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How to Lose 10-15 Pounds in a Month (15 Easy Tweaks Anyone Can Do)

Weight Loss & Diets | Written by Nathan | Updated on 24 January 2022

Figuring out how to lose 10-15 pounds in a month can seem challenging, but it’s not an impossible goal. With some effort and lots of dedication, you can achieve shed those pounds. 

With these 15 easy diet and lifestyle tweaks, you can shed those pounds and feel good doing it! Learn what to eat, how much to exercise, and ways to accelerate weight loss and step into the next month anew.

Tweaks to Lose Weight in a Month

How do you integrate healthy food and workout habits into your life? These easy lifestyle tweaks will help you make a few changes to your daily life so you can stick to your calorie goals and get in a workout almost every day.

Here you won’t find any fad diets or miracle 7-second workouts – just dedication and some weight loss tips!

1. Count Macros & Use Smaller Plates 

Carbs retain water, making you look swollen and bloated even if they don’t make you gain weight and what does all fast food have in common? It’s full of carbs! Burgers, fries, pizza, and other fast-food staples have an abundance of carbs, which means you’re pretty likely to gain weight on a high-carb diet instead of losing any.

The general rule of thumb is that you need a gram of protein for every 2 pounds of weight in your diet. If you can’t fit that much into your diet, try to eat at least 50-60% of your calories in protein. Most people consume 441 calories less on average if they up their protein intake to at least 30% [7]. 

Protein Carbohydrates
Positively affects the level of the ghrelin hormone, also known as the hunger hormone, and GLP-1, making you feel hunger pangs less often. [6] Quickly converted to glucose and cause insulin spikes, so your body is more likely to store them as fat.
Fills you up faster, and you remain satiated for longer. Keep you content for less time than proteins and fats.
Grat as a snack after exercise since it’s necessary for post-workout recovery as your muscles consist of various proteins! Can be great pre-workout snacks as carbohydrates give you an instant burst of energy.

The importance of fiber: Make sure to eat enough fiber this month. Not only does fiber keep you satiated for longer, but it also aids in digestion. Having a hard time going #2, or is it just not coming out normally? Upping the fiber in your diet may be the answer.

Good digestion means less bloating. Try weighing yourself before and after a bowel movement – you might find that you lose quite a bit!

Portion control: Portion control is a crucial part of successful weight loss. Most restaurants will serve you huge portions of food that can take up half – or even the entirety – of your daily caloric requirement. If you double the size of an appetizer, its calories go up by about 30% [10]!

Try to serve yourself on smaller plates. Even a 10-20% reduction in portion size can be a gateway to weight loss, as it tricks your brain into believing that you’re eating more than you do.

Take 100g of rice on a big plate and then transfer it to a small bowl. You’ll see the difference for yourself!

If portioning macros takes too much time: If you don’t want to sit and calculate what percentage of protein you’re consuming and how many grams of carbs and fat you’re eating, try the plate method! 

At lunch and dinner, fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables (i.e., no potatoes in this section) and a quarter each with protein and carbs while using minimal fat during cooking (oil, cheese, etc.). This method will ensure you get adequate protein and fiber to stay full with more than enough energy to get through the day without calculators.

2. Eat Throughout the Day

If you’re a chronic snacker, this advice might be your holy grail. Instead of eating the majority of your calorie limit at dinner or lunch, split it into three meals. For example, if you’re planning to consume 1,200 calories, divide it into three meals of 400 calories each.

By trying to fit everything into one or two meals and skipping one in between, like many people skip breakfast, you open yourself up to more cravings as you won’t feel satiated throughout the day. Once these cravings and hunger get out of hand, you’ll end up eating more than you would have in 3 or 4 meals.

3. Meal Prep and Cook at Home

After a long day, would you like to eat something that’s already cooked, or would you want to cook up an elaborate meal? Anyone would pick the first option! Planning your meals ahead of time or meal prepping can help you stick to your diet better than deciding your meals on the go [11].

Meal prepping facilitates weight loss as it’s positively associated with maintaining a healthy body weight but cooking so much at once can feel like one heck of a job. To save yourself some extra hassle, prepare food for the whole week on either Saturday or Sunday (or any off days if you work over the weekend).

4. Avoid Liquid Calories & Cut Back on Soda

Fizzy drinks contain a lot of insidious liquid calories. Carbonated beverages are high in sugar, making them addictive and calorie-dense.

