How to lose 10 pounds in (about) a month—safely and sustainably
- It is possible to lose 10 pounds in a month, but we are all individuals and lose weight at different rates. Latest research challenges the conventional wisdom that losing weight too quickly leads to regain.
- Tracking your food intake, overcoming emotional eating, and choosing more protein-rich and low-caloric density foods can help you reach your goal weight.
- The best way to lose weight for the long term is by making lifestyle changes that are sustainable and feel do-able to you.
Say your favorite dress has gotten a little snug—or maybe you’re planning a beach vacation—and you want to lose 10 pounds. How long will it take?
Can you lose 10 pounds in a month? Is it realistic?
While there is widespread belief that losing weight too quickly is unsustainable, today’s research presents a different narrative, suggesting that rapid initial weight loss may be motivating and supportive of long-term efforts for some individuals.
So let’s talk about how to lose 10 pounds in (about) a month in a safe and sustainable way.
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But first– speed of weight loss… does it matter ?
It’s one of the oldest weight loss myths out there: losing weight too fast will lead to regain. It’s even on the CDC website: “People who lose weight gradually and steadily (no more than 1 pound per week) are more successful at keeping weight off.”
Where does this myth come from, and why is it so stubbornly held on to?
Let’s take a look at the history of dieting in the US. Before we knew much about nutrition, there were quite a few pretty dangerous ideas out there about how to lose weight.
There were very low calorie and nutrient-insufficient eating plans (the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet… you name it). There was even one called the Last Chance diet – and the name was spookily appropriate. Some people lost their lives adhering to this extremely low-nutrient diet that lacked adequate amino acids and electrolytes to keep the body functioning. Suffice to say, it’s hard to imagine that anyone doing some of these diets (and surviving) suffered from rebound weight gain as a result.
However, the latest clinical trial evidence around people on monitored eating plans tells a very different story: it seems that in some individuals, the greater and more rapid the initial weight reduction, the greater the long term weight maintenance*.
Indeed, the National Weight Control Registry (which catalogs the habits of individuals maintaining their weight long term) confirms that larger self-reported initial weight losses may correlate better with the likelihood of keeping it off.
A likely explanation here is that a quick initial drop in weight for people who have struggled for a long time is motivating, and encourages them to stick with their efforts long term.
Does this mean, though, if you aren’t losing weight quickly, that something is wrong? Au Contraire!
We are all individuals and we all lose at different rates — some of us very quickly, and others more slowly.
How to lose 10 pounds with Noom
To lose 10 pounds, you need to maintain a calorie deficit (which means you consume fewer calories than you burn).
To achieve that deficit, it can be tempting to try the latest fad diet that restricts certain foods to help you lose weight fast.
But here’s the problem with those diets: They’re not sustainable.
Restrictive diets can lead to overeating—or even giving up on your weight loss goals completely. And when you “fall off the wagon,” you may gain back every pound that you lost.
With Noom, you’ll learn how to maintain a calorie deficit to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way—without feeling hungry or deprived.
Eat more low-caloric density foods
At Noom, we believe that no foods are inherently “good” or “bad.” Some are just more calorie-dense than others (meaning, some have more calories relative to their volume).
For example, an apple and a scoop of ice cream are roughly the same size, but while the ice cream has around 200 calories, an apple has half as many.
Low caloric density foods (like apples) are typically full of fiber and other nutrients, so they’re satisfying. And when you fill up on low-caloric density foods, you can indulge in an occasional treat and still maintain a calorie deficit.
We also believe here at Noom that you should indulge occasionally, whether your favorite treat is ice cream, potato chips, or sugary cereal with a cartoon character on the box (we’re not here to judge).
When we call a food ‘bad’ in our heads, it can have an impact on how we feel emotionally after eating it.
Noom makes it easier to develop healthy eating habits with our three-color system.
- Green foods (like fruits, veggies, and whole grains) have a low calorie density
- Yellow foods (like lean meats, rice and pasta, and healthy fats) have a medium calorie density
- Orange foods (like ice cream) have a high calorie density
With Noom, you’ll enjoy foods from all three categories (no food is off limits!), but this system makes it easy to choose more green and yellow foods, which create a feeling of fullness while helping you maintain a calorie deficit.
