Losing weight in a month may seem like a daunting task, but you can do it if you work hard and stay focused. The key is to lose weight in a healthy, sustainable way through a nutritious diet and regular exercise.
Preparing for Weight Loss
1. Set a goal. Setting a realistic weight or health goal is a great start to your weight loss plan. It will give you something to track and work towards over the course of a month.
- Think about how much weight you want to lose, what time frame and other health or wellness goals. Set a goal for how much weight and what target weight you’d like to get to within a month.
- A healthy rate is generally considered 1 to 2 pounds a week. So what does this mean? Generally, you can lose up to 4 to 8 pounds in a month. Setting a goal to lose more than this amount is generally not realistic.
- You may also want to set goals about exercise or lifestyle factors. For example, you might set a goal of working out three days a week for 30 minutes. This is a great health-based goal but will also support your weight loss.
- Remember, dramatic weight loss is risky and often ineffective; the faster you lose weight, the easier you can gain it back. Only real lifestyle changes can give you effective results. “Fad diets”, such as diet pills or liquid cleanses may help you lose water weight, but most work by essentially starving you.
2.Take your measurements. Taking measurements is the most effective way to track your progress. It also can provide information of whether or not your diet and exercise program are effective.
- Weighing yourself regularly is an easy way to track your progress. Step on the scale one to two times per week and track your weight over time. You will most likely see the most weight loss in the first week or two during your month time frame.
- Since weight alone doesn’t tell you the full story of your weight loss, you might want to consider taking measurements. This can help you see where you’re losing weight.
- Take measurements around your shoulders, bust, waist, hips, thighs and measure them about once every two weeks. Over the course of a month, you should be able to see some noticeable changes.
Start a journal. A journal is a great tool when losing weight. You can use it to help you prepare for weight loss, motivate you during weight loss and to help keep you on track to maintaining your weight.
- Initially, jot down notes about your weight loss or health goals in your journal. Write about how much weight you want to lose and how you’re going to track your progress.
- You may also take notes on what aspects of your diet or lifestyle you think you want to change. For example, you might want to cut out sodas, increase your activity or eat more fruits and vegetables.
- In addition, you can use your journal to keep a food and exercise diary. Studies have shown that those people who keep track of their food intake and exercise are able to maintain weight loss longer
Changing Your Diet
1.Calculate a calorie limit. In order to lose weight, you’ll need to cut out some calories each day. You can choose to cut out calories from diet alone or combine diet and exercise.
- One pound of fat is about 3500 calories. To lose a pound of fat per week, you need to eat 3500 calories less than you take in each week. Cutting out 500 calories daily will help you lose one to two pounds per week. Following this plan over the course of the month will help you lose that 5 to 8 pounds.
- Use your food journal or a food journal app to help you get an idea of how many calories you can cut out from your diet. Subtract 500 calories from a typical day to get a calorie level that will help you lose about one to two pounds per week.
- Do not go below 1200 calories daily. This may result in nutrient deficiencies, loss of lean muscle mass and slower weight loss long-term. If you continuously do not eat an adequate amount of calories over a month, you may notice your weight loss slows or stops.
- The best way to cut calories is to eat nutrient-rich, low-calorie foods combined with regular physical activity
2. Include protein, fruits and vegetables at each meal. When you’re trying to lose weight and cut calories from your diet during the course of a month, you’ll want to focus on eating low calorie, yet nutrient dense foods. These foods will help you meet lower calorie levels while still consuming adequate nutrition daily.
- Nutrient dense foods are those that are moderately low in calories, but very high in nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins or minerals. They have high amounts of nutrients for few calories.
- Lean protein is a great example of a nutrient dense food that will aid in weight loss. It helps keep you satisfied longer throughout the day and when you choose leaner cuts, you’ll be choosing lower calorie options.
- Include a 3 to 4 oz serving of lean protein at each meal and snack. Try items like: poultry, lean beef, eggs, low-fat dairy, tofu or legumes.
- In addition to protein, both fruits and vegetables are also considered to be lower calorie and nutrient dense. They contain higher amounts of fiber which can aid in digestion and your feeling of fullness and satisfaction.
- Include a fruit or vegetable at each meal and snack. Aim for 1/2 cup of fruit or one small piece, one cup of vegetables or two cups of leafy greens as a serving.
3. Make 50% of your grain choices whole grain. Choosing 100% whole grains is considered a better and more nutritious choice compared to refined grains or white flour. Try to make half of all your grain choices whole grain for the most nutritional benefit.
- Whole grains contain higher amounts of protein, fiber and other essential nutrients. In addition, they are less processed.
- One serving of grains is about 1/2 cup or one ounce. Include two to three servings of grains daily.
- Some studies show that diets that are lower in grains and other carbohydrates result in quicker weight loss compared to low-calorie diets alone. Try limiting your grain choices for faster weight loss
4. Limit snacking. Excess snacking or grazing throughout the day may work against your weight loss and may even cause weight gain – especially if you’re only giving yourself one month to lose weight. Be mindful of your snacks and limit them to help you lose weight.
- Some snacks can fit into your weight loss plan. Choose snacks that are 150 calories or less and that are high in protein and fiber. This combination will give you some energy, essential nutrients and keep you feeling satisfied longer.
- Some examples of healthy snacks include: a low-fat cheese stick and a piece of fruit, a small Greek yogurt or a hard boiled egg.
- Try to snack only if you’re feeling physically hungry and it is over an hour or two until your next planned meal or snack.
- If you’re feeling hungry and it’s almost time for a planned meal, wait it out. Try drinking some water or other calorie free beverages to take the edge off your hunger until it’s time to eat.