A single 12-ounce can of Coke has 140 empty calories – you’re better off spending these on something more nutritious and filling. The carbon that makes soda fizz also causes gas and makes your stomach bloat. The soda itself dehydrates you even if it seems to quench your thirst at the moment [12].

Considering switching to diet soda? Think again – diet alternatives might activate the same parts of the brain that sweetened drinks do, making you crave more sugary foods [13]. Unless you have great self-control, skip the diet soda and drink water.

5. Drink Water Before Meals

Not only does drinking water make you feel fuller in general, drinking it before meals can help you eat less without feeling hungry. People who drink just half a liter of water about 30 minutes before meals lose 44% more weight than those who don’t [14]!

Besides, being well-hydrated aids in digestion, reducing stomach bloating caused by constipation. Drinking more water also lowers fluid retention since your body holds on to fluids when it’s dehydrated.

Chugging some water is a great way to curb cravings, too, as more than half the time when we think we’re hungry, we’re just thirsty [15]. Next time, before you reach out for seconds, try drinking some water and see if you feel full afterwards.

6. Track Calories

Most people neglect to count liquid and snack calories, underestimating how much they consume by about 40% [16]!

Some also think that fruits and vegetables don’t count – while this might be true if you’re eating something with practically no calories, like plain lettuce, a single banana can be 100-150 calories. Eating two large bananas can count as a whole meal.

If you’re serious about losing weight quickly, you need to track everything you eat, even if it’s just a few bites. The best way to track calories is to download a mobile app like MyFitnessPal, which contains a food database and its associated calories.

You can also maintain a food journal to log your food intake. Figure out what’s most efficient for you and start tracking! It shouldn’t take you any more than 5-10 minutes in your entire day to log food – you might skip it otherwise.

7. Increase Daily Step Count

The average American walks only 3,000-4,000 steps per day, and this number is way below the recommended daily 10,000 steps a day, adding up to approximately five miles [17]. Walking this much improves cardiovascular health, sleep quality, and mood.

If you’re trying to learn how to lose 10-15 pounds in one month, try upping your steps to 15,000 per day so you burn even more calories! 

Download a pedometer app on your phone – that’s all you need to get started! Walk to work or school if you can (or cycle if it’s too far and your route has safe cycle lanes on the way), walk your pets, walk while talking on the phone or reading – anything to get in those extra steps.

You can also set a particular time for walking 2-3 miles at once and do this twice or three times a day. This schedule will only work if you have time to spare, though, so try to get in extra steps where you can.

8. Fix Sleep Schedule

Sleep deprivation is one of weight loss’ worst enemies. Not getting enough shut-eye increases ghrelin hormone levels and decreases leptin. Ghrelin controls hunger, while leptin is the satiety hormone, so chronic sleep deprivation gives you way more hunger pangs!

Not sleeping well can result in your metabolism slowing down [18] and insulin to spike, so your body will store more of the food you eat as fat [19]. Make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night to lose weight fast.

9. Try Stress Management

If you’ve been looking to join that yoga class or buy that course on organization and time management, there’s no better time than now. Stress stimulates the release of the cortisol hormone, and while cortisol inhibits hunger in the short term, it causes hunger pains if it remains in the blood for too long [20].

Stress also makes you more prone to stress-eating! Studies have shown that 8-week stress management programs correlate with a reduction in BMI in both children and adolescents [21]. Even if you don’t have the time to join a program, try a meditation app like HeadSpace for a few days and see if you feel more relaxed.

10. Try a Diet or Cook at Home

You know what you’re putting into your food when you cook at home. This freedom makes it more likely that you’ll enjoy your food. Try adjusting the amount of protein, carbs, and fat as you wish and experiment with new recipes.

Home-cooked food is also generally more filling than takeout, and it’s cheaper in the long run. Maybe make a date night out of cooking dinner with your partner, or jam out to some tunes at the stove and discover the chef within you!

Store your food in the fridge in labeled, airtight containers and just whip it out for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks!

Some diets you can try include:

The keto diet: Getting your body into a state of ketogenesis by eating 80% protein and about 10% carbs also accelerates fat burn [8]. This high-protein diet is known as the keto diet, and you can try it out for a month to see if it works for your weight loss plan.

