Ah, the holy grail of healthy living. Is it possible to lose 10 pounds in 30 days and still be healthy? You bet your soon-to-be-in-your-skinny-jeans-booty it is! Recently, I went public with two transformation goals: the first was a quest to get back into my skinny jeans, and the second is a 90 day transformation contest sponsored by Lifetime Fitness, that I am hoping will motivate me to get into my “pre-babies” skinny jeans.

Of course the big-picture plan is to be a healthy and fit mom forever. But it is also healthy to set small, concrete and challenging goals. This will force you to get out of your comfort zone and try some things you normally wouldn’t.The truth is, what I am about to share with you is NOT meant for the long-term. Losing 10 pounds in 30 days requires a strict clean living lifestyle and a strong motivation. Did I say strict? I meant STRICT. I did a lot of research on this topic and spoke with veteran nutritionists and personal trainers and they couldn’t stress this enough.

Oxygen Magazine introduced a wildly popular (and somewhat controversial) plan to lose 10 pounds in 21 days in their Spring 2009 Issue. This meal plan was a modified plan introduced in 2003 by Phillip L. Goglia, Ph.D. and founder of Performance Fitness Concepts in Santa Monica, California. He should know about quick weight loss as he is accredited to getting many film and TV actresses ready for their starring role. The downside to this meal plan is that you have to significantly curb your workouts because you will only be consuming 1200 calories a day which is the minimum recommended for just living!  This may sound like a vacation for some of you, but be warned, although you may lose the 10 pounds or more, you will probably lose some muscle. The upside is that you might reignite your metabolism for maximum fat-burning potential. This can be very helpful if you are finding yourself at a plateau.

Speaking of “starring roles,” what is your motivation? That was the second most important factor for success that I heard from the fitness and health professionals. According to Arianny Washington-Slade, personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness, “An individual’s commitment level dictates ALL of their success. As cliché as it may sound, you have to want it! How bad do you want to lose that initial or last 10lbs?  Why do you want to lose the 10lbs?  There will be days you just don’t feel like hitting the gym or staying on your diet, on those days you will want to remember WHY you’re doing it.”

Having my “why” set, I needed to learn some clear-cut guidelines on how to embark on such an intense short-term goal. So, I sat down with Arianny so she could give me her no-fail strategy for losing 10 pounds in 30 days. (*Note- she does not set a calorie limit but instead recommends eating enough calories to fuel your lifestyle and workout regimen).

1. Find your “Why”: Set your goal and determine your commitment level.

2. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water, gradually increasing your intake. If you don’t drink any water, start with 8-12 ounces a day, or add 8 more ounces to what you’re already consuming. Eliminate all other sugary drinks. Eventually you want to consume at least 64oz of water every day. (Some of my personal tricks for getting more water include drinking flavored seltzer or putting lemons in a fruit infusion pitcher. I use this one here) (photo credit)

3. Eat Well-Timed Meals: Eating every 3-4 hours a day is crucial at maintaining your metabolism at its peak.  Think of your body as a furnace: you want to make sure you fuel the fire by adding wood to keep the fire going and burning.  The same with your metabolism. The timing is crucial in keeping your body in a fat burning state. Too much wood in a furnace can make the fire die out, because it’s overwhelmed by the amount of wood and there’s not enough oxygen coming through.  Think of your metabolism shutting down because you’re eating too frequently. It becomes exhausted and it shuts down.  On the other hand, going too long without adding wood to the fire will definitely make the fire dwindle and die out, so you need to add wood gradually to keep the fire going. The same though applies to your metabolism. When you go too long without food, it slows down and by the time you eat again, it will not use the food you eat as energy but will convert it to fat.  You have heard it before, I will say it again – start your morning with breakfast to wake your metabolism up and then time your meals from there.

4. Eliminate Certain Foods Rather Than Restricting Calories: It’s best to focus on what kind of foods to eliminate rather than how much to eliminate.  When watching what you eat, focus on cutting back on anything that’s processed. If its not a food you recognize or it took more than 5 ingredients to make then you shouldn’t eat it.  As difficult as it may sound, I would eliminate the 3 foods most likely to cause an allergy: gluten (wheat), dairy and soy. You should shed 3-5lbs of water retention in the first week alone from eliminating these items.  After you reach your weight loss goals, slowly introduce them back in and see how your body responds to each one of them.

5. Limit Fruit Intake: Watch out for the fruits! They are nutrient dense but the sugar is something else we should focus on cutting back during these 30 days.  Think of berries when consuming fruits and limit it to two servings a day. (Most fitness professionals recommend using vitamin supplements whenever trying a food restrictive diet. Please don’t sacrifice your health to lose a few pounds!)

6. Create a Well Balanced Plate: When planning your meals, you want to make sure you always have a protein option, a healthy fat (animal fat is okay, coconut oil, nut butters, olive oil) and plenty of non-starchy vegetables.  Avoid having ‘fat-free’ items.  Again, when the body feels starved, not just from foods but also fats, it will hold on to fat.  Not only will it keep you mentally sharp, but it will help you feel satisfied longer between meals.

So there you have it. It won’t be easy, but it isn’t impossible! Keep in mind that if it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the “hard” that makes it great. If you have read this post this far, I am convinced that you are great, you are motivated, and that you can do this! Give it a try, you have nothing to lose (but 10 pounds!) and let us know how you did.


Arianny offers this advice for keeping the 10 lbs off after the month is over:

“Keeping the weight off is about consistency.  Yes, you have lost the 10 pounds in 30 days but can you hang in there for 2-4 more weeks so your body is comfortable at this new weight?  It takes about 4-6 weeks for your body to adapt to these kind of changes and for your results to really show. That’s where the challenge really lies, not in losing the weight but giving your body time to adapt to its new body weight.  If you focus on changing your metabolism and making your body more efficient at burning fat rather than just losing a couple of pounds, then there shouldn’t be a concern about gaining the weight back soon after you lose it. Unless, of course, you just go off the deep end and become a couch potato and eat calorie dense foods… that’s another story.  This is why, especially for women, it is important to emphasize building & retaining muscles so your body can become a fat burning machine.  This way when you have a girls night out or are celebrating your kid’s birthday and your diet slips a bit, you don’t have to worry about gaining 5 lbs overnight.  You have trained your body to use those calories as energy and not store it as fat, plus, your body is now comfortable at its new body weight–10 pounds lighter!”

Arianny Washington, NASM-CPT graduated from William Paterson University.  She discovered her love for running her senior year in high school, where her fitness journey began.  In college she learned how to lift weights for the first time where she decided to further her education with exercise physiology courses while pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She has been a personal trainer for 9 years and finds joy in helping others change their lives through health & fitness, specializing in functional training, corrective exercise and weight loss coaching.  Her own training regimen consists of running, strength training and Yoga.  During her free time she loves spending time with her 2 year old baby girl, her husband and trying out new recipes.