Let me tell you right now – it’s NOT impossible to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks. We’re not talking about a magic pill or wraps or a deprivation chamber – all we’re talking about are small sacrifices combined with specific techniques. And rather than giving you a one-size-fits-all regimen, we figure you’re more likely to stick with the plan if you pick the eating and exercise strategies that fit your lifestyle.
So choose at least four of the below expert-backed tips, and promise to work them consistently into your schedule for 14 days straight. If you feel ambitious, tack on a few more.
The more you pick, the more weight you’ll lose. If you start now, by this time next week, you’ll look and feel way lighter and in two weeks, you’ll have reached your goal – 20 pounds slimmer! Let’s go – all aboard the train to Slimville.
1. Drink Mainly Water
A sports or energy drink, fruit smoothie, or light beer — each serving contains about 100 calories. Yet these beverages don’t satisfy you the way 100 calories of food does, so they’re a waste. Other liquids may be high in sodium and carbohydrates, which trick your body into retaining water, puffing you out.
Water, on the other hand, has zero calories and carbs and little to no sodium, making it the perfect slim-down drink. And strangely, it actually helps flush out excess water weight as well as jump-starts your metabolism. If it’s just too boring, add lemon wedges or mint leaves.
2. Avoid at All Cost White Bread and Pasta
Cutting out all white grain products — such as white rice, spaghetti, sandwich rolls — will instantly slim you down because the simple carbs in these foods cause bloating, especially around your belly. Simple carbohydrates wreak havoc on your weight because they’re digested very quickly, leaving you hungry and more likely to overeat later.
To go a step further, instead of replacing them with healthier yet still bloat-triggering whole-grain bread products, substitute vegetables for the week. This way, a chicken sandwich becomes chicken salad, and chips and dip turn into carrots and dip. The complex carbs from vegetables are digested more slowly, so you remain full longer. And because veggies are mostly water, they also help flush out excess water weight.
3. Do Cardio 30 Minutes a Day
Any workout that gets your heart rate up will burn calories. But you’ll use more calories if you pick a cardio routine that engages multiple muscles simultaneously.
Three to consider: spinning, cardio kickboxing, and boot-camp workouts. Half an hour of each torches 200 to 300 calories while toning up your arms, legs, and core so everything appears sleeker and tighter.
You’ll burn even more calories per session if your workout incorporates interval training: alternating short bursts of intense cardio with slower activity.
Try this: run as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds and then run as fast as you can again for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. That’s considered 1 round.
Do as many rounds as long as you can – it could be just 2 rounds your first time out. But I guarantee you, in 2 week’s time, you’ll be able to crank out at least 8 rounds and still have breath left over for a conversation about why your boyfriend can’t be bothered to put the toilet seat down.
4. Drink Coffee an Hour Before Working Out
This is the one exception to the stick-to-water-only rule: Just as a coffee run makes your morning at work more productive, a pre-exercise cup of java with a splash of skim milk (about 11 calories) or black (just 5 calories) will energize your workout. You’ll burn more calories without realizing you’re pushing yourself harder.
5. Have Nightly You-on-Top Sex
Not that you need an excuse to hook up with your guy every night. But the fact is, this position is a fat blaster. Being on top means you do the rocking. And the more active you are, the more calories you burn — up to 144 for 30 minutes.
Sex also pumps levels of feel-good neurotransmitters, endorphins, helping you ride out food cravings. Get on top in reverse-cowgirl (i.e., facing away from your guy) to give your thigh and butt muscles an extra push.
6. Do 36 Push-Ups and Lunges Every Other Day
These gym-class staples will help sculpt muscle, so you’ll sport a more streamlined appearance. Do three sets of 12 of each exercise every other day. Push-ups target your upper body, while lunges work your butt, hips, and thighs.
Quick tip: Make sure your back and legs remain in a straight line during your push-ups; it’ll improve muscle tone. Also, you can build even more muscle with the lunges if you hold free weights in each hand while doing them.
7. Sleep 30 Minutes More a Night
That extra half an hour, whether you sleep 5 hours or 8, can refresh you enough that you will make better food choices. In other words, no quick sugar fix for breakfast in search of energy. And you definitely won’t feel lethargic and skip the gym.
More restful sleep (7 to 8 hours is best) also boosts your metabolism. And since your body builds muscle while you snooze, getting zzz’s equals better muscle tone.
8. Make One Food Sacrifice
Cutting out one indulgence — such as the chips you have with lunch or the chocolate dessert you eat after dinner — can subtract a few hundred calories from your diet, which translates into less flab. Your body won’t even notice their absence.
9. Eat Salmon for Lunch
Salmon not only tastes good. It’s also packed with nutrients that build muscle tone and give your skin a healthy glow. Some nutritionists claim that consuming a portion of salmon may immediately make your face look a bit more contoured.
10. Stand Up Straight
Keeping your spine rigid and your shoulders back while sucking in your belly toward your spine gives you a slimmer, more streamlined middle.