Let’s come right out and say it: diets suck. Not only are they a miserable way to lose weight fast and keep it off, but they also don’t work. So, how can you lose 10 pounds in a month without being hangry?
We’re here to help. We have what you need to lose weight and keep it off, because who wants to gain it back after? The best part: It's easier than you may think and requires no bootcamp or juice cleanse. We promise. Let’s get into it.
Personalize Your Weight Loss Goals
What is one of the first things they teach you in grade school? Something along the lines of everyone is different. Everyone learns at their own pace and looks unique, so why does everyone think a one-track health plan is the only way to go? Perhaps because it was missing from the curriculum, but it’s far from the truth.
Say two people are the same height, but there’s a 20-pound difference. One person's goal may be to lose 10 pounds and gain more muscle. The other person may want to lose 20 pounds to lessen joint pain. Both can still be healthy and happy at their set weights for many reasons. Everyone's body compositions are different and their weight loss goals should be tailored to reflect this uniqueness.
To personalize your approach, start with self-discovery. Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to lessen joint pain, look fit, or avoid chronic disease? Write down your reasons, no matter how personal. This is your “why,” or motivation for making the behavior changes necessary to lose weight.
Motivation is an essential component in achieving sustainable weight loss. Ask yourself “why” a few times until it makes you feel invigorated to get started.
To keep working toward your goals, self-monitoring is key. One study found that participants who received daily feedback messages significantly increased their motivation to stick to their weight loss plans. This is one of the reasons Kickoff users stay motivated — the daily texts and interactions with their personal trainers keep them focused and engaged.
You’ve identified your “why” and learned how a daily feedback loop can keep you motivated to do the work. Next, we’ll explore the “how” you can lose 10 pounds in a month and keep going if you need to lose more.
As you delve into the tips below, think of how you can make a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Timely) goal for every item, and you’ll be on your way to success. We’ll integrate this goal-achieving methodology into examples below.
Show Refined Carbs Who’s Boss
Carbohydrates are not the enemy, but refined carbs do deserve a slap on the wrist once in a while. If you’re ready and motivated to change your food habits, cutting out refined and processed whole grains like wheat flour for two to three weeks may be the way to go. Just two weeks can change your taste buds to crave more nutrient-dense food, making your new habits easier and kickstarting your weight loss goals.
Refined carbs and processed whole wheat foods can affect metabolic health in a negative way. These foods can contain added sugars and calories. Whole wheat products are high-glycemic foods, and some research suggests high-glycemic foods can contribute to excessive food intake. Eliminating them for a short period can help you avoid overeating. Aim to stick to unprocessed whole grains like quinoa and brown rice.
But, if your eyes bugged out at any point during those previous paragraphs, don't do it. I repeat, do not do it. Do one thing instead: Keep your carbs complex. Opt for whole grains instead of the white varieties, eat plenty of fiber per meal, and aim for fresh foods 90% of the time.
When you feel hungry for snack food, be prepared with low-carb and high-fiber treats. Think dark chocolate 80% and up, roasted honey mustard chickpeas, or even a high-fiber cookie made with almond flour. Skipping refined carbs does not mean you have to say goodbye to snacking.
Your SMART goal example: Every day this week, I’ll swap white or whole wheat bread for Ezekiel bread.
Make Friends With Portions: Follow the Rule of Three
Americans consume far more calories each day than we did several decades ago, and that amount keeps rising as the average body weight follows. The easiest way to drop weight is to keep a close eye on your plate size and the rule of three. Remember, snacking on healthy treats a few times a day is A-OK, too, but think of this rule for snacks too.
Make sure your plate is small- to medium-sized and add 4–6 ounces of protein (about the size of your palm), fill half with non-starchy vegetables, and add a thumb-sized portion of healthy fats. Healthy fats can be a piece of avocado or a drizzle of olive oil and much more. If you’re ravenous after a meal with the miraculous three, re-examine your water intake.
Read on for tips to maximize your water consumption throughout the day.
Your SMART goal example: For every meal and snack, I will plate my food.
Lay off the Juice (And Soda)
Hungry an hour after a meal with protein, healthy fat, and fiber? You’re perhaps thirsty, not hungry. A review of studies showed 37% of people mistake thirst for hunger.
Instead of reaching for a sugary juice or soda — that means diet soda, too — drink water first. Most juices contain far too much sugar, making it hard for the body to break down. Even diet soda is a culprit for weight gain because artificial sweeteners trick the body into thinking you need refined carbs and sugar stat (Gasp).
