When it comes to weight loss, a lot of people are champion procrastinators. They say things like, “I’ll start my diet next month,” or “I’ll start losing weight on January 1st.”
Unfortunately, putting things off until later is a good way to never start. And the longer you delay starting your weight loss journey, the more work you’ll have to do.
So, instead of waiting, why not start losing weight TODAY? After all, the sooner you start, the sooner it’ll all be over!
Commit to cleaning up your diet and exercising more for the next four months. Treat this period as your own bodyweight transformation challenge. You’ll be amazed at how different you will look and feel in 16 weeks.
So, how much weight can you lose in 16 weeks? Keep reading to find out!
How Much Weight Can You Lose in Four Months?
The speed of weight loss varies from person to person. Some people are lucky and can lose weight quickly, while others find it a bit more laborious and lose weight more slowly. Your diet and exercise plan will also determine how quickly you lose weight.
That said, it is possible to estimate how much you could lose in four months/16 weeks.
It’s generally accepted that a pound of fat equals 3,500 calories. So, to burn a pound of fat, you need to expend 3,500 more calories than you consume. This is called creating a calorie deficit or being in a negative energy balance.
So, if you need 2,500 calories per day to maintain your current weight but only consume 2,000, you will create a 3,500-calorie deficit every seven days (500 x 7) and should lose one pound per week. Multiply that by 16 weeks, and you should lose 16 pounds in four months.
Of course, if you create a more significant deficit, you’ll lose more weight.
Over the same four months, a daily deficit of 750 calories will produce a weight loss of 24 pounds. A deficit of 1000 calories should lead to losing 32 pounds.
However, it’s generally best to avoid cutting your calorie intake too aggressively. Reducing your calorie intake too low can lead to hunger and cravings, making you more likely to break your diet. As such, it’s generally best not to cut your calorie intake by more than 1000, and 500-750 works best for most people.
So, to summarize, you should be able to lose 16 to 32 pounds in four months. However, your actual results will depend on your diet, workout program, genetics, and dedication.
How to Create a Calorie Deficit
To create a calorie deficit, you must first calculate how many calories you need to consume per day to maintain your current weight. This is called your Total Daily Energy Expenditure, or TDEE for short.
Your TDEE comprises several components:
BMR – short for Basal Metabolic Rate, this is the number of calories you burn in 24 hours at rest and in a fasted state.
TEA – this is the number of calories burned during physical activity, such as exercise, doing chores, walking, etc. TEA is short for the Thermal Effect of Activity.
TEF – surprisingly, eating, digesting, utilizing, and transporting food uses energy. This is called the Thermal Effective of Food.
So, your TDEE equals BMR + TEA + TEF.
This is the total number of calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight at your current levels of activity.
While you could work out your TDEE yourself, you’ll find it much easier and more convenient to use our online TDEE calculator, which is very easy to use and 100% free!
Once you have determined your TDEE, you must subtract 500-1000 from that number to create your calorie deficit. For example, if your TDEE is 2,350 and you want to lose weight relatively slowly and comfortably, you might subtract 500 to give you 1,850.
Or, if you have good willpower and are prepared to put up with being hungry for the next four months, you could cut 1000 calories from your TDEE, giving you a daily calorie goal of 1,350.
If all this math makes your head spin, check out our easy-to-use weight loss calculator, which will do all these calculations for you.
Three Ways to Create A Calorie Deficit
So, you must provide your body with fewer calories than it needs to force it to burn fat for fuel. But, there are three ways to create a calorie deficit, and you need to know about each one so you can choose the best option for your needs and goals.
It’s entirely possible to lose weight just by eating less. For example, to cut 500 calories from your daily food intake, you could:
- Eat smaller meals
- Eat fewer meals
- Stop eating snacks
- Switch to low-fat foods
- Cut out processed food
- Cut out sugar
- Replace high-calorie ingredients with lower-calorie alternatives
On the downside, relying solely on calorie restriction could leave you feeling hungry, especially if you want a 750-1000 calorie per day deficit. You’ll also need to give up some of your favorite foods, and hunger will be a constant companion.
Given that the average person eats 2,000-3,000 calories per day, you’ll have to slash your food intake to create a deficit through dieting alone. Unfortunately, very low-calorie diets are rarely sustainable or successful.