Stock up on foods like eggs, chicken breast, pulses, flaxseeds, and all kinds of fish to integrate more protein into your diet.

Intermittent fasting for fat loss: If you think fasting helps you curb food cravings, but you still want to keep up your workout routine, try intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting (IF) is eating only during set hours of the day and fasting the rest.

The most prevalent type of IF is the 16:8 method. Here, you fast for 16 hours of the day and eat during the eight leftover hours. You might develop an intuitive feeling for how much you need to eat to maintain or lose weight after many months of IF, but you should still count your calories for at least the first month to ensure you stay on track to lose 10-15 pounds.

There’s no guarantee that IF will work for you, but it might be worth a shot, especially if you suffer from those pesky midnight cravings or can’t stop eating out of boredom. Knowing that eating is off-limits may help you curb these cravings and appreciate what you eat a lot more.

Noom diet with food list: The Noom diet consists of green, yellow, and red foods to show you exactly what’s acceptable to eat and in what quantities. You might thing red foods are off limits, but with the Noom diet plan nearly nothing is truly off limits.

11. Find Exercises You Enjoy

For those who don’t think exercise is relaxing, getting your workout out of the way first thing in the morning might be the best way to remain consistent. In a study, college students who completed a 15-week exercise program made healthier food choices than their counterparts [22].

When should you exercise?

Working out in the morning might also jive better with your hormones. Cortisol peaks in the morning and levels, so morning workouts coincide with better alertness as this hormone keeps you alert and awake.

If you’re just not a morning person, though, don’t worry – exercising in the evening doesn’t harm you in any way so long as it’s a few hours before bed. It might even be the time your body is most flexible. Just trust in the process and try to do a little something every day.

Walking, running, lifting weights, swimming, martial arts – everything helps! Exercise as much as you can without impacting your overall health.

Be as active as you can be! Try to exercise at least five days a week while remaining active on the other two. According to The American Heart Association, you must get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on these five days, but that’s the bare minimum for fitness [3].

What counts as exercise?

Almost anything can count as exercise, so find something you can enjoy and do for a lifetime. You can hire a personal trainer to help form a proper workout routine, or you can also try:

  • Walking – Not only does walking promote better cardiovascular health, but you can also convert it into a real, sweaty workout by practicing power walking. Power-walking is walking at maximum speed for as long as you can, so you can’t hold a conversation while you walk. People who walk briskly lose more weight than those who stroll the same distance. If a stroll is all you can manage, that’s perfectly okay too!
  • Running – If you’ve got proper running shoes, running might be the perfect form of exercise for you. Start with a beginner’s program like Couch to 5K (C25K) where you can find many apps for both Android and iOS and work up from there. This program is a good starting point as it helps you gradually build a running habit, and you’ll have way more stamina by the end of the month. Running is also more efficient than walking, meaning you’ll burn more calories in the same time.
  • Swimming – Swimming is an excellent form of exercise for anyone. However, it’s especially beneficial if you’re very overweight or obese as it doesn’t strain your knees and feet like walking and running. Too much pressure on the knees can lead to early arthritis, so we don’t recommend that you run or repeatedly jump if you have a lot of fat to lose. While swimming, the water helps you float and you can move your entire body without dreading the pain that’s sure to come the next day. A 160 lb person can burn over 400 calories swimming at a moderate pace and this can go up to 700 calories with more vigorous swimming [4].
  • Weightlifting – Lifting weights doesn’t just help you lose weight – it makes you stronger and more agile. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body needs to maintain it, which means you can eat more at the same weight! When paired with a high-protein diet, weightlifting builds muscle, accelerating weight loss. Your body expends energy when lifting weights, too, so an effective workout regimen balances weight training and cardio, like running or HIIT. You don’t need to lift very heavy, either, since even light resistance helps you expend more calories.
  • HIIT – High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is an efficient exercise method where you alternate between short bursts of intense activity and active rest periods. People who practice HIIT burn 28.5% more fat than those who do moderate-intensity exercise [5]. HIIT workouts are generally shorter than regular workouts and might be easier to fit into your day. They’re handy for burning fat if you’re a busy office-goer with no time for exercise. Try to take out 30 minutes or even 10, put on a HIIT workout video on YouTube, pair it with your favorite song, and get the blood flowing!
  • Cycling – If you don’t live too far from school or work, cycling might be an excellent option for you. An hour of cycling can burn around 300 calories, but you can increase that if you cycle vigorously [4]. 
  • Dance – Want to learn something new while losing weight? Join a dance class! Not only does vigorous dancing burn calories, but it also makes you more flexible and coordinated, which can help with other forms of exercise like cardio and weightlifting.

