Hey, I was wondering if you could advise on something. I’m 20 years old, 5’3 and weigh 141 and I’m trying to lose 20-30 pounds in several months (like 3 or 4). I’m not on a diet per say, but I try to restrict my carb, fat intakes, eat vegetables, fruits, proteins, drink lots of water; my daily calorie intake is 1500-1600. For exercise (I work out every day), I do Barry’s Bootcamp Fat Blaster Wokout (21 minute interval training routine plus additional 12-20 minutes of strength training exercises) and Tony Horton’s 10 Minute Trainer (about 20-30 minutes of cardio), so in total it’s like 50 minutes of cardio and some strength training. Is it a good plan and is it enough for me to lose about 20-30 pounds in like 4 months? Madamedegrassi. [via Ask Questions]
First of all, let’s see if it is possible to lose 20 to 30 pounds in 4 months. To lose 20 pounds in 4 months, you need to lose 5 pounds per month for four consecutive months, which is certainly possible because you only need to lose a little over 1 pound a week. To lose 30 pounds in 4 months, you need to lose 7.5 pounds per month for four consecutive months, which is still possible because you still only need to lose less than 2 pounds a week.
So, the fact that you are not trying to lose 20 pounds too quickly is great, but I think you are doing a little too much cardio and not enough strength training. Do cardio for about 15 minutes and spend the rest of your time on working with weights. Why? Because cardio “eats” muscle, strength training, on the other hand, builds muscle. More muscle mass helps you burn more calories.
As for your diet, I think you are on the right track. Do not get too attached to the scale weight, but it is a good idea to check your weight once in a week. If you are losing weight, you are making progress. If you are not losing weight, it is probably because you either consume more calories than you think you consume, or your initial calorie estimate was not accurate.
The best way to deal with the former situation is to write down everything you eat every day for at least a full week. Check the numbers at the end of each day. If you are within your calorie range (1,500 to 1,600) calories, then you have the latter situation on your hands – i.e., you need to consume fewer calories to lose weight. Read the How Many Calories Do I Need to Consume to Lose Weight? post to make sure that you have estimated your daily calorie intake correctly. Do not be afraid to reduce your daily calorie consumption, but never drop your daily calorie intake too low.
How low is too low? It is hard to say, different people have different calorie requirements. Sometimes it could be tricky to pin down an exact number (at least the one that would be consistent for the duration of time it takes you to lose weight) because as you lose weight, your body does not need as many calories as it needed in the beginning, but the general consensus is that it is unhealthy to consume less than 1,300 calories a day.