However, taking it one step at a time and making a few minor modifications to your diet and lifestyle can make weight loss much more manageable.
By making some small changes to your daily routine, you can safely lose up to 10 pounds (4.5 kg) in just one month, hitting your weight loss goals quickly and easily.
Here are 14 simple steps to drop 10 pounds in a single month.
1. Do More Cardio
Aerobic exercise — also known as cardio — is a type of physical activity that increases your heart rate to burn more calories and strengthen your heart and lungs.
Adding cardio to your routine is one of the most effective ways to quickly increase weight loss.
In fact, one study in 141 obese adults showed that combining 40 minutes of cardio three times per week with a weight loss diet decreased body weight by 9% over a six-month period (1).
Another 10-month study found that burning either 400 or 600 calories five times per week by doing cardio exercise resulted in an average weight loss of 8.6 pounds (3.9 kg) and 11.5 pounds (5.2 kg), respectively (2).
For best results, try to fit in at least 20–40 minutes of cardio daily — or about 150–300 minutes per week (3).
Walking, jogging, boxing, biking and swimming are just a few forms of cardio that can boost weight loss fast.
Cardio can help you burn more calories to increase weight loss quickly.
2. Cut Back on Refined Carbs
Cutting down on carbs is another simple way to improve the quality of your diet and further weight loss.
It’s especially beneficial to decrease your intake of refined carbs, which are a type of carbohydrate stripped of their nutrient and fiber content during processing.
Not only are refined carbs high in calories and low in nutrients, they’re absorbed quickly into your bloodstream, causing blood sugar spikes and increased hunger (4).
Studies show that a diet high in refined grains is associated with a higher body weight than a diet rich in nutritious whole grains (5).
One large study in 2,834 people also found that people who ate more refined grains had on average more belly fat than those who ate more whole grains (6).
For best results, swap out refined carbs like white bread, breakfast cereals and heavily processed pre-packaged foods for whole-grain products like quinoa, oats, brown rice and barley.
Refined carbs, which are low in nutrients, can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels. Research shows that a higher intake of refined carbs may be linked to higher body weight and increased belly fat.
3. Start Counting Calories
In order to lose weight, you need to use more calories than you consume, either by decreasing your calorie intake or increasing your daily physical activity.
Counting calories can keep you accountable and increases awareness of how your diet may impact your weight loss.
According to a review of 37 studies in over 16,000 people, weight loss regimens that incorporated calorie counting resulted in an average of 7.3 pounds (3.3 kg) more weight loss per year than those that didn’t (7).
However, keep in mind that cutting calories alone is not considered a sustainable strategy for long-term weight loss, so pair it with other diet and lifestyle modifications.
Recording your intake with an app or food journal is a good way to get started.
Counting your calories can help increase weight loss when combined with other diet and lifestyle changes.
4. Choose Better Beverages
In addition to changing your main courses, choosing healthier beverages is another simple way to effectively increase weight loss.
Soda, juice and energy drinks are often loaded with sugar and extra calories that can contribute to weight gain over time.
Conversely, water can help keep you feeling full and temporarily boost metabolism to cut calorie consumption and enhance weight loss.
One study in 24 overweight and obese adults showed that drinking 16.9 fluid ounces (500 ml) of water before a meal decreased the number of calories consumed by 13% compared to a control group (8).
Another small study in 14 people found that drinking 16.9 fluid ounces (500 ml) of water increased metabolism by 30% after 30–40 minutes, slightly increasing the number of calories burned for a short time (9).
To bump up weight loss, cut out high-calorie, sweetened beverages and aim to drink 34–68 fluid ounces (1–2 liters) of water throughout the day.
Soda, juice and sports drinks are high in calories and can contribute to weight gain. Water, on the other hand, has been shown to decrease calorie intake and temporarily increase metabolism.
5. Eat More Slowly
Slowing down and focusing on enjoying your food while listening to your body is an effective strategy to decrease intake and enhance feelings of fullness.
For example, one study in 30 women reported that eating slowly decreased calorie intake by an average of 10%, increased water consumption and resulted in greater feelings of fullness than eating quickly (10).
