If your new year’s resolution is to lose 10lbs by the end of January, you’re not alone. Often, the start of a new year sees many people wanting a ‘new me’, and one of the most common ways of achieving this is through weight loss.
Losing 10lbs by the end of January can be done, but it will take a conscious effort to rework different aspects of your life to reach this goal. To help you, we’ve broken down these factors into three main categories and what you can do to change your approach to these key areas to lose those 10lbs by the end of the month.
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Your attitude is the first thing that you need to address. It’s pivotal that you work on your mindset just as much as it is your nutrition and exercise. It’s the foundation in which you’ll build good habits, not to mention what will keep you going when you reach hard times or any setbacks. Without this solid foundation, you’ll find it very difficult to reach any of your goals, and we’re not just talking about the realm of health and fitness.
REPLACE “I CAN’T” AND “I DON’T”
The way you approach things can make a significant difference in how you view situations and whether or not you’ll adhere to the new habits you want to implement. In this case, replacing the phrase “I can’t” with “I don’t”, can empower you and make it easier to resist temptation, according to this study published in The Journal of Consumer Research.
By framing your thinking this way, you’ll be more inclined to follow your initial weight loss strategy, even when you’re less motivated or being faced with temptation. The word “can’t” implies that you have a choice in the matter whereas “don’t” indicates that you, well, don’t. So if you’re constantly having to tell yourself “I can’t miss a workout” instead of “I don’t skip workouts” and trying to make the right choice every time, inevitably, it’s going to get exhausting. Your willpower is only finite after all. Saying “I don’t” however, sets it as a non-negotiable decision that’s already been made.
Try changing the way you speak to yourself and take the choice out of situations. If you think about it, you’ve already made up your mind to set healthier habits at the start of the year, all the decisions you make thereafter should be made with this in mind.
What you eat and drink makes a significant difference in how you’ll be able to lose 10lbs by the end of January. It’s important to note that when we talk about what we eat or drink, we’re not talking about ‘good’ foods and ‘bad’ foods, but calories in and calories out. Sure, some foods are higher in calories than others and may be more lacking in nutritional value, however, as long as you have a balanced approach and are still mindful about the number of calories you’re consuming, then you should be in the right direction of losing 10lbs in a healthy way.
LEARN ABOUT CALORIES AND MACROS
Each person has a specific calorie count for them that determines whether you lose weight, put on weight or maintain your current weight.
For example, if a person’s maintenance calories is 2000 (that is, the number of calories they burn each day, including their daily exercise and activities), then by eating 2000 calories a day, their weight will remain the same.
If you want to lose 10lbs by the end of January though, you’re going to have to enter a caloric deficit. This means that you need to consume fewer calories than you burn.
This brings us to macronutrients. What we eat is separated into the 3 macros: protein, carbohydrates (this includes sugar) and fat.
Each gram of a macronutrient equates to a specific number of calories:
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of carbs = 4 calories
1 gram of fats = 9 calories.
Counting your calories and macros is not necessary to lose weight but for those who prefer this approach, it can help you take the guesswork out of the equation. If counting calories isn’t right for you, then at least knowing about your macronutrients and ensuring that you’re getting in enough protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats is a good start.
Read our complete guide to Macro and Calorie Counting For Weight Loss.
FOCUS ON MICRONUTRIENTS
While macronutrients can take up much of the big picture, micronutrients are just as important.
These are what gives you your vitamins, nutrients, and other good stuff that’ll keep you full and also healthy. So make sure you load up on your veggies and fruit.
Not to mention, most vegetables and fruits are high-volume, low-calorie foods.
That means that you can eat a lot of it without taking up too many of your calories.
Berries, watermelon, strawberries and oranges are just a few examples of great fruit to include in your diet. High-volume vegetables that are also low-calorie but are full of micronutrients include broccoli, brussel sprouts, leafy greens like spinach and kale, mushrooms and carrots.
Read our article on 21 Superfoods That You Should Be Eating.
UNDERSTAND THE HUNGER SCALE AND YOUR BODY
One of the biggest reasons why people struggle to lose weight is because they don’t know when they’re full.
Too often, people think that full means eating until they’re clutching their stomachs, completely filled to the brim with food. Of course, you want to feel satiated after a meal. After all, not only is food and drink for enjoyment and pleasure, it’s also to keep hunger at bay. However, if you reach that stage where your stomach hurts or you can’t move, then you’re most likely overeating and eating too much.
It’s important to feel satiated after a meal. The point of satiety is to suppress your hunger and to keep you satisfied until your next meal or snack. But we can cross past this point too often. So how do you find that fine line between full and satisfied and overly full?
Look at this hunger scale created by the Derbyshire Community Health Services to help you determine how you’re feeling and where you fit:
Beyond hungry: you may have a headache and experience dizziness and a lack of concentration. Your body feels totally out of energy and you need to lie down.
You feel irritable and cranky, with little energy. You may also feel nauseous.
Your stomach feels empty and the urge to eat is strong.
You start to think about food. Your body is giving you the signal that you might want to eat.
Your body has had enough food to keep going and is physically and psychologically
just starting to feel satisfied.
