The 30 Day Weight Loss Challenge – With Family & Friendly Competition

Written by Nathan | Updated on 20 November 2021

Losing weight is never an easy task, but trying out something like the 30 day weight loss challenge can be a good way to jumpstart your fitness goals.

Involving your friends and family can also help you reach your desired weight and fitness level. Having others in your life participate allows each of you to hold one another accountable and may ultimately lead to results; especially if everyone participating enjoys a bit of healthy competition!

Achieving healthy goals with others is a realistic and fun way to experience weight loss so we provide practical tips on what to track, how to set it up, who might benefit from the challenge and everything else you and your counterparts need to get started!  

How The 30 Day Challenge Works & Who Can Benefit From it?

The 30 day challenge is exactly what it sounds like: anyone participating in such a program sets realistic goals and plans to meet those goals within a 30-day window of time. The goals are dependent on the individual, and these goals usually involve sticking to a daily caloric limit. A fitness goal can also involve incorporating exercises and wellness activities, such as cardio, strength training, and flexibility boosting routines. While altering one’s diet is key to any 30 day challenge, exercise is a necessary second component in order to achieve lasting results.

After setting daily or weekly goals, all that is left is to stick to those goals until the 30 days is up- or perhaps continue to meet these caloric limits and adjust as time goes on. The options are endless, and the 30 day challenge is designed with individual needs in mind. This is why a great many people can benefit from participating in a challenge like this.

Ultimately, making change is up to the individual, and every single body is different. Making a time-constrained set of goals, especially one that involves friends or family, can benefit everyone!

The 30 day challenge can help individuals who are:

  • Looking to lose weight quickly
  • Hoping to establish a consistent, healthy schedule
  • Wanting a long-term weight loss guide
  • Encouraged by friendly competition
  • Interested in losing baby weight or help with weight fluctuations
  • Struggling with understanding daily caloric intake and output

Again, there are no set guidelines or rules, except for the ones that you set for yourself based on your caloric intake and output, as well as your physical fitness goals. Involving friends or family can also help you reach these benchmarks- but how might one get their loved ones involved?

Get Friends & Family on Board – Start Small

Having a team or small group of people joining you on your weight loss journey can be extraordinarily beneficial and can even help promote lasting results. Your friends and family should be a support system during this time of change, especially if they choose to change alongside you! However, getting your peers and loved ones on board for a weight loss and fitness journey can be difficult, even if it is just for 30 days.

There are a few minor tips and tricks that you can try, though- especially if you and your family are comfortable with a bit of healthy competition.

Studies have shown that placing bets on weight loss goals can help lead to results- the popular web-based and social mobile app DietBet led to many participants reaching a 4-5% loss of body weight over a 30 day period. [1] Placing bets isn’t the only way to encourage your relatives to lose weight alongside you. Simply highlighting the benefits of weight loss and increased activity levels may be enough, especially knowing that you will all be participating together.

Finally, while what you learn and practice from a 30 day challenge can be utilized for the rest of your life, the short-term limit to this challenge may appeal to your friends and family. While accountability and joint success is always valuable, having a limited time commitment may be just what the people in your life need to get onboard.

How to Start a Challenge, No Matter Your Abilities

The main point of getting your friends and family involved in a fitness competition is not to gloat or boast about your fitness levels. Everyone has different abilities and goals, especially when it comes to health and weight loss. This can be an emotional journey for each individual as well, and setting realistic expectations is key.

Perhaps you can begin a challenge with your family or friends with a simple caloric amount in mind, or even just setting a daily walking goal of 20 minutes. You can have a shared online calendar where you both post that you have reached your daily goal or send each other pictures while you are on your walks or cooking- the smallest things can be both encouraging and gratifying!

There is no need to track every single step or carbohydrate- especially if you know you have partnered with friends or family that are nervous about this process in general. You can still place bets or establish a reward-based system for small victories, and you don’t need any high-tech fitness trackers to do these things.

Tracking a person’s overall consistency and dedication is what’s most important. Even if the goal you set for one another is walking 20 minutes per day, you should reward whoever sticks to this single goal. It doesn’t have to be all about weight loss or sticking to a specific diet plan. Consistency is key, and long-term habits are often built in encouraging environments.

