In an age where children are being raised in SpongeBob SquarePants' hyperactive sea instead of Mister Rogers' calm neighborhood, it's no surprise that Generation Y has a very short attention span -- and zero patience.
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At least that's what I'm blaming for my aversion to exercising. It's not my fault running on the treadmill and doing the Downward Dog bores me -- it's my upbringing! (Although, truth be told, SpongeBob came after my youth.) Yet no matter what I point my lazy finger at, the result is the same: I can't seem to lose weight.
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So I decided to do something about it. I channeled my energy and resources into finding out how I can lose 5 pounds fast. Did I succeed? Not only did I find a quick fix, I found a routine that has a good shot at keeping the weight off.
And no, there's no starving or feeding myself through tubes. Check it out:
Who knew your favorite granola bar or canned tuna could double as a salt lick? In a recent report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about American sodium consumption, researchers found that approximately 75 percent of the sodium in the typical American diet doesn't come from the shaker -- it's added to commercial foods during processing, or while a restaurant cook's prepping your meal. In fact, only about 25 percent occurs naturally or is added at the table or in home cooking, the CDC report explained.
Cut the added sodium and you'll lose water weight and bloat. To tackle the excess white stuff, consume "no more than 500 mg of added sodium per day -- like salt from processed or prepared foods," says Beth Reardon, director of integrative nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine. One trick: The more potassium you consume, the more your body will get rid of sodium, says Reardon. Sweet potatoes, coconut water, apricots, bananas, cantaloupes, figs, oranges, and beats are all high in the big P.
It's not very ladylike to talk about poop, but moving those bowels is an effective route to a flat stomach and fewer pounds on that mean ol' scale. That said, this is no time to reach for the laxatives. Natural routes to regularity are your best bet for short- and long-term well being.
First up, fiber. While the recommended intake is 25 mg per day for women, Reardon suggests eating 35 to 40 g of both soluble and insoluble fiber to lighten your weight and look like you've lost 5 pounds. Another way to get things moving: a cup of hot water with lemon in the morning or as a nightcap. "This drink lowers the PH in your belly, which helps preserve natural probiotics and helps activate digestive enzymes," she says. As a health bonus, all this excretion will help rid your body of toxins, excess estrogen, and lower your cholesterol levels as well.
Nutritionists insist on eating whole foods as a health decree, but it's also a sound weight loss tip. Because you're giving your body what it recognizes as the cleanest fuel, it will digest and metabolize it more easily. If Mother Nature didn't make it, don't eat it. This means your carbs include whole grains, fruit, dairy, and starchy vegetables; proteins include beans, meat, cold water fish, poultry, and eggs; and healthy fats include nuts, seeds, and oils like canola, olive, and hemp.
Don't get all "Eww, bitter!" on us just yet. Another healthy way to lose 5 pounds fast is to simply eat one serving of bitter-tasting food, per meal, for three meals a day. These pound-shedders include kale, arugula, olives, almonds, miso, collard greens, mustard greens, radish, dandelion leaves, and radicchio. Mix them into an omelet, soup, sauté, or even a smoothie.
"Taste is one of the five corporeal senses, and bitter is a hardwired catalyst for our bodies," says Stephan Dorlandt, a Los Angeles-based clinical nutritionist. "Bitter food stimulates saliva, gastric juice, and bile secretions. These chemical reactions boost digestion, burn fat, detoxify the liver and gallbladder, prevent constipation, and reduce sugar cravings." He says bitter greens are also among nature's healthiest foods in terms of vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, vitamin K, vitamin B1, calcium, and chlorophyll.
Though your doc might ask you to inhale and exhale through your chest during a physical exam, this kind of superficial breathing won't do you any good when you're trying to lose weight quickly. According to Pam Grout, breathing coach and author of "Jumpstart Your Metabolism," breathing is the key to sustainable and long-lasting weight loss. Grout, who teaches people how to change their breathing patterns to lose weight, says clients report losing a pound a day.
When the alarm goes off at 6 a.m., your first instinct may not be to work those abs. Yet five minutes of high intensity core work, first thing in the morning, will trim inches from your waist. "It speeds your metabolism for the rest of the day," says Len Glassman, owner of Personal Best Training Center and creator of FITness FUNdamentals DVD.
Two slimming moves we like: Hold a plank, with your back straight and tummy pulled in, and sustain the position for 15 seconds if you're a beginner, 30 seconds if you're intermediate, and one minute if you're advanced. Another option is to lie on your back, draw your knees into your chest -- keeping your back flat on the floor -- and squeeze your knees and the insides of your feet touching. Now twist your hips back and forth, from side to side, while keeping your knees and feet squeezed together. Beginners can do 10 to 20 reps; intermediates: 25 to 50; advanced: 50-plus. In both, the key is to shorten your contractions and isolate your lower abs as much as possible.
For four more tips on how to lose five pounds fast, click here.
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