Best diet to lose 10 lbs in one month?
September 25, 2010 10:24 PM   Subscribe

For some unknown reason I've gained roughly 10 pounds in the last 1-2 months. I'd like to lose it for an event I'm going to at the end of October. I've never tried to diet before and I'm not sure what the most effective method is for short term loss. I will not be sustaining this diet for longer than a month.

I'm a 20 year old male. I'm 5'10 and weigh ~152lbs. I know I'm not overweight, but I'm starting to get a little pudgy. A low sodium diet is a plus. I especially like fish, but I'm willing to eat whatever. I'm a full time student and get a moderate amount of exercise, but nothing strenuous that would require more calories than normal to support. Please don't give me any exercise tips. I simply need diet advice.
posted by WhitenoisE to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
It's not a fun diet to be on and not really healthy as a long-term way of eating, but if you can muster the self-discipline to eat nothing but unsaltened/unsweetened meat, seafood, and vegetables and drink nothing but water for a month, you should be able to slim down in a hurry.

Make sure you get enough fiber -- if you don't eat enough vegetables, you may need to supplement with sugar-free Metamucil.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:44 PM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

Oh, if you do decide to try that diet, a small electric clamshell grill (like George Foreman) is your friend.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:47 PM on September 25, 2010

Best answer: For roughly every 3,500 calorie deficit* created by either diet or exercise (diet in your case), you lose roughly one pound of body weight. So, let's say you reduce your diet to 500 calories per day below your required daily weight maintenance calorie intake number (which will vary somewhat based on weight, size, and metabolic speed). That would have you losing one pound every 7 days.

You could step it up and eat 1,000 calories less than your maintenance number, but that's the maximum number that is safely recommended, and isn't generally recommended for people trying to lose only small amounts of weight. Losing weight too fast can be very very dangerous for the body. But if you were to create a 1,000 calorie deficit every day, which, given your gender and size, may mean eating something between !,500 calories and 2,000 calories a day, you would lose 3.5 pounds each week, which would put you at a 10 pound weight loss in about 3 weeks.

The hardest part of this is finding out what your body's maintenance number of calories is. Average for an adult male is between 1,600 and 2,200, I believe. 1,600 would be pushing it (on the low end) though. The rest is easy, just math really. And you can eat whatever you want, as long as you stay within your calorie allotment. You could eat 2,200 (if that is your number) calories of only Cheetos and still lose weight, although I don't recommend it. Healthy food is good for you in ways that don't have anything to do with weight, and Cheetos are, similarly, bad for you in ways that have nothing to do with weight.

As soon as you have lost those 10 pounds, you will need to go back to eating a normal amount of food or serious health problems could and will result.

* Caloric deficits are created when your body gets less calories than it needs to fuel itself. It then taps into your body's fat stores for energy and burns them. That is how weightloss is achieved.
posted by jitterbug perfume at 11:31 PM on September 25, 2010 [6 favorites]

If some component of your metabolism is shitting the bed, diet isnt going to make you lose weight. Check in with your GP; unexplained weight gain can be a sign of underlying health problems.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:25 AM on September 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

You should read this:
posted by jason9009 at 1:09 AM on September 26, 2010

This diet is called a "detox" diet, but don't let that put you off - it's very good and very healthy. You essentially change your diet to eat only pulses, fruit, veg, nuts and seeds, but again, it's not as scary as it sounds. I've "cheated" in the past and added in fish - you'll still get the same benefits of the diet.

The things I really liked about this diet were a) you can eat as much as you want, all day b) it actually works, you do lose weight as well as getting more energy, and c) it teaches you a lot of good habits and recipes that you will use beyond the diet. So for example, I now eat very little salt and drink no caffeine, since I gave both up for the diet.
posted by ukdanae at 2:23 AM on September 26, 2010

Atkins will do this, pretty easily. I'd also surmise that weight gain for 20 year old students is sometimes explained by senior year parties.
posted by procrastination at 5:21 AM on September 26, 2010

Use a calorie counting website like FitDay. It will keep your snacking honest and educate you about where your calories are coming from. It's why I no longer eat everything wrapped in delicious calorie-laden tortillas.
posted by gerryblog at 6:23 AM on September 26, 2010

Quit drinking COMPLETELY for a month. You will drop 5 to 10 pounds without changing anything else.

