When it comes to weight loss, diet plays perhaps the most significant role. Perhaps this is why people say a good body is built in the kitchen. If you want that muscular or curvy physique, you will have to focus on healthy eating. It means that you need a healthy and steady diet plan that calls for sustainable weight loss. Our 40-day challenge diet plan promotes healthy and steady weight loss. It has been customized to meet the needs of those who are looking to lose weight, both men and women. The program has met the CDC’s healthy weight loss principles to ensure that you are healthily and steadily losing weight.
What Is Included In This 40-Day Weight Loss Diet Challenge?
The following weight loss challenge combines various elements that promote healthy weight loss. Although the better part of the challenge focuses on clean eating or your diet, it also includes exercise and coaching tips for healthy weight loss.
You do not have to be in your early twenties (20’s) or at the advanced fitness level to perform this diet challenge. As mentioned earlier, it suits everyone who is looking for a suitable weight loss program. Below are the key components of the 40-day challenge diet:
The first aspect that this challenge wants you to focus on during your 40-day weight loss journey is your diet or eating habits. Now, when we talk of eating habits, we do not just look at how fast you chew your food or if you talk when eating.
We are not disregarding these aspects as they are part of a healthy nutrition plan, but we are saying that there is so much to good nutrition than you think. Take a look at some of the aspects of healthy eating we are concentrating on:
We all know that there are some foods you should avoid if you want to torch calories. These are primarily junk, high-fat and processed meats, added sugars, fried and ultra-processed foods. They tend to have high calorie and fat content that contribute to weight gain (10). So, you cannot work with such a diet for weight loss.
Any healthy weight loss diet plan will include healthy foods that have low calories but high volume to help you feel full. Depending on your goals or the diet plan you choose to follow, the ratio of the food groups may vary. For example, proteins may tend to be more if your goal is to lose weight and build muscle.
It is, therefore, vital to check with your nutritionist on the best healthy foods to include in your diet. Some of the most recommended healthy foods for weight loss include (10):
- Eggs. They are great breakfast options as they reduce the hunger hormone ghrelin and control your blood sugar levels (10).
- Oatmeal. This is another excellent breakfast food choice due to its high fiber (beta-glucan) content that keeps you full for longer.
- Pulses. Pulses like peas, beans, lentils, and chickpeas are also effective in weight loss due to their fiber content. The high soluble fiber content slows down digestion and absorption, making you feel full for an extended duration (10).
Healthy Food Combinations
If you want to slim down faster, you can also work with healthy power pairs. According to WebMD, some foods work better as a team and promote weight loss by increasing satiety and burning more calories (4).
For example, you can have dark leafy vegetables like kale and spinach with some avocado. Spinach is known to have low calories, while avocado is known to be an excellent source of healthy fats.
The low-calorie content in spinach will help you maintain a calorie deficit for weight loss. On the other hand, the healthy monounsaturated fats in the avocado will increase satiety and help stave off hunger.
Healthy Cooking Methods
There are some cooking methods you should avoid if you want to shed pounds. These include methods like frying and deep-frying. They tend to produce high-calorie foods that jeopardize your weight loss efforts.
Instead of such methods, experts suggest you focus on healthier ones like grilling, boiling, and broiling. Additionally, they suggest that you cook your meals to learn a few tricks that may help you avoid weight gain (5). For example, you may use less butter or vegetable oil, meaning you get to consume fewer calories.
It is pretty common to yearn for a snack or two throughout the day. Most people end up having an afternoon and morning snack, which is not a bad thing. However, it can be harmful if you are consuming unhealthy snacks yet you want to shed pounds.
You need to consume healthy snacks that also have to count in your daily calorie intake. They must not lead to a calorie surplus but instead help you create and maintain a calorie deficit. Some healthy snack options that Medical News Today proposes weight watchers have include (1):
- Greek yogurt with berries
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Air-popped popcorn
- Celery sticks and nut butter
- Hummus and vegetables like carrots
Increased Fruits And Vegetable Intake
The other key challenge of this diet is increasing your fruit and vegetable consumption. Although most of us eat fruits and vegetables, unfortunately, we do not meet the required servings.
