Calling all dieters!
It’s Monday morning and you’re preparing to start your next diet or detox of choice.
One that promises a smaller waist and a thinner face like your favorite Instagrammer christie.
What will it be this time? Weight watchers? a very low-carb diet such as the ketogenic diet that makes you dream of fries with a large, loaded baked potato on the side?
Maybe you’ll do a carb detox or a very low-calorie diet; whatever is popular this month.
If you’ve got 30 pounds to lose, you may be feeling a little overwhelmed at where to start.
With so many options, how do you know what would work best?
If you find that you are scrolling through diets like email addresses on your phone, this is for you.
Starting a weight loss journey can be mentally and physically challenging, especially if you have additional barriers such as a medical condition or an injury.
Everyone is different and no one-size-fits-all approach will work when creating a menu plan or other new routines for your health.
Don’t let a third party determine what is going to work best for you and your lifestyle.
Such diets are often difficult to sustain and set you up for failure.
Skip the extreme diet measures and stop living for “next time.”
Instead, let’s look at some small helpful habits that can make a huge impact towards that 30-pound loss.
Luckily, there are some rules to live by when it comes to creating a weight loss plan.
Let’s look at some helpful tips to drop those 30 extra pounds.
So, How to Lose those 30 Pounds
The first step when trying to lose 30lbs should be looking at your eating habits.
Losing weight requires a calorie deficit.
This means eating fewer calories than your body burns.
The best way to do this is to cut down on your portion size and those high-calorie foods.
A bigger calorie deficit does not always mean better, you want to at least meet your body’s required maintenance calories to perform its necessary functions, or it will hold onto weight instead.
Choose smaller meals and keep healthy snacks on hand for cravings.
Fill your plate with more whole foods for best results.
Sometimes referred to as clean foods, these are unprocessed and natural such as fruits and vegetables, or as close to it as possible such as grass-fed organic beef.
Make sure you get enough water in between and during mealtimes to stay hydrated.
Add in physical activity to help you build lean muscle mass and increase your calorie deficit.
Create a meal plan and a workout plan that works best for your lifestyle and activity level.
Consider an accountability partner to help encourage you to get started.
1. Reduce Calorie Intake
It may seem basic, but calories-in, calories-out still holds true.
An easy way to reduce the number of calories you are eating is to swap out high-calorie foods for nutrient-dense foods instead.
Good food includes fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, and lean meats, or those “clean foods” we discussed earlier.
These foods provide more nutrients to support a healthy body weight while also having a lower caloric load than most processed foods.
This is a great way to choose a low-calorie diet without trying to solve a complex math equation every day.
Reduce your intake of packaged items such as sweets, cookies, crackers, and chips.
These items are often high in calories, carbs, and added sugars and low in nutrition.
If you prefer to track your calorie intake, you can do so through many different apps on your phone or by using a food diary.
Calorie ranges differ based on age, height, gender, activity level, and many other factors.
A general calorie range for women is anywhere from 1600-2200 calories a day and 2000 to 3200 a day for men (10).
If you are unsure what your daily energy requirements should be for effective weight loss, consider speaking to a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) for more tailored ranges.
You can also use our weight loss calculator to figure out your daily calorie intake.
2. Eat a High Protein Breakfast
A most skipped meal, breakfast is a big component of a healthy diet.
Not only can a healthy breakfast help to balance hunger levels throughout the day and prevent over-eating, but it also keeps your metabolism functioning at its best.
This is especially true if you consume a lean protein source during breakfast.
Protein, one of our most valued macros, has shown to help with many body functions including supporting a healthy body weight.
The goal for any weight loss journey is to obtain and maintain a healthy body weight and body mass index (BMI) to avoid illnesses and increase our lifespan.
Unfortunately, the typical American breakfast often does not include a lot of protein, and if it does its usually highly processed meats such as bacon or sausage.
Studies have shown that a high-protein breakfast can help to promote weight loss by regulating our appetite hormones (20).
Aim to get a minimum of 10-15 grams of protein at your meal from a high-quality, lean protein source.
