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Lose 30 Pounds in 3 Months Without Starving Yourself

Here’s how to lose the weight and keep it off.
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Losing 30 pounds in 3 months may seem like a tall order, but (depending on your starting weight), steady weight loss is possible. People with significant weight loss will lose more in the beginning. "Losing weight and keeping it off can be hard," says Yale Health. "Think about successes that you had before and how you were able to achieve them. Even small weight changes can have a big impact on your health. Losing 5-10% of your total body weight can improve blood sugar and blood pressure and reduce your risk for chronic diseases." Here are some proven ways to lose weight—and keep it off—without going on crazy, unsustainable diets.

Set a Calorie Deficit

Nutritional label with focus on calories.

The foundation of weight loss is about burning off more calories than you're taking in. "First, multiply your current weight by 15 — that's roughly the number of calories per pound of body weight needed to maintain your current weight if you are moderately active," say the experts at Harvard Health. "For example, to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week — a rate that experts consider safe — your food consumption should provide 500 to 1,000 calories less than your total weight-maintenance calories."

Lift Weights

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Lifting weights can boost your mood and help with weight loss. "Muscle is more metabolically active — it burns more calories than fat," William Yancy Jr, MD, tells AARP. "So having a higher ratio of muscle to fat will mean you burn more energy — just while sitting. To build that muscle, you have to exercise, and that burns calories, too."​

Avoid Added Sugars

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"Eating or drinking too much added sugar contributes to excessive calories with no vital nutrients," says UC Davis Health. "This can make it harder to maintain healthy eating habits. Replace soda and juice with healthier options like low-fat milk, carbonated water, or unsweetened iced tea."

Go To Bed!

Young woman turning off lamp before sleep in bedroom

Those late nights are doing your weight loss efforts absolutely no favors. "There is mounting evidence that people who get too little sleep have a higher risk of weight gain and obesity than people who get seven to eight hours of sleep a night," says the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. "People who don't get enough sleep are more tired during the day, and as a result may curb their physical activity."

Don't Drink Too Much

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"Across the board, for people who are trying to lose some weight, cutting out empty calories is a good place to start," Leslie Heinberg, PhD, tells the Cleveland Clinic. "Oftentimes, beverages are a big source of empty calories — whether it's soda, juice, sweet tea, beer, wine or cocktails. Any of those things add calories, but really without nutrition and without the sense of feeling full."

Make Activity Fun

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Go hiking with friends to make movement fun and social. "Surround yourself with friends and loved ones who support your efforts to eat a healthy diet and increase your physical activity," says the Mayo Clinic. "Better yet, team up and make the lifestyle changes together."

Enjoy a Healthy Diet

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A healthy, balanced diet like the Mediterranean diet will help you lose weight while still getting essential nutrients. Bonus points if you prep your own meals to save money and avoid unhealthy choices! "Meal prepping is a great way to save yourself both time and money, and it goes a long way toward reducing the stress of not knowing what to eat," registered dietitian Elyse Homan, MS, RD, LD, tells the Cleveland Clinic. "You can quickly make multiple days' worth of food and then not worry about meals the rest of the week."

Eat Oily Fish


Oily fish is full of healthy fats that are good for you and promote satiety. "Omega-3 fats may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammation," says the American Diabetes Association. "Fish high in these healthy fats are sometimes referred to as 'fatty fish.' Salmon is well-known in this group. Other fish high in omega-3 are herring, sardines, mackerel, trout, and albacore tuna."

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Try Meditating

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Meditation can help combat stress, which can help with weight loss. How? Stress is related to weight gain, especially around the abdomen. "Women deal with all kinds of stress-related health problems," Celine Riera, PhD, tells Cedars-Sinai. "It's amazing to see how much higher stress can be in women compared to men. Research on women's specific stress and adaptation to chronic stress has been overlooked, and we need to generate proper models to solve these questions."

Walk As Much As Possible

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You don't have to put yourself through intense gym workouts (unless you want to of course). Just walking as much as possible makes a difference. "The impact of movement — even leisurely movement — can be profound," Edward R. Laskowski, MD, tells the Mayo Clinic. "For starters, you'll burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy. Also, physical activity helps maintain muscle tone, your ability to move and your mental well-being, especially as you age."

Drink Water

Girl drinking water from bottle in forrest

Drink plenty of water to encourage fat burning and energy. "Proper hydration is essential for many bodily functions, including moving nutrients throughout the body, lubricating joints, and maintaining blood pressure," Vanessa Ling, ND, CNS, writes for the National Council on Aging. "Some evidence suggests that drinking water before a meal can curb your appetite to help with portion control."

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Cook Your Own Meals

Beautiful young couple having fun in the kitchen while cooking.

When you cook your own food at home, it's easier to keep to calories within your budget. "When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight," Julia A. Wolfson, MPP, tells Johns Hopkins. "Obesity is an escalating public health problem that contributes to other serious health issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. The evidence shows people who cook at home eat a more healthy diet." And if you enjoyed this article, take advantage of these 15 Quick Ways to Lose Body Fat Percentage in a Week.

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more