5. Cut out unhealthy foods. It’s fine to indulge once in a while, but to lose weight, you’ll need to limit unhealthy items from your day-to-day diet when you’re trying to lose weight within a month’s time frame. These foods are generally higher in calories and much lower in nutrients. Here are some common culprits to avoid:
- Chips and crackers
- Candy and desserts
- White pasta, rice, bread
- Foods high in processed sugar, cane sugar, or high fructose corn syrup
- Energy drinks and sugary/creamy coffees
6. Drink water. Not only can water keep you feeling full, it can help you manage your hunger and stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Aim for about 64 oz or 8 glasses of water daily at a minimum. Some people may even need up to 13 glasses of water daily to stay adequately hydrated.
- Carry around a water bottle. You may see that with the reminder of a full water bottle, you’ll find yourself drinking much more water simply because it is there.
- There are ways to jazz up your water without adding lots of calories. Try adding citrus slices (lemon, lime, orange), 0-calorie drink mixes, or making decaf or herbal teas.
1. Include regular aerobic exercise. Cardiovascular exercise is named so because it gets your heart pumping. Aim for 150 minutes(2 hrs and 30 min.) of aerobic exercise each week. Over the course of a month, you can make a serious contribution to your weight loss with physical activity.
- You have to make time for exercise. Get creative! Go for a walk before work, or maybe go to the gym right after work. Bike to work, and even start scheduling more physical activities over the weekend.
- Make exercise dates with others. If you make a commitment to someone else, you’re much less likely to break it.
- Try to find an activity you enjoy. Working out is a lot less painful if you can feel like you’re having fun.
- Activities to try include: running, hiking, swimming, dance classes, and at home exercise tapes.
2. Include a few days of strength training. In addition to cardio and aerobic exercise, try to include one to three days of strength training. This will help you maintain your weight loss after your month of dieting ends.
- Lifting weights or using weight machines helps your body build lean muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have the lower your risk of osteoporosis and the more calories your body burns at rest.
- In addition to lifting weights, yoga and pilates focus on building strength and stamina. These can be challenging at first but grow to be incredibly relaxing while building muscle mass.
3.Don’t overindulge while you exercise. Just because you’re exercising now doesn’t mean you can eat as much as you want. Try to maintain the same nutritious, weight loss diet while you’re exercising.
- If you must reward yourself or are having a food craving try a lower calorie, more nutritious option. For example, if you’re craving something sweet try going for a yogurt and fruit parfait, or a fruit salad.
- Try to enjoy the endorphin rush that comes after you finish your workout instead of reaching for a snack. For example, you could recline in a chair and focus on how your body feels or take a long relaxing shower.
- Also, increased exercise may make you feel more hungry throughout the day. Ensure you’re eating enough protein throughout the day and are eating regularly. If you need an extra snack, keep it to the 150 calorie maximum.
4. Increase your total movement throughout the day. In addition to strength training and planned aerobic exercise, another way to increase your total calorie burn and weight loss is by moving more throughout your day.
- Lifestyle activity, or those exercises that are a regular part of your daily routine can help burn additional calories. These are activities that you do daily – walking to and from your car, going up and down the stairs, walking to get the mail or raking the leaves in your yard.
- Many of these activities do not burn a ton of calories alone. However, when combined by the end of the day, they can make a significant contribution to how many calories you’ve burned all day long.
- Increase your daily activities and movement over the course of your month time frame. Try parking farther away, always taking the stairs, going for a short walk break on your lunch hour or doing some light yoga before bed.
Maintaining Weight Loss and Evaluating Progress
1.Build a support group. Whenever you’re trying to lose weight, even in a short amount of time, having a support group is helpful.
- Studies have shown that those people with support groups have better success with their weight loss long-term.
- Try asking friends or family members to help support you through your weight loss. They can be there to be motivating or to hold you accountable.
- Also consider asking them to join you on your weight loss diet. Many people are looking to lose some extra weight and it can be more fun to do it together.
2. Retake measurements. Compare against the measurements you took during the first week. Keep track of your results, and let the small victories keep you going.
- Keep weighing yourself as well. After one month, you might decide to lose another 5 pounds or to continue on with your diet for another month to see how much additional weight you can lose.
- Also keep track of your measurements. You might have toned down all over, but now want to focus on toning and building muscle in your body.
3. Reward yourself. A fun way to stay on track and to keep up motivation is by rewarding yourself. Setting up small incentives may help you stay on track or help you maintain your weight loss long-term.
- Set up small rewards when you meet smaller goals. For example, when you follow the first week of your new diet and exercise program, you might reward yourself with a few new workout songs.
- Set up bigger rewards when you meet larger goals. For example, you might buy yourself a new outfit when you lose the first 5 pounds.
- It’s generally not recommended to reward yourself with food or dinners out when you’re trying to lose weight. These types of rewards may work against your long-term goal.
4. Revisit your goals. So your month is up. You’ve probably lost some weight and maybe even have gotten into better shape. Revisit your weight goal to see if you want to continue your current diet.
- Although you can make significant progress during one month’s time frame, if you have more than 10 pounds to lose, you’ll most likely need to continue your diet and exercise plan to see further weight loss. If you have met your goal, you may also consider continuing your healthy eating plan to maintain your results.
- Even if you’ve met your weight goal, you might want to consider keeping up with increased activity to help maintain your weight loss and physical fitness level.
- If you haven’t met your weight goal yet, keep on going. Or, if you need to, make some changes to your diet and exercise plan to help induce more weight loss or make the plan fit better into your lifestyle.
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