Good sources of protein include eggs (whole egg or egg whites), meat, poultry, and dairy from animal sources.
However, you can also get plant-based sources of protein from tofu, beans such as black beans and pinto beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
Toss some black beans in a southwestern salad or add some nuts to your morning oats for an inexpensive protein boost.
Adequate protein also helps to build and repair lean muscle mass when hitting the gym or adding in a new strength training program to your routine.
The Best High-Protein Foods Breakfast
The best high-protein foods are going to be your favorite foods.
If you don’t like a protein source, such as peanut butter, don’t force yourself to eat it.
Some high protein breakfast ideas include:
- Oatmeal with peanut butter or protein powder
- Greek yogurt with granola and berries
- Cottage cheese and fruit
- veggie omelet
- a protein shake or a smoothie with protein powder or greek yogurt added
- tofu veggie scramble
- a half a bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese
Also, consider adding in some healthy fats to help with satiety as well.
You can find these good fats in foods such as salmon, mackerel, and other fatty fish olive oil or other unsaturated oils, nuts, and seeds.
The best way to feel satisfied after a meal is to include a heart mixture of both these nutrients.
The more satisfying your meals the less you will be reaching for snacks in between.
This means reaching your target weight sooner.
4. Cut Back on Processed Carbs
Packaged and highly processed foods can wreak havoc on your weight loss goals.
Snack foods such as cookies, crackers, chips, candy, and other packaged items are commonly made up of highly processed carbs.
Although carbohydrates are one of the essential food groups, eating processed carbs often can result in weight gain and risk for chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
This is because they often contain extra calories from all the added ingredients.
High amounts of processed sugars can also cause problems with our hormones that can affect our waistline.
Swap out some of these snack foods for natural carb sources such as fruit, sweet potato, whole grains such as oats and whole-wheat bread, whole grain pasta, and brown rice.
5. Eat More Veggies
As most of us have heard for years growing up, we should be eating our veggies.
If you are like most Americans, these aren’t commonly on the top of the list when it comes to making a menu plan.
Vegetables are an essential component of a healthy diet that will help you meet that goal weight.
Not only are these nutrient-packed plants good for us, but they are also low in calories and often high in fiber.
This means we can eat more, and they help to keep us feeling satisfied.
Adding more of these foods into your daily routine can boost your weight loss and decrease your risk for health conditions.
If you aren’t a big fan of vegetables, consider blending them up and added them to foods such as muffins or smoothies to help you add more into your diet.
6. Fill Up on Fiber
High fiber foods are vital for gut health but they also play an important role in satiety, metabolism and promote a healthy weight (3).
There are two types of fiber, insoluble fibers, and soluble fibers.
You can find insoluble fibers in wheat bran, nuts, seeds, beans, and various vegetables such as potatoes and green beans.
Soluble fibers can be found in foods such as oats, apples, lentils, and barley.
Soluble fibers tend to be more viscous, creating a gel-like substance that sits in your gut and prolongs fullness (4).
Both types of fiber have many functions and health benefits.
It’s recommended to consume at least 25 grams of fiber a day for women and at least 38 grams a day for men or 14 grams for every 1000 calories you consume (5).
When increasing your fiber intake, be sure to also increase your fluid intake to avoid nausea or constipation symptoms.
7. Drink Lot of Water
It may not have any flavor, but water is the nectar of life.
With so many tempting beverages around, it’s easy to forget about plain old water.
Unfortunately, a lot of those other beverages contain a ton of added ingredients, most commonly sugar.
This means they can also contain a ton of additional calories.
Although there are no outlined recommendations for required daily water intake, it’s commonly recommended to consume at least 64 ounces of water a day.
If you have trouble remembering to drink enough water throughout the day you can try an app to help you keep track or set reminders to take a drink, such as Hydro Coach or WaterMinder.
If you don’t like the taste of plain water, you can infuse it with various fruits, vegetables, and herbs to give it a subtle flavor, such as cucumber and mint.
Check out these 17 infused water recipes for more ideas.
Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Making these adjustments above along with adding in physical activity are all examples of healthy lifestyle changes.
