Bet that headline got your attention. After all, who wouldn’t be interested in shedding a few extra pounds quickly? Our 24/7/365 plugged-in society has become accustomed to instant gratification, and weight loss is no exception. Most of us want results fast.
While there are tons of gimmicks when it comes to weight loss – from pills and shakes and exercise machines and more – the truth is that dropping pounds and keeping them off takes hard work. So, while you may find “solutions” for how to lose 10 pounds in a month, chances are this isn’t healthy or sustainable.
Rapid weight loss is often water weight, which returns as soon as you begin consuming carbohydrates or hydrating properly again. Most experts recommend aiming to lose 1-2 pounds per week. And to change your shape, you must blast body fat and create muscle – and that’s where the work comes in.
To reduce your body fat, you have to eat fewer calories than your body expends; then the body will utilize its fat stores as energy. The best way to do this is to decrease caloric intake with a healthy nutrition plan, such as eliminating or reducing high-fat, high-sugar and highly processed foods in favor of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products and water.
To burn more calories, move more throughout the day and exercise regularly. Cardiovascular exercise – including steady state and interval training – burns calories and builds endurance. If you want to see results relatively soon, you must exercise 4-6 days per week for at least 30-60 minutes.
And don’t neglect strength training, which conditions the muscles, creates a leaner, toned look and boosts your metabolism. With greater muscle mass, you burn more calories all day long – even at rest. Smart training for weight loss includes both cardio and strength workouts. Aim to hit the weights at least 2-4 times each week.
Most importantly for weight loss, don’t give up. Make a plan and stick to it. If you mess up or have a bad day or week, don’t quit. Get right on your routine again and persevere. Weight loss can be difficult, but it is doable with a balanced diet and consistent exercise.