Hey everybody.

Due to a combination of depression, sedentary habits, and taking up cooking as my main leisure activity, I've gained some weight over the last few months (and lost some muscle tone). I have something coming up that I want to look my best for (and *for me* my best is slimmer and more toned). I know that people often say permanent weight loss requires permanent lifestyle change, and I agree. But here I'm looking just to quickly get back to my old state and what I think is my set point weight. So forget about "maintenance" and "long term" and all of that.

But I'm a little confused about how to lose weight quickly, both from the health and effectiveness angles. I mean, I could just not eat, but I don't want to be weak and malnourished. So a few questions:

(1) Juice fasts. If I love eating lots of raw fruits and veggies (which I do) is there any reason to put them through a juicer?

(2) I hear that all calories count the same for weight loss, but it doesn't seem that way for me when it comes to alcohol. A huge toasted cheese sandwich seems to cause weight gain in a way the caloric equivalent in wine doesn't.

(3) How much does it matter if my diet is balanced, given that it's short term? I mean, Beyoncé lived on cayenne-lemon-maple syrup water for two weeks.

(4) Does it matter, really, if I spread my food consumption over the course of the day or eat it at once?

Any answers or other advice would be appreciated. Thank you!