All your life, you’ve been told that good things come to those who wait. As long as you stay within the lines, obey the rules, take your time, and work hard—for months, years, decades—eventually you’ll see results.
When it comes to weight loss, you’ve probably gotten the same spiel: Take it slow, set realistic goals, don’t get ahead of yourself. There are speed limits in life, and you need to stay 5 mph below them.
But what if there’s no time to wait? And what if taking the path of the tortoise isn’t the most effective or efficient route to your destination?
For shedding belly fat, new research suggests that patience isn’t a virtue. When it comes to weight loss, the science now tells us that dropping pounds shouldn’t be a marathon, but rather a 100-yard dash.
We’re sharing some of the tips from the The 7-Day Belly Melt Diet book to help you learn the surprising secrets to dropping the weight for good.
THE SPEEDY WAY TO SLIM DOWN
Not long ago, when researchers conducted a comprehensive review of weight-loss studies, they discovered that people who lost weight the fastest were the most likely to keep it off in the long run. “Regardless of whether you pick a sensible diet, exercise, behavioral therapy or a drug, our analysis of the literature shows that it’s those who experience the greatest weight loss in the first 2 to 4 weeks who have the greatest weight loss the following year,” wrote Arne Astrup of Copenhagen University’s Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, co-author of the analysis. “So if you’ve lost a lot of weight after one month, you’re more likely to have lost a lot of weight after a year or two.”
In one example, Astrup and his team reviewed two sets of obese people who underwent very different diet programs; one led to rapid weight loss, while the other produced slow and steady results. It turned out that those who lost weight slowly fared no better in the long run than those who lost weight quickly. In fact, the slow diet group was more likely to lose their motivation sooner. For the purposes of their review, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, “rapid weight loss” means dropping around one kilo—or a little over 2 pounds—per day.
This kind of weight loss will not only shock you and the people around you, but it will also set you up for a lifetime of better health, greater happiness, and a leaner, lighter, stronger physique. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Our first step is to discard the old thinking about how to lose weight and to embrace the power of speed.
OLD THINKING: Set realistic goals.
NEW PLAN: Be ambitious! Several studies have shown that more ambitious goals are sometimes associated with better weight-loss outcomes. In fact, Astrup found that when weight-loss experts intervene and encourage dieters to set more realistic (read: slow and steady) weight-loss goals, the subjects meet those goals—but they don’t actually lose weight more successfully than dieters who target bigger and faster weight loss.
OLD THINKING: Lose weight slow, stay slim for life.
NEW PLAN: Lose weight rapidly, stay slim for life. You’re more than five times as likely to succeed in your long-term weight-loss goals if you start out of the gate by dropping pounds rapidly, according to a 2013 study in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. The same results have been repeated over and over again. A 2014 study in The Lancet looked at 200 people on weight loss plans and found that “achieving a weight-loss target of 12.5 percent [of body weight] is more likely, and dropout is lower, if losing weight is done quickly.” And a similar study in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior found that subjects who were more successful in the initial weeks of a weight loss program were far more likely to stay motivated, and go on to lose at least 5 percent of their body weight, than those who started more slowly.
OLD THINKING: Rapid weight loss means losing muscle, not fat.
NEW PLAN: New science says you can get rid of fat where you find it. Traditionally, one of the big dangers of rapid weight loss has been that the body prefers to hold on to fat and burn muscle. It’s the way our bodies were programmed to get through famine—by holding on to fat in case lean times got even leaner. When you go on a reduced calorie diet, you trigger this ancient survival response; when you begin trying to burn off calories in the gym or on the jogging trail, the same thing may happen. As a result, it’s possible to be left with less muscle mass, and that means a lower overall metabolism—which can lead to rebound weight gain. But the meal plan and exercise routine in The 7-Day Belly Melt Diet keeps that from occurring. You’ll lose only fat—not muscle—and if you stick to some simple rules, you won’t have to worry about gaining it back!Shutterstock
OLD THINKING: You need to prepare yourself for diet success.
NEW PLAN: Don’t wait; start right now! You can’t lose weight by planning to lose weight. That’s called procrastination. Don’t delay. Start today by vowing to eliminate all sweetened beverages from your diet. That one move alone could erase 300 or more calories from your daily diet. And that’s just a start!Shutterstock
OLD THINKING: You need to sweat for 30 minutes or more during a workout to get anything from exercise.
NEW PLAN: Do a quick, efficient workout and get on with your life. Scientific research has shown that very brief exercise sessions can be incredibly beneficial to your health, improving cardiovascular function and insulin resistance and maintaining weight loss. The 7-Day Belly Melt Diet philosophy says 80 percent of weight loss comes from eating right, but exercise can provide crucial motivation and a boost to your metabolism and heart health. The book lays out a quick 6-minute morning workout that requires just one minute of high-intensity exercise broken into 20-second turbobursts.Shutterstock
OLD THINKING: You need to be physically fit in order to start losing weight.
NEW PLAN: It doesn’t matter if you’re “in shape.” Maybe you weren’t very good at sports as a kid. So what? Maybe you haven’t exercised in years. That’s okay. You can be in terrible shape and still lose that belly. Two metaanalyses found that even when school students were given specialized gym classes designed to help them cope with obesity, it made no difference in their longterm weight-loss success. Prepping yourself to “get fit” doesn’t matter at all; what matters is that you’re ready to start losing weight right now. (Don’t worry, the fitness will come naturally.)Shutterstock
OLD THINKING: Everything in moderation.
NEW PLAN: Rapid weight loss means sticking to a serious meal plan that works.
A 2015 study at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University found that while most doctors subscribe to the notion of “all things in moderation,” that longstanding bit of nutrition advice is actually wrong. When researchers looked at the diets of 6,814 people, they found that the more diverse one’s diet, the more likely they were to experience weight gain. In fact, those who ate the widest range of foods showed a 120 percent greater increase in waist circumference compared with those who had the least diversity. In other words, people who have the best success at weight loss pick a set number of foods, and tend to stick to them. The 7-Day Belly Melt Diet makes meal planning easy by limiting choices to a menu of six delicious and versatile food groups that form the acronym F.L.A.V.O.R. When you build your meals on the foundation of these superfood groups, you automatically eat healthier, reducing your reliance on processed foods, and lose weight—rapidly. Just remember:
Freshly Brewed Tea
Lentils and Beans
Apples, Berries, and Other Fruits
Vegetables and Leafy Greens
Oils, Nuts, and Seeds
Red Meat and Other Protein Sources.
The 7-Day Belly Melt Diet is available in print and electronic versions. SHOP IT NOW ON AMAZON