Losing weight isn’t like trying to quit smoking, or stop drinking alcohol. Trying to go “cold turkey” where you make drastic and extreme overnight changes to your lifestyle often leads to failure.
When it comes to dieting, weight loss, and weight management a more progressive approach is more user friendly and results in greater long-term success.
Here’s a simple plan that can help you lose 20 pounds in two months.
Progressive Weight Loss Plan
When most people are trying to lose weight they want to rip away all the bad habits like a band-aide. Just rip that bad boy off and get it over with. In theory, this sounds like an amazing solution, but then reality sets in…
It’s very difficult to sustain difficult and demanding behavior over long periods of time. That’s why a more gradual and progressive approach to weight loss offers longer term success for many dieters.
You may not get the shock value of losing a quick five pounds in a few days, but it also means you’re more likely to see the program to the end and not quit because your ass muscles hurt like you were in a war or something.
Keys To Success
Discipline. You don’t have to get a crew cut, and adopt military mannerisms but you do need to establish a routine and stick to it. You’ve probably heard this, and it sounds like a silly cliche but it’s also true:
It takes 21 days to form a habit. Just 21 days of consistent behavior to cement new habits that are truly life changing.
So get in a routine and stick to it. The results will amaze you.
Related: How to lose 50 pounds or more
Your goal for the first month is to create a calorie deficit below 15-20% of your normal diet total. So, if for example, you eat 2,000 calories per day your goal is to create a calorie deficit of 300-400 calories each day.
I know you’re thinking of all the food you’ll need to get rid of (I’m looking at you donuts), and now you’re thinking how miserable you’d be if you cut 400 calories out of your daily meals.
You’re not going to make that mistake. You’re going to create a deficit with diet and exercise, and not just diet. Can you create a deficit without breaking a sweat and going to the gym? Yes, you can. But it will also increase the likelihood of failure.
That’s a lot of food you’d have to cut out. If you, instead, also use exercise that means you’d get to eat more each day and not be a miserable human person all day.
Here’s the plan:
Eat 200 calories less each day
Burn off 200 calories each day with exercise
Your month one eating/exercise plan would be:
Eat: 1,800 calories
Exercise: 200 calories
(assuming your pre-diet daily calories was 2,000 each day)
Don’t make the mistake of doing one without the other, it’s just too hard to be that extreme for long periods of time. Do you honestly believe you could burn off 400 calories each day for the next 60 days? Most people will say, no.
Less Simple Carbs
More whole wheat foods
You don’t have to do the same thing everyday, it’s just important to find activities that don’t make you cringe with intense hatred. Running on a treadmill is awesome exercise, but if it makes you not want to go to the gym don’t do it.
Exercise videos are also incredibly beneficial, but if they don’t fit into your schedule because they’re too long don’t do it, or choose a shorter workout video.
Set yourself up for success and choose activities that burn calories, you don’t hate doing, and provide the most likely path to success.
If you can make it to the end of month one, you’re like 80% there. I know that doesn’t make mathematical sense, but the hard part is done. Mentally you’re a different person at this point.
The new habits are well entrenched, and you’re primed to accelerate your fat loss through further changes.
See Also: I can’t lose weight – 3 HUGE mistakes
Create an additional deficit of 20% of your month one calories. If you were consistently eating 1,800 calories each day (and exercising right?!), then you’d want to establish a new deficit of at least 360 calories.
Your new meal/exercise plan would be:
Eat: 1,600 calories
Exercise: 200 calories
When you start to ratchet down your calories in this manner you’ll want to start taking daily vitamins to make sure you’re still getting all the nutrients your body needs.
Very little sugar
Very few simple carbs
Lots of lean protein (chicken, turkey, fish)
Lots of vegetables (not salad, like a bowl of freaking vegetables)
You’re near the finish line so you’ll want to throw in one or two super intense cardio sessions. It can make the difference between losing 12-15 pounds and burning off a full twenty pounds.
The reason high intensity cardio is recommended in the second month, is because the lack of carb sources in your diet will force your body to tap into the fat reserves stored on your body.
Get lots of sleep, don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day or miss a workout. Just get back on that horse, stay committed to that new habit, and keep trying.
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