Losing 60 lbs. in four months is a tall order. At 15 lbs. per month, this is nearly twice the maximum rate recommended by health counselor Maya Paul at the HelpGuide website. According to Paul, weight loss at this rate is--at best--difficult to sustain, and--at worst--downright unhealthy. Still, spending 16 weeks at this rate can be an effective strategy for a deadline event like a wedding or tropical vacation. Like any other weight loss plan, the key is to be as consistent and systematic as possible.
Reduce your daily calorie intake by 1,000 calories. Use one of many free online calorie counters to plan your daily meals ahead of time. With a calorie reduction this drastic, you will not succeed if you just make it up as you go through your day.
Make the most out of the calories you do eat. Harvard nutritionist Walter Willett recommends eliminating refined grains, high-calorie drinks, sweets and fast food. These foods carry little nutrition in comparison to their caloric footprint. Replace them with vegetables and lean proteins.
Drink a glass of water before each meal to help you control your portions. Likewise, drink a glass of water as your first response to hunger or food cravings throughout the day. Personal trainer Bill Phillips suggests iced tea as an alternative. Both water and iced tea are zero-calorie liquids you can use to fill your belly.
Take a multivitamin daily. Willett suggests a multivitamin to fill in any holes left in your reduced diet.
Do 1,000 calories worth of cardiovascular exercise per day. Like with your diet, you can plan your workouts using one of many free online calorie calculators. Your specific calorie burn will vary, according to the exercise, your level of effort and your body weight. In general, this represents 60 to 90 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise.
Track your meals and workouts in a journal. According to Phillips, this alone can help keep you motivated to stick with your plan.
Weigh yourself once per week. If you stick faithfully to this plan, you should lose between 3 and 4 lbs. per week. If your weight loss is outside that window, adjust your diet and workouts accordingly.
- HelpGuide.org: Healthy Weight Loss and Dieting
- "Eat, Drink and Be Healthy"; Walter Willett, M.D., et al; 2006
- "Body for Life"; Bill Phillips; 1999