You see it all the time on social media, on the internet and in magazines – “Drop 15 lbs in 2 weeks”, “Lose Weight Fast”, “Cleanse your colon and lose 10 lbs”

If you want to lose weight, you might be tempted to try one of these rapid weight loss schemes. It’s promoted by a celebrity so it must be true. Maybe they even show wonderful before and after pictures.

There are many ways that are advertised as ways to lose weight quickly. There are 3 questions to consider with these rapid weight loss schemes –

  • Do they work? Will you actually lose the weight promised by these plans?
  • Will you keep the weight off? Weight loss is hard, so why use a method that means you will just put the weight back on?
  • Is it healthy? Nobody wants to lose 15 lbs only to find that they have caused long term health issues.

Ways to lose weight quickly (real and not)

I won’t be considering any surgical weight loss techniques here. Here are some of the ways I have seen posted or advertised for losing weight quickly.

Medically supervised weight loss

This is generally for those who are obese with a lot of weight to lose. It can be effective and with medical supervision is considered safe.

Cleanses, detoxes and other very low calorie diets

Cleanses and detoxes may help with weight loss in the short term, not because they actually cleanse or detox your organs but because they are very low in calories.

Meal replacements or supplements

Meal replacements are convenient. You don’t have to cook anything. You don’t have to think about what to eat. Your meal is packaged in a bar, shake or a microwavable ready to eat complete meal.

Supplements are often part of the meal replacements. They can also be suggested separately as part of other weight loss plans.

Magic potions

I can’t believe how many of these I see in my Pinterest feed. “Drink this every day and the fat will melt away” they say. Check out my article on blasting belly fat for more information on how I really feel about this.

Do they work?

When you start a weight loss program, especially a carb controlled program, you will often see a drop of several pounds the first week. This is normal. This is more pronounced and will last longer if you are severely obese. Weight loss plans that promise more than 2 lbs per week after the initial water weight loss are considered rapid weight loss.
The first three types of plans listed above all work because you are eating much less food than you normally would. They will provide weight loss if the plans are followed.

Do I even need to say that drinking a mix of apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, ginger and some spices will not burn fat? Most of these posts are at the top of the search for weight loss because people want the quick fix. My advice on these is if it sounds to good to be true it probably is (especially beware of articles that are full of bad grammar and spelling mistakes).

Will you put the weight back on?

Women who lose weight quickly tend to put it back on. There are several reasons for this.

Losing muscle mass

When you lose weight quickly, your body will use its tissue to provide energy. Great if it’s fat, but not so good if it starts using muscle. If you lose muscle mass, your metabolism decreases which means it’s hard to keep the weight off once you stop dieting. Weight training while you are on the low calorie diet helps, but often at such a low amount of calories, you won’t have energy to exercise.

New body has a lower metabolism

Even if you manage not to lose muscle mass, your metabolism will decrease after you have lost weight. It takes less energy to maintain a 140 lb body than a 190 lb body. This means that you have to eat less than you were before to maintain your weight.

Diet is too restrictive

Very low calorie diets are very restrictive, which means that when you stop them there is a tendency to overeat (“yes, I can finally eat that giant piece of cheesecake I’ve been saving). Or worse you give up before you are done because you’ve eaten something not approved and feel like a failure.

You go back to your old eating habits

Many of these diet fail to establish good eating habits. That is especially true of diets that provide prepackaged food for you and for detoxes and cleanses. Your old eating habits are probably part of the reason you have gained weight in the first place, so you need to establish new healthier habits to keep from gaining the weight back.

Are they healthy?

Medically supervised diets are the healthiest of the rapid weight loss diets since medical professionals are making sure you are not experiencing any health problems. If you use any of the other rapid weight loss schemes for any length of time beware of these potential health problems:

  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Gallstones
  • Malnutrition
  • Irritability
  • Head aches
  • Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance

Being obese is also not healthy so you may want to weigh the pros and cons of this type of weight loss plan.

If you have decided after reading this that you want to try a healthier approach to weight loss, download my free guide to weight loss for menopausal women. It contains lots of tips for making lifestyle changes that will help you lose weight and get healthier at the same time.