Life happens. We all have that holiday to diet for, that wedding we need to fit into the dress for, or that graduation to attend, but just because you can lose 30lbs in a month on a fad diet, that doesn’t mean you should.
So, if you’ve been sitting there deliberating with yourself “How much weight can I lose in a month?”, we’re going to attempt to answer that question for you right now.
Following a very strict diet, with no slip-ups and lots of exercise, you really can lose up to 5lb per week – especially if you were obese to begin with. It’s often the case that the heavier you are to begin with, the more you lose at the start of your diet. So, to answer your question, you can safely lose up to 20lbs in a month with healthy changes to your diet alongside a good daily exercise routine. But with so many different ways to lose weight, which method should you choose?
Let’s take a look…
Fast weight loss doesn’t necessarily mean sustainable weight loss
It’s one of the biggest mistakes dieters make. They want to lose weight as quickly as possible, but in doing so, they fail to think about the long term results of the diet they choose.
When deciding to lose weight, ask yourself the question; Are you happy to be back at the weight you are now (or heavier) in 2 months time, just so long as you fit into that dress for that special occasion in a month? If the answer’s no, you need to read up on the dangers of crash dieting.
Why crash diets are bad for you
Crash diets are seriously bad news for your body – and your metabolism. But what do we mean by a ‘crash diet’?
A crash diet it a faddy diet which eliminates one or more food groups and cuts calories to ridiculously low levels for short term gain. Think of the cabbage soup diet, the baby food diet, the fruit diet and so on. While it’s true that these diets can help you to drop a huge amount of weight in a very short space of time, it’s highly likely that the weight will all pile straight back on as soon as you begin to eat healthily again – and it’s all down to nature.
Your body isn’t designed to be starved of nutrients. The minute it feels nutritious food is no longer available, it will go into ‘fat storage’ mode. That means that as soon as you eat any fatty food again after following a fad diet, the fat from that food is going to be stored in your body to help it to survive through the emergency situation it believes itself to be in.
Not only this, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of your mind. Your brain is designed to seek out nutritious fatty food, and the more you deprive it of it, the more it will crave it. So guess what will happen when that food’s once again back on the menu? Binge time!
All of this is terrible for maintaining a healthy weight of course. So if you value your long term health goals, avoid crash diets like the plague!
Why crash diets are not sustainable
As we’ve already mentioned, crash diets involve completely eliminating one or more food groups, which is terrible news for your body. You simply cannot sustain a healthy lifestyle if you don’t eat a varied diet – and your body will do everything it can to ensure you eat the foods you’re trying to avoid at every opportunity.
Here’s what the Mayo Clinic has to say about fad dieting:
Why healthy dieting matters
Weight loss isn’t designed to be an instant process, and anything you do to your body to cause it to lose a lot of weight in a short space of time will not only shock it, it’ll make it cling on to every gram of fat you eat once your diet returns to normal.
Not only this, rapid weight loss leads to terrible issues with sagging skin, and that skin will never fully recover – even if you regain the weight you lost. The problem is that skin isn’t designed to stretch and contract quickly. Any changes it needs to make need to be done slowly. Imagine stretching an elastic band quickly – it will snap. It would be far better to gently and slowly stretch it, allowing it to expand to its required size without tearing the fine fibers which keep it together. The same applies to when you allow it to go back into shape – and it’s also true for your skin.
Your skin is very capable of stretching and contracting slowly if you allow it the time to, but losing more than 20lbs in a month just isn’t slow enough. When you consider the damage you’re doing to your skin with rapid weight gain and loss, is it really worth starving yourself to lose it all as quickly as possible? Not only this, because you lost it so fast and in an unsustainable way, you’re much more likely to pile all the weight right back on afterward. And you guessed it – your skin will have to stretch back quickly too. This is a great recipe for making yourself look old real fast! Don’t do it.
How much weight can you safely lose in a month?
It’s perfectly possible (and perfectly safe) to lose up to around 20lbs of weight per month without causing yourself any major health issues – but only if you do it in a healthy, sustainable way – so no crash dieting!
Healthy and sustainable ways to lose up to 20lbs in a month
The healthiest way to lose up to 20lbs in a month is to eat a varied diet which is 300 – 400 calories below your recommended daily intake. In addition, you should follow a regular exercise routine which includes at least 30 minutes of exercise, 5 times per week as a minimum.
