By now I am sure we have all heard it takes 21 days to form a new habit. While this saying (coined by Dr. Maxwell Maltz in the 1950s) may not be entirely based on scientific evidence, I think we can all agree that if we are consistent day in and day out, eventually something is bound to stick, right? So, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds in a month, consistency and creating a habit is a must.
Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to building the foundation for pretty much anything. Whether it’s constructing a building with bricks and blocks, or learning something new such as a language, instrument, or sport. This same concept of repetitive habits is crucial for seeing positive results during a weight-loss journey, and while some may hit the snooze button because this sounds bor-ring, losing weight can be fun—especially if you have the social support of your friends and family.
Social support can make or break your weight-loss program, as this not only adds a layer of accountability, but when others are aware of your intentions, they can help you avoid/remove temptations and support your goals. It is important to also mention the concepts of social support and accountability are often missing ingredients in maintenance mode as well. So, don’t think that once you reach your goal you can just go back to old habits or remove yourself from support groups. This may be where a lot of folks meet their demise.
And if anyone is looking for a temporary, quick fix of dropping 10 El-Bee’s by trying out a fad diet of standing on your head while eating the feather from a rare bird, or drinking a vinegar-based concoction from an old slipper every evening before bed, you have clicked on the wrong article, my friend. These may work temporarily but then begin the vicious cycle of yo-yo dieting. While my methods for losing weight may appear to be common sense to some, to be frank, if it were really just common sense, you would not be here, as these things would have been readily recognized and acted upon.
So, without further ado, the following are my 10 tips on how to lose 10 pounds in a month.
How to Lose 10 Pounds in a Month: 10 Tips
1. Time-Restricted Feeding
For those of you who aren’t familiar with “time-restricted feeding,” no worries, as Coach Tim has put together a phenomenal resource to help explain the ins and outs, dos and don’ts, and everything in between. But for those of you who have already been implementing various forms of fasting, then this may be nothing new for you.
So if you are looking to lose 10 pounds in a month, my recommendations are to implement some form of intermittent fasting into your routine (plus, I would suggest doing so in a 16/8 timeframe). This simply means you will limit the time you consume food to an 8-hour window, but you will still consume the same meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
For those of you who are already saying, “There is no way I can go 16 hours without eating,” let me remind you that for roughly 8 – 10 hours of that, you will be sleeping. Therefore, it is really not that unrealistic nor painful.
For those folks who may be sensitive to caffeine, then you can absolutely omit this step. But if you do okay with caffeine, you’ll want to keep reading. And let’s not get this part twisted in thinking I am advocating for energy drinks or spending an arm and a leg on a fancy high-calorie coffee store’s flavor of the month. Nope, not at all.
But there is something to be said for that old commercial jingle, “The best part of waking up is Folger’s in your cup.” My suggestion to lose 10 pounds in a month is to start your day with a cup of coffee. Since caffeine is a natural diuretic and an excellent source of antioxidants, this may also aid in the protection from cellular damage.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you can safely consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day, and for those of you who don’t prepare your own java at home, this is the equivalent to a venti at one of those high-dollar coffee chains. 😉
Even if you aren’t a huge fan of coffee, which I will admit I wasn’t until roughly a year ago, you may also enjoy a nice hot cup of tea. Tea is also a natural diuretic, and various types of herbal tea such as dandelion or fennel root may also provide a ton of health benefits.
My general rule of thumb when it comes to staying hydrated is to aim for drinking half your body weight in water per day. Let’s say you are a 150-pound individual—this would equate to 75 ounces of water per day. That may sound like enough water to fill a bathtub, but it is only roughly ½ gallon of water. And this is merely a baseline.
If plain, filtered water sounds boring to you, try adding some fresh squeezed lemon or lime to your water. You can even infuse water with various fruits (e.g., berries), vegetables (e.g., cucumbers), and herbs (e.g., basil) to provide flavor and variety.
And guess what? This doesn’t only include water, as there are a plethora of foods that also contain mostly water, which are excellent to add to your diet. Reach for cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, asparagus, grapes, celery, artichokes, pineapple, and cranberries—all of which contain diuretic properties that will also help you stay full due to their higher fiber content.
4. Keep a Food Journal
There comes a time when you need to take a step back and really focus on being mindful of how you are eating. Of course, what you are eating is highly important, but often times we mindlessly overconsume foods out of boredom, lack of discipline, or maybe just for the sake of comfort.
Sometimes seeing is believing, and when you can look back at everything you consumed at the end of the day, it can really be eye opening. I can recall the first time I began a food journal: I noticed how many additional calories I was consuming the very first day. From the leftover bites of macaroni and cheese off my children’s plates to the sample bites of my own meals as they were cooking. And don’t even get me started on Costco samples. 😉
While I don’t think it’s necessary to measure, weigh, and/or record everything you eat indefinitely, food journaling can be a useful tool to raise awareness of what (and how much) you’re putting into your mouth. There are even some great apps that can help you with this.
5. Eat Whole Foods, Not Processed Junk
You had to see this one coming. We just discussed how mindful eating and how you are eating is important, but what you are eating is just as important.
Regardless of your nutrition preference (such as low-carb, low-fat, ketogenic, Mediterranean, etc.), everyone can benefit from sticking with whole foods and avoiding processed foods like the plague. This is generally accomplished by sticking to the outer perimeter of the grocery store when shopping.
