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How Much Weight Can You Safely Lose in Four Months?

author image A. McDougall
A. McDougall is an editor, writer and athlete. McDougall is a marathon coach certified by the North American Academy for Sport Fitness Professionals and an American College of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer. McDougall has edited and written for several national magazines.
How Much Weight Can You Safely Lose in Four Months?
Weight loss Photo Credit: Bet_Noire/iStock/Getty Images

Four months is a short period in your life as a whole. But it's long enough that you can make a significant change in your body that may change your life permanently and for the better. But if you're looking to lose weight in four months, be sure to do it at a safe rate to avoid regaining weight later on.

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Recommended Calorie Deficit

To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit; that means burning off more calories than you consume. You can create a calorie deficit by increasing your exercise, by decreasing your calorie intake or through a combination of both. For instance you might burn an extra 300 calories jogging and cut 200 calories from your diet to create a deficit of 500 calories. According to the McKinley Health Center, a safe calorie deficit is in the range of 500 to 1,000 calories per day.

Expected Weight Loss

Four months works out to about 122 days, assuming you have two 30-day months and two 31-day months. With a daily calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories you will create a total deficit of 61,000 to 122,000 calories in four months. A single pound of fat is equal 3,500 calories, so you can expect to safely lose 17.4 to 34.8 pounds in a four-month period.

Healthy Eating

It doesn't matter what you eat, so long as you maintain a calorie deficit you can expect to lose weight. That being said, developing healthy eating habits makes it easier to maintain a calorie deficit while getting all the nutrients your body needs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends eating a diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. You should include lean sources of protein like chicken, fish and beans in your diet while avoiding saturated fats and trans fats.

Exercise Guidelines

To maintain your weight the CDC recommends getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, like walking briskly or doing light yard work, per week or 75-minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise, like jogging or swimming laps. But to lose weight, you will likely need to exceed these recommendations. The more active you are, the more calories you will burn and the easier it will be to create your calorie deficit.

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