How Long Does it Take to Lose 30 Pounds | Ultimate Guide

Lose 50 pounds diet plan

This content has been Fact-Checked by a Certified Nutritionist in our Publishing Team. Learn more here. Always consult a medical professional before commencing any diet.

How Long Does it Take to Lose 30 Pounds?

Weight loss is different for each person; it might take longer for some than others due to their metabolism, health, current weight and lifestyle.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know to work out how long it is going to take you to lose 30 pounds.

Taking in consideration your body and lifestyle.

Plus, we have prepared a meal plan for you and some awesome tips to help you lose weight and achieve your goals faster.

I hope you are ready for some good change in your life and to feel good inside out!

It’s Time to Assess Yourself

To find out how long it takes to lose 30 pounds you will need to gather some information about yourself.

First, what is your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)? Wait, don’t click away! It’s easy to calculate, and essential to know.

Let’s explain what your BMR is before we move on to calculating it.

Basically, your BMR is the energy you spend doing nothing. Yes, you read that right – while doing nothing.

Remember, your body is a machine with various functions running in the background.

Calculate Your BMR

If you know your BMR, you can calculate how to lose, gain or maintain your weight.

Yes! As you can see, your BMR is a very important tool on your path to losing 30 pounds.

Studies have found that women burn between 1600-2400 calories a day while sedentary, and men between 2000-3000. But let’s get your number!

If you’re good at math, you can use the following formula to calculate your BMR.

BMR for Men: 66.47 + (13.75 x weight kg) + (5.003 x height cm) – (6.755 x age)

BMR for Women: 655.1 + (9.563 x weight kg) + (1.85 x height cm) – (4.676 x age)

Or, if you have a headache after trying to figure that out, rather use this nifty calculator.

Just a reminder, your BMR is not the calories you have to eat a day – it is the energy your body needs to function while you are sedentary.

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Calories In Versus Calories Out

As mentioned above, it is also essential to keep an eye on your daily caloric intake when you are trying to lose weight.

You’ve probably been on a few diets throughout your life and know that it basically comes down to what you eat versus how much you burn.

Track your food for a few days to see how many calories you eat.

Calories in versus calories out; eating less than what your body needs will cause it to turn to fat reserves!

Most of us don’t know how many calories we consume a day. You can start tracking your calories daily by using MyFitnessPal or a similar app.

After tracking your food intake for a few days, you have a basic idea of how much you have been eating.

Now we need to calculate how much you need to eat to lose weight.

The Harris-Benedict Formula (HB)

How many calories to burn per day for weight loss?

The answer is it depends on our daily activity levels.

Our bodies need depends on various factors; if you are highly active, you will need more calories; if you are inactive, your body will use less.

Using this equation ….

BMR x Activity Factor

…you will be able to work out how many calories you need to eat a day to maintain your current weight.

The activity factor is as follows, in brackets:

  • Little or no exercise (1,2)
  • Light exercise, doing sports 1-3 days a week (1,375)
  • Moderate sports/exercise 3-5 days a week (1,55)
  • Intense sports/exercise 6-7 days a week (1,725)
  • Physical job or hard training, employed in sports or exercise (1,9)


Carol’s BMR is 1600 calories, and she is only lightly active during the day.

This means Carol needs to eat 2200 (1600 x 1.375) calories a day to maintain her weight.

But Carol doesn’t want to maintain, does she?

To lose weight, Carol has 2 options:

  1. Eat less than 2200 calories a day. That’s of course, based on her current level of activity.
  2. She can increase her exercise levels, for example to 3-5 times a week and continue to consume 2200 calories a day.
    Based on this scenario Carol could really consume 2,480 to maintain her weight.
    She will lose weight if she remains eating 2200 per day – that’s 280 calories less a day, 1960 calories less in a week!

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Take a Quiz!

How many calories in a pound?

This sounds like a good number to know!

3500 is the answer you’re looking for.

Knowing this number can take you a step closer to losing 30 pounds. For example, to lose one pound of fat a week, you have to cut 3500 calories.

So, 3500 divided by seven gives you 500 calories a day.

All you now have to do is subtract the 500 calories from the total amount you consume per day.

Doing this, you will lose…eight pounds in two months by only tweaking your diet! Just think of the results when you add exercise.

Armed with these numbers and a good dose of willpower, you are on your way to success.

How Long Does it Take to Lose 30 Pounds on an 1200 calorie diet?

If you apply the formulas above it is going to be highly possible to lose 2,4 pounds a week by restricting your calories to 1200.

That leaves you just shy of 30 pounds in three months.

Losing weight at such a steady pace might not be what you want to do, but it is the healthiest way.

One to two pounds a week is what you’re aiming for, much more and it can lead a drop in blood pressure, leading to dizzy spells; losing muscle; hair loss, etc.

And, as you’ve probably heard time and time again, losing weight fast usually leads to gaining it back, and then some!

To give you an idea of what eating 1200 calories a day looks like, here is an example of what you can eat in a day:



Whole grain toast topped with half an avocado and one egg.


Raspberries (3/4 cup)


Lettuce wrap vegetarian burger with tomato, mushrooms, onion and a sauce of your choice.


Half of medium bell pepper with three tablespoons hummus.


Creamy chicken and mushrooms with a side of roasted cauliflower topped with Parmesan

As you can see, filling up with whole foods that provide you with all the necessary nutrients and energy will leave you feeling satiated. Actually, you will be surprised how full you’ll feel – and how good it tastes.