It’s important not to try and change all these things at once but instead incorporate them slowly into your normal routine.
Make small swaps in your diet and find ways to make the activity enjoyable.
This will help ensure it is more sustainable in the long run.
No one wants to do all this work to lose 30 pounds only to regain the weight again later.
8. Add Cardio to Your Routine
If you haven’t already, consider adding in a little exercise.
An active lifestyle can help you reach your ideal weight faster and improve your chances of long-term success.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of low-intensity aerobic activity a week, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, such as jogging as general guidelines for activity.
You can also do a combination of both.
If you have a gym membership you can add some time on the treadmill machine or try your hand at water aerobics for light exercise that is gentle on the joints but still gets your heart rate up.
Aerobic exercise helps with getting down to and maintaining a healthy weight along with reducing your risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease.
9. Try Resistance Training
Any good workout plan will combine both cardio and resistance training.
Resistance training, also known as strength training, helps to build muscle mass.
Increased lean muscle mass helps to boost our metabolism allowing us to burn more calories at rest.
You can use free weights such as dumbbells or a weight plate, weight machines, circuit classes, or even body weight exercises, such as squats, to accomplish this.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 2 or more days a week that work for all major muscle groups.
This includes legs (hamstrings, quads, and glutes), hips, back, abs, chest, shoulders, and arms (biceps and triceps).
When adding in strength exercises to your routine it’s recommended to meet with a personal trainer or fitness coach to ensure you are using proper form to avoid injury such as when to use an overhand grip or what your starting position should look like for various exercises.
It’s also important to take proper rest days in between training sessions.
This gives time for the lean muscle tissue to repair and grow.
Choose high protein foods during your snack or mealtime immediately following your workout to ensure proper lean muscle tissue growth.
Give yourself grace with the scale during this period as a pound of muscle is denser than a pound of fat therefore the scale does not always reflect all your progress.
10. Give HIIT Workouts a Try
HIIT workouts, a.k.a high-intensity interval training, combines both cardio and muscle building exercises in one single exercise routine.
The best part? No need for lengthy workouts.
HIIT gives you more bang for your buck in the exercise department.
A HIIT program typically includes multiple exercises to be completed with short periods of rest in between that can boost your energy expenditure.
This can include 20 seconds of sprints followed by 10 seconds of rest or a combination of exercises such as push-ups, squats, and burpees.
High-intensity aerobics helps to burn off body fat and cut down on weight at the same time (6).
Be sure that you are fueling appropriately for whatever form of exercise you are doing.
Consuming too little and exercising too much can lead to muscle loss and nutrient deficiencies.
Fat loss can only be accomplished if you are still providing adequate fuel to sustain your exercise routine.
Other Healthy Weight Loss Tips
Here are some other things you can add to your routine that will help you to safely lose those thirty pounds.
- Avoid fad diets – steer clear of very-low-calorie diets or any strict weight-loss regimen that advertises extreme diet measures, such as a 1,000-calorie deficit. These are not sustainable and can cause harm.
- Eat slowly – It may sound simple but eating slowly can be a great way to control your portion sizes. This is because it takes your body at least 20-minutes for your stomach to let your brain know it is full. If you eat too fast, you will get this signal too late (7).
- Get plenty of sleep – studies have shown those who get less than 7 hours of sleep at night are affected by their appetite hormones, leptin (which stimulates hunger), and ghrelin (which stimulates fullness). Ghrelin will decrease while leptin will increase, resulting in a stronger urge to snack and more frequent cravings (8).
- Hold yourself accountable – take progress photos to serve as a reminder for your hard work and dedication, write inspirational quotes or similar content on your bathroom mirror to keep you feeling inspired. You can also hold yourself accountable by using a food journal.
- Reduce stress levels – stress can increase our stress hormone cortisol, which can cause sweet snack cravings and chronically high levels have been linked to increased visceral fat or midsection obesity, inflammation, decreased immune system, heart disease, sleep problems, and infertility (8). Practice guided meditations, yoga, or add in reading or a walk around the block to help reduce your stress levels throughout the day.