Simply put, use any physical activity you enjoy to get in some exercise throughout your day. Walk your dog, join a running group, or do anything else that makes movement enjoyable for you. Only if you enjoy the activity will you make it a long-term habit.

12. Embrace the “I Don’t” Approach

In a Journal of Consumer Research study, researchers divided participants into three groups. Any time they felt tempted to forgo their goals, the researchers told the 1st group just to say no, the 2nd group to say “I can’t” statements (“I can’t skip working out today.”), and the final group to use “I don’t” statements (“I don’t skip working out.”) [23].

As a result, eight out of ten group 3 members stuck with their goals, compared to only three in group 1 and one in group 2. Whenever you feel like skipping a workout or eating a whole pizza, use the power of “I don’t” statements to refrain from lapsing on your goals.

13. Don’t Cheat Too Much

Cheating on your diet may lead down a dangerous road, but also remember it’s not the end of the world. Cheat for the taste, not to fill your stomach. If you have a sweet tooth, have a small piece of chocolate instead of a whole bar. If you’re craving something salty, have a couple of fries rather than an entire McDonald’s meal.

While many people can stick to their goals because they know a cheat day is coming, others may feel hopelessness and guilt for wanting to cheat on their diet [24]. If you have a cheat day, try to stay within your calorie goals and if you exceed it, tomorrow is a new day.

14. Eat Mindfully

When you’re distracted, you might end up eating 10% more calories than you otherwise would [25]. Mindful eating is a practice that aims to eliminate distractions during meals so you can focus solely on your food and your surroundings.

Put away all electronics (yes, even the TV) before sitting down for a meal. Also, try eating at a table instead of in your car or while walking to work. Cooking your own food might help you eat more mindfully, too, as you know how much effort went into it and can truly appreciate it.

15. Keep Yourself Accountable

To stick to your goals, you need to keep yourself accountable. Ask a friend or significant other if they’d be willing to privately check in on you every few days or even share posts on social media about your weight loss journey.

You can also join walking and running groups to keep on top of your physical activity every day. Not only does socialization help you get out of bed and go, but the social expectation might motivate you to walk or run even when you’re not feeling up for it.

If this doesn’t work for you, try to weigh yourself regularly, take progress pictures every week, and use this progress to motivate yourself.

Is It Risky to Lose Weight So Fast?

Losing more than the recommended 1-2 lbs per week carries risks because of the huge calorie deficit. For instance, 14,000 calories a week means that you’ll lose not only fat but some muscle too. 

Doctors don’t recommend that you lose too much weight, too fast. Continuing such quick weight loss for a long time can make your hair fall out, cause brittle nails, fatigue you severely, and women may lose their periods. Caloric deprivation can also cause weakness, dizziness, low blood pressure, and general discomfort.

Besides, most people who lose weight unsustainably end up gaining it all back, and then some [26]. While losing so much weight so fast might be great for an upcoming event, you need to make gradual lifestyle changes for successful weight loss long-term.

Precautions for Healthy Weight Loss

Since burning significantly more than you consume is the only answer to how to lose 10-15 pounds in a month, you might unintentionally end up depriving your body of essential nutrients. This deficit can impact your overall health, but you can mitigate this by…

Beware of Malnutrition

Though you can do it, it’s still nearly impossible to fit all essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, etc., and vitamins into a very low-calorie diet for losing weight. An over-the-counter multivitamin can help you keep your health in check while you lose weight.

Don’t Go Below 1,200 Calories

Whatever you do, don’t eat less than 1,200 calories regularly [2]. If you go below this threshold daily, you might end up causing more harm than good as you’ll force your body to eat muscle fibers and redirect all its energy towards surviving. Apart from that, you won’t feel satiated and will constantly suffer from hunger pangs, making you more prone to binging.

Avoiding Over Exercise

Yes, over exercising is a thing. If you’re exercising all day, you’ll lose stamina and muscle mass since your body won’t have enough nutrients for recovery. Not to mention, if you’re squatting or pulling heavy deadlifts, it’s very taxing on your central nervous system. Athletes who train hard also eat a lot, but you’ll be on a low-calorie diet, so be sure to listen to your body to avoid exerting yourself too much or passing out. 

