A very small percentage of individuals globally have the ideal Body Mass Index and are satisfied with their current weight, therefore, focus on maintaining it. Underweight people try to gain a few pounds, while the obese and overweight look for ways to shed unwanted fats. According to research by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 40% of American adults are obese and 18% are severely obese (7). The research forecasts that by 2030, more than half of the Americans in 29 states will be obese. This is a great concern that should make you re-evaluate your lifestyle. So, how do you lose 50 lbs in 6 months?
If I need to lose 50 lbs in 6 months, how do I attain that? First things first, having a solid, safe, successful weight loss plan is a sure way to boost your long-term weight-loss efforts (6). Luckily, 6 months might be enough to lose 50 pounds, as long as you know exactly what to do, i.e., the necessary lifestyle changes to be made. To enjoy the long-term benefits of your weight loss plan, set realistic goals and start slowly instead of jumping straight into intense workouts or extreme diets. Rapidly losing too much weight too quickly does more harm than good, and it is not sustainable.
Healthy Weight Loss In 6 Months: Sustainable Tips To Shed Unwanted Fats
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a gradual, steady, sustainable, and realistic weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week (10). So, is it possible to lose 50 lbs in 6 months? Yes. Assuming there are 25 weeks in half a year, you can lose between 25-50 pounds healthily. However, remember that at the start of the weight loss program, you may shed more pounds than weeks later, even 5 pounds a week because of water loss (19).
Here are key steps to follow to lose 50 pounds in 6 months:
Set Weekly Weight Loss Goals
Anything successful begins with a plan, and so is how to lose 50 lbs in 6 months. Now that you already know that you want to lose 50 pounds in 6 months, come up with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Time-bound) weekly goals that you can break down to what needs to be done every day to attain the set goals. For instance, you will need to cut back on the number of calories you consume daily (according to Mayo Clinic, cutting 500-1000 calories a day will help you lose about 1 pound (0.5 kilograms) a week) (8). You may also need to burn more calories than usual by regularly working out and engaging in other physical activities. To develop a specific calorie goal, you should know how many calories a day you should consume and burn. Specific goals can also be set around things like number of steps, active minutes, meatless meals, incorporating more fruits and vegetables, reducing sugary beverage or alcohol intake, hours of sleep, and countless other behaviors that can help you along your weight loss journey.
Calculate Your Daily Caloric Needs
How many calories a day to lose 50 lbs in 6 months? A pound of squishy, slimy human fat contains 3500 calories of energy, meaning that to lose 1 pound, you need to shed 3500 calories (11). This implies that cutting off 1000 calories every day (for 7 days) in your diet will result in losing two pounds of weight (7000 calories) per week. With a weight loss of two pounds per week, you will lose approximately 50 pounds in 25 weeks. However, the weight loss mathematics is not that simple because burning one pound of fat is not as easy as burning through 3500 calories.
You should aim to consume 300-500 fewer calories a day to shed unwanted pounds (11). You will also burn extra calories through workouts and physical activities. To roughly estimate the number of calories you should consume daily, use an online calorie calculator for accuracy (3). You will have to key in your age, height, weight, gender, level of physical activity for the calculator to generate the results.
Find A Diet Plan To Lose 50 Lbs In 6 Months
After understanding the number of calories you need to consume daily, it is time to identify the appropriate high-quality, nutrient-rich foods. The two most common diets to lose 50 lbs in 6 months are low fat and low carbohydrate. Low-fat diets incorporate a heavy vegetable intake, moderate low-fat animal-based foods, and plant foods such as fruits and whole grains (2). Low-fat diets help in fat, cholesterol, calorie, and carbohydrate control. A low carbohydrate diet is mainly composed of carbs found in grains, non-starchy vegetables, and fruit, in addition to meals rich in protein and healthy fats (20).
Always choose an appropriate meal plan that you will enjoy so that you can easily stick to it. For instance, if you prefer chicken, fish, lean red meat, healthy fats, and veggies with small amounts of fruits and grains, then a keto diet may work best for you. However, if you enjoy eating veggies, fruits, and whole grains over chicken, fish, and red meat, then there is a high probability that you will enjoy long-term success over a low-fat dieting plan.
Here are the specific diet changes in a weight loss plan that you may want to implement:
Eat Non-Starchy Vegetables
Some of the non-starchy vegetables include fresh spinach, asparagus, amaranth, baby corn, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots, cabbage, eggplant, celery, mushrooms, and cauliflower (21). A cup of these vegetables often contains 10 to 40 calories, with plenty of water and fiber (18). Therefore, investing in these vegetables fills up your body with extra nutrients and lesser calories. You should try eating a variety of vegetables before meals to make you feel full and help your body meet its essential vitamin and mineral needs.
