Whether you're looking to lose 10, 20 or even 30 pounds, the same basic principles apply: You must burn more calories than you consume. Makes sense, right? To lose 30 pounds in six months, you need to create a calorie deficit that allows you to drop 5 pounds a month.
Maximum Weight Loss Each Month
The internet is full of fad diets promising quick weight loss. Unfortunately, many people try these programs, lose weight and then fail to keep it off. What gives?
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, adhering to the guidelines for maximum weight loss in a month is a great place to start. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week are more successful at keeping it off.
With that in mind, a goal to lose 30 pounds in six months is very realistic, provided you reduce your calories, stick to a healthy diet and exercise at least five days a week.
Healthy Diet for Weight Loss
If 5 pounds is your goal for maximum weight loss in a month, you need to trim off some calories and make healthy dietary choices. To lose 1 pound of fat, you need to burn 3,500 calories, which means creating a deficit of 500 calories each day. You can do this by lowering your daily calories and increasing your physical activity.
To get the most out of your diet, choose nutrient-rich foods from a variety of food groups, including fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats.
Since you're approaching weight loss with a slow and steady attitude, reducing your daily calories and changing your diet should not be too difficult.
Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Fat Loss
Exercise for Weight Loss
To lose 30 pounds in six months and keep it off, you need to include both aerobic exercise and strength training. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, plus two or more days of muscle-strengthening exercises that involve all major muscle groups.
It's important to note that these guidelines are for maintaining health. To lose weight, you may need to add more exercise than the minimum recommendations. In addition to making weight loss easier, the Mayo Clinic says that increasing your cardio exercise from the minimum of 150 minutes to a maximum of 300 minutes each week has added health benefits.
When you reach your weight loss goal, you can gradually taper this down to an amount that feels reasonable and allows you to maintain your weight loss.
Structuring a Week of Workouts
Structuring a week's worth of workouts to lose 30 pounds in six months requires some pre-planning on your part. If you want to get close to the higher recommendation of 300 minutes per week of cardio exercise, you should consider spreading your aerobic workouts over five to six days.
For example, if you set 250 minutes as your weekly cardiovascular exercise target, you will need to perform 50 minutes, five days a week, or 40 minutes, six days a week, of aerobic activity.
To meet the minimum recommendations for muscle strengthening, you will need to add at least two days of resistance training to your cardio days and make sure these strength training workouts are not targeting the same muscle groups twice on consecutive days. Since this creates a longer workout, consider performing your cardio and weight combined workouts on days when you have the time and energy to devote to a more intense routine.