How Much Weight Can You Safely Lose in Four Months?

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How has following the plan changed you?

I’d been going to the gym for about 5 months, but I hadn’t lost any weight. I was actually putting on weight. I thought my diet might be the problem.

I looked up online how many calories I should be eating a day to lose weight and found the NHS 12-week weight loss plan.

Yes! I found the HealthUnlocked online weight loss forum to be a place for support and guidance from others doing the same thing.

People on the forum seem genuinely interested in what you’re saying, as you’re all in the same boat.

It feels great to be able to share my experience of losing weight with others on the forum who are just starting out.

We’d do a weekly shop and try to include a few more healthy options, such as more fruit and vegetables, fish and chicken. I had breakfast every morning.

For lunch and dinner, I used kitchen scales to weigh things like rice and pasta. I reduced my portion sizes and always made sure there were at least 2 or 3 portions of veg on my plate. Dessert was always fruit.

There was a handful of meals that we had every week, like chicken curry and spaghetti bolognese, which kept the calorie-counting work down.

Initially, it was hard to get the balance right. I live with my boyfriend, who didn’t need to lose weight. I based my meals on starchy foods and vegetables.

He was eating the same as me and started to lose weight, too! So he just increased his portions.

I asked my boyfriend and his answer was: «You’re thinner!» I now have breakfast every morning, which I never used to. I eat a lot more veg.

I’ve learned to recognise the difference between being hungry and simply feeling peckish.

Overall, sticking to the plan for 12 weeks has helped me develop new healthy habits.

Do you still need to lose weight?

I knew I wasn’t a healthy weight. Fashionable clothes just looked wrong on me, even if they fitted correctly. I was having to buy bigger sizes far too often.

I’ve been a size 10 to 12 all my life, but the weight’s been creeping up over the last 5 years. My last few jobs have been deskbound and my activity levels have gone down.

One day, I just realised how big I’d got and decided I wanted to get back to my ideal weight.

During the 12 weeks, I lost 9.2kg. I started out at 80.5kg, with a body mass index (BMI) of almost 30.

By the end of the 12 weeks, I was 71.3kg and my BMI had dropped to 25.6, which is nearly in the healthy weight range.

Ideally, I’d like to get to 60kg. That was my weight about 5 years ago and the weight I feel comfortable with. I’ve been at or around this weight for most of my adult life.

I’m probably not going to get there before I go away on holiday, but I’d like to lose another stone (6.3kg) before then.

It gets easier as you go. I used a couple of calorie-counting websites, such as Weight Loss Resources.

At first, I was looking up everything, but as time went on, I became familiar with the calories in certain foods, such as fruit, which were my main snacks.

I wrote down every calorie I had during the day in a notepad. In the evening, I’d tot up my calories and update the food and exercise chart.

It doesn’t take long, and I found it really helpful for keeping track of calories.

I was going to the gym about 3 times a week for a 30 to 45-minute session.

I generally exercised with my boyfriend, which was great for motivation. I did a bit of running on the treadmill and some strength exercises.

Initially, I set myself the goal of running a mile without stopping. Now I can do 20 minutes non-stop on the treadmill.

I also did sit-ups every morning, and worked my way up to 100 a day. I’ve not done any for a while, as it was taking too long.

I ate less than usual and made healthier choices. If we were going out for a curry, I’d order less rice and dropped the usual side order of chips.

It’s not always easy to keep track of calories when eating out, so I’d just compensate by reducing my calorie intake the following days.

If I had a cheeky snack, I’d just add the calories to my daily total and adjust my calorie intake for the rest of the day to stay below my 1,400 calorie allowance.

If that wasn’t possible, I’d make sure I didn’t go over my allowance any other day of the week, and maybe step up the exercise.

Probably the most important thing is to pick yourself up and carry on – a slip-up now and then doesn’t really matter too much in the long run.

After being on the plan for about a week, I didn’t really have any cravings – I’d just eat healthily and often. I never went hungry, which is one reason you sometimes get cravings.

Snacks were already built in for the day – usually dried fruit, like raisins, apricots and apple, as well as fresh fruit.

Thinking about the beach in Hawaii. The first week I lost just under 1kg, which is the weight of a bag of sugar.