3 Weight Loss Strategies: Long-Term & Short-Term

While you can create a 30 day plan that works best for you and your individual goals, there are usually three components to any fitness challenge that you should prioritize in order to achieve success. These components are food, exercise, and consistency. Let’s discuss these further.

Food – Small Changes May Be All You Need

While altering your diet is inherent to achieving short-term weight loss, many participants in 30 day weight loss challenges choose to only address their caloric intake and output rather than completely shifting their existing diet. Changing routines, especially a routine as ingrained and necessary as eating, can be incredibly difficult.

While a 30 day challenge will necessitate some alterations to one’s diet in order for it to be a true challenge, simply sticking to a caloric goal is enough for many participants to notice results. Again, you do not need to incorporate any drastic food changes to your diet during this time- the main thing to look at during these 30 days is your calorie counts. Maintaining a caloric deficit and sticking with an ideal number each and every day can help you reach your goals.

This is also one of the main ways that you can track your progress when compared with your friends and family. If one of your goals of this challenge is to crown an overall winner amongst the competitors, tracking intake can be one way of choosing a victor.

Choosing to eat roughly 2000-2200 calories per day while incorporating some moderate exercise may be enough for you and your family to achieve results. Plus, this set number makes it easy to keep track of your progress. However, everyone’s caloric number will likely be different.

Selecting a winner based on their weekly or monthly caloric limit is a good way of holding diet participants accountable. Knowing that there is a set amount of calories to stick to on a daily basis can be rigorous for some, but the structure has also been known to help others. There are certain diets and food groups that one could consider trying out during this period of time in order to achieve results. Many diet challenge participants create weekly or daily meal plans and prep accordingly- preparing a menu in advance could help you reach certain goals.

Setting a caloric goal means reaching for nutrient-dense and low-calorie foods that may benefit you during these initial 30 days.

This could mean altering your usual shopping list and eating routine, especially if you know you struggle with high-calorie meals. Portion control can also be key during this time- monitoring the size of your meals and actively measuring your choices is often the secret to achieving weight loss success. [2] Measuring your portions will also ensure accurate caloric tracking and recording in the long run as well.

Swapping healthy recipes and chef secrets with your friends and family during this time can also prove useful. It can be an easy way to feel connected during this time, as well as an encouraging tool for anyone unfamiliar with caloric-centric eating.

The following foods are generally encouraged for promoting weight loss:

  • Whole grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Lean proteins
  • Fiber-dense foods
  • Healthy, unsaturated fats

Again, every individual should find a diet that suits them for this time frame, and sticking to a caloric limit rather than an entire diet shift may be more achievable for many.

Exercise is Not Required: But Can Benefit Your Body

While exercise doesn’t necessarily have to be part of your 30-day weight loss challenge, it is strongly encouraged.

Diet alterations have proven more effective for reaching weight loss goals, but incorporating exercise into your daily routine can always benefit your health. [3] Exercising with friends and family can be an excellent addition to your 30 day challenge, even if it is just a weekly meetup. Having some gym buddies can be especially encouraging, and performing reps together in person can sometimes make all the difference during this time.

You can perform many exercises from the comfort of your own home if you have a busy schedule, a limited budget, or simply don’t have access to a public gym or health center. Some at-home exercises that may prove beneficial include:

  • Yoga. While yoga primarily promotes flexibility and overall strength, there are more cardio-centric options as well as toning routines with squat and plank options. Yoga can also help with mindfulness, meditation, and wellness, as well as breathing. There are many free yoga courses online, or you can look into mobile apps with low subscription fees.
  • Weight training with dumbbells or kettlebells. There are hundreds of weight routines and plans available for free or little cost online- all you need to purchase is a set of weights. Choosing one weight can be adequate for a 30 day period, but you may consider buying heavier weights as your body grows stronger.
  • Walking or jogging. You can choose to simply walk for exercise, so long as you maintain a steady pace and a certain daily miles goal. Jogging is similar and can have more positive effects on your body given the increased cardio involved. Even taking the dog out for a walk around the neighborhood is better than nothing. Walking is an ideal exercise choice for any older members of your family or anyone concerned for their physical wellbeing if weights and higher intensity cardio sound like too much.
  • Free exercise mobile apps. There are countless exercise apps varying in intensity, and these can be downloaded directly onto your phone. Popular options include the “7 minute workout” as well as the “couch to 5k” brand of exercise. Many of these mobile apps are free and can help track your exercise and structure your workouts to achieve results.