Grab a water bottle you love and keep it nearby throughout the day. If you need a little flavor, try infusing water with cucumber, lemon, herbs, or your favorite fruit for a change. You can also try an electrolyte drink free of artificial sweeteners boosted with essential nutrients. Pro tip: Magnesium can tamp down hunger and improve metabolic functioning.
Or eat your water to avoid boredom. Grab watermelon, cucumbers, and leafy greens to boost hydration.
Your SMART goal example: Strive to sip 13 cups (104 ounces) of water daily for men and 9 cups (72 ounces) for women. Exact amounts can differ depending on the climate, your size, age, and activity level.
Count on Mindfulness, Not Calories
To count calories or not to count calories, that is the controversial question.
High stress levels are one of the most underrated causes of weight gain.
Count on mindfulness, portion regulation, and the rule of three instead of lasering in on daily calorie amounts.
Not all calories are considered equal. Nuts and seeds provide a great example of diet misinformation gone rogue. Some claim that nuts are too high in calories or fat for people to eat them and lose weight, but adding raw nuts and seeds can suppress hunger due to the fiber content — and keep you satiated longer.
The proof is in the portions. Enjoy nuts and seeds in a small handful or sprinkle them on top of a salad instead of grabbing the whole bag. Fun fact: Walnuts and flaxseeds are the best seeds for keeping your hunger at bay.
In general, eat nutrient-dense whole foods instead of processed foods to lose weight fast and keep it off. A review of 24 years of dietary observations showed the more fruits and non-starchy vegetables people ate, the less their weights changed.
Mindfulness is a state of simply being in the present moment. Whether you are out in nature, journaling your last meal, or meditating while chanting in a yoga studio, there is no right way to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness can help with weight loss because it lowers cortisol levels, rewires the brain, and sets you up for success. Mindful eating increases your awareness of the present while you eat, and it can decrease portion intake, too. Win, win!
Your SMART goal example: Practice mindful eating with every nutrient-dense, portion-controlled meal or snack you eat today. Skip rushed eating (that includes eating while working), put your fork down between bites, and chew your food until liquified.
Track Your Sleep (And Habits)
Sleep is a critical part of maintaining a healthy weight and state of mind. If you feel like you could eat an entire pizza after a few hours of sleep the night before, that’s no accident. When sleep is interrupted or reduced, leptin and ghrelin, hormones that regulate hunger cues, become off balance and your appetite spikes.
Some studies suggest that those who sleep less than seven hours a night have a greater body mass index.
Track your sleep with a wearable device or app to get insight into how much rest you get. Swap your phone for a physical book a half hour before bed and see what that does to your sleep quality. Think about other ways you can wind down or relax before bed — and away from screens.
Your SMART goal example: Track how much you sleep each night for a week. Pay attention to your appetite each day. Can you associate any cravings or bump in hunger with lower duration and quality of sleep the night before?
Move According to Your Schedule and Capability
If you prefer to stay away from CrossFit or hot yoga, know that you don’t have to start a new high-intensity workout to lose weight. While exercise is crucial for weight loss and maintenance (not to mention better cardiovascular health, less chronic disease, and better cognitive function), it doesn’t have to break your bank account or knees.
If you loathe getting on the treadmill at the gym or joining a group fitness class, listen to your body that day.
Maybe walking is all your body can handle one day, and maybe you add in a few planks and squats after. Every little movement counts for good health and well-being.
If you stay consistent with a routine, you’ll build muscle and bone mass density, and improve your cortisol levels. Walking for 20 minutes a day can help you drop weight fast if you’re new to exercising and you follow the other tips. You can skip strenuous exercise, take it slow and steady for the first month, and still see results. Meet yourself right where you are.
Your SMART goal example: Aim to take three 20-minute brisk walks this week.
How Quickly Can You Lose 10 Pounds? Is it Healthy?
When it all boils down, you can lose 10 pounds in a month. The tools we discussed can help you get there. Many experts say that even losing one pound a week is ideal. Even if you’re a bit shy of that goal, you are still on the right track. Losing seven or eight pounds in a month is also favorable.
Be proud of every small achievement and keep going. Remember, the hardest part about losing weight is keeping it off. Find what works for you long-term, and know you can always ask a certified personal trainer or dietitian for help.