Address the emotional aspect of eating
At Noom, we understand that losing weight is more complicated than just choosing low-caloric density foods.
It’s also about addressing the emotional side of eating so you can understand why you make the choices you do and develop healthy, sustainable habits.
For example, do you—as many of us do—turn to your favorite foods for comfort after a difficult day? When you recognize that stress is what’s causing you to crave potato chips, you can choose to take a walk or meditate instead.
You can also stock your kitchen with low-caloric density foods, like fruits and veggies, instead of potato chips and other orange foods. That way, when you come home from a stressful day (or if you just need a snack), you have healthy options at your fingertips.
But some days, you’ll give in to your cravings—and that’s okay.
Part of reframing your mindset around food is giving yourself permission to treat yourself now and then without feeling like you’ve “cheated” and ruined everything you’ve worked for. (We call this “all-or-nothing” thinking.)
One major challenge in the journey of weight loss is individuals perceiving a decision as a mistake and opting to “start over” the next day or week.
With Noom Weight, you’ll receive short, digestible daily lessons based on psychology to help you overcome this all-or-nothing thinking and other thought distortions that prevent you from reaching your weight loss goals.
One decision doesn’t have to determine the course of your entire day or week. This isn’t a test, so you can’t cheat—and there is no wagon to fall off either!
Track your food intake
Research shows a strong positive relationship between diet monitoring and weight loss. Food tracking can help you stay in a calorie deficit and enables you to:
- See how many calories you actually consume
- Learn which foods you can fill up on for the fewest calories and which ones to enjoy in moderation
- Recognize what a proper portion size looks like
With a food tracker app (like Noom’s), all you have to do is provide your age, sex, and weight loss goal, and it will calculate your daily calorie budget for you. As you log your meals, it then calculates your calorie intake.
When you enter an item into the Noom food tracker, it shows you whether it’s a green, yellow, or orange food to help you maintain a good balance of all three. The tracker also has a searchable database of delicious and healthy recipes to try and even shows you how they fit into your calorie budget.
What else can help me achieve maximum weight loss in a month?
While maintaining a calorie deficit is the key to losing weight, there are other factors that can help you stay on track to reach your goal weight.
Coaching and support
Losing weight is never easy, but it can be especially challenging when you go it alone. With Noom, you’ll have a 1:1 coach (plus a whole community of Noomers) who can help you stay motivated and accountable.
They’ll support you by:
- Suggesting healthy food swaps, recipes, and activity ideas
- Helping you meal plan and prepare for challenging situations
- Talking you through a frustrating plateau
- Celebrating your success and cheering you on when things get tough
Your coach can even look at your food log to help you identify unhealthy eating habits and patterns that prevent you from reaching a healthy weight.
They can also help you build a healthy mindset around losing weight in a short time frame, sharing tips such as reframing your goals.
Is your true goal simply to see 10 pounds gone? Or is it to feel good when you get dressed for a date night with your partner, or have more confidence in photos, or energy to play with your kids?
When you shift the goal from a specific number to a specific why, you create space for gradual, meaningful change. This is where the work really begins!
Physical activity can improve your:
- Cardiovascular health
- Muscle mass
- Bone strength
- Mental health
If you’re not currently active, that’s okay! Find an activity that you enjoy and build it into your routine at a pace that works for you, whether it’s dancing, yoga, or biking.
If doing hours of cardio or weight lifting at a crowded gym feels like punishment, don’t! That will only make you less likely to keep doing it.
And start slow. If you’re not active currently, don’t aim to walk 10,000 steps tomorrow—shoot for 200 instead. The next day, shoot for 300, and so on.
Many Noomers who thought they would never be physically active started exercising this way—gradually—and now walk 2–3 miles per day, six days per week.
Sustainable weight loss looks different for everyone
Weight loss is a personal journey, and people lose at different rates. Instead of fixating on a specific timeframe, focus on key questions:
- Am I feeling motivated by my progress?
- Do I feel I have enough day-to-day energy on my plan?
- Am I feeling frustrated to the point where I might abandon my lifestyle change efforts?
As long as you are feeling motivated, energetic, and overall positive, your speed of weight loss is probably just perfect for you.