If your body feels that any diet is the onset of a period of famine it will attempt to hold on to its reserves of fuel. These reserves are held in the form of fat. This is the very thing that you are trying to lose. With this in mind we should retain the idea of fasting for possible inclusion in periods of detoxification or perhaps with some religious connotation.
Here is the number one tip to save you some time: skip the fad diets. Their results don't last. And you have healthier options you can start on -- today!
Most weight loss counsellors agree that you can safely lose 3 or more pounds a week at home with a healthy diet and lots of exercise. They suggest that burning 500 more calories than you eat every day for a week, you should lose about 1-2 pounds.
This healthy option may be your first stop but you may feel that you have greater goals than a loss of 1-2 pounds per week. A more aggressive method may be called for, especially if an important function or the bikini season is approaching.
It is the need to stay healthy whilst at the same time losing weight quickly that has led to the growth of the meal replacement industry. The replacement meal can be in the form of a ready prepared meal that will contain the necessary vitamins, protein and fibre. Since the meal is ready prepared and comes pre-packed it may seem less attractive than the alternative of a replacement meal shake. Whilst the shake mix is similarly ready prepared in powder form there is the advantage that you mix it yourself and add the fruit or vegetables of your choice.
The replacement of every meal would not be recommended. As a rough rule of thumb if you were looking for a moderate weight loss, say 10-15 pounds then replacing one meal per day should see you get the sort of rate of loss that you need. Should you need to lose 20 pounds or more then you will need to replace two meals per day.
Remember not to binge on the remaining meals, eat healthy and drink plenty of water. In this way your bathroom scales will soon show you the number that you seek.