Cut back on sweets, as in no desserts at all for a month.

Cut out all coffee except straight up black coffee.

I know you didn't say anything about exercise, but get 30 minutes a day more than you currently are.

If you have the metabolism of a 20 year old, you should drop this pretty quickly.
posted by TheBones at 7:11 AM on September 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

Cut back on simple carbs, make sure you are getting five servings of veg a day, and drink plenty of water. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, as well. If you are getting moderate exercise you should be fine on that score. Also cut out alcohol for that month and no sodas either.

BTW you should think back on what has been different the last two months to see if you can pinpoint WHY you have gained that amount of weight in that short period of time. If you have not changed your eating or exercise habits, you may want to consult a physician.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:34 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: 152 at 5'10" is underweight. If you're pudgy at that height and weight, you are skinny fat -- you have very little muscle mass, and will have more difficulty losing weight than someone with a similar bodyfat percentage but more muscle because your lack of muscle gives you a slower metabolism.

If your question is "What do I eat so that I can weigh less in a month," the answer is basically anything, as long as it's less than you currently eat. So keep a food diary for a few days, figure out your daily caloric intake, and reduce it by 500-800. The problem with this approach is that you may have to eat very little food to get there, you're very likely to gain back the fat you lose, and you're not necessarily going to look a lot better after the weight loss, just smaller.

If your question is "How do I look better by the end next month," your best bet is to eat a sensible high-protein diet made of whole foods, focusing mostly on meat and veggies, and start a sensible beginner strength training program. You probably won't lose weight, but you will change your body composition by losing fat and gaining muscle, so you'll look better and be stronger.
posted by JohnMarston at 7:38 AM on September 26, 2010 [3 favorites]

I see lots of advice for vegetables and protein sources, but make sure you include fruit in your diet too. Eat a variety of colors in order to get necessary vitamins and nutrients that are easily obtainable and fiber to help keep you feeling full. I love apples for this.
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:03 AM on September 26, 2010

Seconding St. Alia...I'm more concerned about those 10 pounds within 2 months.

Talk to a doctor because that's a dramatic weight gain if nothing has changed in your diet or exercise.
posted by dzaz at 9:25 AM on September 26, 2010

Best answer: Answering the direct question: Drastically reduce (or cut out entirely) the carbs and sugar. Its easier if you think of it as eating nothing white (white rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, sugar). If you do eat carbs, make sure they're whole grain and full of fiber. Drink nothing with calories in them - stick to water, coffee and tea without cream or sugar, and diet pop (in moderation!). Do not eat in restaurants, at all. Basically, your diet will consist of fruits, veggies and lean meat. Any cheese, sauces, etc you add are all calories, so avoid these. Cut your normal portion sizes in half. If, after eating that and 30 minutes you're still starving, eat more, but our bodies don't actually tell us we're full until for about 20 minutes, during which time we usually keep eating. And finally, write down everything, absolutely everything, you eat. You'd be surprised.

I lost 50lbs in 6 months (10 in the first 3 weeks), and the above is pretty much what it boiled down to, although technically I was doing it via Weight Watchers online.

That all being said, your BMI is 21.8. Although BMI is generally bunk science, it's still a good guideline, and yours is right smack dab in the normal weight range. There is something else going on - check with your doc, and if it's a beer belly or similar you're trying to get rid of, consider reducing your body fat % via weight training instead of a diet.
posted by cgg at 10:06 AM on September 26, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm not sure how someone can grasp your body composition without seeing you, or try to tell you how you're supposed to look which is obviously ridiculous. Besides you specifically didn't ask for exercise advice.

So here is where you should start: count your calories. Find out how many calories you need. Gauge how many calories you're taking in and eliminate where necessary. Eliminating the excess sweets is usually the easiest way to go about that.

Dieting is fairly simple and straightforward, it's the execution that's tough.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:35 PM on September 26, 2010

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