You are fully satisfied and full up.
You are feeling past the point of satisfaction, yet you can still find room for a little more. Your body might say no but your mind says yes, so you take a few more bites.
Your stomach is starting to really ache. You probably know you shouldn’t have had more, but it tasted so good.
You now feel really uncomfortable, heavy, tired, and bloated.
Beyond full: this is a typical Christmas Day sort of feeling—you are physically miserable, don’t want to or can’t move, and feel like you never want to look at food again. Not a good point to reach!
Now that you know the hunger scale, levels 3–6 is where you want to focus on. These are the signals you want to feel to start and stop eating.
To do this, you need to listen to your body and be honest with yourself about why you’re headed to the kitchen again. Is it because you’re truly hungry? Then go ahead and eat. If you’re not hungry but you still find yourself craving food, then there might be other variables at play such as boredom.
Read our article on How To Overcome Boredom Eating.
The hunger scale is also good at preventing you from emotional eating or boredom eating, which is a common reason people turn to food as well.
By re-evaluating your hunger and fullness levels, you’ll be able to learn how and when to listen to your body and eat only when you’re truly hungry and stop eating when you’re full.
And if you’re having trouble reaching that point of satiety, then remember, load up your plate with vegetables and fruit.
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Regular exercise is so important. Not only can it help you create a calorie deficit, but it also is good for your health and reduces the risk of disease such as heart disease and diabetes.
MOVE EVERY DAY
The American Heart Association recommends that the average adult should fit in 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity. That’s fewer than a total of 2-hours a week of exercise. If you prefer more heart-racing physical activity though, then the guideline is a minimum of 75-minutes across the week, or as little over 10-minutes a day.
By moving every day, you can reach these guidelines as every bit counts. Not to mention, it’ll help to balance any repercussions of sitting down for too long, which is common if you have a desk job or go to school.
The key is to find an activity that you enjoy, that counts as exercise but doesn’t really feel like exercise.
If you love the gym, then head to the gym.
If you enjoy SoulCycle-esque classes, book regular time slots.
Join a team sport if you want a community-based activity.
Still don’t know where to start? Whether you want to work out in a gym or at home try a fitness app, like FitBod. It’ll program exactly what you should be doing from the type of exercise, the number of sets and reps, weights used, and will even provide exercise video demos.
There are so many different ways you can move every day and become fitter and healthier, without being forced to do something you don’t like or don’t enjoy. This way, you’ll be more inclined to stick to your workout routine.
If you are keen to workout twice per day, then read our guide on How To Work Out Twice Per Day For Weight Loss.
The American Heart Association also suggests a minimum of 2-days per week of weight or resistance training.
Regardless of whether you’re a runner or a casual gym-goer, lifting weights can bring about many benefits that’ll help you lose weight, while also gaining muscle (granted your nutrition is on the right track as well).
While a pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat, muscle is dense, meaning it takes up less room. Ultimately, the more muscle you have, the more your body composition will change, giving you a lean and toned look. Not to mention, muscle burns more calories than fat so it’ll give you a boost in calorie-burning.
It also improves strength, bone density and the best thing about it: it can be very empowering.
Read our article on How To Plan Your Strength Training While Cutting.
GET YOUR STEPS IN
Walking every day can do wonders in helping you lose 10lbs by the end of January. Not to mention, it’s simple and easy to fit into your daily routine, so you don’t have to change things around too much.
Choose a step goal and aim to reach it every day. Ditch the public transport or car and walk to work. If it’s too far, then opt to ride into work halfway, then walk the rest of the way. Take the stairs, not the elevators and ask your colleagues to do a walking meeting instead of sitting around a conference room. Or, in this day and age, take your Zoom meeting outside and go for a stroll around the park while you talk.
Getting your steps sets a tangible goal for you to reach and inspires you to get moving. And by increasing your steps, and hence your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis, you’ll be on your way to losing 10lbs by the end of January.
Read more about how you can burn 500 Calories From Working Out At Home.
Consistency Is Key
You can follow a great nutrition plan for a day or get a really good workout in but at the end of the day, consistency is key.
It’s better to have more consistent days over the long term, than 1 or 2 ‘perfect’ days where you do everything right.
While it may be tempting to go all out to lose 10bs by the end of January, by implementing small changes to your day-to-day life that’s easier to stick too, you can reach your goal in a more sustainable way, even if it may take a little longer than you want.
So if it does take longer than January to hit your weight loss goal, don’t be disheartened. It doesn’t mean that all your hard work was for nothing. Each day you give it your all and try to adhere to healthier habits, is a day closer to seeing it pay off in the long run.
By following these simple steps, you’ll be well on your way to fulfilling that new year’s resolution.
By focusing on these 3 main areas and practicing consistency in your day-to-day life, you’ll pick up good habits, such as learning hunger and fullness cues as well as moving every day, that’ll benefit you well beyond January.
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About The Author
As a health and fitness writer, Emily combines her two passions—powerlifting and writing. With a creative writing degree under her belt, she spends her mornings lifting weights, her nights putting pen to paper, and eating too many snacks in between.