FAQ for Shedding Pounds

If you’re wondering how much of a deficit you need, why exercise helps, how much activity you should get, or if you should try to accelerate weight loss by fasting, let us clear your doubts.

How Much Can I Eat to Lose 10-15 Pounds in a Month?

Use an online calculator to determine how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. You’ll stay at your current weight by eating this amount, so how do you lose?

To lose 10-15 pounds in a month, you need to lose 4-5 pounds per week. If you eat 3,500 excess calories, you gain a single pound of fat. So, to lose 4-5 pounds, you need to have a 14,000-17,500 calorie deficit every week.

The average man only needs 2,000 calories every day, so for most sedentary people, this deficit will be about the same as what they usually eat [1]! How can you achieve such a huge deficit, then? Simple – you need to sweat a little.

Why Do I Need to Exercise for Quick Weight Loss?

Let’s take the example of two women to demonstrate the need for exercise and the difference it can make.

Woman A: She works in an office so she sits most of the day. She doesn’t have time to work out, or perhaps she doesn’t make any. When she gets home, she likes to relax by watching Netflix and she goes out to sit and eat with friends over the weekend.

Woman B: She’s a waitress in a restaurant, which means she’s on her feet most of the day. She walks her dog every evening after work and relaxes by going on hikes over the weekend, apart from the occasional lazy day, when she dances to her favorite tunes in her room.

If both these women are 5’4″ and weigh 140 pounds, B will be able to lose 2 lbs per week, eating 1,200 calories a day without any additional activities, while A will only lose 1 lb! If you’re sedentary, you need much fewer calories to maintain weight than someone who has an active job or does moderately intense exercise at least 3-4 times per week.

It’s not safe to eat below 1,200 calories a day [2]. So, if you want to know how to lose 10-15 pounds in a month and you aren’t 6 feet tall, you need to fit some physical activity into your daily routine!

How Much Do I Need to Exercise?

You can quickly determine how much you should exercise by using an online calculator. Input your height, weight, sex, and age and compare the maintenance calories for inactive and active lifestyles.

For example, in the case of the 5’4″, 140 lb women, the sedentary woman needs to eat about 1,600 calories to stay at 140, while the active one needs about 2,100. The first woman would need to burn 500 calories with exercise nearly every day to cover this difference.

How Do I Track Exercise Calories?

You can calculate exercise calories by getting a fitness band, like a FitBit, or looking up how many calories you burn at your height and weight by walking, running, swimming, etc. You can also find many workout videos on YouTube which purport to burn 500 calories in 30 minutes, but these might only apply to the average person and may not be accurate for you.

Should I Fast Long-Term for Fat Loss?

Fasting for weight loss might sound tempting, but you should approach it with caution. Most fasting weight loss plans involve only drinking water for 24-48 hours, which isn’t safe if you’re working out during these hours.

Fasting occasionally may be beneficial for your body – studies have shown it lowers cholesterol and improves sugar metabolization [9]. However, intense fat-burning activity during fasting can cause dizziness, nausea, low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and general discomfort.

When you fast, your body also doesn’t get the necessary nutrients to repair the muscles after exercise damages them. Most exercise, especially weightlifting, creates microtears in the muscles, and muscle mass gradually increases as your body repairs these tears afterward.

So, while you can try fasting for a day if you don’t have medical conditions like diabetes, don’t do any heavy physical activity on that same day.

I Stopped Losing Weight, What Gives?

If you see progress for a couple of weeks and then hit a plateau, chances are that you should reduce the number of calories you consume or increase what you burn by exercising.

Why? Well, you need less energy to maintain less weight! For example, if you weighed 150 pounds when you started and were losing weight eating 1,500 calories, you might have to go down to 1,200 once you hit 140.

Use an online calculator to figure out how many calories you need to maintain your new weight, and use the same process as when you started to see how much you need to eat and burn off.

In the end, stay motivated and commit to your weight loss goals for 30 days. Once you achieve it yourself, you’ll be able to share with others just how you lost 10-15 pounds in a month! And if you keep up with it, you figured out the secret of how to lose 70 pounds and beyond.

References

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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.