Losing 6 pounds in a month is an ambitious goal that is only remotely possible if you have tons to lose and follow a strict eating and exercise routine. Even if you can’t lose the full 6 pounds, you can use the month to start losing weight, looking better, feeling stronger, and improving health traits like blood pressure and heart disease risks.
Find out if 6 kg is a reasonable goal
The more weight you have to lose, the easier it is to lose a lot in the first month. If you also eat a lot of ready-to-eat foods and have a sedentary lifestyle, drastic changes to your diet and exercise plan can cause you to lose weight dramatically in the first two weeks as you lose water. That means you could technically lose 6 pounds in a month. However, if you are already eating healthy, exercising regularly, and are only a few pounds away from your desired weight, you need to embark on a slower rate of weight loss.
You must have lost an average of 1.5 pounds per week to lose 6 pounds in a month. Half a kilo is equal to 3,500 calories, which means that you have to achieve a daily calorie deficit of 1,750 calories per day for the four weeks by consuming fewer calories than you are consuming. Many people, especially older women with little exercise, burn less than 1,750 calories a day, and many older men and adult women barely consume 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day. Reducing calorie intake by 1,750 calories is therefore an unrealistic goal for a large part of the population.
While you can afford to cut back on that large amount of calories, losing more than 1.5 pounds per week after the first few weeks is not recommended as it can lead to serious side effects such as gallstones. A manageable, sustainable, and healthy weight loss rate recommended by most health organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is 0.5 to 1 pound per week.
Reduce your calorie intake sensibly
A 500 to 1,000 calorie deficit daily is a more sensible strategy for weight loss. You will lose your weight a little more slowly, but also more sustainably, and you will eat enough calories to get enough nutrients for good health.
Determine how many calories you burn every day with an online calculator that takes your age, height, gender and activity into account. From that number, subtract the 500 to 1000 calories to estimate how much you should be eating each day to achieve a 0.5 to 1 kilogram per week loss.
However, if you are less than 1,200 calories as a woman or 1,800 as a man from this reduction in calories, you will need to reassess your strategy. Too few calories can lead to nutritional deficiencies and hamper your metabolism, making it actually harder to lose weight. Either opt for a lower calorie deficit so that you lose weight a little more slowly, or do more exercise so that your calorie burn rate is increased.
Focus your diet plan on high quality food
Healthy whole foods, such as fresh produce, lean meat, low-fat dairy products and whole grains, support weight loss. Choose foods that are high in nutritional value and low in calories per serving. For example, leafy greens – including spinach and cabbage – peppers, berries, and tomatoes all help fill you up without filling yourself up. Lean proteins provide you with this important nutrient that will help you maintain lean muscle mass as the pounds drop. Opt for options like canned tuna with water, flank steak, chicken breast, eggs, and tofu. Whole grains are a bit denser in calories, so stick to 1/2 to 1-cup servings of grains like brown rice, quinoa, and barley.
Your exact portion sizes will depend on your target calorie intake. Examples of high quality meals that aid in weight loss are oatmeal with skimmed milk and berries; Poached Eggs on a Whole Wheat English Muffin with an Orange; A large green salad with raw vegetables, grilled chicken, olive oil, and red wine vinegar with a whole grain bun; Corn tortillas filled with black beans, red onions, and salsa; A 90 percent lean beef pie with sweet potato and steamed spinach; or a turkey breast schnitzel with mushrooms and sauteed cabbage.
Physical activity is the key to losing weight
Eating high quality foods and modest portions are big steps towards your weight loss goal. More exercise is also crucial. If you don’t use both cardio to burn calories and weight training to get muscle, a quarter of every pound you lose will be lean muscle. That’s 1.5 pounds of muscle lost if you lose 6 pounds from diet alone. Muscle burns more calories than fat at rest, so this loss of muscle makes it harder to lose weight. Having well-toned muscles from exercising also helps you look healthy and fit.
Cardio exercise involves moving the body’s largest muscles, increasing your heart rate, and helping you work up a sweat – for example, by brisk walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling. Aim for at least 250 minutes a week to lose significant weight. Do strength training at least twice a week on non-consecutive days. Do at least one set of eight to 12 reps in any large muscle group that are heavy enough to tire the muscle on the last few reps. Continue exercising after the month has passed to help you maintain your weight loss, shed extra weight, and, if necessary, improve your general wellbeing.