We’ve all been there: A big event (reunion, wedding, beach vacation) is just weeks away—and You. Just. Want. To. Look. Awesome. But can you really get there without totally starving yourself or logging six hours of cardio a day? The straight answer is a resounding “Yes!”. Here are some tips that will get you to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks.
1. Cut your calories. A lot.
Women consume 800 calories a day and men shoot for 1,200. While most weight loss experts advise not going below 1,200 calories a day for women, special circumstances call for aggressive measures. Noting that this isn’t a permanent regimen, you’ve got to ratchet your intake way down if you want a skinnier you.
If this sounds like starvation, keep in mind that this is all about calorie quality. You’ll be filling up on ridiculously healthy, nutrient-dense foods (especially veggies) that will help you feel more satiated than you would on 800 calories of processed junky foods.
2. Skip complex carbs after breakfast.
So it’s not exactly true that Hollywood stars shun carbs completely—they just limit them to breakfast. Complex carbs (even whole grains) are forms of sugar, and sugar cues the pancreas to make more insulin. And that process triggers appetite. Contrast this with simple carbs like those in fruits and veggies, which your body doesn’t process in the same way because the fiber content offsets the carb load.
Limiting complex carbs to the A.M. works because the later in the day you eat them, the more likely you are to get food cravings late at night.
3. Do 45 minutes of cardio—again, in the morning.
We’re not talking crazy boot camps or jazz aerobics—just walking because it’s simple, you can do it alone, with a friend, or with your dog, and you don’t need any equipment. And as for the morning workout prescription, it’s been proven that the ones who work out first thing, before eating, tend to stay on their diets and lose more weight – research shows evidence that exercising on an empty stomach burns more fat.
4. Count—and cut—your salt.
If you eat a lot of packaged foods, you’re likely getting more salt than you need, Harper warns—even if you’re careful to eat low-sodium versions. The problem with too much salt is that it leads to water retention, which can make you puffy. Shoot for just 1,000 milligrams a day when you’re trying to get slim in a hurry.
5. Pop fish-oil supplements.
This heart-healthy fat may also help with post-exercise soreness and boost immunity. The pills probably aren’t necessary for everyday, low-intensity cardio, but they will help you recover from the conditioning workouts (15 to 20 minutes, five times a week). For some fitness trainers, fish oil has been a life changer. Try 3,000 milligrams a day, but you should check with your doctor first to make sure this amount is safe for you.
6. OD on veggies
If you’re hungry, eat veggies. This is one of a fundamental rules for weight loss in a hurry. They’re great for all the obvious reasons: they’re a great source of vitamins and minerals, they contain tons of fiber, and they also act as natural diuretics. One favorite veggie to kick start weight loss? Asparagus. Roast it as a side dish dinner staple, fold it into egg scrambles, or chop it into salads.
7. Lay off all booze.
Stars may look glamorous holding Champagne flutes at awards ceremonies, but they don’t imbibe when they’re trying to squeeze into their couture gowns. Booze, including heart-healthy wine makes you retain water and look bloated, makes your eyes puffy, and alters your metabolism to slow down fat burning. What’s more, drinking also chips away at your self control—a slippery slope to raiding the fridge or the drive-through.