According to MedlinePlus, the daily fruit and vegetable serving of any individual should be three to five servings (3). These servings will allow you to reap all the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption. For example, one benefit is increased fiber intake. Fiber is crucial in a weight loss meal plan as it helps ease digestion and increase satiety levels.
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Portion control is a vital concept in healthy eating for weight loss since it directly influences your calorie intake. It is to say that the more or larger the portions you have, the higher the risk of consuming more calories.
You can control your food portions and ratios using various techniques. Some of these include (8):
- Serving your food on a smaller plate.
- Eating food on a plate or bowl instead of eating from containers or bags.
- Concentrating on the food. It is very easy to overeat when you are distracted by things like your phone and the television. Try putting them away when you are having your meals so that the attention is on your food. This will discourage overeating.
- Dividing foods you have bought in bulk into smaller portions. This will avoid the temptations of overeating.
- Measuring your foods. You can also practice portion control by measuring your foods, especially the ingredients. It will help you prepare a specific serving of the dish.
- Splitting food with your friend when you dine out. The CDC argues that restaurants tend to serve more food than one individual requires at one meal setting (8). So, you can take control of the servings by sharing your entrée with your companion.
You already know that drinking water is important, and for various reasons. The first reason is obviously to prevent dehydration. The other reasons why you need to drink water, which also happens to be the benefits of hydrating, include (7):
- Helps prevent constipation
- Cushions joints
- Helps with digestion
- Stabilizes the heartbeat
- Normalizes blood pressure
- Helps carry nutrients and oxygen to your cells
- Maintains electrolyte balance
- Helps flush bacteria from your bladder
- Protects organs and tissues
- Helps in regulating your body temperature
Hydrating also helps with weight loss by avoiding overeating. The rationale behind this is that most people eat when they are not hungry because they mistake dehydration for hunger. In light of this, you may want to drink water whenever you feel hungry and wait thirty minutes. If the hunger persists, drink another glass. You will know it’s time to eat food when you still feel hungry, even after drinking the second glass of water
Now, this aspect is not mandatory for everyone. It is only recommended for an individual whose doctor has prescribed them supplements. Supplements are often prescribed to you when you are not getting enough nutrients.
There is a specific supplement you have to take for the specific nutrient you are not obtaining in plenty. For example, if you are not getting enough vitamin D, you will have to take vitamin D supplements. These will help in preventing rickets, a nutritional deficiency caused by a lack of enough vitamin D.
Eating All Meals
Some weight watchers believe they can lose 40lbs in 40 days by skipping meals. The most skipped of all meals is breakfast. Food experts acknowledge that skipping meals, be it breakfast, lunch, or dinner, does not promote weight loss.
Instead of weight loss, this meal skipping pattern may lead to weight gain. How? You may ask. Well, according to food experts, for one, breakfast is mandatory, because as the name suggests, it breaks the fast or period in which you were not eating during your sleep.
So, when you skip breakfast, you tend to be hungrier and run the risk of overeating at lunch (6). Again, you run the risk of giving in to unhealthy foods, especially if you have not prepared meals and have to cook lunch from scratch.
Yes, eating slowly is also a healthy eating habit that can promote weight loss. When you eat slowly, you get to chew your food thoroughly. Similarly, you get to listen to your body and are alert to when you feel satisfied. You will notice that you feel full after consuming small portions of food, thereby reducing your risk of overeating (6).
The other diet challenge is meal prepping, either for a week or two. We understand that individuals tend to have busy schedules, most of which limit them from cooking healthy meals. So, most people opt to dine out or order unhealthy meals. Remember that we pointed out these foods tend to be high in fat and calories, and are, therefore, not helpful for weight loss. So, save a day from your busy schedule to meal prep.
The other key component of this 40-day challenge diet, as mentioned earlier, is physical activity. As we already know, exercising is one of the best ways of torching calories for weight loss. Now, note that this challenge will not limit you to a particular exercise program.
It is because some exercise programs work best for different individuals. So, we suggest you talk to both your doctor and trainer to determine a suitable exercise regime. Besides your goal, which of course, is weight loss, they will also look at other vital aspects. These include your overall health status and current fitness capability.