Handily, we had a full bag of sugar in the cupboard, so I took it out, looked at it and felt the weight. It was heavy, so I’d remind myself of that bag of sugar every so often.

Seeing the weight come off and fitting into smaller clothes was perhaps the best motivator.

I’d like to lose a few more pounds. I’ve stopped counting calories, but I’m sticking to my new routine of eating healthily, having smaller portions and exercising regularly.

After doing it for 12 weeks, it kind of feels normal to me.

How to Lose Weight in 4 Months: 12 Steps (with Pictures)

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When I was younger, I longed to be skinny. I’ve weighed as much as almost 200 pounds, and I’ve been all the way down 120 pounds—two entirely different looks on my 5’5″ frame. My most drastic period of weight loss was my senior year of college when I was 22.

I spent all my free time at the gym running, lifting, you name it. When I saw the number on the scale start to fall, I got overzealous and cut back on food, sometimes eating less than 1,000 calories a day.

My aha moment: When I met my husband, I snapped back to reality. I found someone who loved me for who I was. I no longer felt I needed to prove anything to anyone regarding what I looked like, so I started eating and before I knew it, I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize myself.

At 185 pounds, I decided to get my eating habits under control for good. After getting serious about my weight, I found out that I have Hashimoto’s disease, a form of hypothyroidism, which makes it difficult to lose weight.

After getting my hormonal imbalance under control, my weight was easier to manage. Some days I drink wine and eat pizza, and some days I have salad and water. Chasing my three-year-old daughter and caring for my four-month-old son is really all the cardio I have time for.

As a mom with two children, I no longer care about being thin as much as I value being healthy. It took me thirty years to realize that weight gain isn’t a life sentence. When it comes to weight management, you never run out of opportunities to try again. —Meredith Pileggi, 30, PA, mother and teacher

Create your own weight-loss stories by trying these 15 foods nutritionists eat every day.

Article Summary

To lose weight in 4 months, aim to eat a balanced diet of all five food groups to avoid overeating fattening foods. Also, try your best to avoid processed and junk foods, as these are often high in calories. Additionally, try to do 150 minutes of cardio exercise each week, such as jogging, cycling, or dancing, to burn off calories. Also, aim to drink around 2 liters of water a day, as this will help to reduce your appetite.

Get serious for your future family’s sake

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When my husband and I had difficulty starting a family after trying for five years, I decided to see a fertility specialist. I was well over 400 pounds at that time and he told me there was nothing he could do for me until I lost weight.

My aha moment: After hearing the doctor’s news, I received an unexpected pregnancy announcement from a family member. That announcement broke me, but I also credit it with finally giving me the kick in the butt I needed.

It made me realize if I ever wanted a family that I needed to do something a little more drastic. I’ve been overweight my whole life, and I’d tried every diet from Weight Watchers to South Beach.

I decided to get a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, and it has completely changed my life. Since January 2016, I have lost 220 pounds. A few years back, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome which makes losing weight very difficult.

At the time, I had considered weight-loss surgery, but I was worried people would judge me. It wasn’t until I wanted to start a family and couldn’t do so without intervention that I really got serious.

Losing weight isn’t just about eating right or exercising. It’s about finding a balance between the two, and setting attainable goals. Start with small goals and celebrate your progress along the way.

For me, accountability is key, I use social media to keep myself accountable for what I’m eating, ensuring I’m exercising and doing weekly weigh-ins.

Learn the 50 things doctors wish you knew about losing weight.

Lose weight slowly

Fast weight loss, like trying to lose 10 or 20 pounds in one week, is not only unrealistic but also unhealthy. A realistic weight loss goal is to lose one to two pounds per week, according to Jennifer A. Linde, Ph.D.

, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis. Linde adds that a goal of losing 5 to 10 percent of your start weight is achievable. So if you weigh 180 pounds, a goal of nine to 18 pounds of weight loss is reasonable and achievable.

What about rapid weight loss?

Losing weight the healthy way — slowly — takes time, so don’t plan to drop 25 pounds in as little as two weeks. At one to two pounds per week, losing 25 pounds will take you a little more than 12 weeks, or three months.

In addition to figuring out a long-term weight loss timeline, you should also set short-range goals. Focus on the first five pounds of weight, and celebrate when you lose it.

