Can You Really Lose Weight in 48 Hours?
The short answer to what you really want to know: no, it's unlikely you'll lose any real weight in 48 hours. "Experts recommend a safe level of losing two pounds per week, " says FITNESS magazine's Fitness Director, Mary Christ Anderson. "One pound equals 3, 500 calories, so to lose a pound in two days, you'd need to eat 2, 500 fewer calories" — a crash diet that, really, no one should ever attempt.
However, it is possible to start developing healthy exercise and eating habits in just two days, which will set you up to drop the weight that you want — five pounds, 10 pounds, or more.
To start, make a "plan of attack, " suggests Harley Pasternak, celebrity trainer and creator of The 5-Factor Diet. Draft a grocery list to buy enough grub for 5 small meals a day. You'll also want to schedule when you'll eat and work out, just as you would write down a hair appointment or a dinner date.
Need some extra incentive? Pick up some new workout gear. "A new pair of athletic shoes can give you that extra push to be active, " says Pasternak. "They can act as a catalyst between the mind and the body to increase motivation and improve performance."
Or go grocery shopping (see shopping list at bottom of the page) for the ingredients you'll need for the next two days' worth of meals. When Dawn Jackson Blatner, an American Dietetic Association spokesperson and FITNESS advisory board member, as well as author of The Flexitarian Diet, checks out of the grocery store, her cart's half-full of produce — a strategy that bodes well both in the long-term and the short-term.
The reasons to eat vegetables are plentiful:
- Veggies have 20 calories a serving. All other foods have 3 or 4 times the number of calories.
- They have a high percentage of water, so you can feel full from eating them.
- They have a lot of potassium in them, which can help regulate blood pressure and fluid in your body.
For the time-strapped, "Go to the store and buy vegetables that you can eat off a veggie tray, " suggests Blatner. "Also, buy vegetables that you can grill — zucchinis and squash — and add the vegetables to everything you eat."
These moves can help put you in the right mental state. So stock up the pantry and dust off those running shoes — your 48-hour overhaul starts now.
Day 1: Diet
Each day you'll be consuming roughly 1, 200 calories. But when it comes to maintaining a healthy body, what you drink counts as much as what you eat. "Drinking 72 ounces of water a day is critical, " says Blatner. "Put a nice pitcher of water in the fridge. For flavored water, you can float fresh mint in it or you can put slices of pears or grapefruit in it."
Blatner suggests the following menu to fuel yourself throughout the day.
Nutty Oatmeal with Apples (roughly 300 calories)
- 1/2 cup dry quick oats
- 1/2 cup original soy milk
- 1 tablespoon walnuts
- 1 small chopped apple
For breakfast, try hot oatmeal soaked in soy milk and topped with a diced apple. If you woke up hungry, this should hold you over until lunchtime. "[Apples] are filling because they are 85 percent water and have 4.5 grams of fiber, " says Blatner. And for those of you worried about your cholesterol, you're in luck. "Oatmeal is a whole grain that can help regulate cholesterol levels with a compound it contains called beta-glucan, " she adds.
Fresh Tomato & Bean Stuffed Pita (roughly 400 calories)
- 1 medium whole wheat pita
- 1/2 cup canned white beans
- 1 cup chopped tomato
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing
Stuff a whole wheat pita with beans, tomatoes, and basil, then dress it up with vinaigrette. The whole wheat pita is low in saturated fat, high in dietary fiber, and cholesterol-free. Everything you'll be eating inside the pita is healthy too, especially the white beans. "Beans are a great source of plant protein, fiber, iron, potassium, and zinc, " says Blatner.
Yogurt & Honey (roughly 100 calories)
- 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
- 1 teaspoon honey
Not only is yogurt full of protein, but it also contains immune system-boosting good bacteria called probiotics. When you add honey to the yogurt, it'll feed the good bacteria in the yogurt and make the bacteria stronger, says Blatner. "Plus, it's better to add your own sweetness to plain yogurt rather than buying it pre-sweetened because you can control the amount."
Salmon with Quinoa and Broccoli (roughly 400 calories)
- 3 ounces grilled salmon
- 1 cup chopped broccoli florets
- 1 teaspoon pine nuts
- 1 juiced lemon
- 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
You'll get full on this meal. Grilled salmon is high in nutrients, low in saturated fat, and infused with omega-3 fatty acids. And you can't go wrong with broccoli — the vegetable is touted as a cancer-fighting food, rich in vitamins A and C, and a good source of calcium, iron, and magnesium. As for quinoa, it "contains one of the highest amounts of protein of the whole grains, " says Blatner. So trade up from white rice — it's a swap worth the trouble.
So where do chips, cookies, candy, ice cream, and alcohol fit in, you ask? "Nowhere, " says Blatner. "For two days, the aim is to be perfect and reset your appetite and palate without any splurges. However, long-term people don't have to think that this two-day diet is how perfect they have to be forever."
Day 1: Workout
If you're a morning workout kind of person, go ahead and lace up after breakfast. However, if you're more of an afternoon or after-dinner exerciser, feel free to work out when you're most comfortable. "It's about forming a habit and it's about frequency of exercise, " says celebrity trainer Ramona Braganza, who's worked with Jessica Alba. "Schedule it in and write it down in your journal. If you don't have energy five mornings in a row, then switch it up."