How to lose 30 pounds in 3 months
by Tobias • 8 minutes read
Last updated: 01 Nov, 2022
Today we look at what you need to do to lose 30lbs over a period of 3 months in the healthiest and most sustainable way possible.
To clarify a few things, we are treating each month as containing 4 weeks, so 28 days each month or a total of 84 days. Also we are making the leap that the goal is actually to lose 30lbs of fat, whilst maintaining as much muscle mass as possible. Of course, an unhealthy way to lose weight would be to not eat, drink just water and do almost endless cardio but this would be torturous and unsustainable.
Depending on your current weight the goal to lose 30lbs may be unrealistic in itself but if you are 50-60+ lbs overweight then this rate of loss is most likely safe as long as you appreciate the weight loss will and should slow down as you near a healthy body weight.
Although there is some debate on the exact amount, for ease sake we will assume that each pound of fat is made of approximately 3500 calories. Which means a total of 105,000 calories for the 30 pounds we are aiming to lose. This seems like a daunting prospect but if you are consistent and measured each day then this is achievable.
To lose 30lbs over 3 months, that would equate to 10lbs a month, or 2.5lbs a week. In calorie terms this would 8750 calories a week, or 1250 calories a day.
To reach the goal it will involve a change of eating habits and an increase in physical activity, but we will offer a few different solutions and show you the logic behind each one so you will be able to pick one that is most suitable for you.
Before you start
The first step in weight loss is to calculate your maintenance calorie intake, this the amount of calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight, we can then tweak this level to begin to lose weight. We recommend to use this calculator to input your age, gender, height and weight.
For the purposes of this article I will calculate for a 25 year old man, who is 5' 10" and 230lbs. I have intentionally chosen a person that would fall into the obese category because as I mentioned earlier, this rate of weight loss is unsuitable for anyone that isn't quite severely overweight.
Using the above information, the calculator tells us that maintenance calories are 2,981 calories, we'll use 3,000 to make it easier to calculate. So to lose the 30 pounds in 3 months you would need to subtract the maintenance value of 3000 by the calorie reduction of 1250. This then tells us you will need to take in an average of 1750 calories a day.
Changes to diet
To make this diet more sustainable long term and to help you stay on track, we would suggest to never reduce calories below 2000 calories as this could make you feel tired and lethargic. This could also cause a drop in your blood sugar levels which will cause you to crave high-carb and sugary food like sweets and pastries, but these are mostly empty calories and will hinder your weight loss progress.
To make sure that we are losing mainly body fat we need to ensure that our protein intake remains high, a good bodybuilder rule of thumb is 1g of protein per pound of your GOAL Weight. Which in the case of our 230lb subject would be 200g. This amount of protein is likely excessive but make sure that you don't eat less than 160g of protein every day. Each gram of protein has 4 calories so this would equate to 800 calories in protein alone, which would be 40% of your daily calorie intake.
The next most important macronutrient to work into your allotted calorie amount would be Fats, There is some debate between the different types of fat, which we have covered in this article. Fat is crucial for lots of metabolic processes including the creation of hormones such as testosterone and oestrogen. So make sure you don't fall in to the old school way of thinking that fat is the enemy. In fact, it's a vital nutrient we couldn't live without! For this reason we allocate 30% of our calorie budget, 600 calories, to fats. With each gram of fat equating to 9 calories (the most calorific macronutrient, unsurprisingly) you would need 66 grams of fat each day. This actually equates to 594 calories, but nothing in nutrition is exact so a bit of wiggle room is always good.
The last, but not least, macronutrient is carbohydrates. Carbs are important in your diary to provide an energy source to your body, for daily activities and workouts, remember your brain uses about 20% of your total calories so you need to have adequate energy just to make it through the day! If you are keeping track so far then you appreciate we have 30%, or 600 calories, of our calorie budget left. Like protein, each gram of carbohydrates contains 4 calories. So to reach our 600 calorie goal we need 150g of carbohydrates a day.
So for our test subject, the 250 lb 5' 10" man, the macronutrient ratio looks like this;
- 40% Protein - 200g
- 30% Fats - 66g
- 30% Carbohydrates - 150g
Changes to exercise
The next crucial element to any healthy lifestyle is adequate exercise.
As mentioned before we are aiming to eat 2000 calories a day, but the goal set for us is to take in an average of 1750 calories each day. This 250 calories difference will be made up with daily exercise.
Exercise can be broadly broken down into two types, cardiovascular and resistance training. You'll need a mixture of both to support a healthy lifestyle. Cardiovascular workouts are very good at burning calories whilst you are doing them but burn little to nothing afterwards. Resistance exercises are essentially the opposite, they won't burn many calories whilst you are doing them but they will continue to burn calories afterwards as your body rebuilds and repairs muscle.
A good example for a week of exercise looks like this:
- Monday: Resistance Training (Leg Day) - 45 minutes - 300 calories burned
- Tuesday: Crosstrainer (Elliptical) - 30 minutes - 280 calories burned
- Wednesday: Resistance Training (Push Day) - 45 minutes - 300 calories burned
- Thursday: Calisthenics (Circuit Training) - 30 minutes - 250 calories burned
- Friday: Resistance Training (Pull Day) - 45 minutes - 300 calories burned
- Saturday: Walking the Dog - 60 minutes - 340 calories burned
- Sunday: Rest Day
Total Calories Burned: 1770 Calories
The above week isn't particularly crazy, it's 3 days a week in the gym, with alternating cardio days. Remember, it's all about balance, 60 mins everyday on the crosstrainer will very quickly lead to burnout and even potentially an injury, the same can be said for the same amount of weight lifting.
Try to pick a few activities you enjoy and work them into your day. You can find a useful calculator here that shows you roughly how many calories you will burn for each activity.
The only thing that's difficult is consistency, you will need to do something almost every day for the next 3 months. If you aren't willing to do that then I suggest you don't even start this diet plan as you will be doomed to fail. But with a positive mindset and a bit of effort, anything is possible!
Tips and Advice
- Weigh yourself once a week, always at the same time of the day.
- After the first month make sure to recalculate your calorie and exercise goals, as you lose weight you will need fewer calories to maintain that weight.
- If you eat too much or exercise too little, don't try and adjust for it over the week, just stick to the plan and it will be ok.
- Make sure you eat enough, starving yourself is not the goal.
- Eat a good mixture of proteins like beef, chicken and fish.
- Eat enough vegetables, particularly root veg like carrots and potatoes.
- Sometimes self-love is the strength to say no to a temptation.
- Once you have lost 30 pounds, eat for a week or two at maintenance calories (remember to calculate these again for your new weight)
We hope we've given you enough information to start working towards your weight loss goal. Remember that no matter how much weight you plan to lose, the only way to maintain a healthy weight over the long term is to keep a disciplined and balanced lifestyle. One treat won't ruin your life, but also a day in the gym won't rectify a weeks bad eating.
From everyone here at the DoNotDonut team we wish you the best of luck. If you have any questions or queries please don't hesitate to reach out to us on Instagram.
Warning: Disclaimer - This article is not medical advice and is for informational purposes only, before undertaking any change in diet or exercise habits please consult a medical professional.
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