How to Lose Weight in a Few Hours? (Quick Fixes in 1-4 Hours)

Weight Loss & Diets | Written by Nathan | Updated on 18 August 2022

A woman measuring her waistline after figuring out how to lose weight in a few hours.

So, you want to impress on a first date or stun in the sun, but you only have a few hours? Figure out how to lose weight in a few hours might seem impossible, but these quick fixes are proven to shed weight quickly and athletes often use these methods to prepare for meets 1-4 hours out. 

Or in other words, this routine will resemble a water cut since it’s the only effective way to lose weight in such a short amount of time. These methods can truly make you look thinner, but it’s important to keep in mind they’re not meant for long term use or sustainable weight loss.

With that being said, start cutting out salt from your food now and don’t be figuratively salty if this doesn’t work 2 days in a row. 

Minimize Salt

When learning out how to lose weight in a few hours, cutting out salt is crucial because the sodium found in salt makes your body hold on to water. By doing this, you can slim down your belly overnight since you can lose a pound in of water in about 60 minutes or so. 

Be careful ordering fast food because on average, 75% of the sodium people consume comes from processed food [1]. Instead, eat foods high in magnesium like nuts, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables. Just 200 mg of magnesium can reduce water retention, especially if you’re a woman with premenstrual symptoms [2]. 

If minimizing salt doesn’t work by itself, you can always try reducing fluids, too.

Minimize Fluids

While drinking more water reduces water retention in the long run, it can cause you to bloat if you drink a lot of it within a few hours. If you’re looking for an easy shortcut on how to lose weight in a few hours, dehydrating yourself isn’t the answer – just drink 1-1.5 liters of water instead of 2+ today.  Or take smaller sips, but don’t forego water completely. 

Refrain from drinking soft drinks and commercial fruit juices – since soft drinks are carbonated, they’ll make you gassy and bloated, and the sugar in fruit juices isn’t great for debloating either [3]. Plus, your stomach might be sensitive to an ingredient in fruit juice, and you may end up bloating even more.

The best course of action is to drink water only when you feel thirsty. You can also have some natural diuretics to lose weight in hours, like:

  • Caffeine
  • Fruits like melon and cranberries
  • Vegetables like asparagus, cucumbers, lettuce, and carrots
  • Dandelion tea and green tea [4]

These diuretics will encourage your body to get rid of excess water, and you can also enhance this effect by giving up carbs for a day.

Cut Out Carbs for a Few Hours

Carbs are not the enemy and are excellent energy sources, but they’re not great if you want to figure out how to lose weight in a few hours. 

Carbs encourage your body to retain water by causing insulin spikes, increasing sodium’s reabsorption into the body [5][6]. If you don’t retain water, you can lose half a pound in an hour.  However, this fact is only valid for refined carbs (white rice, white bread, etc.) – you can still have whole grain carbs like brown rice or oatmeal. Another benefit of cutting refined carbs for the day is reducing the number of calories you consume.

Of course, these tips will be much less effective if you eat food that makes you feel bloated, so avoid having meals that make you gassy!

Avoid Bloating Food

If you know something bloats you up, try not to eat those foods if you’re trying to lose weight in 3 hours or so. It might be something as apparent as pizza or as innocuous as an apple. Common culprits include spicy food, dairy, processed carbs, etc., but know your triggers and steer clear of them. 

Check out the low-FODMAP diet to see which foods are safe to eat [7]. FODMAPs are fermented oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols – short-chain carbs your body can’t digest properly. Foods that contain these compounds can cause gas and bloat, and following a low-FODMAP diet for a few hours can help you cut them out.

Now that we’ve covered how look leaner by minimizing bloat in your belly, how about the rest of your body? Try exercising!

Get a Pump

Not only does exercise kickstart your metabolism in the morning and promote good digestion, but it also makes you look leaner right afterward [8]. Try to do some strength training exercises like squats or pushups (if you have dumbbells, even better!) to pump up your muscles and look leaner for a while. 

Suggested Reading: Is doing push ups everyday overtraining?

Since you lose water through sweating, you debloat. Your muscles also swell up afterward and make you look more shapely for a couple of hours. You can also do cardio if you don’t like resistance training – cardio will make you sweat, too!

Other than that, if your belly is your sore spot, do some abdominal exercises before you head out. These include:

  • Crunches
  • Sit-ups
  • V-ups
  • Butterfly kicks
  • Russian twists
  • Roll-ups

Along with countless other ab exercises, these will pull in your stomach and your waist to make you appear a bit slimmer for some time, and you can hop into a sauna to relax afterward.

