How Much Weight Can You Lose in a Month? Safe Max Rate

Weight Loss & Diets | Written by Margaret Trashian | Updated on 5 July 2024

Medically Reviewed By Dr. Margaret Trashian, MD

On the left, an obese woman with blond hair and a green shirt ponders how much weight can be lost in a month, while on the right, the same woman exhibits a much slimmer physique.

Most of us have embarked on a weight loss journey at least once, and whether it’s for health or looks, we can’t help but wondering how much weight can be lost in a month.1

The “safe max rate,” or the fastest rate at which weight should be lost is 1-2 lbs per week for most people, equating to 4-8 lbs per week. However, fails to account for various body weights and there are superior methods to calculate the maximum amount of weight that can be lost in a week or month based off someone’s existing weight.

Below we’ll review a more empirical way to calculate the most weight that can safely be lost in a month (the 1% rule), provide before and after pictures of those who followed the 1% rule, and practical ways to lose weight in as little as a month.

How Much Weight Can Be Lost in a Month? How Many Pounds Can Be Lost in a Month?

As mentioned, a rate of 1-2 pounds(lbs) of weight loss a week is considered healthy and that means one can be safely lost 4-8 pounds, however, however, everyone has a different starting point and rate of progression thus, a healthy weight to lose in a month looks different for everyone.

Obese individuals tend to shed weight at a faster rate than those who are not obese due to the greater availability of weight to be lost and this is why the 1% rule is a better rule of thumb for the maximum amount of weight that can be lost per week. In turn, the maximum amount of weight that can be lost per month is 4% and is far more accurate for those ranging from less than 100 lbs, to 500+ lbs.

For example, someone weighting 150 lbs shouldn’t lose 2 lbs per week or 8 lbs per month since that’s way more than 1% of their bodyweight which is 1.5lbs. Instead, they should strive to lose 1.5 lbs per week or a total of 6 lbs per month. The same lies true for someone of 300 lbs. Losing 2lbs per week is far less than 1% of their bodyweight and they could safely lose 3 lbs per week, or 12 lbs per month.

Although some obese people attempting to lose weight may find the scale dropping at an exponential rate, especially during the beginning of their weight loss, they should try to keep their weight loss at no more than 3.5 pounds per week in order to avoid increasing their risk of gallstone formation.2

Extreme weight loss in a month can take place in non-obese individuals through diets such as the keto diet that reduces carbs to 30-50 grams per day although it should never exceed 1% per week or 4% per month.3

Extreme weight loss can also occur on some weight loss medications such as Xenical, due to the inhibition of fat absorption.4 The same can happen with gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgeries, collectively known as bariatric surgery. These surgeries lead to weight loss by restricting the amount of food that can be eaten at a given time.

Water fasting is another method that leads to expedited weight loss although this is not recommended unless someone is prepping for a photoshoot, big day, or something of that sort . During a water fast, nothing but water is consumed for an extended period of time, usually over 24 hours.

Risks of Losing Weight Too Fast

Losing a substantial amount of weight within a short time frame may seem like a dream come true. But for many, it can turn into a nightmare.

Some of the risks associated with losing weight too quickly include loss of muscle mass, which may lead to a decrease in metabolism.5 Nutritional deficiencies may also arise in those who partake in prolonged fasting or significantly in a calorie deficit diet.6

Another result of losing weight too fast can result in gallstone formation. Gallstones are hard, stone-like deposits that can form in gallbladder.2 Loose skin is another byproduct that can come from losing weight in a short window of time due to the inability of the skin to adjust to a new body shape.

Lose skin is most prominent in areas where most weight is lost.7 It is worth reiterating that a healthcare professional should always be consulted before making any changes to a diet or exercise regiment.

Real Life 1 Month Weight Loss Results With Before & After Pictures

Many try to achieve maximum weight loss in a month with exercise. They turn to jogging, spinning, or cycling to achieve results.

With the popularity of fitness class streaming by companies like Peloton, achieving fitness goals is more accessible than ever, as demonstrated by these before and after pictures.

Brittany’s 1 Month Transformation

Brittany Neff describes herself as a former emotional eater. Neff shared that amidst the uncertainties and uncontrollable factors in the world today, she found solace in taking charge of her own health.

Brittany's 1 Month Transformation comparison showing her before and after photos, with a black top and black pants, on the left is her before image, and on the right is her after image with a slight weight loss in her body, she is also wearing black glasses.