Read More: Starchy Fruits You Should Steer Clear Of
Reduce (But Do Not Eliminate) Carbs From Your Diet
Carbohydrates are a major energy source for your body but eating too much could dim your weight loss dreams. To enhance effective weight loss, only take lesser carbs and reduce your overall starch intake. Choose carbohydrates rich in fiber such as fruits (e.g., bananas, dates, raisins, and apples), vegetables (e.g., sweet potatoes, corn, and beets), legumes (e.g., kidney beans, lentils, and garbanzo beans), whole grains (e.g., quinoa, oats, whole wheat, and brown rice), and nuts to meet your daily carbohydrates needs (14). Minimize refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, crackers, chips, pasta, sweets, baked goods, sugary drinks, breaded or fried foods, white tortillas, and regular bagels.
Although reducing your carb intake is a crucial step, eliminating them from the diet deprives the body of its essential energy source. Medical experts recommend taking a minimum of 130 grams of carbohydrates per day to maintain good health and to support your daily activity (5).
Add Proteins To Your Diet
The body uses protein in repairing damaged tissues and building muscle (23). Adding 2-3 servings of nutritious protein foods such as grilled chicken, fish, seafood, eggs, and tofu to a quarter of your plate goes a long way in boosting your weight loss goals. Adults should take at least 0.8 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight every day, meaning that if you weigh 200 pounds, about 70 grams of protein each day (22).
Some of the most common dietary proteins you can find at the grocery store include dairy foods and calcium-rich alternatives, such as low-fat cottage cheese, nonfat Greek yogurt, milk, soy milk, protein-fortified almond milk, and reduced-fat cheese (22). Protein shakes can also substitute meals during the weight loss journey perfectly. Beans, peas, lentils, and other legumes are excellent sources of protein and are rich in carbohydrates and fiber.
Include Unsaturated Fats
For your body to function effectively, you will need dietary fat as it is a nutrient boost satiety during the 50-pound weight drop journey. Examples of foods rich in healthy fats include plant oils, fatty fish, fish oil, nuts seeds, nut butter, olives, avocados, and hummus, so include them in your weight loss meal plan (16).
Drink Lots Of Water
You must have heard that you should take at least 8-12 cups of water a day. For instance, drinking 2 cups of water before meals makes you fuller for longer, hence, making you eat less, therefore guaranteeing weight loss. It reduces the chances of adding extra weight and obesity.
Water is a calorie-free drink (contains zero calories). You can try substituting drinks rich in calories, such as sodas, lemonade, and sweet tea with water. Doing so reduces the addition of unnecessary calories to your system, meaning faster weight loss. Women are further encouraged to at least consume 12 cups of fluid daily and 15.5 cups for men (27).
Avoid Starvation At All Times
Weight loss should never be a reason to starve yourself because it exposes your body to overall weakness, and you might lack the strength to perform daily activities and exercise. Hunger is controlled by two hormones: ghrelin and leptin (26). Ghrelin is produced by the stomach to signal your brain to increase your appetite when the stomach is empty. Leptin is produced by your fat cells and does the opposite to increase metabolism for digestion. It also tells the brain that you are full and no more food is needed.
When gaining weight, leptin works the other way round to decrease appetite and prompt weight loss. However, your body may build up leptin resistance over time. Your leptin levels may go out of whack, but still, the brain cannot tell. Similarly, an increase in ghrelin slows down metabolism and lowers your body’s ability to burn fat efficiently.
Reasons why BetterMe is a safe bet: a wide range of calorie-blasting workouts, finger-licking recipes, 24/7 support, challenges that’ll keep you on your best game, and that just scratches the surface! Start using our app and watch the magic happen.
Monitor Your Caloric Intake
According to the National Health, Lung, and Blood Institute, women can safely lose weight and meet all their nutrient needs by eating 1200 to 1500 calories a day, while men can lose weight by eating 1500 to 1800 calories a day (15). Eating fewer than 1000 calories a day is not recommended unless you are closely monitored by your healthcare provider. Recording your calorie intake gives you an idea of whether you are making any progress or not. You can use a calorie-counting online application to determine which eating patterns you should take.
Your body is made up of what you eat, therefore, swap unhealthy snacks for healthier, natural foods that pump more nutrients into your system and significantly contribute to your weight loss plan.
Exercise And Do Physical Activity
Diet alone for creating a calorie deficit to lose 50 pounds in 6 months may not work unless you have a workout routine structured to your needs. Consume fewer calories each day and engage in physical activity to burn more fat since cutting 1000 calories from your diet alone may be difficult and unsustainable. It might also make it hard for you to meet your daily nutrient needs for good health. Therefore, having an organized exercise plan targeting your legs, abs, back, triceps, biceps, glutes, and other muscles is an excellent idea when trying to lose 50 pounds in 6 months.
How much exercise and calories to lose 50 lbs in 6 months? We already discussed the number of calories you need to shed to lose 50 pounds. With regards to working out, note that it is important to exercise most days of the week. Regular exercise increases your metabolic rate, which in turn enhances weight and fat loss. For instance, running for 30 minutes may burn about 200 calories (9).
150 to 300 minutes of aerobic exercise a week should help reach your weight loss goal (9). Fortunately, aerobic exercise does not have to be strenuous. So, how much should I walk to lose 50 lbs in 6 months? Walking about 5 miles a day (roughly 10,000 steps) will go a long way to help you meet your target (13). For better outcomes, you may want to hike or climb hilly areas. Simple activities such as a 30-60 minute brisk walk, bike riding, or taking an aerobics class five days a week should bear significant results by the end of your six months (1).
