When you have a specific weight-loss goal, you want to achieve it as quickly as possible. Losing 9 pounds requires you to eat fewer calories than you burn. Given that the average person consumes about 2,000 calories per day, achieving your goal will take some time -- especially if you are close to a healthy weight. Expect to lose 9 pounds in a couple of months, if you commit to certain strategies.
Figure out how many calories you need to eat daily to maintain your weight. Use an online calculator, like the one found on caloriesperhour.com, to factor in your age, gender, size and activity level.
Eat fewer calories than your maintenance level to lose nine pounds. Trim between 250 and 1,000 calories per day -- but do not go below 1,200 calories as a female or 1,500 as a male. Do not starve yourself or risk losing muscle mass and depriving your body of nutrition and energy. If you trim 500 calories per day, you create a 3,500 calorie deficit per week which results in losing 1 lb. of weight per week, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At this slow and steady rate, you can reach your goal in about nine weeks.
Stick to modest portions of nutrient-dense foods; especially those that are high in fiber and protein so that you'll feel full longer. Choose foods like chicken breast, fish, brown rice, quinoa, broccoli, asparagus, dark-green lettuce and plant oils. Snack on fresh fruits, a serving of hummus and whole-grain crackers or low-fat yogurt. Follow a meal plan you like, because as the Harvard School of Public Health points out, portion size and calorie control are what result in weight loss -- not specific food combinations.
Do not skip meals. Eat something every three to four hours to stabilize hunger levels and keep your metabolism revved. Becoming too hungry will likely lead you to binge at the next opportunity. Stick to your plan regardless of special occasions and temptations to achieve your 9 pound weight loss sooner.
Amp up your exercise routine. Add 15 minutes to your current 30-minute treadmill routine to burn between 50 and 200 calories more per workout -- depending on your intensity. Work harder during your existing exercise time -- try increasing your speed, upping the resistance or adding an incline to your machine of choice. Try a new mode of exercise -- your body will burn more calories because you are using new muscles and are inefficient at the moves. Go for kickboxing instead of the pool or the elliptical instead of the stationary bicycle, for example. Exercise five to seven days per week, recommends the Centers for Disease Control. Add strength-training to your exercise routine to help prevent muscle loss and boost your metabolism.
Do not try to lose weight at a rate faster than about 1 or 2 pounds per week, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You will likely only lose water and lean muscle and will probably pile the pounds back on after returning to your normal routine. A slow and steady weight loss brings about better long-term success.
Check with your health-care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time or if you have been away from fitness programs for a while, or if you have any chronic health issues.
- Harvard Health Publications: 7 Habits to Help You Lose Weight and Keep it Off
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Losing Weight
- Harvard School of Public Health: How to Get to Your Healthy Weight
- Centers for Disease Control: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Harvard Health Publications: Tips to Help you Reach Your Exercise and Weight Loss Goals