With hard work, dedication, and support from personal coaches, Brittany lost 12 pounds in the first month and went on to lose a total of 336 pounds. Source: @miss_itty_britty from Instagram8

Over the course of four years, she worked hard to establish healthy habits related to food, exercise, and mindset, which have become her new reality. In the past, Neff had turned to food for comfort during difficult times, but a moment of realization occurred when she could no longer fit behind a steering wheel and had to weigh herself on a fertilizer scale.

She made changes to her diet and sought help from personal coaches to establish a healthy lifestyle. As a result, she lost 12 pounds in the first month and went on to lose a total of 336 pounds.

To maintain her weight loss, Neff eats six small meals a day and exercises three to four times a week, favoring classes that combine cardio and strength training. Neff believes that by fueling her body with good food and exercise, she is able to perform at her best.9

Alexia’s 1 Month Weight Results From Yoga

Alexia lost 3 pounds in a month. Although the number of pounds lost may seem conservative, it’s worth noting this was due to her starting weight of 147 lbs.

A comparison image of Alexia's 1 Month Weight Results from Yoga, with a black top and black pants, on the left is her before image with her tummy visible, and on the right is her after image wearing a necklace and with a slight change in her body.

After completing 30 days of hot yoga, Alexia lost 2mm off her waist and 3mm off her arms, and noticed significant changes in her physical appearance and overall well-being. Source: Pinterest10

Alexia lost 2mm off her waist and 3 mm of her arms after completing 30 days of hot yoga, Alexia has noticed significant changes in her physical appearance and overall well-being. Her friends and boyfriend have commended her transformation and have particularly noticed changes in her abs and have noticed her clothes fitting loose on her.

Shopping for clothes has become an exciting prospect for Alexia, thanks to her newfound confidence. Alexia feels lighter and more toned, with improved energy levels and posture.

She also notes feeling calmer and more grounded, with a clearer mind.11

Tips on How To Lose Weight In One Month

To lose weight in one month, it is important to follow certain guidelines such as creating a calorie deficit. A conventional low calorie diet is around 1200-1500 calories a day for women and 1500-2000 for men.

Not drinking alcohol, eating healthy in order to stay satiated, not drinking soda, and consistently exercising are also often recommended for weight loss.

Make Healthy Food Choices

Drink More Water

Water keeps you hydrated which ultimately leads to feeling more energized and thus likely to partake in more physical activity throughout the day. A lack of hydration can lead to several health problems including headaches, fatigue, and dizziness.

Staying hydrated can help with digestion by preventing constipation and encouraging regular bowel movements. Water can create a feeling of fullness resulting in a decrease in the risk of overeating.

Water helps lubricate the joints, thereby decreasing the odds of refraining from physical activity due to joint pain and stiffness, these are only a few of the benefits of adequate hydration. Other benefits include temperature regulation, and brain and kidney function.12

Get Plenty of Fiber

Dietary fiber consists of non-digestible forms of carbohydrates that originate from plant based food. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and legumes are rich in fiber.

Fiber can help promote digestion by preventing constipation and providing a nutrient source for healthy gut bacteria. Fiber also regulates blood sugar levels by preventing blood sugar spikes due to the slow release of sugars into the bloodstream.

Fiber rich foods are usually filling which can help lead to weight loss by decreasing caloric intake.13

Up Your Protein

Protein is in every cell in the body. Consumption of dietary protein is important for health.

It can be found in meat, poultry, eggs, dairy, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes. Along with helping build and repair hair, skin, and nails, protein maintains and builds muscle mass.

This is important for weight loss, as muscle helps burn or metabolize calories. Protein is also more filling than fats or carbohydrates, which can lead to a decrease in caloric intake when implemented in a diet.

Protein can also help decrease blood sugar spikes due to a slow release of sugars into the bloodstream. Some additional benefits of protein intake include bone health and brain function.14

Hide Unhealthy Foods (Out of Sight, Out of Mind)

It can be difficult to resist certain foods, especially when they are within reach or sight. This is why it may be beneficial to hide unhealthy foods.

Reducing temptation will make breaking healthy habits more challenging. Plus, it is more likely that healthy foods will be selected if the unhealthy ones are hidden and will encourage replacing unhealthy snacks or foods with healthier alternatives.

Try Juicing

Juicing has increased in popularity in recent years. It’s no surprise, considering they are able to deliver a high concentration of nutrients to the body.

As juices from juicing fruits and especially vegetables are often low in calories, they are beneficial for weight loss. They can keep you satiated for a relatively low amount of calories.

