Let’s be honest: A lot of us have dreamed about shedding pounds quickly at some point in our lives. Whether you have a birthday, vacation, or family reunion coming up, it’s natural to wonder how much you can realistically whittle off your middle in a month's time. Here’s the short answer: It depends on both your current size and how well you stick to a healthy diet and exercise.
The healthiest and most successful weight loss happens gradually and steadily, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This usually means losing about one to two pounds per week after adopting a healthier lifestyle, or about four to eight pounds in a month. That said, there is a bit of wiggle room with this number, especially when you take into account your current body weight.
For example, people who are very heavy tend to lose weight quicker than folks at a normal weight, especially when they’re first starting out with a healthy diet and exercise. According to Harvard Medical School, the reason why obese people seem to shed unwanted pounds so quickly at first is because it usually takes more effort for them to move around. So, don’t be surprised if a person who weighs more than you is slimming down faster after they kickstart a new diet.
In some cases, rapid weight loss might be appropriate for a very obese person — but only if it’s done the right way. For instance, the Mayo Clinic Diet has a quick-start phase that allows people to lose six to 10 pounds safely in the first two weeks alone. After the initial weight-loss jumpstart, the diet then transitions into the traditional recommended weight loss of one to two pounds per week. But remember: Any extreme diet requires medical supervision. Talk to your doctor before trying any new eating plan, especially if it's restrictive.
Also remember to keep in mind that sometimes your weight can fluctuate two to four pounds throughout any given day depending on what you eat and drink. If you see a different number on the scale at morning from the one you see at night, don’t panic. Your body might not have let go of extra water weight.
To get rid of water weight while you focus on your overall weight-loss goals, focus on eating a diet rich in foods that contain fiber, antioxidants, and potassium. And don’t forget to stay hydrated — dehydration can actually cause you to hold onto extra water in your body. Remember, the last thing you want to do is worry about putting your health at risk while trying to get healthier.
Next, learn about the tastiest superfoods that can help you live longer in the video below: