Losing 30 pounds can be challenging and time consuming.

It likely not only involves making dietary and lifestyle adjustments but also carefully modifying your sleep schedule, stress levels, and eating habits.

Still, making a few simple changes in your daily routine can help you lose 30 pounds while improving your overall health.

This article covers some strategies that can help you lose 30 pounds safely.

Whether you want to lose 5 pounds or 30, making a few dietary changes is essential.

Decrease your calorie intake

Eating fewer calories than you burn each day is key when it comes to weight loss.

Some foods like potato chips, frozen meals, and baked goods pack a high number of calories but lack important nutrients like protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Loading your plate with low calorie, nutrient-dense foods can help keep you feeling full between meals while reducing your daily calorie intake to promote weight loss.

Fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, and lean cuts of meat, fish, and poultry are all great additions to a low calorie diet.

On the other hand, processed foods like chips, crackers, cookies, and convenience meals are typically high in calories and should be limited on a balanced, low calorie diet.

However, be sure to avoid cutting calories too low. Though calorie needs vary based on a number of factors, such as weight, height, gender, and activity level, decreasing your intake too drastically can slow your metabolism and make weight loss more difficult (1, 2).

For long-lasting, sustainable weight loss, try reducing your intake by 500–750 calories below your baseline to lose around 1–2 pounds (0.45–0.9 kg) per week (3).

Still, it’s generally recommended that women and men consume at least 1,200 and 1,500 calories, respectively (4).

Cut back on processed foods

Processed foods, such as instant noodles, fast food, potato chips, crackers, and pretzels are all high in calories and low in important nutrients.

According to a study in nearly 16,000 adults, consuming higher amounts of processed foods was tied to a higher risk of excess body weight, especially among women (5).

Other processed ingredients like soft drinks are high in added sugar, which can also contribute to weight gain.

In fact, multiple studies have found that an increased intake of sugar-sweetened beverages may be linked to weight gain and obesity (6, 7).

For best results, cut back on beverages like soda, sweetened tea, fruit juice, and sports drinks and opt for water or unsweetened coffee or tea instead.

Eat more protein

Adding more protein to your diet is a simple strategy to help speed up weight loss.

According to one small study in 15 people, eating a high protein breakfast reduced levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates feelings of hunger, more effectively than eating a high carb breakfast (8).

Another study in 19 people showed that doubling daily protein intake significantly reduced calorie intake, body weight, and fat mass over 12 weeks (9).

Meat, fish, and poultry are a few high protein foods that can be easily incorporated into a healthy weight loss diet.

Other nutritious sources of protein include eggs, dairy, legumes, tofu, and tempeh.

Fill up on fiber

Fiber, a nutrient almost exclusively found in plant foods, cannot be digested by your body (10).

Soluble fiber, in particular, is a type of fiber found in plant foods that absorbs water and can slow the emptying of the stomach to help keep you feeling full for longer (11).

Soluble fiber can also stabilize your blood sugar levels to prevent spikes and crashes, which could lead to increased hunger (12).

One study in 252 women found that each gram of fiber consumed was associated with 0.5 pounds (0.25 kg) of weight loss and 0.25% less body fat over 20-months (13).

Another recent study in 50 people showed that drinking a high protein, high fiber beverage before meals reduced hunger, the desire to eat, and food intake — all of which could be beneficial for weight loss (14).

Fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds are a few healthy examples of foods that are high in soluble fiber.

Drink plenty of water

Drinking more water is a quick and convenient way to boost weight loss.

In fact, some research suggests that drinking a cup of water before each meal can reduce your calorie intake to increase weight loss.

For instance, one study in 24 adults showed that drinking 17 ounces (500 ml) of water 30 minutes before breakfast decreased total calorie intake by about 13% (15).

What’s more, another study found that drinking 17 ounces (500 ml) of water temporarily increased the number of calories burned by 24% within an hour (16).

Summary

Reducing your calorie intake, cutting back on processed foods, eating more protein and fiber, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day can all help you lose 30 pounds.

In addition to switching up your diet, making a few modifications to your lifestyle can also boost weight loss.

