The holidays are filled with family get togethers, work parties and dinners out with friends. Any of those events can make you feel like you need to lose five pounds fast.
Here are five ideas -- including eating more -- to drop weight and look great in time for a special event.
Eat More Meals
In his book, "The 6-Day Body Makeover, Drop One Whole Dress or Pant Size in Just 6 Days -- And Keep It Off," Michael Thurmond presents a guide that he said has helped some readers drop as much as 10 pounds in just six days. One tip Thurmond provides: Eat five to seven meals a day.
Thurmond preached the method to participants in ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Battle of the Bulge." After the show, LaPaula Fyffe, a nurse and mother of three, told USAToday that she lost 52 pounds on the plan.
"I had six small meals a day," Fyffe told the newspaper. "During the day I got carbohydrates at specific times to support my exercise and muscle building."
Other nutritionists back Thurmond's advice, including registered dietitian Joni Rampolla, who is the director of nutrition for Medifast, a program that promises up to 20-pound weight loss in a month.
"When you skip meals, all research shows that you get ravenous and eat more in a day than if you space meals out. Eating throughout the day keeps blood sugar even," Rampolla said.
Not eating sends the body into conservation mode and slows the metabolism. Some sumo wrestlers skip breakfast to slow their metabolisms and eat one giant late-day meal. Their bodies are in conservation mode from not eating, so when they do, they hold on to all the calories they consume, according to various sources.
Swap Foods To Lose Fast
Eating more meals doesn't mean eating anything you want. Those meals have to be smaller than one of the traditional three squares. That means choosing foods that are less calorie-dense.
Shelly Asplin, a registered dietitian for Hy-Vee grocery stores, said the first swap should be high-calorie sodas and fruit juices for low- or no-calorie drinks. Her first-choice drink is water, but she said diet sodas instead of regular save about 245 calories per 20-ounce bottle. People with a two-Coke-a-day habit would save enough in a week to lose a pound, since there are 3,500 calories in a pound.
Other swaps Asplin recommends:
- A 16-ounce skinny latte instead of one made with whole milk saves 100 calories.
- A small apple instead of a bag of Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar flavor snacks saves almost 400 calories.
- Seven cups of "lite" popcorn instead of buttered saves 195 calories.
Boost Your Fiber
Rampolla, whose company helped soap-opera star Genie Francis slim down before the Daytime Emmys, said those extra meals need to contain more fiber.
"More fruits and vegetables -- they have fiber (and) help fill you up," Rampolla said.
Fiber makes you feel full, so you'll eat less, then works to sweep food out of the body to quicken weight loss.
"Our ancestors got upwards of 35 grams of fiber a day," said Matt Marshall, the author of The Wedding Day Diet. "Most of us get less than 10 grams of fiber. So, by eating fibrous green veggies -- lettuce, cucumber, green peppers, etc. -- you will increase your fiber. The fiber will clean you out, and that could give you a quick weight loss boost."
If you get minimal fiber, boost your intake slowly.
"If you've only been consuming 5 grams of fiber, you don't go to 30 in a day or you'll have (gastro-intestinal) distress," Asplin said.
Reduce Your Carbohydrate Intake
Marshall and Rampolla said a short-term reduction in carbohydrates can aid quick weight loss because the body will drop water weight.
Because carbs and glucose are the body's preferred energy sources, limiting food with those substances forces the system to turn to a metabolic process that sheds water, according to TheDietChannel.com.
"If you want to drop 5 pounds in a hurry, the quickest way to do it is to simply reduce the carbs you are eating," Marshall said. "Raw fruits and vegetables are allowed, but cut out the cakes, breads and other carbs, and most people will lose between 5 and 10 pounds within the first week."