Another study showed that eating slowly increased levels of certain hormones in your body responsible for promoting fullness (11).
Taking smaller bites, drinking plenty of water with your meal and reducing external distractions can help you eat more slowly to increase weight loss.
Eating slowly can decrease intake and improve feelings of fullness to enhance weight loss.
6. Add Fiber to Your Diet
Fiber is a nutrient that moves through your body undigested, helping stabilize blood sugar, slow stomach emptying and keep you feeling fuller longer (12).
Multiple studies demonstrate that fiber has a powerful effect on weight loss.
According to one review, increasing daily fiber intake by 14 grams without making any other dietary changes was associated with a 10% decrease in calorie intake and 4.2 pounds (1.9 kg) of weight loss over four months (13).
Another study in 252 women found that each gram of dietary fiber consumed was linked to a 0.5-pound (0.25-kg) decrease in body weight over a 20-month period (14).
Aim for at least 25–38 grams of fiber daily from foods like fruits, veggies, legumes and whole grains to optimize your health and increase weight loss (15).
Increasing your fiber consumption has been linked to decreases in both calorie intake and body weight.
7. Eat a High-Protein Breakfast
Waking up to a healthy, high-protein breakfast is a great way to start your day and stay on track towards your weight loss goals.
Increasing your intake of protein can help you lose weight by reducing your appetite and cutting your calorie consumption.
One small 12-week study in 19 people showed that increasing protein intake to 30% of calories reduced daily intake by 441 calories and lowered body weight by 10.8 pounds (4.9 kg) (16).
Another study in 20 adolescent girls found that eating a high-protein breakfast increased feelings of fullness and lowered levels of certain hormones that stimulate hunger (17).
Plus, multiple studies link a higher intake of protein to decreases in body weight and belly fat over time (18,19,20).
Oats, yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese and peanut butter are a few staple foods you can enjoy as part of a healthy, high-protein breakfast.
Increased morning protein intake is associated with greater feelings of fullness, decreased calorie intake and reductions in body weight and belly fat.
8. Get Enough Sleep Every Night
Setting a regular sleep schedule and sticking to it may be another important
factor for successful weight loss, especially if you’re trying to lose 10 pounds in a month.
According to one small study, depriving nine men of sleep for a single night resulted in significant increases in hunger and levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite (21).
On the other hand, a study in 245 women found that improving sleep quality and squeezing in at least seven hours of sleep each night increased the likelihood of successful weight loss by 33% (22).
Try sleeping for at least 7–8 hours per night, setting a regular sleep schedule and minimizing distractions before bed to optimize your sleep cycle and reach your weight loss goals.
While sleep deprivation can increase hunger, getting enough sleep can increase the likelihood of successful weight loss.
9. Try Resistance Training
Resistance training is a type of physical activity that involves working against some type of force to build muscle and increase strength.
In addition to other health benefits associated with resistance training, it may boost metabolism to make weight loss even easier.
One study in 94 people showed that resistance training preserved fat-free mass and metabolism following weight loss, helping maximize the number of calories burned throughout the day (23).
Similarly, another study in 61 people indicated that nine months of resistance training increased the number of calories burned at rest daily by an average of 5% (24).
Using gym equipment or performing bodyweight exercises at home are two easy and effective ways to start resistance training and enhance weight loss.
Studies show that resistance training can preserve fat-free mass and increase metabolism to boost weight loss.
10. Practice Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting, with fasts typically lasting 16–24 hours.
It can reduce the amount you eat by limiting the time frame in which food is consumed, possibly enhancing weight loss.
In fact, some research shows that intermittent fasting can be a powerful tool for weight loss and may be equally effective as calorie restriction (25).
Plus, one study in 11 healthy adults found that short-term fasting significantly increased the number of calories burned at rest (26).
It may also increase levels of human growth hormone (HGH), an important hormone that has been shown to increase fat loss and preserve lean body mass (27,28).
There are many different ways to do intermittent fasting. Many commonly involve picking an 8–10-hour window to restrict food intake each day.