Related: Fix Your Diet Forever in Six Weeks!
Exercise and physical activity burn calories, and the more you do, the greater your calorie deficit will be. It’s entirely possible to lose weight without resorting to eating less, providing you do enough exercise.
And that’s the problem – exercise is tiring and time-consuming. While you can burn 500+ calories in an hour, doing that every day could be exhausting. Also, long and intense workouts can increase your hunger, so it’s very possible you just end up eating more and don’t lose any weight despite your higher activity levels.
Exercise will make losing weight easier but trying to lose weight just by exercising more is seldom a good idea. Plus, on the days that you don’t work out, you won’t create a calorie deficit, and weight loss will stall.
The best workout for losing weight is the one you enjoy and can do regularly. For some people, that will be lifting weights. For others, it may be cardio. Some people may prefer to play sports or walking more.
Regardless, being physically active every day usually equates to easier, faster weight loss.
Diet and exercise combined
Neither diet nor exercise alone works well for weight loss. However, when you combine these two things, you’ll lose weight much more quickly and easily.
When you eat less AND workout, you don’t have to starve yourself or suffer through exhaustive daily workouts. Instead, you can eat a little less and do moderate workouts to create your calorie deficit.
For example, instead of slashing 500 calories a day from your diet or working out for an hour every day, you could eat 250 calories less and do a moderate 30-minute workout to burn an additional 250 calories. This will be much more sustainable than relying on diet or exercise alone.
Experts generally agree that diet AND exercise work better for weight loss than just eating less or working out more.
That said, there may be days when you don’t have the time or energy for exercise. To maintain your weight loss progress on those days, it may be necessary to rely solely on dietary restrictions to hit your calorie intake goal. You can also pump up the volume of your workouts if you eat more than usual and need to maintain your calorie deficit.
What is the Best Diet for Weight Loss?
Contrary to what you might have heard, there is no best weight loss diet – they all work! Providing your chosen diet provides you with the necessary calorie deficit, you can lose weight by eating almost any kind of food – even junk food.
That said, you’ll find the entire process easier if you focus on eating low-calorie foods that are filling and tasty, so you are less likely to feel hungry. High protein and high fiber foods are particularly satiating.
Ultimately, the best diet for weight loss is the one that provides you with the required calorie deficit and that you can stick to. Not for four hours, four days, or four weeks, but for the entire four months of your weight loss journey.
Ultimately, you can lose weight without changing the types of food you eat and just eating less. There is no need to go paleo, keto, or follow any other restrictive diet is you don’t want to. Just consume fewer calories and you’ll be golden.
What is the Best Workout for Weight Loss?
In the same way that there is no best diet for weight loss, there is no best workout. All types of exercise burn calories, from running to lifting weights to swimming to cycling to yoga. Ultimately, your caloric expenditure will increase as long as you get up and move, engage your muscles, and increase your heart and breathing rate. You can even garden or dance yourself slimmer!
That said, some forms of exercise burn more calories per hour than others, although energy expenditure is linked to exercise intensity. The harder you work out, the more calories you’ll burn. But, on the downside, you may not be able to exercise for as long or as often.
We’ve created a library of calorie expenditure by activity calculators so you can see how many calories you burn per workout.
By cutting your calorie intake and increasing your calorie expenditure, you should have no problem creating the energy deficit required for weight loss. Monitor your food intake, work out regularly and consistently, and you could lose as much as 32 pounds in four months!
Four Months Weight Loss – Wrapping Up
Many dieters fail to lose weight because their diets are open-ended and have no actual end point. As a result, their efforts lack direction and urgency, and they’re more likely to skip workouts or cheat on their diet because of it.
Needless to say, if you keep taking your foot off the gas, your progress could be very slow, and you may even stall and fail to lose any weight at all.
Giving yourself a four-month deadline will help keep you focused and motivated. With only 16 weeks to lose weight and get in shape, you cannot afford to miss workouts or break your diet. Plus, having an end date on your calendar can be very motivating.
How much weight will you lose in four months? That depends on you!
Create a larger calorie deficit and put plenty of energy into your workouts, and it could be 30 pounds or more. But, even a modest reduction in food intake and some moderate training should mean losing 16 pounds in 16 weeks.
The more you commit to the process, the more successful you’ll be, and the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be done!