By Amy Hunt
Wondering how to lose a stone in a month? The best way to sustainably lose weight is to do it slowly and gradually. But, losing a stone in a month is safe if you follow our simple step-by-step guide.
To help you on your weight loss journey, we spoke to nutritionist Kim Pearson. It doesn't matter if you've just started your weight loss journey, or are already halfway through and want to lose those last few pounds—our expert-approved guide is here to help.
With a range of nutrition tips and exercise advice, depending on how closely you follow our plan you could drop a stone in just four weeks.
You could try a more specific diet plan, like The Cambridge Diet or the 24-hour smoothie diet, but this guide is a good all-rounder if you want to shake up your diet and exercise routine in nine easy steps.
If you have any health concerns, you should speak to your doctor before embarking on a new fitness or nutrition plan.
How to lose a stone in a month: a step-by-step guide
1. Have a protein-rich breakfast
Swap your morning cereal for a protein-rich breakfast. Protein fills us up and keeps us satisfied for longer, so aim to include it in all your meals during the month.
"Swapping your cereal or toast for a protein-based breakfast will help keep you fuller for longer and help to prevent mid-morning snacking," Kim explains. "Research has shown that a high protein breakfast promotes weight loss by regulating our 'appetite' hormones, making how to eat less easier than ever before, as it makes us naturally want to eat less later in the day."
There are so many benefits of protein powder, so if you're stuck for ideas use one of the best protein powders to whizz up a shake. Mix it with low sugar fruit like berries, a handful of spinach, a tablespoon of flax seeds and some almond milk.
2. Fill your plate with vegetables
"Carbohydrates are converted to sugar in the body and if these sugars aren't used for energy, they're likely to get stored as fat," Kim explains, "Avoid foods like white rice, pasta, noodles and bread. Cauliflower rice and courgette spaghetti make great alternatives to your standard rice and pasta."
At dinnertime, Kim advises making sure at least half of your plate includes mostly green vegetables and other low-carb vegetable options, such as mushrooms or tomatoes.
3. Add Good fats to all your meals
Kim admits that it's imperative you eat fat—contrary to what you've been told. "You might think that eating fat leads to gaining weight, but actually the opposite is true. Fat is not only essential for health, but numerous studies have shown that a diet lower in carbs but higher in healthy fats is the best—and quickest—way to lose weight."
So the key point is healthy fats, but what sort of foods can we find this in?
"Good fats can be found in oily fish, nuts such as walnuts and seeds like flaxseeds and chia seeds, they are some of the best foods for weight loss. Aim to include a moderate portion of healthy fats at each of your meals during the month," Kim says.
A great way to make sure you're sticking to portion sizes while also getting the right amount of key nutrients you'll need is through the best recipe boxes. Many subscription services offer lower-calorie alternatives to all your favorite dishes—including pasta, steak and curry. They deliver all the spices, herbs and pastes you'll need to discover new flavors. Plus, all the recipes to make an exciting range of lower-calorie dishes, straight to your front door.
4. Don't snack
"Whilst this does depend on the individual, for the average person who isn't following an intensive exercise program, eating three meals per day, five hours apart is ideal," Kim tells us. "For example, you might have breakfast at 9am lunch at 2 pm and dinner at 7pm. It's also always a good idea to avoid eating late in the evening."
Kim also advises against snacking and grazing between meals during this month. "It's better to eat a substantial meal at your main meals and then allow time in between meals. This allows your body the opportunity to use up some of your stored fat reserves, rather than purely focussing on ‘easy energy' from the food you've just eaten," she says.
5. Exercise five times a week
When it comes to workouts for fat loss, it's best to incorporate a range of training into your workout plan.
"My personal trainer colleagues like to advise a combination of HIIT (high intensity interval training) as well as weight training for quick weight loss," Kim says.
"Training that promotes muscle growth will also help to increase the body's metabolic rate. The more muscle we have, the more calories the body burns even at rest, so it's good for losing weight and maintaining weight loss, to help you keep the extra pounds off," she adds.
6. Opt for low sugar alcohol
"Alcoholic drinks can contain a surprising amount of calories and sugar so moderating your alcohol consumption is important for weight loss," Kim says, "Alcohol can also increase your appetite and compromise your willpower when it comes to food choices! So it's generally better to avoid it."
The standard alcohol recommendation is not to drink more than 14 units (aka six small glasses of wine) a week, so always stick within these guidelines as a maximum.
"When you do drink, eat food first to reduce alcohol's negative effects and opt for lower sugar, dry wines such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc," Kim advises.
7. Have one treat meal per week
Kim Pearson maintains that we should all have a treat now and again—just not that often!
"Cutting out everything you love is likely to end up making you miserable," Kim says, and we couldn't agree more. Moderation is everything when it comes to weight loss and for a program to be effective, it needs to be something you can commit to and stick to.
"Allow yourself one treat meal per week where you can eat whatever you fancy. Or, spread your treats over the week. This might be a small bar of dark (70%) chocolate, or equivalent, every day. Remember though—the more treats you have, the slower the weight loss will be, so don't have them too regularly," Kim says.
8. Beware of hidden sugars
"Eating too much sugar is one of the fastest ways to gain weight," Kim says. "If it's not used immediately for energy (like exercise), the body will convert sugar to fat to store for future use."
We all know that biscuits, cakes, chocolate, and sweets are high in sugar, so it's the foods with hidden sugars that we need to watch out for.
"You might be surprised, but you'll find hidden sugars in cereal bars, stir fry sauces, salad dressings, and even breakfast smoothies," says Kim. "Check the nutrition information to find out how much sugar is really in your food, and if in doubt, swap it for real fruits, or make your own sauces and salad dressings."
9. Keep track
Whether you use one of the best fitness trackers to monitor your diet and exercise, or an app like MyFitnessPal, keeping track of what you're eating, how often you're eating and how much you exercise can help spot any issues that might be hindering your weight loss journey.
"I recommend using MyFitnessPal to record what you are eating over the month," Kim says, "This is so useful in identifying unhelpful behaviors, as well as foods you might think are healthy, but might discover aren't."
Amy Hunt is Life Channel Editor at womanandhome.com, having been with the brand since 2015. She began as the magazine's features assistant before moving over to digital as a News and Features Writer, before becoming Senior Writer, and now a Channel Editor. She has worked on either women's lifestyle websites previously too—including Woman's Weekly, Goodto.com, Woman, and Woman's Own. In 2019, Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards, for her work on womanandhome.com. She is passionate about everything from books, to homes, to food and the latest news on the royal family. When she isn't editing or updating articles on cleaning, homewares, the newest home gadgets, or the latest books releases for the website, she's busy burying her nose in a gripping thriller, practising yoga, or buying new homeware of her own.
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