We’ve all been in this situation at one point or another – there’s a deadline around the corner, and it’s time to get into shape fast. No, I don’t mean fast, I mean FAST! Either it’s a month away from swimsuit season, or your wedding date is right around the corner. You meant to get started on this sooner, but it snuck up on you, and you’re not willing to give up just yet!
30 pounds in 30 days is a quite ambitious goal, no doubt – but it’s one I’ve heard of often. To meet this deadline, you’ll have to drop a pound every day for a month straight. Whether this is realistically possible without weight-loss surgery depends on several options, and you may have to get a bit more serious than just taking a basic ECA stack (although every bit helps).
I’ll be honest with you up front. For some of you reading this, it just isn’t going to be possible. For others, it’s an achievable goal if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and take an aggressive approach.
What makes this possible for some people but not for others? Let’s take a look.
Is it Right for Me?
Whether this approach will work for you or not depends mainly upon one thing – your starting weight. Ever notice how people on The Biggest Loser can drop 15 pounds in a week, but thinner people struggle for months to lose 5 pounds? It’s no secret – the bigger you are to start with, the more fat you will be able to shed within a given timeframe.
Take a look at how much you weigh now and be sure to exercise common sense in all of your decision-making. For example, if you weigh 350 lbs, then dropping 30 pounds in that 30 day timeframe isn’t unrealistic at all. However, if you want to go from 140 to 110 in that same time frame, it just isn’t going to happen.
Why does it work this way? First, the heavier person is only losing slightly over 5% of their body weight by dropping 30 pounds. This is much easier, and safer, than the 140 pound person having to lose 22% of their body weight to meet the same goal. Also, muscle isn’t the only thing that burns fat – simply having fat expends energy. The less you weigh, the harder it becomes to lose weight.
Anytime you are following such an aggressive strategy, first and foremost is safety. Regardless of your current weight, it’s much more ideal to take a longer period of time to meet your goal. Always talk to your doctor before starting any weight-loss strategy. Zen Fat Loss assumes no responsibility for anything that may happen if you over-do it.
Start by finding your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This is an estimate, but it gives you a rough idea of how many calories per day you burn. Remember, a pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories – so each and every day, you’ll have to consume 3,500 calories less than you burn to meet your 30 lb / 30 day goal. That’s going to require either an unusually high starting TDEE, or some insanely serious cardio.
With your TDEE figure in hand, take a moment to ponder your necessary caloric intake and decide if this is realistic for you. If your TDEE is a huge number, such as 5,000 calories per day, then shaving 3,500 off is certainly possible. If you end up with a negative number, or something ridiculously low (don’t do anything crazy, like eat 500 calories a day!), you might want to reconsider.
The truth is, exercise doesn’t burn a lot of calories. Most change that makes a really big impact on your weight happens in the kitchen. An hour of vigorous cardio will likely only burn a maximum of a couple hundred calories, and that’s assuming the stars are in alignment. Nevertheless, it would be a flat out lie to say cardio won’t help you burn fat faster.
The right type or amount of cardio for you is going to depend upon your fitness level. Again, the theme of this article is don’t over-do it! Continue the common sense theme. If you’re current fitness level is “couch potato”, don’t start jogging for an hour every morning. Ease into any changes gradually, work at the pace you are accustomed to, and don’t expect to become Michael Phelps in 30 days. You should expect from yourself what you are capable of – nothing more, nothing less.
The Last 48 Hours
The truth is, you’ll likely have to pull out every trick in the book to drop 30 pounds inside of 30 days, and that might mean some cheating. Hey, as long as the scale says what you want, who’s to argue!
Fat isn’t the only thing you can lose. Water weight and digestive material will make a big difference. For best results, follow a high-fiber diet with increased water intake during the final 48 hours. This will help flush out your intestines, which hold pounds of material on their own. You can even spend some time in the sauna right before your event if you want to get serious (just don’t over-do it!).
Avoiding “Return of the Fat”!
You don’t want to go through all of this work just to gain the weight right back. Sadly, this is what happens many times. You’ll never avoid regaining water weight and digestive material, but you can minimize rebound weight gain by not jumping right back into your old routines. Increase your calories to a safe level, maintain cardio at a reduced rate, and monitor the scale weekly. If you see it climbing – time to make a change!