Jump into a Sauna or Steam Room

While steam rooms and saunas aren’t good for losing belly fat, they do make you sweat and help to drop some water weight. Besides, they’re a great way to destress and relax before a nerve-wracking event like a first date. Be careful going to a sauna if you have high blood pressure. The AHA warns against moving between extreme temperatures as it can cause a spike in blood pressure. 

Saunas also raise your heart rate, which can help burn a few extra calories, but if you’re trying to skip out on some calories altogether to help you lose weight in a few hours, try going without a meal. 

Skip One Meal or Fast

Fasting is the fastest answer to the question, “How to lose weight in a few hours?” You might have noticed that you wake up slimmer than when you went to sleep – this is because your body has digested all the food from the previous day, and you haven’t eaten anything that can cause you to bloat yet.

You don’t need to fast the whole day – if you’re going out for lunch, you can just forgo breakfast. Dinner plans? Have a light breakfast and skip lunch. Be sure to eat something if you start feeling tired or dizzy, and don’t skip meals if you have any medical conditions like diabetes.

Also, don’t make skipping meals a habit. It’s not good for sustainable weight loss as you’ll keep craving food throughout the day. It’s okay to fast for a day or two, but don’t do it for multiple days at once – try intermittent fasting instead [9]. 

Acceptance and Long-Term Weight Loss

A woman doing a sit up after deciding she needs more than a few hours for long lasting weight loss results.

It might be hard to get skinny fast or in just 10 minutes, but with these quick fixes you can surely become thinner in 1-4 hours. Again, you should only use these tips as a last resort, no matter how tempting they may seem. It might be wiser to accept your body as it is for now and start losing weight healthily and holistically tomorrow. 

Most people who lose weight end up gaining it back, so your best bet is to lose weight slowly and steadily and build healthy diet and exercise habits so you can change your lifestyle instead of following a fad diet that you can’t sustain [10]. 

If trying to look leaner quickly is only needed once in a blue moon, these methods for how to lose weight in a few hours, paired with a strong will and positive attitude, will help you achieve the results you’re looking for- you’ll do great!

References

[1] Harvard School of Public Health. (2022). Salt and Sodium | The Nutrition Source | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Retrieved January 14, 2022, from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/salt-and-sodium/

[2] Walker, A. F., De Souza, M. C., Vickers, M. F., Abeyasekera, S., Collins, M. L., & Trinca, L. A. (1998). Magnesium supplementation alleviates premenstrual symptoms of fluid retention. Journal of women’s health7(9), 1157–1165. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9861593/

[3] Cleveland Clinic. (2021, March 1). What Is Fructose Intolerance? – Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials. Retrieved January 14, 2022, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-fructose-intolerance/ 

[4] Clare, B. A., Conroy, R. S., & Spelman, K. (2009). The diuretic effect in human subjects of an extract of Taraxacum officinale folium over a single day. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.)15(8), 929–934. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19678785/ 

[5] Affarah, H. B., Hall, W. D., Heymsfield, S. B., Kutner, M., Wells, J. O., & Tuttle, E. P., Jr (1986). High-carbohydrate diet: antinatriuretic and blood pressure response in normal men. The American journal of clinical nutrition44(3), 341–348. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3529916/ 

[6] Osterberg, K. L., Pallardy, S. E., Johnson, R. J., & Horswill, C. A. (2010). Carbohydrate exerts a mild influence on fluid retention following exercise-induced dehydration. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985)108(2), 245–250. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19940093/ 

[7] Bellini, M., Tonarelli, S., Nagy, A. G., Pancetti, A., Costa, F., Ricchiuti, A., de Bortoli, N., Mosca, M., Marchi, S., & Rossi, A. (2020). Low FODMAP Diet: Evidence, Doubts, and Hopes. Nutrients12(1), 148. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019579/ 

[8] Hazell, T. J., Olver, T. D., Hamilton, C. D., & Lemon P, W. R. (2012). Two minutes of sprint-interval exercise elicits 24-hr oxygen consumption similar to that of 30 min of continuous endurance exercise. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism22(4), 276–283. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22710610/ 

[9] Stockman, M. C., Thomas, D., Burke, J., & Apovian, C. M. (2018). Intermittent Fasting: Is the Wait Worth the Weight?. Current obesity reports7(2), 172–185. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29700718/ 

[10] Hall, K. D., & Kahan, S. (2018). Maintenance of Lost Weight and Long-Term Management of Obesity. The Medical clinics of North America102(1), 183–197. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5764193/ 

About the Author

Nathan

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.