Cardiovascular exercises such as jogging, swimming, and stair climbing often burn the most calories. With time, you may want to increase the intensity of your favorite cardio activity, for example working out on the treadmill, stationary bike, or elliptical.
Strength training is also helpful, especially for long-term weight loss. Exercises such as lifting free weights or body resistance workouts help you burn more calories and maintain muscle mass after the workout or at rest. Simple exercises you can try out at home include incline bodyweight squats, push-ups, jumping jacks, and lunges. If designing a customized workout plan sounds difficult, consult a fitness expert to determine what works best for you.
Read More: Resistance Training For Weight Loss: How To Boost Your Weight Loss Goals Through Strength Training
Other Habit Changes
Besides working out and following the diet to lose 50 lbs in 6 months, an effective weight loss program is also more about changing the little habits that may render your weight loss efforts futile. Bear in mind that several factors influence weight, including genetics, sex, health, age, diet, activity, habits, and culture. Some of these are out of your control, but you can rectify your unhealthy habits. For instance, do you eat a snack bar every time you walk around the kitchen? Do you eat too much when stressed? Perhaps it is time to learn self-control, portion-control, or join a stress management program or engage in regular exercise, yoga, massage, meditation, stretching, and pedicures to minimize stress.
Stress and sleep deprivation can lead to fluctuation in hormone levels inside the human body (24). Such changes may increase appetite, making it a challenge to cut down on calories for your 50-pound weight loss plan. Adults should sleep for an average of 7-9 hours a day in a regular pattern (24). If suffering from menopause symptoms, you can talk to your doctor about using hormone replacement therapy to get a better night’s sleep.
Track Your Progress
6 months is somehow a long time, and some people may lose track of their progress or give up too soon. Keeping track of the steps made is very crucial to understand what is working and what isn’t. Whether you are using a physical diary, notebook, or electronic options, keeping a journal should take you a step closer to your goals throughout your 50 lb weight loss journey. You can start by writing your reason for dropping excess weight and your biggest source of motivation. This will help you maintain your level of commitment and stick to the plan.
According to expert opinion on The Washington Post, the metabolic rate slows by 1 to 2 percent every decade from several factors, one being muscle loss (4). This confirms that losing too much muscle too fast lowers your body’s metabolism, meaning that your body burns fewer calories even at rest. As a result, it becomes more difficult to lose weight. Avoid any weight loss plan that sounds too good to be true by promising considerable weight loss in a few weeks or very attractive weight loss alternatives that do not involve healthy eating and physical activity. The best way to lose 50 lbs in 6 months, and keep it off, follow the healthy alternatives discussed above.
How can I lose 50 lbs in 6 months? Many diets and weight loss programs promise results if you strictly follow them, but the bottom line is to ensure that they are safe and approved by a licensed medical expert. To lose 50 lbs in 6 months, set realistic goals, follow the tips above, and have a positive mindset to keep you going. Ensure you get a green light or customized solutions for your excess weight from your doctor, nutritionist, and personal trainer before trying any diet or workout routine. We wish you all the best in your weight loss journey!
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 to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 30 Minutes of Daily Exercise Enough to Shed Pounds (2012, webmd.com)
- A guide to low fat foods (2019, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Calorie Calculator (n.d,mayoclinic.org)
- Can you really change your metabolism? (2020, washingtonpost.com)
- CARBOHYDRATE GOALS (n.d, hopkinsdiabetesinfo.org)
- Choosing a Safe and Successful Weight-loss Program (2017, niddk.nih.gov)
- Close to half of U.S. population projected to have obesity by 2030 (2019, hsph.harvard.edu)
- Counting calories: Get back to weight-loss basics (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Discover Your Ultimate Weight-Loss Workout Plan (2019, livestrong.com)
- Does a Person Lose Water Weight First or Pounds First? (n.d, livestrong.com)
- Do You Really Lose a Pound of Fat for Every 3,500 Calories You Burn? (2015, gq.com)
- Easiest Way to Lose 50 Pounds (2020, livestrong.com)
- Effects of 10,000 steps a day on physical and mental health in overweight participants in a community setting: a preliminary study (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc)
- Fifteen healthful high-carb foods (2020, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Healthy Eating Plan (n.d, nhlbi.nih.gov)
- Healthy-Fat Foods (2020, webmd.com)
- Increased Hydration Can Be Associated with Weight Loss (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- List of 20 Low Calorie Vegetables for Weight Loss (2021, myfooddata.com)
- Losing Weight (2020, cdc.gov)
- Low-carb diet: Can it help you lose weight? (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Non-starchy Vegetables (n.d, diabetes.org)
- Protein (n.d, hsph.harvard.edu)
- Protein for exercise and recovery (2009, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Sleep and Circadian Rhythm (2019, hormone.org)
- The Facts on Leptin: FAQ (2010,webmd.com)
- The role of leptin and ghrelin in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans: a review (2007, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Water: How much should you drink every day? (2020, mayoclinic.org)