Losing 30 pounds can seem like a daunting task, however if you give yourself time, develop healthy habits and work hard, it is also an achievable goal. For those that are overweight or obese, losing 30 pounds can be enough to improve your health, build your self-confidence, increase your fitness and improve your overall quality of life.
Many diets or exercise programs promise 30 pound weight loss in an unrealistically short time frame, but to lose the weight in a healthy way and for long term results try the simple tips below.
Step 1: Give yourself time
If a diet promises weight loss that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Although it may be tempting to sign up for a diet or exercise program that will apparently give you the results you want in as short a time as possible, it is essential to remember that long term weight loss and maintenance is what you are really aiming for, not just a quick fix.
How long does it take to lose 30 pounds?
To lose 30 pounds at a healthy rate of about one to two pounds per week, you will need to decrease your calorie intake or increase your energy expenditure to create a calorie deficit. This equates to a deficit of around 500 calories for one pound and 1000 for two.
At this rate of weight loss it will obviously take 15 weeks at a minimum to lose the weight, which although it may seem like a long time, it is really the healthiest way to drop the pounds and keep them off.
Extreme dieting or exercise that causes rapid weight loss can be dangerous to your health and is also hard to maintain whilst carrying out a normal day to day routine.
Step 2: Move more
One of the easiest ways to create a calorie deficit is to get moving and burn the extra energy. Vigorous cardio exercise is the most efficient in terms of burning calories; however resistance training can also be beneficial for building muscle mass, which burns more calories than fat even in a resting state, thus increasing your metabolism.
Incidental exercise such as moving more throughout the day by taking the stairs or riding a bike to work is a good start, but to lose 30 pounds you are better off also doing some form of organized exercise to burn those excess calories more efficiently.
If you are new to working out, make sure you start gently and gradually increase the speed and time you exercise as you improve your fitness level.
Step 3: Eat fewer calories
Along with exercising more, consuming less energy is the best way to lose weight. There are numerous approaches to reducing your calorie intake, but it is important to choose one that suits your lifestyle and eating habits so you can keep it up in the long term.
Some people may prefer to eliminate ‘extra’ foods from their diet such as chocolate, potato chips and candy, whilst others may find that even just cutting out sugary drinks or alcohol is enough to achieve the energy deficit required.
A combination of reducing portion sizes, eating lower energy density foods, cutting out excess sugary and fatty foods and limiting alcohol may be a good way to lose the pounds, but some people prefer a more structured diet or eating plan.
It all depends on your current diet, eating patterns and which changes are easier to make for you as an individual, so the best thing to do is try to make changes and find the ones that are the best for you.
Step 4: Adjust your plan as you lose weight
Many people start on a diet and continue on with this same diet without adjusting their calorie intake as they lose weight. This usually leads to a plateau in weight loss which can be frustrating and demoralizing.
To keep weight loss constant, it is necessary to gradually decrease your calorie intake further as you lose weight. This is because as your body weight reduces, your energy requirements are less to maintain your weight, so you may no longer be in a large enough energy deficits with your reduced calorie diet.
Once you reach your desired weight it is usually possible to increase intake slightly to halt weight loss and maintain your goal weight.
Step 5: Set mini goals
Losing 30 pounds can be overwhelming and is definitely a long term commitment, so to make it easier to manage, try looking at your weight loss in smaller goals. Set weekly goals for your weight, dietary changes and exercise and you will be motivated to continue and set new challenges when you have completed them. (See also: How to set realistic weight loss goals)
Step 6: Don’t stress about small gains
With any long term weight loss plan it is normal to get fluctuations in weight, including small gains. Many people lose motivation and give up when they see an increase on the scales, but bear in mind that there are many factors that can cause increases in weight and a small change is nothing to worry about, it is long term weight loss that is important.
Fluid retention, menstruation, muscle gain and even when you last went to the toilet can increase your weight in the short term, so instead of weighing yourself daily, it may be better to do it on a weekly basis so these small fluctuations are not so obvious.
Step 7: Motivate yourself
Losing weight, especially larger amounts is not easy, and although it may seem to be a simple case of eating less and exercising more, there is much more to it than that.
Motivation and support are essential ingredients to any weight loss endeavor, especially for larger amounts and to keep it off in the long term. Rewarding yourself for you hard work, working out with friends and keeping a chart of your weight loss can all be good motivational tools and joining a weight loss group or talking about your goals with a friend or health professional can give you the extra support you need to lose those pounds forever.