Our Ten-Step Guide for How to Lose 15 Pounds Fast
So your favorite little black dress doesn’t fit. Maybe the zipper on your bridesmaid dress doesn’t go all the way up. Or perhaps you’re suddenly having trouble closing your skinny jeans. Then it hits you…those double-stuffed Oreos and Netflix have caught up to you. You’ve packed on some pounds, and you’ve got to lose them – fast.
The good news is that with a strategy in place, a positive attitude, and self-control, a weight loss of as much as 15 pounds can be achieved in 30 days. It’s no easy feat, but with a few simple steps, you can see results in just 4 weeks.
Step One: Give your refrigerator a makeover
The inside of your fridge, that is. And head over to the pantry as well while you’re at it. Start by getting rid of soda, beer, wine, and all other sugary beverages. Toss creamy salad dressings, fatty cuts of meat, mayonnaise, and processed cheeses in the garbage. Next, declutter the freezer by eliminating all store-bought frozen meals. They’re filled with sodium, which leads to unnecessary bloat. Get rid of sweet treats like ice cream and frozen candy bars as well. Pantry staples like chips, cookies, white bread, canned soup, and high sugar cereals also belong in the trash. The idea is to eliminate junk food – and temptation. Removing every morsel of unhealthy food from your house will get you on the right track and help you to lose 15 pounds fast.
Step Two: Restock
Spend some quality time in the produce section of your supermarket. Pick up lots of leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, and squash. Low sugar fruits like berries are a great choice, and for an easy snack on the go, throw some bananas and apples into your cart. Hummus should be nearby, and is an excellent addition because it can be used in so many different ways.
You shouldn’t spend too much time away from the store’s perimeter since that’s where most of the good stuff is. Shop the aisles for things like nut butters (make sure there are no added ingredients), rolled oats, sprouted bread, and healthy oils. Coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil are both great choices. Frozen vegetables are a good backup to have on hand when fresh is not available or you’re strapped for time. Don’t forget to pick up dry seasonings, lemon juice, and balsamic vinegar to flavor your food. Every chance you have, choose natural and whole over processed — an important part of figuring out how to lose 15 pounds.
Next, choose your favorite lean proteins. Chicken breasts, chopped turkey, and fish are all healthy choices and simple to prepare. If you crave beef, pick up some filet mignon or ground meat, making sure it’s at least 90% lean.
In the dairy section, go for eggs, unsweetened almond or coconut milk, and plain 1% Greek yogurt.
Step Three: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Drinking lots of water is vital when it comes to losing weight – and just in general! Make sure to drink it throughout the day, not just at meal times. It’s easy to confuse hunger with thirst, and consuming water consistently will keep it straight. While increasing your water intake may not help you to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, it will definitely help you hit that 15 pound weight loss goal.
As a rule of thumb, aim for half your body weight in water consumption. So if you weigh 140 pounds, your goal should be at least 70 ounces of water. If that sounds intimidating, set small goals for yourself throughout the day, even marking a bottle with how much you want to finish by a specific time. Aim for one cup within an hour of rising, four cups by lunchtime, and so on.
If you hate keeping track of that kind of stuff, buy one of those large 40-oz water bottles. Once you’ve filled it up and emptied it twice, you’ll know you’re good to go for the day.
Mix it up a little by adding a few slices of fresh fruit to your water.
Step Four: Jumpstart your weight loss
Start by dropping your calorie intake to about 900 calories per day for the first week. Such a significant decrease will shock your body, though it’s important you don’t stick with this for the entire 30 days. No, eating such a low amount of calories will not double your success and help you to lose 30 pounds in 30 days. It will actually wreak havoc on your metabolism and you’ll eventually end up worse off than when you started.
Snack on watery vegetables like celery and keep your meals small, eliminating processed carbohydrates like pasta and high-sugar fruits such as mangos and pineapple. Remember to drink that water — keeping your belly full of zero calorie aqua will help a little and keep you from feeling like you’re starving. Green tea can also help offset hunger.
Step Five: Watch your portion sizes
Now that you’ve given your body a kick-start, it’s time to focus on portion control and clean eating to help you lose 15 pounds fast. A proper portion is likely smaller than what you’d expect, so it will understandably take some time to adjust. Try serving meals on salad plates to trick your eyes into thinking you’re eating more than you actually are. Chew your food slowly, and make eating an experience rather than a chore. That means no eating lunch in the car, texting while munching, or dining in front of the TV. Enjoy your meal at the kitchen table, preferably in the company of family or friends.
