Can You Lose 15 Pounds in a Month?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Tip

While it's possible to lose 15 pounds in one month, it doesn't mean it's safe or healthy. Focus on eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly to help you lose weight at a more sustainable pace, per the Mayo Clinic.

The Science Behind Weight Loss

Contrary to what you may have heard, weight loss isn't all about calories in versus calories out. While it's important to reduce your calorie intake and exercise regularly, food quality matters too. For example, 500 calories worth of skinless chicken breast and sweet potatoes are not the same as 500 calories worth of chocolate or fries.

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Your diet should also include plenty of fiber and healthy fats, as both nutrients increase satiety and aid in weight loss.

Is Losing 15 Pounds in a Month Healthy?

Do a quick online search for "how to lose 15 pounds in a month" or "meal plan to lose 15 pounds," and you'll get thousands of results pointing to fad diets, slimming pills and magic workouts that claim to melt away fat overnight. Unfortunately, weight loss not that simple in fact, it's dangerous to lose weight that rapidly, per the Mayo Clinic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), losing 1 to 2 pounds per week is a safe and sustainable rate of weight loss. This amounts to losing 4 to 8 pounds per month not 15 pounds in a month.

Similarly, fad diets may aid in weight loss but carry serious health risks like malnutrition and starvation, according to the Mayo Clinic all of which can happen if you take such drastic measures to lose 15 pounds in a month. That's because some of these weight-loss plans, like the cabbage soup diet, eliminate most foods, which may deprive your body of essential nutrients.

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While you shouldn't aim to lose 15 pounds in a month, there are still a few things you can do to get results at the CDC-recommended pace of 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week. Eating a nutritious diet (more on that in a moment) and exercising regularly can all help, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Tip

To stay safe, talk to your doctor before starting any weight-loss program, per the Mayo Clinic, especially if you have an existing condition like diabetes, gallstones or heart disease.

Diets to Consider for Weight Loss

Certain eating styles may help support your weight-loss goals. Here are some diets worth considering:

1. Mediterranean Diet

Per the Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean diet is packed with fibrous foods like:

  • Whole grains like brown rice and whole-wheat bread
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables, including cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and kale
  • Legumes like beans, peas and lentils
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

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Ready to get started? Try this 7-day Mediterranean diet meal plan.

2. Keto Diet

The ketogenic diet is low in carbs, moderate in protein and high in fats, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Here's how it may encourage weight loss: When you cut back on carbs, your body breaks down fat to produce ketones as an alternative source of fuel, a metabolic state is called ketosis, per the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Furthermore, this diet plan may also decrease hormones that trigger your appetite.

3. WW

WW formerly Weight Watchers promotes lifestyle habits like nutritious eating and activity by assigning users a personalized daily point allocation that helps steer them towards beneficial choices.

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Because the program focuses on developing long-term habits to support weight loss or management, it may be a good option for sustainable weight loss, according to the Mayo Clinic.

4. Intermittent Fasting

Another eating style that may support weight loss is intermittent fasting (IF). Depending on your preferences, you can have a designated time frame for fasting each day, fast every other day or fast once or twice a week.

According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, this eating pattern may promote weight loss in clinical trials, dieters lost 7 to 11 pounds in as few as 10 weeks. Some studies, though, haven't found any significant changes in body weight or cardiovascular health markers in people who incorporated intermittent fasting into their diet.

Warning

Beware that fasting might not be safe for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, teenagers, people with diabetes and people who have or have had an eating disorder, per the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Exercises to Help Lose Weight

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Diet isn't the only piece of the weight-loss puzzle. Exercising regularly is important, too.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend adults participate in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week (or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity). You could break this down into 30 minutes of cardio, five days a week, for instance.

Examples of cardio workouts include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Biking
  • Rowing
  • Elliptical
  • Swimming

It's also important to balance aerobic activity with strength training, including weight lifting and bodyweight exercises. This will help keep your muscles strong and mobile, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Read more on: livestrong


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