We’re all about realistic fitness goals; after all, part of our motto is that we’ll never try to promise you can get six pack abs by Sunday or go from a size 12 to 6 overnight. But we do hear you when you say you want actionable ways to lose weight in a specific amount of time. Many people want to set a goal of losing 10 pounds in a month. While losing ten pounds in 30 days is not easy, it is doable if you really commit. This article includes practical advice on how to safely lose 10 pounds in a month—no fasting or crazy detoxes required. What will be required? Proper nutrition, exercise, and serious commitment. Without further ado, here’s how to lose ten pounds in one month:
1. Yes, You Need To Count Calories
It’s true that the kind of calories you eat matter (are they from healthy foods or processed, packaged TV dinners?) most of all. If you eat crappy, you’ll feel crappy, and that’s the bottom line. BUT the number of calories you’re consuming still matters, especially when you have the aggressive goal of losing 10 pounds in one month. Weight loss isn’t easy, but you do have to remember this somewhat simple tenet of losing weight: burn more calories than you consume. How do you burn calories? Through exercise and also your resting metabolic rate. (Your resting metabolic rate is the number of calories you burn at rest, just by occupying your body. More on how to change that in a bit.) While everyone’s caloric needs are different, for the average woman who’s looking to lose weight, aiming to eat around 1,600 calories per day will help you drop pounds. Check out this sample day of 1,600 calories:
2. Eat Clean
We always say “no one ever got fat by eating too many fruits and vegetables,” because it’s true. Fill up your plate with veggies, fruits, lean protein, and healthy fats with real ingredients. Say goodbye to processed, packaged foods and artificial ingredients. Get rid of your soda habit. Eliminate added sugars. These are the things that will change your diet for good, creating sustainable, life-long habits that boil down to Michael Pollan’s philosophy: “Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” By counting calories (as we said above, it does matter) and making those calories healthy and clean, you’ll have one half of your weight loss equation solved.
Related: 5 Ways To Simplify Healthy Eating
3. Combine Cardio and Strength
You can’t lose weight based on your dietary choices alone. Yes, it’s one half of the battle, but you won’t see any results without exercise. Many people get caught up in not knowing where to begin when it comes to exercise, whether they’ve avoided it for years or have fallen into a slump and aren’t sure what will work anymore. Let’s start with the basics: to lose weight you need to hit a few minimum exercise requirements each week:
- At least 150 minutes of moderate, heart-pumping cardiovascular exercise each week. This can be divided up however you want, and done through activities like running, biking, or anything else that gets your heart rate up.
- At least 2-3 strength training sessions per week. Strength training is the KEY to a revved up metabolism, because the more muscle you have on your body, the higher your resting metabolic rate. (Your resting metabolic rate is how many calories your body burns at rest.)
What’s an easy way to tackle both of these requirements at once? Try getting your cardio and strength done at once using circuit and interval training. Circuit and interval workouts require you to give all-out effort, so they get your heart pumping hard, and typically use a series of strength moves to do so. This helps you tackle both your cardio and strength at the same time, which can be helpful if you’re short on time. A huge factor to consider when you want to lose weight is intensity. You need to be sure you’re training in different heart rate zones. (Use our heart rate calculator to find your personal training zones!)
4. Prioritize Sleep and Minimize Stress
Lastly, aside from diet and exercise, there are other factors that can make losing weight difficult. These two factors are often overlooked when looking to lose weight, but they do matter. There’s a scientific link between the stress hormone cortisol and belly fat. And sleep deprivation throws two hormones that regulate your appetite—leptin and ghrelin—out of whack, making it harder for you to feel satiated, thus causing overeating. Work on ways to manage daily stressors and prioritize getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night. These things can help make your weight loss journey a bit easier.
5. Bring Your Hormones Back Into Balance
Sometimes hormonal issues can also make losing weight extra difficult, especially if you’re in perimenopause or menopause. If you’re currently feeling the menopausal spread around your middle, you’re not alone, and no, you’re not crazy: it does get harder to lose weight as you age. But it’s NOT impossible. Use the information above and then also these resources to help balance your hormones and lose weight in menopause:
If you’re still having trouble losing weight despite making dietary and lifestyle changes, consult your doctor or reach out to a nutritionist or health coach. Weight loss can be a difficult journey that you don’t have to go alone, and there may be other medical or psychological barriers at play that someone can help you address in a healthy way.