How to lose 30 pounds in 3 months
3 months is enough time to significantly change the way your body looks. A healthy amount of weight to lose per week is 1 – 2 pounds. But by following a strict diet and exercise plan, it is possible to increase this amount to an average of 2.5 pounds per week (i.e. 30 pounds in 3 months). It is very important to note however that weight loss does not happen in a linear fashion. You might lose 2.5 pounds one week and then only 0.5 pounds the next. This should not discourage you from your goal.
Weight management depends on calorie consumption and expenditure, the basic equation being calories in – calories out. If this number is negative, it means that you are consuming fewer calories than your body is using up, and you will start to lose weight. This is because your body will start to use its fat stores as a source of energy.
The number of calories that you need to consume in order to maintain your current weight depends on your age, gender, weight, height and how active you are. You can use the calculator below to estimate this amount:
This calculator will never show a number below 1000 calories per day. Please speak to a qualified health professional before attempting to eat less than that.
For example, a 40 year old lady who weighs 220 pounds, is 6 feet tall and exercises 4 days a week will need to consume approximately 2,800 calories per day to maintain her weight. If she weighed 180 pounds, she would need to consume 2,500 calories.
You should reduce your daily caloric intake by 500 – 1,000 calories to start losing weight. In general, it is not recommended that you consume less than 1,000 – 1,200 calories per day, depending on your body type and gender. Always speak to your doctor before drastically changing your diet plan, so that he or she can advise you on the minimum number of calories you should be consuming.
(As mentioned above, it is important to note that weight loss is not a straightforward linear process.
Your body is very dynamic and will change in the way it functions as you lose weight; this is especially true when you have large amounts of weight to lose. Weight loss can affect your metabolism and so your calorie requirements may change over time.)
You should also keep in mind that you need to remain a certain weight in order to be considered normal weight. Being underweight brings about complications of its own, so losing too much weight is not a good idea.
Your body mass index (BMI) determines your weight status. It is calculated using the following formula:
BMI = ( Weight in Pounds / ( Height in inches x Height in inches ) ) x 703
The formula does not take age or gender into consideration. A BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight, 18.5 – 24.9 is normal weight, 25 – 29.9 is overweight and 30+ is obese. Your aim should be to lose enough weight so that your BMI fits in the normal range.
Staying in a calorie deficit may seem intimidating at first, but with some planning it can be achieved. Here are some tips to help you lose as much weight as possible over 3 months.
Monitor your calorie intake
The best way to do this is by keeping a food journal. You can use a pen and paper, or myfitnesspal.
The latter has apps available for Android and iOS that are very simple to use. After every meal, you enter all the foods that you ate and the app will add them to your log. At the end of the day you can analyse the total number of calories that you have consumed, as well as your macro ratios (protein, carbohydrate fat).
Using your food journal you can then reduce your calorie intake by switching out unhealthy foods for healthier options. For example, consider a chicken breast versus a slice of 14 inch regular crust pizza. Both have the same number of calories but which one do you think will leave you feeling fuller?
If you answered chicken breast, you’re right! A chicken breast with a cup of steamed veggies (384 calories) is much more filling than pizza. You will likely need to eat at least 3 slices of pizza (855 calories) to feel as full but you end up consuming more than twice the number of calories.
It may be difficult at first, but after some time you will be able to accurately determine how much of various types of foods you should be eating.
Increase your protein and fiber consumption
Carrying on from the section above, one of the easiest ways to reduce your calorie intake significantly is by eating more protein and fiber. Even though you should be eating adequate amounts of all 3 macro-nutrients, protein is much more filling than carbohydrate and fat.
This study found that increasing protein intake to 30% of total calories led to 441 fewer calories being consumed per day! Over a 3 month period, that would amount to a lot of calories being saved.
Another study found that increasing protein consumption helped reduce obsessive thoughts about food and late night desire to eat, in overweight men. It also helps boost your metabolism slightly and once you have lost weight, it helps to keep it off.
Fiber has a similar effect on satiety. This study found that by increasing fiber intake to 30 g or more per day, participants were able to lose weight (they were still in a calorie deficit though).
Protein rich foods include fish, lean meat, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes. Fiber rich foods include vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes. You should aim to increase your intake of these types of foods whilst cutting back or completely eliminating processed carbohydrates. You can use our healthy food finder tool to see which foods are high in protein and fiber.
Drink more water and fewer sugary beverages
You may not realise it but beverages such as soda are packed full of calories & sugar, however they provide your body with very little nutritional value. This is why the calories that you obtain from them are considered to be “empty”.
When you drink soda, you don’t feel as full as you would if you got the same number of calories from solid food. Chewing, together with the bulk that solid food adds to your stomach helps your brain sense that you have eaten, so you should feel less hungry.
With sugary drinks, the same isn’t true, which leads to overeating and more calories being consumed than necessary. This is why sugary drinks, especially soda, are one of the leading causes of weight gain. Sodas are high in fructose, the consumption of which leads to an increase in visceral fat, the most dangerous type.
Also, the large amount of sugar in these drinks causes your blood sugar to rise and fall dramatically which can leave you feeling hungry.
A can of cola has 140 calories on average. If you drink 2 cans a day, over 3 months that equates to 25,000 extra calories. Switching to water, which has 0 calories, means you could automatically burn a huge amount of fat!
Fruit juices should also be drunk with caution. Whilst they do provide your body with vital nutrients, they are also high in calories & sugar. For example a cup of orange juice has 111 calories and 21 g of sugar. You would be better off eating solid fruit instead. If you must have something sweet to drink, consider fresh coconut water. It has 46 calories and 6 g of sugar per cup.
Your primary beverage of choice when trying to lose weight should be pure water. It helps fill you up and increases your metabolism slightly. Tea and coffee are also fine to drink (so long as they don’t have too much added sugar or cream) because they contain almost no calories. They have caffeine, which boosts metabolism slightly.
For some people, it may not be possible to cut large amounts of calories without feeling extremely hungry.
If this is the case for you, exercise can help you increase your overall net calorie deficit. The more strenuously you exercise, the more calories you burn. A person who goes for a 45 minute jog everyday will burn far more calories than someone who does not exercise at all. You can use a gadget such as a Fitbit to estimate how many calories you burn when you exercise.
Resistance training is important when it comes to weight loss. If you don’t do any resistance training, your body will begin to burn both fat and muscle, but this is not what you want. Your goal should be to burn off fat whilst retaining as much muscle as possible.
Doing so will mean that after you lose weight you will be left looking lean and toned rather than “skinny fat”. This brings about an important point: don’t worry about the weighing scale too much. Obsessively monitoring your weighing scale is not recommended.
This is because as you exercise, you build muscle. However just like fat, muscle has mass, so you will essentially be “converting fat into muscle“. When you look at your scale it may seem as though you have not lost any weight. But you will definitely see the changes in the mirror. Muscle is much more compact than fat, meaning you will begin to look leaner.
Your overall goal when it comes to losing weight should not just be to lose a certain number of pounds but to also look slimmer. Resistance training, cardiovascular exercise and the correct diet will help you achieve to this.
Starting off on a weight loss plan can be intimidating. Changing your diet and remaining in a calorie deficit might take a while to get used to, with symptoms such as headaches showing up in the first few days.
On average you can healthily lose 12 – 24 pounds in 3 months, but with a strict diet and exercise regime, 30 pounds is possible. Before changing your diet or increasing the amount that you exercise make sure to speak to your doctor.