000, won’t you lose weight?
Yes, but you’re basically just doing it the hard way. You’ll be hungry and exhausted and get a better result with what I outlined above. The reason is, there’s a way to eat a lot of calories and still lose weight, because not all calories are created equally.
Have a look at this comparison. A Twinkie has 150 calories. It’s not really a whole lot, actually. Theoretically, you could eat 10 Twinkies a day (1150 calories) and lose weight because you use about 1,800 just going about your day, right?
No, because unfortunately life just isn’t that simple. The sugar, the corn syrup, the additives, the coloring, the preservatives, the refined bleached flour and everything else in a Twinkie wreaks havoc on all sorts of your body’s systems—metabolism, endocrine production, digestive system to name a few—and causes your body to react in various unhealthy ways like, for example, releasing insulin which then signals fat storage.
But, an average avocado has 234 calories. So, by the calorie counter theory, if you eat more than 6 avocados a day, you’ll exceed the roughly 1,800 calories you use by just living life and gain weight.
But with what would you gain weight? There’s no sugar in avocados. There’s no saturated fat. There are no additives or preservatives or hydrogenated oil or anything else to contribute to fat storage or development.
Now, to be fair, if you’re at the very beginning of your weight loss journey, AND you avoid sugary foods while counting calories, you’ll lose some weight. But you’ll plateau quickly, which leads to frustration, which leads to hopelessness and backsliding.
Plus, who likes doing math?
Weight Loss Myth #2: Exercise leads to weight loss, and extreme exercise leads to even more weight loss.
Exercise is fantastic. It’s great. It’s absolutely vital to a healthy life overall. But it barely registers in terms of losing weight. What exercise does is keep your body and mind sharp. It keeps your muscles agile, your heart strong, your mind clear. It clears away bad moods and depression, stimulates hormone production, promotes bone strength and tons of other stuff. And yes, some of those things contribute to weight loss, but only on a secondary basis.
The truth is, when it comes to weight loss, it’s about 90% diet and 10% exercise.
Say, for example, that you’re 40 pounds overweight. And a lot of it is collected around your belly. You keep piling on the bad food, but you’re going to the gym EVERYDAY and doing as many sit-ups as you can possibly manage.
Does that rid your belly of the fat?
It makes your abdominal muscles very strong UNDERNEATH the fat, but does absolutely nothing to the fat.
I have an employee who was running seven or eight miles a day and not losing any weight. She’s got some really nicely toned legs though. We ran some tests and found some thyroid issues, adjusted her diet and she started losing weight.
And to some, this is great news. Just follow the steps outlined above and I promise you’ll lose at least 10 pounds.