You should be able to lose several pounds in one month, but to keep it off, don’t fall victim to a strict, fad diet or “wonder shakes” that promises fast results. Those types of plans leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied, which means sticking to these diets can be difficult.
Many of these shakes and diet plans do give you quick results but they are not realistic for the long term and a lot of the weight that you will lose comes from water weight and muscle. To win the weight loss game it is as simple as calories in versus calories out, you need to be consistent, slow and steady. The best way to lose weight in a month is to combine a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Losing 8lbs may sound like a lot, but if you are trying to lose fat and not muscle it is better to take it slowly, losing more than 2lbs a week means you are probably losing some muscle, not just fat. As a contributor to your metabolism, muscle loss means a decrease in your calorie burning capabilities, making it harder to lose weight in the long term.
Here’s the science part - One pound of fat equates to 3500 calories, so in order to lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit of 500 calories a day to lose 1lb a week. Now whilst this sounds a lot this doesn’t all need to come from food and personally I wouldn’t recommend you restrict your diet this much in one go! If I cut out 150-200 calories a day from my diet (that cake you have mid-afternoon), and exercise for 30-60 minutes a few times a week then 3500 calories is easily achievable.
What and how much you eat are keys to your month-long diet plan, I would strongly recommend using a food diary or online calorie calculator to determine how many calories you need to maintain your weight. You will be surprised how many calories you consume with that odd cake, biscuit or snack you have throughout the day at work when you are just walking past the coffee bar.
Fill your diet with low calorie, nutrient rich options by eating more fruit and veg, wholegrains and proteins. Fibre will add bulk to your diet and fill you up fast which helps control appetite and slow digestion, so you feel fuller for longer.
Lean protein such as poultry, fish, lean red meat, eggs and soy also make healthy editions to any weight management plan. 30% of your diets calorie intake should consist of protein, so on a 1500kcal diet that is around 94 grams or 375 calories.
Healthy fats are important too. Whilst it is important to watch your portion size and fat content, you need to be consuming essential fats. Good options include olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocado.
My recommendation is to eat 5 times a day, 3 meals and 2 snacks spaced throughout the day, this will keep hunger at bay as well as keeping your energy levels up. On a 1500kcal diet that means breakfast, lunch and dinner around 300-500 calories, and your snacks around 100-150 calories.
To maximise calories burning I recommend you consider trying high intensity interval training (HIIT). This type of intense workout alters between periods of maximum effort followed by periods of recovery for a certain period of time, such as sprinting for a minute followed by 3 minutes slow jogging, altering between the two for 20-30 minutes. HIIT helps you burn calories during and after your workout and combine this with some form of resistance training your body can become a lean mean fat burning machine for up to 48 hours post exercise.
Now aerobic (cardio) activity isn’t the only way to burn calories. Lifting weights uses calories as well as promoting lean muscle mass, that extra muscle keeps your metabolism going even at rest. Use a combination of free weights, machine weights and cables at least twice a week for best results. To get the most from your workout and maximise your results, lift the heaviest weight you can without compromising form for 8-12 reps, then repeat after 30 seconds of rest. As you get stronger you will want to increase the weight and increase the amount of sets performed. Work each major muscle group Legs, Back, Chest, Shoulders and Core at least once during your workout if you are following a full body split.
The last thing to consider is that weight isn’t the only way to measure success! We can get so caught up in that magic number on the scales we seem to neglect other factors such as decrease in bodyfat, increase in muscle, BMI, circumference size and clothing size. Whilst weight is important it is not the only way to measure success, if you are decreasing fat but putting on muscle you may not see a massive decrease on the scales, but you will notice a difference in measurements and how your clothes feel on.
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