If you think it’s impossible to lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks, then think again. We’re not talking about a magic pill or wraps – 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 vow to work them 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.
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 a 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.
Things 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.
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.