Weight loss is about so much more than just how you look. It’s about how you feel walking up the stairs and playing with your kids. It’s about being healthy so that you can live a long and happy life. But let’s be honest — looking just a bit better in a swimsuit this summer would be pretty nice, too. To that end, we’ve compiled our practical, gimmick-free guide to losing 10 lbs. in 6 weeks.
Let’s do the math
Sustainable, safe weight loss tops out at about 2 lbs. per week. For this plan, you’ll aim to lose 2 lbs. per week, but we’ve factored in a couple weeks where you might fall short, adding up to 10 lbs. total in 6 weeks. Noom does lots of leg work for you, showing you exactly how many calories you can consume in order to hit your weight loss goal, but if you’re curious where those numbers come from, here’s the answer. (If you’re not curious, you can always skip this section.)
According to research, 1 lb. equals about 3,500 calories. In other words, to lose 1 lb. you’d need to consume 3,500 calories less than you burn, or to gain 1 lb. you’d need to consume 3,500 calories more than you burn. So, to lose 2 lbs. per week, you need to consume 7,000 calories less than you burn per week.
It’s important to keep in mind, though, that you don’t just burn calories exercising. Your body is burning calories all the time, keeping your heart pumping and your lungs breathing, for example. The number of calories your body burns without exercising any extra is known as your BMR and depends on a number of factors, like your age, gender, weight, fitness level, and more. Noom calculates your BMR for you based in the info you input when you set up the app (you can also calculate it yourself here).
Burning more calories than your body needs can happen in one of two ways: you can consume fewer calories or you can burn more — or, of course, you can do both. With this plan, you’ll aim to do both, as cutting 1,000 calories per day or exercising 1,000 calories per day (7,000 calories per week / 7 days = 1,000 calories per day) would be tough.
Feel the burn
First, we’ll talk about ways to increase your calorie burn every day. By burning just 500 extra calories per day, you’re halfway to your goal of 2 lbs. of weight loss per week! Obviously, if you already workout at the gym, you know how you can get your burn on. For those who aren’t gym-rats, though, here are some creative, gym-free ideas to torch calories. (Keep in mind, the calorie counts below are estimates, and will vary based on your current weight, gender, age, and more.)
Go for a walk: Walking 1 mile in 20 mins burns about 100 calories. While you’ll burn more if you can walk longer (even better!), everyone can squeeze in at least 20 minutes somewhere in their day (during a coffee or lunch break, before you head to work, or after dinner).
Get your yard in order: Somewhat vigorous yardwork, like operating a push mower, shoveling snow, and weeding a garden will burn extra calories. This spring, spend a couple hours on the weekend tidying your yard to burn about 600 calories.
Try a new way to work: If you live somewhere where this is an option, try bicycling or walking to work. Again, walking burns 100 calories per 20-minute mile, and bicycling at a casual pace burns about the same number.
Take the stairs: Climbing the stairs burns nearly 200 calories in 20 minutes, but to hit that number, you’ll need to be moving pretty quickly. If you work or live in a tall building, try taking the stairs up and down a couple times once per day.
Make TV time exercise time: In the time it takes to watch just one 30-minute show, you could burn 150-200 calories! Use screen-time as a time to do calisthenics, like push-ups, sit-ups, and squats. Here are just a couple exercises to get you started.
Between all these ideas (and the usual workout options, of course), burning an extra 500 calories per day should be no sweat!
Eat your way thin
Often, cutting out sneaky extra calories can be even easier than exercising them away. Here are our favorite ways to cut down your calories both at meal times and in between meals.
Avoid mindless eating: Wandering into the kitchen to pick through the fridge? Ditch that habit! Instead of eating when you’re feeling upset, bored, or angry, try watching this gif instead. This could save you hundreds of calories per day.
Cut out calorie-laden drinks: Drinks like soda and sweetened tea don’t make us feel full, but they do add loads of calories. Try cutting out soda, juices, and other sweetened beverages to save yourself a slew of calories. Water and unsweetened tea and coffee are all essentially calorie-free.
Eat fruit for dessert: Dessert alone can easily tack 500 calories onto your meal. Instead, eat fruit for dessert, which is typically less than 100 calories for a hefty serving (log it in Noom to check the calories for your specific choices).
Only snack on veggies: The beauty of vegetables is that they’re so few calories for really large servings. If you’re going to munch on something between meals, this is your best bet — plus, now that it’s spring, you’ve got lots of delicious options in season.
Cook at home: Eating in may seem like a drag, but it’s the easiest way to have complete control over what you put into your body. Plan in advance to make healthy eating a breeze.
With all of these tips in your back pocket, cutting out 7,000 calories per week should be a breeze. Swimsuit season, here you come!