A big event looms on the calendar -- just a month away. You are certain that you don't want to be at that wedding, reunion or vacation weighing what you do now. Resist the urge to fall for one of those quick weight-loss schemes that promise miraculous results in just one month. You don't want your weight loss to be temporary, leading to a quick regain, or to endanger your health. Your best monthlong strategy for weight loss should involve sustainable habits you can maintain past your one-month deadline that help you keep your new physique.
The best weight-loss strategies involve a realistic weight-loss goal to help you stay on track and avoid frustration. A reasonable and healthy rate of loss for most people is 1 to 2 pounds per week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You may lose more weight than this when you initially start your monthlong plan, but by the middle of the month, your weight loss will most likely average out to this rate. As a result, expect to lose, at most, 8 pounds in a month.
A lot of factors affect the rate at which you lose weight, but calories in versus calories out is one you can control. Calories are the energy found in food, and about 3,500 of them make up a pound. To lose weight, trim 3,500 to 7,000 per week from your eating plan. Shrink the portions you put on your plate and refuse second helpings. Replace some of the higher-calorie foods you eat, such as sweets and fries, with fresh fruit and salad. Reduce or completely eliminate sugared drinks from your diet to further trim calories. You don't want to trim calories below 1,200 per day, however. You'll experience serious drops in energy and potential deficiencies in nutrition, even in one month.
You don't have to sign up for a boot camp class or marathon to lose weight in one month. Simply make a pledge to move more. If you don't exercise at all, add a 30-minute walk to five of your weekdays. If you already exercise, try doing intervals -- short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by equal periods of low-intensity exercise -- which helps your body become more efficient at burning fat, notes a paper published in a 2011 issue of the "Journal of Obesity." You may have to shake up your routine if you are stuck in a rut. Your body becomes accustomed to the step class on Monday, run on Tuesday, walk on Wednesday routine. In this case, trying a new class or activity could be the challenge your body needs to enhance calorie burn and drop pounds in one month.
If you add strength training to your monthlong weight-loss routine, you'll preserve muscle while reducing fat. You'll not only fit into a smaller pants size, but your body will look lean, too. A study published in a 2008 issue of the journal "Obesity" found that women who performed resistance training while on a low-calorie diet lost the same amount of weight as women who did not, but conserved their lean muscle. Aim for a twice-per-week routine that involves all the major muscle groups. By maintaining lean muscle mass, you'll keep your metabolism high so weight regain after your monthlong effort is less likely. You'll have to keep up the strength routine after the month is over or risk losing all the fitness gains you've made.