Eating doesn't have to involve cheating on a diet.

The Quickest Way to Lose Weight in Four Weeks

by Mandi Thompson

A short-term diet lasting for four weeks may assist you to prepare for a big event; a holiday, reunion or wedding. You can safely lose about 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week depending on how much total fat you have available to lose. A faster rate of weight loss than this results in pronounced metabolic slowdown.

1. Caloric Requirements

You need to burn more calories than you eat to lose weight. You can do this through exercise and by eating less. One pound of fat is equal to roughly 3,500 calories. Therefore, to lose 2 pounds a week would take a caloric deficit of 7,000 calories -- meaning a drop of 1,000 calories a day. Most women maintain weight when consuming between 1,500 and 2,000 calories a day, depending on activity levels and size. However, eating less than 1,200 calories a day may be unsafe, so aim for a caloric deficit of around 700 calories a day to lose roughly 1.5 pounds per week through diet.

2. The Right Foods

The best diet is one you can stick to for the entire four weeks. Foods with low caloric density are vital on low-calorie diets, as it's possible to eat a lot without ingesting many calories. Cruciferous vegetables and fruits should make up the majority -- broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, zucchini, strawberries, oranges and citrus fruits all have extremely low caloric values per gram. For example, broccoli contains 35 calories per 100 grams, and tomatoes have just 18. Replacing starches, grains or fries with these foods could save you between 200 and 400 calories per plate. A lean protein offering such as chicken breast, turkey or tuna is typically between 100 and 150 calories per 100 grams.

3. Exercise

Most women will need to exercise to lose 2 pounds per week. Too much activity can make it difficult to cut calories in your diet, but an additional couple of hours per week of cardiovascular exercise can assist you in burning a few extra pounds. While calories burned are heavily dependent on weight, an average woman walking at a moderate pace for an hour burns 443 calories or 498 in an hour of swimming and 797 calories in an hour of jogging. Try to add an hour of moderate exercise every day or two to boost fat loss.

4. Safe Dieting Practice

When you are on a short-term diet, it becomes easy to slip into destructive habits. Stepping on the scales every day is a bad thing to do, as water weight fluctuates daily depending on what you consumed the day before. Measure weight either with fat calipers or twice per week in the morning after using the bathroom. An increase in the scales can lead to irrational dieting practices. Stick to the diet as much as is possible, and don't fret the occasional slip-up.

About the Author

Mandi Thompson is a writer and reporter, specializing in nutrition and fitness for women. She holds a bachelor's degree in biomedical science and is a keen weightlifter.

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