Find a method that works for you and your schedule.
Intermittent fasting can improve metabolism, increase fat loss and preserve lean body mass to aid weight loss.
11. Fill up on Veggies
Vegetables are incredibly nutrient-dense, supplying ample vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber for a low number of calories.
One study showed that each 3.5-ounce (100-gram) increase in daily vegetable consumption was associated with 1.1 pounds (0.5 kg) of weight loss over six months (29).
Another large review of 17 studies in over 500,000 people found that those who ate the most vegetables had a 17% lower risk of being overweight or obese (30).
Many other studies indicate that increasing your fiber consumption from fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, is tied to a decrease in both calorie intake and body weight (13,14).
For an easy way to raise your veggie quota, squeeze an extra serving or two into side dishes, salads, sandwiches and snacks.
Vegetable consumption is linked to increased weight loss and a lower risk of obesity. A higher intake of fiber from foods like vegetables is also associated with decreased calorie intake.
12. Skip the Sauces and Condiments
Piling toppings on your favorite foods can quickly turn a healthy meal into a calorie bomb.
For example, a single tablespoon (13 grams) of mayonnaise can contain upwards of 90 calories, while ranch dressing packs in a whopping 73 calories per one-tablespoon (15-gram) serving (31,32).
Teriyaki sauce, sour cream, peanut butter and maple syrup are a few other popular sauces and condiments that can cause the calories to stack up fast.
Using general calorie calculation methods, you can estimate that cutting even one serving of these high-calorie condiments each day could reduce calorie intake enough to lose up to nine pounds over the course of a year.
This can help ramp up weight loss quickly when combined with other methods.
Instead, try seasoning your foods with herbs and spices to keep calorie intake low and maximize weight loss.
Alternatively, try swapping sauces and condiments for low-calorie options like hot sauce, mustard or horseradish.
Many condiments and sauces are high in calories. Cutting them out or swapping them for low-calorie alternatives could aid weight loss.
13. Do HIIT Exercises
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a type of exercise that alternates between quick bursts of activity and brief recovery periods, keeping your heart rate up to boost fat burning and accelerate weight loss.
Adding HIIT to your routine can be an incredibly effective tool to lose 10 pounds in a month.
In fact, one study in nine men compared the effects of HIIT to running, biking and resistance training, demonstrating that a 30-minute HIIT session burned 25–30% more calories than the other activities (33).
Another study showed that men who did HIIT for just 20 minutes three times per week lost 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of body fat and 17% of belly fat over 12 weeks — without making any other changes to their diet or lifestyle (34).
To get started, try switching out your cardio and doing one or two HIIT workouts per week, alternating between running and walking for 30 seconds at a time.
You can also experiment with other activities in your HIIT workouts, such as jumping jacks, squats, push-ups and burpees.
HIIT can burn more calories than other forms of exercise, thereby increasing weight loss and fat burning.
14. Move More Throughout the Day
Even when you’re running short on time and can’t squeeze in a full workout, adding small amounts of activity can chip away at body weight.
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) refers to the calories your body burns throughout the day by doing regular non-exercise activities like typing, gardening, walking or even fidgeting (35).
It’s estimated that NEAT may account for up to 50% of the total number of calories you burn each day, though this number can vary quite a bit depending on your activity level (36).
Making a few modifications to your daily routine can bump up calorie burning to speed up weight loss with minimal effort.
Parking farther back in the parking lot, using the stairs instead of the elevator, taking a walk during your lunch break and stretching every 30 minutes are a few simple ways to add more movement to your day.
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) can account for up to 50% of the total number of calories you burn each day. Simply moving more throughout the day can help you burn more calories to boost weight loss.
The Bottom Line
While losing 10 pounds in a month may seem like a lofty goal, it’s entirely possible by making some simple modifications to your diet and lifestyle.
Take it one step at a time and make a few small changes each week to lose weight safely and sustainably, keeping it off long term.
With a little patience and hard work, you can reach your weight loss goals and improve your overall health in the process.