Sticking with whole foods will help your body reduce inflammation and give it the ability to let go of excess body fat while building important muscle mass, which is needed for a strong metabolism. As long as you aren’t overeating, you can naturally lose weight as you eliminate foods that don’t provide the nutrients you need to promote your health and can cause you to feel sluggish and slow your metabolism.
Plan your meals ahead of time, and do meal prep, to avoid falling into the trap of grabbing unhealthy convenience foods. If you are so inclined, Coach Tim has shared his grocery list for weight loss, which may help you plan the next 30 days (and help lose 10 pounds in a month).
6. Move Your Body
There is really no right or wrong way to do this, and the type of movement I am referring to has no limits. I am just talking about getting up off the couch, out of your chair, or putting one foot in front of the other for no less than 30 minutes per day. Walking is totally acceptable, but you must get up and do something.
Exercise can help you lose 10 pounds in a month by burning off additional calories while you’re exercising (versus being sedentary) and by burning off additional calories for several hours after your workout (what is known as “EPOC”: excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).
To get the most out of the time you spend exercising, you need to work. Yep, that means you need to increase intensity levels and push your body.
The following is a list of ways you can burn 100 calories quickly: 20 Easy Ways to Burn 100 Calories
7. Strength Train 3 Times per Week
While cardio has long been touted as the way to shred pounds fast, I would have to disagree with this being the end all be all for fat loss. The real secret to shredding unwanted fat lies in building your strength, as muscle has been shown to burn fat faster.
The following are some proven benefits of adding weight training into your routine:
- Burns calories longer—lifting weights will cause you to burn calories during your workout, but the really good news is you’ll continue to burn calories long after your workout due to the afterburn.
- Muscle requires calories—muscle tissue needs calories to survive. Building muscle tissue means you’ll need more calories on a daily basis just to maintain your current weight.
- Reshape your body—this is the only type of exercise that will actually change the shape of your physique. You can tone or you can also purposely change the shape of your body. By working to widen your back and narrow your waist, for example, you’ll naturally create a thinner, more fit-looking physique.
- You’ll get stronger—being able to bring all the groceries into the house in one trip or easily carry that bicycle up the stairs are some side benefits you’ll be able to enjoy as you get stronger and stronger.
So, if you are serious about trying to lose 10 pounds in a month, resistance training is a MUST!
8. Gut Health
Taking care of your gut health and optimizing digestion is kind of a big deal. I would almost consider taking a probiotic as important as taking a multivitamin every day, so you know I think gut health is a pretty important!
Probiotics may help support healthy body weight in several ways. According to a recent article written by Coach Tim, “Researchers have referred to gut bacteria as ‘microscopic puppet masters,’ which may control eating behavior by influencing reward and satiety, influencing mood, altering taste receptors, and more.
For instance, when probiotics ferment indigestible fibers, they produce short chain fatty acids (SFCA). This stimulates the release of key hormones that suppress appetite. Believe it or not, gut dysbiosis (when the gut is overwhelmed by “bad bacteria” and inadequate levels of probiotics) can actually increase the number of calories you absorb from food.
Some examples of foods that may aid in digestion include leafy greens, most “orange” foods (oranges, sweet potatoes, carrots, melon), bananas, tomatoes, and cruciferous veggies — especially cauliflower. In addition, nuts, seeds, and even dairy may help reduce bloat and have been linked to a wide range of health benefits like lowered blood pressure, improved blood sugar control, and reduced risk of chronic disease.
9. Sleep Hygiene
Insufficient sleep disrupts the metabolism and important hormones, and it also increases the risk for insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. In fact, a growing body of research supports the notion that there’s a connection between sleep deprivation and the risk for obesity and diabetes, which may be due to the changes in “hunger hormones” mentioned above and the potential impact that has on overeating and weight gain.
Often when you think you’re doing all you can in terms of dieting and exercise, yet the scale is not being favorable, it might be a good idea to take a look at your sleep—or lack thereof. Examine if you are getting adequate sleep, and if not, do something about it. Make sleep a priority, just as you do your diet and exercise.
For more information on how you can get more ZZZZZ’s, check out our Ten Tips to Sleep Better.
10. Stress Management
Last but not least, how you handle stress can completely make or break your weight-loss plan. Getting a handle on your stress is one of the most critical pieces on the war on weight management. As a Coach, I cannot even count how many times I have been asked “Does Stress Cause Weight Gain?” The answer is a solid YES.
Generally speaking, stress is associated with higher caloric intake, increased saturated fat and sugar consumption, and poor diet quality. However, all stress isn’t bad, per se. You have probably heard of cortisol, which is the stress hormone, and its correlation to the flight or flight response. This is important to provide balance, so you can sense and respond to dangerous situations, and it is vital for adaption and survival.
However, issues arise when stress (and chronically elevated levels of cortisol) is long-lasting. In excess, cortisol can negatively impact heart health, body weight, energy levels, feelings of well-being, and more. Learning how to manage your stress can be tricky, but Coach Joel has put together a list of 8 Foods Which Reduce Stress which may be helpful for those of us who are still struggling with an overload of stress.
Need Weight Loss Support? Join the BioTrust Challenge
Now that you are armed with my top 10 tips for how to lose 10 pounds in 30 days, why not put these things into practice and sign up for our 12-Week Shape Up Challenge? Registration is now open, and the challenge kicks off on January 14. For more information, drop a question in the comments below or send an email to [email protected].