Healthy Foods That Will Fill You Up

vegetables and fruits

  • Oats
  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Eggs
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Popcorn
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Clementine
  • Berries
  • Cucumbers
  • Grapefruit
  • Lettuce
  • Cottage cheese
  • Kale
  • White mushrooms
  • Papaya
  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon

Note: The key is to go for plant-based foods, veggies, fruit, legumes, and grains that are super good for you. Stay away from processed foods.

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Dairy foods:

  • Low Fat Natural/Greek Yogurt (mix with fresh fruits or sprinkle muesli on top for extra flavor) Caution: Some muesli brands contain a lot of sugar. I recommend making your own muesli.
  • Lite Milk
  • Cottage Cheese

Good Fat Foods:

  • Avocado
  • Almonds
  • Extra Virgin/Cold-pressed Olive Oil
  • Salmon
  • Chia
  • Walnuts
  • Sardines

These are some examples of good fat foods which you can have in moderation. They are rich in omega 3 and will make you fuller for longer. Check out more foods rich in Omega 3 here.

Note: It does not mean that you can overindulge on foods that are labeled as ‘healthy’. Healthy food is also made up out of calories and since you want to lose weight – every calorie counts.

List of Foods to Avoid

  • French fries
  • Sugary drinks
  • Bread
  • Pastas
  • Candy bars
  • Fruit juice
  • Pastries and cakes
  • Alcohol
  • Ice cream
  • Pizza
  • High-calorie coffee drinks

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Word of Caution

Most medical experts will tell you that you should not restrict yourself to less than 1200 calories a day. And for a good reason; when not eating enough calories, there are some nasty side effects that could wipe away your resolve entirely and leave you reaching for that chocolate cupcake.

Eating too little can lead to:

  • Loss of nutrients
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue (both physical and mental)
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Muscle loss
  • Menstrual cycle upset
  • Gallstones

A slimmer waistline might be your dream but should not be at the cost of your health. If you feel unwell, get yourself checked out by a doctor.

30 Pound Weight Loss Tips

We’ve covered calorie counting and now you know how many calories to consume a day. That means you have got 3 options:

  1. Decrease the number of calories you consume by dieting
  2. Burn calories by exercising
  3. All the above

If you choose option 3 that’s the way to go!

They say 80% of weight loss is based on nutrition and 20% on exercise.

That might not seem like a lot but getting active will turbo-charge your fat-burning capabilities AND make you build muscle.

This means when the flab melts away, you will have a toned body to flaunt on the next beach holiday.

1. Exercise tips:

Create a Plan

  1. Get a calendar that has enough room to write your weekly workout plan and stick it on your fridge
  2. Set a goal: how many calories you want to burn per day (we learned that just before using the formulas)
  3. Create your daily activities: such as walking, swimming, running and for how long.
  4. Use a calorie tracking app: Calorie counting apps let you enter your daily exercises and calories burned. This is great for tracking your daily progress and to keep you motivated.
    To find out how many calories you can burn by doing 30 minutes of different exercises, check out this table on Healthy Havard site.

Don’t Overdue

When first starting, don’t overdo it as it can lead to joint pain that will likely land you on the couch and not in the gym.

To get into the habit of regular exercise, you don’t want anything to break your stride and sap away your motivation.

If you have sustained an injury or are afraid of hurting yourself, try sticking to water-based activities. You can also talk to a physical trainer or your doctor to guide you in the right direction.

The bottom line, make a commitment and victory will follow.

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How and When to exercise?

You want to get your blood pumping. It will speed up your metabolism, burning a lot of calories.

Cardio exercises like jogging, biking, dancing and kickboxing are excellent choices if you want to burn fat and improve your overall fitness level.

But, don’t forget to train those muscles.

Building more muscle means burning more calories while you’re not training!

Since a person’s resting metabolic rate is higher if they have more muscle, one pound of muscle burns six calories a day; fat, only two.

The ideal is to follow a program that combines cardio and resistance training and your results will speak for itself.

Aim for exercising three to five days a week.

Here is an example of the calories a person who weighs 155 pounds will burn while doing specific exercises:

  • Weight lifting 112 calories
  • Water aerobics 149 calories
  • Step machine 223 calories
  • Stationary bicycle 260 calories
  • Tennis 260 calories
  • Stationary rowing 260 calories

2. More Tips to Lose 30 Pounds

  • Eat smaller portions
  • Slow down while you are eating
  • Don’t skip meals
  • Replace sugary drinks by the water
  • Keep yourself busy
  • Sleep more
  • Set a definite time for each meal and do not eat at night before sleeping.

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Weight Loss Meal Planning

Meal prepping makes sticking to your diet easier.

Since you can’t outrun a bad diet, and it is clear how important nutrition and calories are when trying to lose weight, some people put a lot of effort in to prepare their meals in advance.

This is also a good tactic if you have a tight schedule and don’t have much time to think about food after a long day. It will stop you from heading to the drive-through because a ready prepared meal will be waiting at home.

It’s an easy concept: Reheat and eat.

Decide on a meal, for example, chicken breast, broccoli, and two boiled eggs. Then buy the ingredients in bulk, cook it and divide it into seven containers – one for each day.

You can do this with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And even include snacks!

Although you might pull your nose up at eating the same thing for a whole week, remember your goal is to get healthy and lose 30 pounds.

Meal prepping takes a lot of the guesswork out of your eating plan and removes most of the room for error.

Lose 30 Pounds Conclusion

Calories and exercise; that is the foundation of losing weight.

Don’t overcomplicate the process, eat in a caloric deficit and get active at least three to five times a week.

Before you know it, you would have lost 30 pounds in a healthy and sustainable manner!

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This content has been Fact-Checked by a Certified Nutritionist in our Publishing Team. Learn more here.

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