How a Woman Can Lose Weight Fast

Many women turn to fad diets or starvation to lose weight quickly. Following these diets may create a change on the scale, but you are primarily getting rid of water and lean muscle mass. Without adopting sound habits to support weight loss, you only waste your effort -- pounds inevitably return. Make immediate changes in your diet and movement patterns to hasten your weight loss, but realize that making a long term commitment to exercise and eating will keep the pounds away. Be patient, women tend to lose weight slower than do men because of hormones and metabolic differences.

Step 1
Write down everything you eat. Note your meals in a formal journal or on scraps of paper -- regardless of where you keep that journal, it can almost double the amount of weight you lose as reported in a study published in the August 2008 issue of the "American Journal of Preventive Medicine." Be sure to write down your feelings at the time of eating because women, more often then men, eat for emotional reasons -- identifying emotional triggers and devising non-food related ways to cope will only help your efforts.

Step 2
Cut down on calories. Do not worry if you are eating too many carbs or fat because, as shown in the February 2009 issue of the "New England Journal of Medicine," calorie reduction results in weight loss regardless of the macronutrient make-up of the diet. As a woman, aim for between 1200 and 1500 calories per day as a level appropriate to provide proper nutrition, but low enough to stimulate weight loss.

Step 3
Make every calorie count nutritionally. Whole grains, produce and lean proteins fill you up for fewer calories thanks to fiber and protein. Fill most of your plate with green vegetables and accent with a 3 or 4 oz. serving of lean protein. Eat a serving whole grains with your breakfast and lunch, but skip them for dinner. Choose dark colored, water-filled vegetables like spinach, tomatoes and broccoli. Seek out protein with little saturated fat like skinless chicken or fish. Watch out for salad dressings which may be loaded with calories.

Step 4
Take control of your meals. Avoid restaurants because they inflate portion sizes and add lots of unhealthy ingredients to boost flavor. Do not try to match your husband or boyfriend's eating abilities -- men can take in more calories because of body weight and metabolic differences. Cook healthy recipes at home and carry healthy snacks so you will not be tempted. Cut back on sodium, saturated fat and simple sugars to help reduce bloating, particularly during your period.

Step 5
Do not skip meals. Eat three meals consisting of roughly 300 to 400 calories and two small snacks of about 150 calories. Prevent binges by keeping healthy alternatives nearby. Try not to go more than four hours without a snack or meal.

Step 6
Add more movement to your day. Create a calorie deficit by burning more calories without spending hours at the gym. Take a walk during your lunch break, clean your own house, take the stairs or walk while you wait for your kids to finish their soccer practices and piano lessons.

Step 7
Exercise for at least 60 to 90 minutes for at least five days per week. Follow the Centers for Disease Control guidelines which prescribes moderate intensity physical activity that raises your heart rate and makes you break a sweat. Exercise in 10 minute increments if it is more manageable for you. Don't let the gym intimidate you -- look for facilities catering to women or meet your girlfriends for a power walk instead of happy hour.

Step 8
Be aware of how life events affect your ability to lose weight. Keep your expectations in line with your age and the amount of weight you have to lose. Acknowledge that shifts in estrogen and inevitable slowing down of your metabolism will make weight loss more challenging as you reach menopause. Remind yourself that baby weight took nine months to accumulate -- it will take at least as long to come off.

Warnings

Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. If you suspect medical reasons (such as thyroid disfuction) for your lack of weight loss, ask for a simple blood test to diagnose the problem.

Tips

It is common for your weight to fluctuate a pound or two daily -- especially during your period -- but over the course of a week you should start to see at least one to two pounds of weight loss. More than three pounds a week is weight loss that probably comes from sources other than body fat (like lean muscle mass) and is not advisable.

Things You'll Need

Paper or note pad and pen
Lean protein
Fresh produce
Whole grains
Athletic clothing
Athletic shoes