You’re six weeks away from a big event or trip and you’ve just realized your pants don’t button. Maybe the sexy little one piece with the cutouts isn’t exactly cutting it anymore.
Or perhaps you’ve got a little more time on your hands so you don’t need to drop the weight quite as quick, but you’re dead set on shedding 40 pounds within a couple of months. Either way, it’s weight loss crunch time for sure.
Truth? If you’re looking for results in a month and a half, to say it’s pushing the limits to lose 40 pounds in that timeframe is kind of an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, someone who is severely overweight will see the weight come off faster, but it’s not going to be easy. Actually, it’s going to be really tough.
I like to tell my clients to pay more attention to how their clothes feel versus what the scale spits back at you. And if you follow the tips below, you’ll see positive results. It may not be 40 pounds worth, but a trip to the mall to buy smaller clothes will definitely be in your future.
Losing 40 pounds in 6 weeks
This kind of goal is actually really unhealthy. Weight loss isn’t a walk in the park, and doing it in a healthy way isn’t quick. When my clients want to lose weight, we always set a realistic goal using a simple plan that fits into their lifestyle. Starving yourself or feeling deprived is the worst thing you can do.
Even exercise becomes risky. In order to reach such a substantial goal, you’ll need to lose roughly one pound per day. And in order to do that, intense workouts should complement your diet. But it’s a catch 22: your body needs calories to fuel workouts of this nature, but you won’t be eating enough to meet that demand.
If you still want to shoot for 40 pounds in 6 weeks, check out these ideas after speaking with your doctor. But just keep in mind there’s no guarantee; slow and steady wins every time.
Most people who go the vegan route do it for ethical reasons, but it often comes with the added bonus of weight loss. That’s because vegans are automatically forced to maintain a diet that’s rich in fruits and veggies. But you’ll need to cut down even more by nixing things like seitan, tofu, and vegan cheese. Basically, if it’s processed, it’s off limits for you.
The grapefruit diet
It is said that grapefruit contains enzymes that burn fat, so this diet combines specific foods that trigger a chemical breakdown. Plan on becoming fast friends with this citrus fruit, because you’ll be eating it in whole or juice form before or during every meal. It is an extremely restrictive diet, and not meant to be long term, so think of it like a kick start. It involves doing things like cutting back on sugar and carbs, avoiding certain foods, and eating more foods that are high in protein and fat.
There is no such thing as ever drinking too much water. If you’re not drinking at least your bodyweight in ounces, you’re not drinking enough. Make it interesting by tossing in a few slices of cucumber or strawberries — or both!
You can also say goodbye to coffee, lattes, tea, soda, alcohol, and the like. They’re filled with all kinds of bad stuff like chemicals and/or sugar, and provide zero nutritional value. So basically it’s water only for you. Fair warning: cutting coffee can result in caffeine withdrawal headaches for the first few days.
Losing 40 pounds in 2-3 months
It’s going to take a lot of work to get the results you’re looking for in just 2-3 months, but the likelihood of it happening increases significantly when compared to a 6 week timeframe. You’ll still need to set your sights on losing 3-5 pounds per week, which is aggressive to say the least. But it’s not out of the question.
Get up close and personal with protein
Increasing your protein intake helps boost your metabolism and maintain lean muscle mass.
And that magical combination is what you need to burn fat. Most people don’t eat nearly as much protein as they should, so check in with yourself. Aim for 1 gram of protein for every pound you weigh. Chicken breasts, 1% or nonfat greek yogurt, hemp seeds, and eggs are all excellent sources. You can even find protein hiding in unexpected, good-for-you sources like kale. Score!
Take a pass on dining out
Did you know that restaurants are incredibly generous with butter? Even the dishes you’re confident wouldn’t have it very likely do. That’s just one example of an unexpected restaurant sabotage. There’s more where that came from, so the best thing to do in this situation is prepare every meal and snack yourself.
There’s something to be said for breakfast being the most important meal of the day. It really is. Even though you’ll need to significantly reduce your caloric intake, don’t compromise breakfast. The first meal of the day gets your metabolism up and running (super important for weight loss!) and you don’t want to slow that down by skipping a meal.
Keep dinner light
Make your last meal of the day your smallest. Your metabolic rate is at its slowest when you’re sleeping, so cut your body some slack by not heading to bed completely stuffed. Keep it simple by nixing carbs and dairy at night, limit healthy fats, and enjoy fresh vegetables and lean protein. Besides being totally healthy, a protein/veggie only combination will digest quick and easy.
If you tend to gravitate towards the elliptical or treadmill, it’s time to step away. While they definitely have their place, a treadmill is not going to get you feeling fit and skinny. Full disclosure: you may not experience the same sweat sesh, but you will build lean muscle mass. And that’s way more important because when you have more muscle, you’ll burn more calories at rest. That new muscle mass has an enormous influence on decreasing body fat. So while you may not see the scale go down a full 40 pounds, you will see your dress zip up.