These professionals will then use this information to customize a workout plan matching your goal and needs. The workout intensity and duration will vary depending on the activity they recommend. For example, if they suggest an aerobic activity, they will most likely suggest doing the activity for 75 minutes a week if it is vigorous and 150 minutes if it is moderate (2).
You do not have to run or cycle up a hill for you to torch calories. You can simply take brisk walks lasting for half an hour five days a week, and you will have met these guidelines. Remember, any physical activity is better than none, so do not give up.
Again, even if these experts do not mention, remember other critical pointers about exercising. These include warming up, maintaining the correct exercise form, hydrating, performing cool downs, stretching, and resting in-between sets.
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Some other tips that our experts have emphasized in this diet challenge to help promote weight loss are as follows:
- Getting Enough Rest. Sleep also affects weight loss. According to Medical News Today, sleeping for less than six hours a night may increase your waist circumference (9). As we all know, a big waist circumference is linked with abdominal obesity or belly fat. Based on these findings, experts suggest any dieter try to get seven to nine hours of sleep. You can try guided meditation and reducing distractions like your phone to help improve your sleep quality.
- Reducing Your Stress Levels. Stress also contributes to weight gain, which is why you are advised to work on managing your stress levels. More often, when you are stressed, the chances of overeating and eating junk food tend to be pretty high. These two habits do not support weight loss, which is why you need to uphold stress-relieving interventions. They range from doing yoga, therapy, meditation, to hanging out with our loved ones.
- Getting Support. The weight loss journey can be overwhelming for any dieter, and especially beginners. This program allows you to seek support from your loved ones. They can motivate you and even hold you accountable for your behaviors.
How Many Pounds Will You Lose With This 40-Day Challenge Diet?
You may lose five to ten pounds of weight by the end of this program. This diet plan follows the CDC’s healthy weight loss principles, and you are expected to shed one to two pounds weekly. You may lose more than this in the first week, but afterward, the rate is going to be consistent.
The reason you will lose more pounds in the first week is that you get to shed body fat and water weight. Once you lose all the water weight, you now start shedding body fat at a consistent rate, for instance, one pound a week. So, do not be disappointed if you do not see your scale budging, unlike before.
If you feel that this amount is not enough for you, talk to your doctor. They may suggest incorporating a more intense exercise program or a lower-calorie meal plan. Nonetheless, be warned that anything more than two pounds a week is typically deemed unhealthy rapid weight loss.
With rapid weight loss comes more serious side effects such as hair loss, menstrual irregularities in women, muscle loss, nausea, and dizziness. Aside from that, rapid weight loss may cause nutritional deficiencies and malnutrition. If rapid weight loss is medically necessary, then your doctor will want to supervise you closely to monitor for these types of side effects.
The Bottom Line
There are numerous diet plans and diet challenges online. All claim to guarantee weight loss but through different techniques. For example, there are those that promise results by helping you follow and sustain a very low-calorie diet plan. Such a technique cannot be followed long-term because it may cause nutritional deficiencies due to its limited nutritional value.
One of the best diet challenges online that passes as a healthy eating plan for weight loss is this 40-day challenge diet. It focuses on vital components to promote weight loss, such as healthy eating, exercising, getting optimal rest, and reducing stress levels.
When following this challenge, you are likely to healthily and steadily lose five to ten pounds. In addition to weight loss, this challenge also helps you adopt healthy habits that can help you lose weight long-term and maintain an ideal weight. Even so, make sure you talk to a professional before you give this diet challenge a try.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on for decision-making. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 9 healthful snacks to eat for weight loss (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Aerobic exercise (2019, mayoclini.org)
- Fruits and vegetables (2020, medlineplus.gov)
- Great Food Combos for Losing Weight (2020, webmd.com)
- Healthy Cooking Tricks (2011, webd.com)
- Healthy Weight, Nutrition, and Physical Activity (2021, cdc.gov)
- How much water should you drink? (2020, helthharvard.edu)
- How to Avoid Portion Size Pitfalls to Help Manage Your Weight (2021, cdc.gov)
- Poor sleep may hinder weight loss, study shows (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- What are the best foods for weight loss? (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)