Juicing can also boost metabolism, ultimately leading to an increase in the number of calories the body burns at rest and can keep the body hydrated which is important for weight loss. Juicing may not be for everyone, especially if used as a meal replacement, so please consult with a licensed medical practitioner before making any alterations to diet or exercise.15

Give Apple Cider Vinegar a Shot

Another method to weight loss that has gained some popularity in recent years is apple cider vinegar. There are claims that apple cider vinegar may suppress appetite and thus lead to a decrease in calorie consumption.

Its acetic acid is said to promote digestion by increasing stomach acids that help break down food and the promoting the activation of enzymes that help burn or metabolize fat. Apple cider vinegar may help slow the release of sugars into the bloodstream thereby reducing spikes in blood sugar.

Although more long term, large-scale clinical studies are needed to collect sufficient evidence for the health effects of apple cider vinegar, the current data does show there may be some health benefits associated with consumption of recommended quantities of apple cider vinegar16 It is advised to consult with a licensed health care practitioner to see if and how much apple cider vinegar is recommended in the diet.

Walk More

Whether it’s parking further away or taking strolls in the neighborhood through the day, walking more can aid in weight loss by increasing the amount of calories utilized daily, as well as establishing healthy habits.

Parking further away from a destination, even when closer and more convenient parking is available can help promote weight loss by increasing physical activity leading to a higher caloric expenditure.

Increase Your Daily Activity by Finding an Activity You Enjoy

Other than eating healthier, increasing physical activity is a surefire way to ensure you’re burning more calories.

However, physical activity doesn’t always require hours of sweating and it can be as simple as walking, dancing, swimming, or anything else you enjoy.

Spin Classes: For more energy intensive exercise, spinning classes can be a good option. In addition to an increase in metabolism and caloric expenditure, spinning aids in building muscle mass which can further help with weight loss.

Plus, it’s a good option for those who prefer a group exercise setting.

Dancing: Whether in a class, as a pair, or alone, dancing can be a fun way to get moving. Dancing may be a good option for those who aren’t fond of traditional exercise and are looking for a way to combine exercise and leisure.

Yoga: Yoga has become popular worldwide for its health benefits. In addition to weight loss benefits that come from increased caloric expenditure, yoga promotes flexibility, mindfulness, relaxation, and promotes proper breathing techniques.

Gym: For those who prefer a more traditional exercise setting, going to the gym is a good option. Whether it’s cardio, strength training, or a combination of the two, there is a wide range of equipment and group classes to select from.

As an added plus, many gyms also have trainers that can better help people achieve their fitness goals.

Pilates: For people who want to achieve flexibility, balance, and a strong core along with weight loss, pilates can be a good form of exercise. Through controlled movements, pilates offers a wide range of physical benefits including weight loss and muscle gain.

Slowly Make Lifestyle Changes (Mindset, Sleep, and Stress)

Some may have the mindset that lifestyle changes have to include making quick and extreme alterations all at once. However, the slow implementation of one positive change that soon becomes a habit, followed by the next, is a more sustainable and effective way to make a change.

For example, first working on creating good sleep habits, then moving on to implementing a workout routine for health and stress management that ultimately becomes a habit, followed by sticking to a realistic diet that can become a lifestyle.

Conclusion

So when wondering how much weight can be lost in a month, just remember that the safe max rate is 1% per week or 4% per month while most will claim it’s 1-2 pounds a week. Overall, achieving significant weight loss in a short amount of time depends on several factors, such as current weight and overall health. It’s important to approach weight loss with a realistic mindset and a focus on making sustainable lifestyle changes.

By prioritizing healthy habits, consistent effort, and patience, meaningful weight loss results can be achieved over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Weight Can Be Lost in a Month Without Exercising?

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week of weight loss, or 4 to 8 pounds of weight loss per month. It is possible to lose more weight in one month without exercising. The amount of weight loss depends on one’s starting weight as well as the methods taken to lose weight.

What Activity Will Provide the Quickest Weight Loss Results?

Activities that combine high-intensity interval training (HIIT), or short bursts of intense activity followed by periods of rest will help provide quick weight loss results.

Can You Lose 10 Pounds in a Month?

Although the CDC recommends no more than 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week, this is a general guideline and it is possible to lose more than 10 pounds in a month securely for some people. However, it is advised to speak to a licensed healthcare practitioner before doing so.

What Is Considered Rapid Weight Loss?

Rapid weight loss is any diet that leads to more than 2 pounds of weight loss per week.


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