Sure, losing 20 pounds of weight fast will leave your friends and family amazed at your miraculous weight loss abilities. However, losing that much weight that fast can be dangerous if not done under medical guidance.

According to Michael Dansinger, M.D., the doctor for NBC’s The Biggest Loser television show, you could theoretically drop up to 20 pounds in one week if you follow a very ambitious eating and exercise plan.

You’d have to devote more than seven hours per week to rigorous exercise under a physician’s care. According to Dansinger, dieters who eat between 1,050 and 1,200 calories and exercise at least one hour per day can lose three to five pounds of weight the first week — two pounds from diet and one pound from exercise each week.

To achieve this fast but healthy method of weight loss, Dansinger recommends lessening your sodium intake and cutting out starches. This will decrease your fluid intake and retention, which can result in up to five pounds of fluid loss.

Bottom line, you can lose a large amount of weight fast, but you need to do it safely and under a doctor’s care. However, the safest weight loss method is to eat less and exercise more, with a plan and goal of losing one to two pounds per week.

The Change

I recently got back in touch with an old friend (who’s now my boyfriend). He used to be a really scrawny guy, but he started working out and is in incredible shape now. When I went to go visit him, we started catching up on what we’ve been up to, and he told me that he’s really fallen in love with fitness, especially how he feels after working out. He told me that he’s become so much more confident than he ever was.

After I got home from my trip to see him, I started to wonder how much better I could feel if I began making positive changes to my life. But I kept making excuses. I knew losing weight and getting in shape was going to be hard, and I’ve never been one to take on a challenge. I told myself that other people should just accept me for who I am.

But after visiting my friend again a few months later, I realized that getting healthy isn’t about what other people think of me—it’s about feeling confident in myself. When I got home, I took a look in the mirror and decided to stop making excuses.

Luckily for me, I work for a company that manages fitness centers across the country—which means I get a free gym membership. My first attempt at working out was a little intimidating, but I told myself that I would just go to get my picture taken and see how it went.

I was worried that people would be judging me, but after jumping on the treadmill and walking a mile for the first time in I don’t know how long, I felt so awesome. Not long after that, I completely kicked my pack-a-day smoking habit—cold turkey.

Then, I started to Google. I began researching weight-loss strategies and realized that if I wanted to lose weight effectively, I needed to stop with the processed foods and start eating real stuff. I began prepping my meals each week to help curb my crazy portion sizes.

I stuck with foods that had nutrients that my body needed, like chicken, veggies, fruit, and eggs. I also bought a food scale to help me stay on track with how much I was eating. For lunch and dinner, I typically ate four ounces of grilled chicken, asparagus, and a boiled egg.

Learn how to cook the perfect hard boiled egg:

Since I was so motivated to lose weight fast, I skipped breakfast during the first few weeks of changing my eating habits. But I was so hungry and temped to binge eat at night! So I started eating protein shakes and fruit for breakfast each day, and it helped me a lot.

Since changing my diet, I feel sharper at work, I sleep better, and I’m happier than I ever was before. Plus, I am making huge progress at the gym. After walking that first mile, I gradually spent more time doing cardio.

I worked my way up to an hour of cardio per workout session. I also started incorporating more strength training into my gym routine. I do about 40 minutes of it five times a week. Four months into my weight-loss journey, I’ve lost 41 pounds.

The Reward

Though I haven’t hit my goal weight of 180 yet, making these changes has helped me become truly happy for the first time in my life. This is one of the few challenging things I’ve done that I haven’t given up on, and I’m so proud of myself.

Track your progress

Track your progress, such as the amount of weight and inches lost, in whatever way works best for you, be it online or in a hard copy journal. Many studies have shown that keeping a food journal or tracking calories can help you lose weight.

Brittany’s Tips

Don’t be afraid of failing. It was hard for me to start my new healthy habits because I was scared of failing. But I realized that I had to try, or I’d never improve my life.
When you’re frustrated, give the scale a break.

When I hit a plateau, I got so frustrated because I was working really hard. I decided to wait a while before my next weigh-in. After a month of keeping up my habits and ignoring the scale, I lost eight pounds.

Don’t take shortcuts. At first, I thought that skipping breakfast would help me reach my weight-loss goals faster, but it just made me hungrier. I’ve learned that I can’t rush my progress because it totally backfires.

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