Add cardio to your routine

Cardio, also known as aerobic exercise, is a type of physical activity that involves increasing your heart rate to burn extra calories.

Fitting some cardio into your routine is essential if you’re looking to lose 30 pounds sooner rather than later.

According to one study, participants who did cardio 5 times per week lost up to 11.5 pounds (5.2 kg) over 10 months, even without making any other changes to their diet or daily routine (17).

Ideally, try to squeeze in at least 150–300 minutes of cardio per week, or between 20–40 minutes per day (18).

Walking, jogging, swimming, biking, hiking, and boxing are a few examples of aerobic exercises that you can add to your routine.

If you’re just getting started, be sure to start slowly, set realistic goals for yourself, and increase the frequency and intensity of your workouts gradually to avoid overdoing it.

Try resistance training

Resistance training is a type of exercise that uses resistance to contract your muscles and build strength and endurance.

It can be especially beneficial for increasing lean body mass and boosting the number of calories that the body burns at rest, making it easier to lose weight in the long run (19).

In fact, one review found that 10 weeks of resistance training increased lean body mass by 3 pounds (1.4 kg), reduce fat mass by 4 pounds (1.8 kg), and increase metabolism by 7% (20).

Using weight machines, lifting free weights, or doing bodyweight exercises like push-ups, squats, crunches, and planks are all types of resistance training that can be beneficial for weight loss and health.

You may want to consider consulting a certified personal trainer when first starting to ensure that you’re practicing proper technique and using equipment safely to prevent injury.

Practice HIIT

High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, is a type of physical activity that involves alternating between bursts of intense exercise and periods of rest to keep your heart rate elevated.

Adding a few sessions of HIIT to your routine each week can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to weight loss.

In one study, participants who did HIIT for 20 minutes 3 times per week experienced significant reductions in belly fat, total fat mass, and body weight after 12 weeks (21).

Plus, another study in nine men found that HIIT burned more calories than other activities like running, biking, and weight training (22).

To get started, try alternating between 20–30 seconds of activities like jumping rope, push-ups, high jumps, or burpees with 30–40 seconds of rest in between.

Summary

Incorporating cardio, resistance training, and HIIT into your routine a few times per week can help promote sustainable weight loss.

Here are a few other tips to help you lose 30 pounds safely:

  • Avoid fad diets. Fad diets promote yo-yo dieting and unhealthy eating habits, and overly restrictive eating patterns may contribute to cravings and overeating (23, 24).
  • Eat slowly. Some studies suggest that chewing and eating your food more slowly can reduce calorie intake and meal size, which could bolster weight loss (25, 26).
  • Get plenty of sleep. Studies show that sleep deprivation is tied to a higher risk of weight gain, and improving the quality and duration of your sleep may increase the likelihood of successful weight loss (27, 28).
  • Hold yourself accountable. Research shows that regularly weighing yourself and keeping a food journal to monitor your intake can help increase weight loss over time (29, 30).
  • Reduce stress levels. Increased stress levels are linked to a higher risk of weight gain and may contribute to issues like emotional eating and binging (31, 32).
Summary

In addition to diet and exercise, reducing your stress levels, getting plenty of sleep, eating more slowly, avoiding restrictive fad diets, and holding yourself accountable can help you lose 30 pounds.

Several factors, including your starting weight, gender, and age, influence how quickly you’re able to lose weight.

Generally, most health experts recommend aiming for about 1–3 pounds (0.5–1.4 kg) of weight loss per week, or approximately 1% of your total body weight (33, 34).

Therefore, it may take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to lose 30 pounds safely.

However, keep in mind that weight loss can vary quite a bit from week to week.

To promote long-lasting and sustainable weight loss, it’s important to stick with any healthy dietary and lifestyle changes — even if you hit a plateau.

Summary

While the rate at which you’re able to lose weight depends on several factors, you should aim to lose around 1–3 pounds (0.5–1.4 kg) per week.

When you’re just getting started, losing 30 pounds may sound like a major feat.

Yet, making some healthy changes to your daily diet and workout routine can make it much more manageable.

Additionally, implementing a few other simple lifestyle changes can help maximize your results and ensure long-term success.