How To Start When You Have 50+ Pounds To Lose in 4 months

A four-month timeline might feel generous — and more than you’d prefer to wait for weight loss results — but it’s a relatively short time frame to change your body. Losing 50 pounds in four months requires losing about 3 pounds a week, which is about 50 percent more than the maximum recommended weight loss rate of 2 pounds weekly. If you have a lot of weight to lose, and 50 pounds is just the start of your weight loss journey, it might be possible. Otherwise, it might take slightly longer to drop the 50 pounds — though you’ll still be able to lose a significant amount of weight in four months.

Make a Plan to Lose 50 Pounds

Slow and steady is the best way to beat the battle of the bulge, and you should generally aim for a loss of 1 to 2 pounds each week. Losing 50 pounds in four months requires a more aggressive timeline; you’d have to drop an average of 2.8 pounds each week. To do that, you’d need to burn significantly more calories than you eat daily, about 1,400 extra per day.

That may or may not be realistic, depending on your size. If you’re extremely active, young and have a lot of weight to lose, it might be possible. For example, a 25-year-old man who is 6 feet tall, weighs 290 pounds, and works out about an hour a day burns about 4,300 calories daily. He could cut his intake to 2,900 calories a day and lose weight fast enough to shed 50 pounds in 4 months.

On the other hand, someone who has just 50 pounds to lose, leads a less active lifestyle or is older likely won’t be able to cut enough calories. A 53-year-old, 5-foot, 2-inches tall woman that weighs 180 pounds and lives a sedentary lifestyle burns around 1,900 calories daily. Cutting out 1,400 calories means she’d eat just 500 calories a day. She should go for slower weight loss, since cutting so many calories would trigger “starvation mode” that makes it difficult to lose weight. Regardless of your starting weight, for safe and sustainable weight loss, women shouldn’t eat fewer than 1,200 calories a day and men shouldn’t go below 1,800 calories.

Because your four-month timeline requires losing weight more quickly than recommended, consult your doctor before you start. She can recommend an appropriate timeline for your individual circumstances. For help with a specific meal plan, consult a registered dietitian.

Stay Full and Satisfied With a Healthy Diet

Whether you have the go-ahead to try the four-month timeline, or you need to go for longer weight loss, you’ll need to make dietary changes to meet your goals. You’ll have the most success including breakfast in your routine, recommends the University of Michigan Health System. Try starting your day with a two-egg omelet loaded up with tons of veggies — red peppers, kale and spinach, or a mix of asparagus, thinly-sliced fennel and mushrooms.

You should also focus on foods low on the glycemic index, recommends UM. Low-GI foods help keep your blood sugar levels stable, so you won’t get blood sugar crashes that trigger junk food cravings. Most veggies have an extremely low impact on blood sugar, and whole grains and fiber-rich fruits — like pears, apples and grapefruit — also have a low GI. Include protein at each meal; it also helps maintain stable blood sugar levels to prevent cravings.