If you have access to a gym, tracking your sets, reps, and routines can be something to incorporate into your challenge guidelines. Just like tracking your calories, tracking your sets and meeting daily or weekly goals can encourage more healthy competition. You can even set rewards on a weekly basis for meeting these numbers.

There are many options for exercise at a gym, including indoor cycling, swimming, and running. Weight lifting is also a popular form of exercise, and it is easy to track your progress if you have the physical capabilities to lift weights.

There are many helpful weight lifting programs for beginners found here and programs for any level of fitness. If you are familiar with weight lifting and are concerned about plateauing during this challenge, you may consider one of these intermediate weight lifting programs.

Again, you should choose an exercise routine that works best for you, with or without a gym membership. Tracking your exercise is key… so set realistic goals from the beginning. Simply taking the time for 30 minutes of cardio a day can be enough to help you reach your goals.

Consistency – Track Calories & Exercises for Success

Given that each family member and friend will have their own individual diet and exercise goals based on their bodies and needs, one of the main ways you could determine a winner of this challenge is by simply tracking who is the most consistent. Consistency is key to achieving any weight loss goals at any level, but this is especially true if you or your loved ones haven’t set any weight loss goals in the past.

This could be the main factor and guideline you set in order to win the contest since calories and exercise preferences differ. 

It will be easier than you think to calculate a winner based on consistency and tracking. If you advocate keeping track and monitoring as the main way of winning the competition, accountability will be built into everyone’s goals. For example, you may choose to track who went to the gym 3-5 times a week, every week, or who stayed under 2200 calories a day the most. These are tangible, achievable goals that every member of the challenge is aware of. Always set goals that work best for the entire party.

Building healthy habits and consistently sticking to them are just some of the ways to create lasting weight loss results. Involving your friends and family in an achievable challenge has also been known to promote camaraderie and fewer judgments, something to consider when trying to burn fat. [4]

Considering consistency as your number one goal during the next 30 days can also help with any moments of discouragement or disillusionment. The number on the scale may not be what you want it to be at the end of a 30 day period, even with dedication. But knowing that you and your loved ones have made an effort to commit should give anyone a certain peace of mind.

30 Day Weight Loss Challenge Tips & Tricks

If you choose to participate in the 30 day challenge with your family and friends, there are many things to consider that could bring you added success. These suggestions consist of helpful tools, ideas, and additional purchases that can benefit any weight loss journey.

You by no means have to consider any of these things- they are tools to use should you want to, but simply texting your friends and family that you ate well today can be enough! 

Get a Step Tracker or Smart Watch

Having a device that tracks your steps and calories, whether it be your smartphone or fitness watch, can be invaluable during the 30 day challenge. There are varying options with different degrees of features, and some may be inaccessible depending on the budget.

However, having something that tracks your progress and something you don’t have to think much about can be very useful for reaching weight loss goals. These devices can track many aspects of fitness, including heart rate, distance traveled, energy expenditure, and steps. [5]

Your smartphone may have step tracking and exercise logging capabilities, but many people find success with wristbands or watch-based fitness trackers. There are also pendants and ankle monitors, depending on your intended use. These trackers often convert your energy into caloric expenditure, which can prove useful if you track caloric input and output. Having something that accurately measures your heart rate while exercising can be one of the most accurate measurements of calories burned.

Download a Nutrition App

If tracking calories from your daily meals is something you aren’t sure how to do, consider downloading a mobile app for that. There are many options available online, usually subscription-free, and some have advanced calorie counting features.

Depending on what you are looking for, some nutrition apps can sync with your smartwatch or fitness tracker, incorporating your daily exercise into your calorie count.

