I recently gained a lot of weight and really need to get this fat off my body quickly. It’s disgusting and I can’t stand the feeling of having all this excess weight on my stomach, hips and thighs. I wasn’t sure who to ask, but is it physically possible to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks? I need your help!
As great as it may sound to lose all that weight so quickly, it can end up costing you big time in the end if you lose it in an unhealthy manner. A healthy weight loss of around 1-2 pounds per week is the proper amount you should be focused on losing in order to maintain the weight loss for the long run. If you lose any more than a few pounds per week, you will most likely be headed into a world of “yo-yo” dieting where you can easily lose muscle tissue and actually end up getting fatter than you were before you started on your weight loss plan.
When people want to lose a large amount of weight quickly, they do it in a few different ways. They will drastically cut their daily calories and eat a very small amount of food or they might start exercising excessively to burn massive amounts of calories each day. The worst case scenario is that they will do a combination of both and bust their butt in the gym while eating a minimalistic diet that a bunny rabbit could barely survive on.
Let me explain how your body handles a drastic loss of weight due to a severe decrease in overall calories and nutrients. The first thing your body does is go into what is called “starvation mode”. This is when your body basically wants to survive so it’s forced to preserve every little amount of energy producing tissue and since adipose tissue (body fat) is extremely high on the energy producing scale, it holds onto every ounce of fat and starts to burn other high metabolically active tissue (lean muscle tissue). This is absolutely horrible if your goal is to build muscle, lose fat and get a lean physique!
Once your body starts burning up lean muscle tissue, your overall metabolic rate decreases so you end up burning less overall calories per day which forces you to eat less and less food in order to just maintain your decreased body weight. If you want to keep losing weight, you will need to drastically cut your calories even further to spur additional weight loss. As you can see, it’s truly a vicious cycle since you end up packing on more body fat while losing lean muscle mass and you start becoming “skinny fat” which is not a very good look at all.
Another key thing to remember is the mental side of restricting yourself to such an extreme when trying to lose so much weight so quickly. If you restrict your calories to an extremely low level while avoiding many food groups (super low carbs, etc.) then your mind will be absolutely craving every tiny morsel of carbohydrate and you will eventually cave in. It’s not a matter of if but when. So, what usually happens when someone decides to get off their super strict diet? Does the person usually just nibble on a few little slices of their favorite foods in order to quench their hunger? No way! The vast majority of the time, the person will completely derail and go on an absolutely massive binge which could last for several days or even weeks!
It’s really just human nature since your body and mind need nutrients and calories to survive and when you drastically reduce your overall calories and cut out every single enjoyable food from your diet in order to drop pounds, you start to crave the things you can’t have. Once you get the taste of that forbidden food in your mouth, it usually ends up in a ravenous session of overeating until your stomach is about to explode. Once the monster binge is over, you are left utterly depressed, bloated and absolutely guilty for having fallen to the sweet temptation of the forbidden food. Worse yet, your body completely hoards onto every single excess calorie and jam packs your fat cells to the fullest. You can’t blame it for doing this since your body is in starvation mode and doesn’t know when it will have another feast of plentiful calories again.
The bottom line is that you want to avoid this trap at all costs. Your goal should be to create a small calorie deficit in your diet every day (250 calories) and burn an additional block of calories through exercise (250 calories). This will create a total deficit of 500 calories each day which will add up to 3,500 calories per week (or 1 pound of fat). To learn which specific foods to eat, make sure to read our nutrition 101 article which provides a sample daily meal plan along with great grocery shopping tips to help you follow a nutrient dense diet in order to reach your weight loss goals.