Having said that, some people like to find alternative ways to get faster results. To do that, there’s a couple of options you could try:
The keto diet
The keto diet is a great way to lose weight quickly if you have a love for fatty foods you just can’t control. Before you begin, there are several things you should know about the keto diet:
- It involves cutting carbs completely
- It involves eating a high-fat diet, which generally includes a lot of meat, dairy and oils
- It puts your body into ketosis, forcing it to burn the fat you already have rather than the fat you consume
- It can lead to smelly breath
- It can be followed long term
The keto diet isn’t for everyone of course. But don’t worry, there’s another way to lose weight in a month without harming your health:
Intermittent fasting has become very popular in recent times, and it’s quite unlike any other diet you may have tried. Intermittent fasting involves cutting your calories down to just 600 per day for 2 or 3 days per week, and prolonging the period of time between meals more than you usually would. In a nutshell:
- For 2 (or 3) days per week, eat just 600 calories per day, over 1 or 2 meals. For the rest of the day, only consume water
- On your non-fasting days, eat a healthy balanced diet, within your recommended daily calorie allowance
- In theory, you will create a calorie deficit over the week, and you should begin to lose weight
The diet also allows your body to ‘rest and repair’, which in theory is life-extending
So, how much weight can you lose in a month with intermittent fasting?
Weight loss with intermittent fasting is perhaps not as fast as other forms of weight loss, but here’s the thing – it’s a long term, sustainable option. Even if you only lose 5lb a month, over a year, that’s still a hefty amount. And you do want to stay at that new lower weight in the long term, don’t you?
Tips for healthy, sustainable weight loss
Long term results are more important than dropping 30lbs in a month. And sustainable weight loss doesn’t have to be complicated. If you want to avoid diet plans like those above, follow these basic tips to get started, and you’ll never have to ‘diet’ again:
- Replace carb-heavy food with low-calorie vegetables whenever possible in a meal
- Cut down on greasy, fatty and processed foods – try to eat clean
- Swap sugary snacks for healthy fruits
- Work out your recommended daily calorie intake – and try to eat 300 – 400 calories less than you need each day until you hit your goal weight
- Increase your exercise levels as much as possible
- Avoid fad diets at all costs
- See the changes as a long-term lifestyle change, not a ‘diet’
Staying motivated to lose weight isn’t always easy, so here are a few tips:
- Stay in the ‘weight loss mindset’ by finding something to inspire you on a daily basis
- Form healthy habits rather than relying on willpower
- Take progress measurements frequently
- Find an exercise you genuinely love
- Reward yourself for small achievements
Here’s all that explained in a little more detail:
The rate of weight loss will slow down as you get slimmer
Although it’s completely possible to lose 20lbs in a month safely, this assumes that you’re already quite overweight to begin with. It’s important to note that as you slim down, your weight loss will too – but that doesn’t mean you should quit.
The reason for this slow down is you simply need fewer calories with a smaller body, so the calorie deficit will need to be higher for it to be effective. Not only that, there’s just generally less fat to lose, so the body tends to cling on to it that little bit harder. It makes sense really when you think about how your body prioritizes what it needs to survive.
Healthy changes really do give long term results
The healthy weight loss tips in this article are the only truly sustainable way to lose your excess weight and keep it off for good. And the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll see the results you want. But don’t just do it for your looks – do it for your health. That way, you have a double-incentive to stick to your new healthy living regime.
Following tips like the ones found in this article really does result in long term results, even if you’ve been overweight your entire life. Just take a look at Bri Black Alexander’s story for some true inspiration!
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"I never understood the importance of health and fitness when I was younger. Growing up, my parents always told me that I should lose weight, but as a family, we never really took steps toward it.” . Bri Blank Alexander grew up eating whatever and whenever she wanted, leading to rapid weight gain throughout her childhood and teenage years. Although she knew she was overweight, she didn’t find it that worrisome — until a high school class trip to an amusement park changed her way of thinking. After getting on her favorite ride and finding that the seatbelt wouldn’t fasten, she was kicked off the ride in front of her classmates. “That was one of the most embarrassing moments of being overweight,” she remembers. Shortly after that, she decided to step on a scale and saw 306 pounds, a number that shocked her into a complete lifestyle change. She began tracking all her food intake with MyFitnessPal, which made it easy for her to know exactly what she was consuming and understand how it affected her body. She instantly saw results, losing 50 pounds in 4 months. With that success to motivate her, she began adding a variety of workouts to her daily routine, including strength training and conditioning classes at her gym. After 2 years of maintaining this dedication to nutrition and fitness, Bri shed 150 pounds — and still continues her health efforts to this day. “It felt amazing to finally do something for myself, and I realized I was more capable than I thought I was. We only get one body and one chance to treat it right.” ❤️ Thank you for the endless inspiration, Bri! . . . #TransformationTuesday #weightloss #weightlossjourney #weightlosstransformation #beforeandafter #fitspo #fitspiration #fitness #myfitnesspal #MFP
She was overweight for her entire life, until she started tracking what she ate. She lost 50lbs in just 4 months, just by making healthy swaps like those suggested above. That’s the power of healthy, sustainable lifestyle changes – and that’s the type of weight loss approach you should be focussing on!
How much weight have you lost in a one month period? If so, how did you do it, and did the weight stay off? Tell us about it in the comments below!