Having an app that will take these things into account for you can make for a much easier and smoother month. Some nutrition apps can scan barcodes of popular food brands, importing the nutritional facts directly into your tracker. You can also search for food items easily and select the exact portion you have just consumed.

These apps also provide you with more information than a simple caloric number. You can easily see your carbs, fat, protein, and fiber intake, often broken down into percentages. While this may not be part of your monthly goal, it can be valuable to see these things written out.

Shop Smart

While a set caloric number per day should be your goal overall, that doesn’t mean you can’t shop smarter during this time. Choosing a nutritious grocery store run over eating out or eating a higher fat diet can be helpful for this challenge. 

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t eat things that bring you joy- far from it, as many splurge dinner choices can feel even more rewarding during this time of strict goals and competition. Having a group meal per week with your participating family and friends can be a good thing to plan so that everyone feels rewarded for their efforts.

For the bulk of the month, however, choosing healthy options can be an easy way for you to reach your daily caloric goals. Buying more vegetables and lean proteins should be at the top of your list, especially since these things can be easily swapped out at mealtime. 

Track Your Sleep Patterns

Many smartwatches and fitness trackers can also track your sleep pattern, should you choose to wear them at night.

While studies are still being performed regarding weight loss and sleep patterns, sleeping more has been cited as an overall benefit to your health. [6] Sleeping at least seven hours per night has been proven beneficial for most bodies and at any age- sleeping longer than seven hours may be even more valuable for your own individual body.

It all depends, but tracking your sleep patterns during this month may bring to light some useful information. 

Unhappy with the Numbers on the Scale? Set a Different Goal

Owning and utilizing a simple bathroom scale is not the end-all, be all to weight loss. Forming realistic goals for the 30 day weight loss challenge is important, but basing these goals around a number on a scale isn’t always the best idea.

Weight fluctuates daily, sometimes in extreme ways.

Many studies have shown that weighing in on a daily basis can be valuable, especially for catching weight gain before it goes too far. [7] However, for a 30 day mark, this can sometimes prove discouraging and also unnecessary. Choosing a more attainable goal that has less to do with the number on the scale may make for a more wholesome and enriching experience overall. However, some individuals appreciate the structure that weighing in can give them, so be sure to choose a habit that works best for you.

Track Who’s the Most Consistent

There are many ways for you to track and tally among your family to determine who wins the 30 day competition. Ultimately, you will find a system that works best for all involved, through a variety of means- and all winners should be rewarded for their dedication and consistency.

Some of these means may include:

  • Fitness trackers (specifically built for groups attempting to lose weight)
  • Weekly check-ins
  • Shared recipes and meal planning
  • Setting responsibilities for each individual participant
  • Shared groups on Facebook, email, or elsewhere

Taking the time to communicate with your peers and fellow participants is key during this time. 

Starting a group text chain or thread can be a good place to begin. This can be done no matter where your friends or family members are located, which can also be beneficial- share a photo and information about your health goals too.

If you choose to start a weight loss challenge with your local friends, such as a church group or office coworkers, scheduling weekly activities or meals can help bring you all together and commiserate about your shared experience. You can plan active outings, such as a game of basketball, or get together and cook with one another.

Another excellent motivator for this challenge is placing bets on your shared achievements and fitness tracking. Having your goals in a shared location or file for everyone to see while you progress can be a good idea for monitoring everyone’s progress. There are countless digital or old school options, and you and your group should settle on something that works best for all involved. No matter what, tracking is key to winning: always set goals that are easily kept track of so that you can all report back accurately and efficiently.

FAQs for The 30 Day Weight Loss Challenge

Creating and perfecting a 30 day health goal can be a challenge all on its own. If you are curious about your own expectations during this time, take a look at some frequently asked questions having to do with losing weight in a 30 day time period.

How Can I Slim Down in 30 Days?

Slimming down means something different to everyone, and slimming down in 30 days will result in different outcomes depending on many factors. You can lose weight and slim down in 30 days, though it may take more time to see the results you are expecting.