It’s so important to know what a proper portion size is. A serving of fruits and vegetables is about one cup, carbs are a half cup, proteins are two-thirds to three-quarters of a cup, and healthy fats should be limited to two tablespoons. Equally important is how many portions you eat of what. Opt for more servings of lean proteins and veggies, and less of carbs and fruits. Healthy fats should be limited to one serving per day. Learn more about how to properly meal prep here.
Step Six: Be strategic about when you eat what
Five small meals versus three bigger ones will keep your metabolism going, encouraging your body to work harder and burn fat. For the first half of the day, try to combine a carb, protein, and healthy fat – the combination will take longer to digest, making you feel full for a longer period of time. Think things like grilled chicken topped with a few slices of avocado and a sweet potato or shrimp and vegetables prepared in coconut oil and served over brown rice. After lunch, begin cutting your carb intake for the rest of the day. Dinner should be your lightest meal, so aim for lots of veggies and lean proteins. The goal is to end your day with something that is easily digestible. Whenever possible, avoid eating late at night — this will easily sabotage your goals, keeping you from losing 15 pounds fast.
Step Seven: Get active
Exercise plays an important role when you’re trying to lose weight. You want to burn more calories than you consume, and staying active makes that an easier goal to attain. Adding daily physical activity to your schedule will not only help you accomplish your four-week 15-pound weight loss goal, it may even go so far as to help you lose 30 pounds in 30 days.
Aim for working out at least 3-4 times per week, and make sure to mix it up! The best plan is to include a combination of cardio and strength training into your weekly schedule. Just be sure your workouts aren’t redundant. Not only will that bore you quickly, but it can promote a plateau – which you certainly don’t want when your goal is to get results fast.
Doing cardio and strength training workouts on the same day isn’t necessary, and neither is a gym membership. Get your cardio on by going for a run in the neighborhood. For an extra challenge, find some hills to incorporate into your route. Running on an incline will get your heart rate up higher, and challenge you more. If you don’t want to purchase free weights, you can use your own bodyweight for strength training. Planks and sit-ups are great for working your core muscles, while squats and lunges work your glutes and legs.
Be choosy about what you do for exercise — opt for activities that don’t take a lot of time but give you a great calorie burn. High intensity interval training, HIIT, is one of the most effective way to burn calories and torch fat, especially that pesky belly fat. As far as strength training goes, lift your weights in a circuit training fashion with exercises performed back to back with little to no rest between. This not only saves you valuable time, but keeping your rest time between movements to a minimum also stokes your metabolism, maximizing your calorie burn during and after your workout.
Step Eight: Going out? Have a plan in place
It’s a common misconception that a ‘diet’ means a temporary end to your social life. But that’s not true! All it takes is some planning. If you’re heading to a party, eat a little snack before leaving the house so you don’t feel ravenous, and bring a shareable appetizer that all of the guests can enjoy. If there’s a buffet table, try not to linger in front of it.
A girl’s night out or a date night doesn’t have to be a recipe for disaster either. Skip a cocktail and ask your server to leave the bread basket in the kitchen. As you review the menu, opt for an appetizer as your dinner – the portion will likely still be more than enough – or order an entree but ask for half of it to be wrapped to go before it’s brought out. If the extra food isn’t there, neither is the temptation to overeat.
As you review the menu, look for items that are steamed, grilled, baked, or sauteed and steer clear of menu items that are listed as creamy, fried, or breaded. Restaurants are usually happy to accommodate special requests, so don’t assume that something listed on the menu as fried can’t be grilled instead.
Step Nine: Stay away from the scale every morning
It’s tempting to step on the scale daily, but don’t do it. Your weight naturally fluctuates by a few ounces daily, and in the event it increases a little one day, feelings of discouragement can easily set in. Instead, pick a day and weigh yourself once a week. When weigh-in day hits, get on the scale first thing in the morning and in your underwear to get the most accurate reading.
If the scale isn’t moving as fast at you’d hoped, don’t freak out. Remember, you’re attempting to figure out how to lose 15 pounds in 30 days — that’s a weight loss of a half a pound per day. Unfortunately, our bodies are not standardized machines and you will likely not drop half a pound per day. If you stick to the plan, you will, however, have a gradual weight loss but your actual amount of weight loss every week will fluctuate. So, if one weigh-in doesn’t show the results you were hoping for, it’s OK. Take a breath, walk away, keep working hard, and next week you’ll see the results you were looking for.
Step Ten: Don’t give up!
This one is key! A quick weight loss of 15 pounds in just 30 days requires a lot of determination, a strict regimen, and support from those around you. But before you know it, your clothes will fit exactly as you want them to, and you’ll have picked up some healthy eating habits along the way.