How Long Does It Take To Lose 30 Pounds?
It’s impossible to guess how long it will take one person from another to lose a specified amount of weight.
It’s tempting to want to go for a very low-calorie diet or even a 1,000-calorie deficit but it won’t help you in the long run.
If you aren’t consuming enough maintenance calories, which is what your body needs to support its daily functions, then you will stop losing.
Everyone’s daily calorie needs will differ based on many different factors such as age, weight, height, activity level, and gender.
Your body will pull out its defense mechanisms because it fears it is starving and will hold on to all its fat reserves.
On the other hand, a calorie deficit is needed for weight loss to occur so it’s a balancing act.
It also depends on your current weight along with the changes you are making with your new routines.
Someone who is 300 pounds and makes a drastic change to their activity and food intake will likely lose weight faster than someone who is smaller and made only a slight change.
Unfortunately, no matter how you alter your calories or even the foods you eat such as with a very low-carb diet, there’s no way to predict the timing of the complex processes our body goes through when shedding pounds.
You also must account for weight loss plateaus which can happen at any time.
This is your body’s way of adjusting to the changes you have made.
Is It Possible To Lose 30 Pounds in 30 Days?
The short answer is no.
If any program promises to tell you how to lose 30 pounds in a month, don’t fall for it.
It can be tempting, no one wants to wait for a long time to get the results they have been searching for.
There are so many different variables when it comes to losing weight.
There is no one “quickest way” to lose weight.
Your weight loss journey will be different than someone else’s.
The main goal is simply to ensure the changes you made are sustainable for the long term, so you don’t find yourself uttering the words ‘next time…’.
The Final Take
No matter how you look at it, weight loss is a challenge.
With these helpful habits in hand, you will be on your way to that 30 lb weight loss and keeping it off for good.
No more restarting your diet on Monday morning.
Say goodbye to the keto diet, weight watchers, and all. the low-calorie diets that make you miss everything you loved about food.
Choose good food and watch your portion size to improve your eating habits.
Add in strength training and cardio to your routine to help build muscle mass and increase your calorie deficit or get over a plateau.
Always be sure to speak with your physician or family medicine doctor before making any changes in diet or activity.
With these tips in mind, you will be reaching your 30-pound weight loss finish line in no time.
You may also like: How to Lose 20 Pounds In a Month Fast and Safely
- Klemm, Sarah. “How Many Calories Do Adults Need?” EatRight, 30 July 2019, www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/how-many-calories-do-adults-need.
- Wang S, Yang L, Lu J, Mu Y: High-Protein Breakfast Promotes Weight Loss by Suppressing Subsequent Food Intake and Regulating Appetite Hormones in Obese Chinese Adolescents. Horm Res Paediatr 2015;83:19-25. doi: 10.1159/000362168
- Wong, Julia M W, and David J A Jenkins. “Carbohydrate digestibility and metabolic effects.” The Journal of nutrition vol. 137,11 Suppl (2007): 2539S-2546S. doi:10.1093/jn/137.11.2539S
- Burton-Freeman, B. “Dietary fiber and energy regulation.” The Journal of nutrition vol. 130,2S Suppl (2000): 272S-275S. doi:10.1093/jn/130.2.272S
- Larson, Holly. “Easy Ways to Boost Fiber in Your Daily Diet.” EatRight, 1 Mar. 2021, www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/types-of-vitamins-and-nutrients/easy-ways-to-boost-fiber-in-your-daily-diet.
- Boutcher, Stephen H. “High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss.” Journal of obesity vol. 2011 (2011): 868305. doi:10.1155/2011/868305
- MacDonald, Ann. “Why Eating Slowly May Help You Feel Full Faster.” Harvard Health, Harvard Health Publishing, 19 Oct. 2010, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-eating-slowly-may-help-you-feel-full-faster-20101019605.
- Taheri, Shahrad et al. “Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index.” PLoS medicine vol. 1,3 (2004): e62. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0010062
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Chronic Stress Puts Your Health at Risk.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 8 July 2021, www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20046037.