However, slimming down in four weeks is possible, especially with alterations in your diet and exercise routines.

You should also consider the first 30 days of any change as a time for establishing healthy habits and routine. Taking the time to commit to something for a four-week period can lead to longer-lasting results and successes, based on the average time it takes to incorporate a new habit into your routine.

While 30 days may not be quite enough to slim down, it can help build habits that will lead to long-term results.

How Much Weight Can a Person Lose in 30 Days?

This answer depends entirely on the individual and the safe, healthy goals set by that individual. The average weight a person can expect to safely lose without much drastic change during a weight loss challenge is about one pound per week.

However, this will depend on your metabolism, fitness regime, diet, and more. 

There are weight loss options that advertise losing two pounds per week, and even some boast of losing ten pounds in a single month. However, not everyone can meet these goals, and you should concentrate your goals around your family or friend group.

Losing two pounds per week often means cutting calories, and sometimes to an extreme level. While you may have the drive and will to win the competition happening among your friends and family, setting such a strict goal hardly seems fair to everyone else!

Can You Really Lose Weight in 30 Days?

Yes, it is possible to lose weight in 30 days and you don’t even have to cut out cereal or other food food favorites. It may not be more than four or five pounds, but it is possible. If you choose to set realistic goals and stick with those goals, your results may prove more effective than you initially thought- especially with a reliable network of friends helping you!

How Do I Lose 30 Pounds in a Month?

Losing 30 pounds in a month is not a realistic goal to set for yourself, especially in a competitive environment with friends and family involved. Losing at least one pound per day involves a large amount of potentially unhealthy diet choices that should not be promoted to a large group.

If you are new to losing weight and establishing a consistent weight loss journey, setting a goal to lose 30 pounds in 30 days is unrealistic- one of the only ways to achieve this involves fat burners or weight loss supplements, something that many of your friends or family may not be comfortable taking.

In the spirit of healthy competition, choosing a fairer weight loss goal is a good idea during this time. Once the challenge is over, you can experiment with different weight loss goals and opportunities, including fasting and weight loss supplements. However, you should not set a weight loss goal of 30 pounds during this challenge- it is not realistic. 

Final Thoughts

Participating in the 30 day weight loss challenge can be a beneficial and life-altering choice. Not only will this structure of diet and exercise promote short-term weight loss, but it will undoubtedly encourage long-term and lasting health changes as well.

If you plan to participate in a 30 day fitness challenge with your family and friends, remember that consistency is key. Accurate tracking and commitment to your caloric goals will help you succeed- and don’t forget that a little healthy competition can go a long way!

Resources

[1] Leahey, Tricia. 7 February 2014. ​​DietBet: A Web-Based Program that Uses Social Gaming and Financial Incentives to Promote Weight Loss. 10 November 2021. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4307813/

[2] Livingstone, Barbara E. 14 November 2014. Portion size and obesity. 10 November 2021. Web. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25398749/

[3] Catenacci, Victoria A. July 2007. The role of physical activity in producing and maintaining weight loss. 10 November 2021. Web. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17581621/

[4] Hwang, Kevin O. January 2010. Social support in an Internet weight loss community.10 November 2021. Web. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19945338/

[5] Cheatham, Scott W. April 2018. The efficacy of wearable activity tracking technology as part of a weight loss program: a systematic review. 10 November 2021. Web. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28488834/

[6] Leproult, Rachel. 24 November 2009. Role of sleep and sleep loss in hormonal release and metabolism. 10 November 2021. Web. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19955752/

[7] Butryn, Meghan L. December 2007. ​​Consistent self-monitoring of weight: a key component of successful weight loss maintenance. 10 November 2021. Web. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18198319/

About the Author

Nathan

Nathan has been a fitness enthusiast for the past 12 years and jumps between several types of training such as bodybuilding, powerlifting, cycling, gymnastics, and backcountry hiking. Due to the varying caloric needs of numerous sports, he has cycled between all types of diets and currently eats a whole food diet. In addition, Nathan lives with several injuries such as hip impingement, spondylolisthesis, and scoliosis, so he underwent self-rehabilitation and no longer lives with debilitating pain.