Weight Loss-Want to Lose 10-15 Pounds by January 1st?

Quite frequently, we enter this time of year with the mindset of making fitness part of our New Year’s Resolutions. We feel better about ourselves with that plan on the horizon, so we tend to overindulge during the holidays, with an “I’ll lose it in the New Year” safety net.

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The simple truth is this; only a small percentage of people adhere to their New Year’s resolutions and achieve their goals. The gyms are filled with new people beginning January 1, and most of them are gone by Valentine’s Day. There are many reasons for failure; they don’t really know what to do in the gym, they don’t know what changes to make in their food plan, they don’t know when they should expect to see results, they do the wrong workouts, they feel pain from incorrect form, the list goes on and on.

How do you get around this? My first suggestion is to begin now. Don’t let five or ten pounds gained during the holidays make your challenge even more daunting. You can actually drop pounds between now and the new year, avoid the holiday weight gain, and have a great start toward your fitness goals.

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Let’s analyze what it takes to lose 10 pounds. A pound of fat consists of roughly 3,500 calories. To over simplify, to lose ten pounds, one must burn 35,000 calories more than one takes in. Can you do that in 30 days? Let’s take a look!

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First, let’s determine your basic metabolic rate (BMR), or the caloric intake required to fuel your body daily and maintain the status quo. You can find a calculator here.

Next, let’s take a look at your amount of your food intake. Are you consuming more calories than you need to just maintain your current weight? For our game plan, we are going to need to reduce your daily caloric intake to 500 calories less than your BMR, without going below 1,200 calories for women, or 1,500 calories for men. Divide that consumption up into 5-6 smaller meals each day. You can use an app like MyFitnessPal  (find it here) to track your daily intake.

Now, we’ll look at the quality of your food. Clean, complex carbs, lean protein, green leafy vegetables and plenty of water will be your ally for your quest. To accomplish a ten pound loss in one month will mean that you will need to eliminate greasy foods, corn, most grains, soft drinks, energy drinks, sugar and white flour, as well as alcohol from your plan.

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That brings us to the exercise part of the equation. To be candid and upfront, walking isn’t going to get you there. You need to sweat! For a 150 pound person, an hour of walking at 3 mph will burn around 225 calories. While a spin class for the same amount of time will burn 476, or an Interval class can burn up to 900 calories. Lifting weights three times per week will also result in an increase in your metabolic rate that will continue for up to 36 hours after the actual exercise ends .To accomplish the objective of dropping 10 pounds in one month, you’ll need to shoot for about 600 calories burned each day, five days each week,  from exercise.

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Next comes activity. You need to find a way to burn an extra 300 calories each day in your normal routine. Take 5 minutes each hour to walk up and down a hill, or flights of stairs. Park far away when you visit a store.  Do leg raises for a couple of minutes each hour while seated at your desk. All these little things will add up, and make a big impact.

If you can burn 3,000 calories each week from exercise, 300 per day from ramping up your activity level,  lower your food intake to 500 calories below your BMR, that should get it done! You will need to keep everything mentioned above out of your food plan, and restrict sodium intake to no more than 1,500 mg per day.

In the interest of full disclosure, this is not a guarantee of a ten pound loss, yet an outline, based on years of training experience, of what type of structure is required to make progress at that pace. Hormonal fluctuations, metabolic damage from previous fad diets, health issues, underestimating caloric consumption, overestimating exercise intensity and a myriad of other issues can change the outcome, no doubt. However, for most, get started here and you will like what you see in one month, even better by the New Year! Best of luck in your challenge!!

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Jim Harris