There is a healthy way to shed a few pounds fast, merely by bumping up physical activity and making minor diet adjustments. Try eliminating processed foods, which can cause bloating if they're loaded with sodium, and minimize overall salt intake to prevent water gain. Pig out on fruits and vegetables—especially asparagus, a natural diuretic that will help flush your body of toxins while breaking down fat, says ADA spokesman Jim White, a dietitian in Virginia Beach, Va. You should see a difference within a week. Avoid one-food plans, like cabbage soup, baby food, or vegetable-only diets, say experts. White worked with a client who spent six months on a nothing-but-watermelon diet, which he calls a sure route to malnutrition.
Bottom line: Crash diets are a quick but deceptive fix. "They patch things up instead of addressing the larger issues: cutting down portions, eating five or six meals a day to speed up your metabolism, and getting a variety of foods," White says. "If you need to look good for a wedding or class reunion, do yourself a favor and plan ahead."