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The best way to lose 10 pounds in 30 days is to maintain a healthy diet, establish fun exercise routines and keep a positive outlook. Follow these 12 easy steps to reward yourself with 10 fewer pounds and a fun lifestyle. All of our examples assume burning or cutting 3,500 calories equals losing 1 pound, but remember your numbers will be unique to your situation and body type. You might lose more, you might lose less – just do what's best for you to see the best results on the bathroom scale.

Step 1: Count Calories
Reward: Lose 2 pounds

Counting calories is tedious, but knowing a few numbers can help. To lose weight, eat fewer calories and burn more than you eat. If you normally eat 2,000 calories a day, cutting 230 calories leaves you with 1770 to eat and 2,000 to burn. Doing this for 30 days cuts 6,900 calories, or about 2 pounds.

Step 2: Eat at Home
Reward: Lose 1 pound

Even if you order a salad, huge restaurant portions lead to overeating. If restaurant portions are 20 percent larger than what you'd eat at home, a 600-calorie salad becomes 720 calories. One restaurant meal a day for 30 days adds an extra 3,600 calories. Eating smaller, healthier meals at home instead trims pounds.

Step 3: Eat Pronounceable Foods
Reward: Less Fat Storage

If you eat foods and ingredients your body doesn't know how to process, like partially hydrogenated oil and sodium nitrates, they turn to fat and hang around your mid-section. Eat foods with ingredients you can pronounce, like apples, eggs and artichokes, to lose weight instead of keeping it.

Step 6: Cut Carbs
Reward: Lose 2 pounds

Yes, bread and pasta are delicious, but going easy on the carbs is a sure-fire way to lose weight. Aim for less than 50-100 grams of carbohydrates a day by eating vegetables, meat, fruit and nuts instead. Eating fewer carbs allows your body to burn glycogen stores, which quickly sheds at least 2 pounds of water weight.

Step 3: Stop Drinking Calories
Reward: Lose 1.5 pounds

Trimming calories, and your waistline, is easier without soda. A Coke can has 140 calories, and one per day adds 4,200 calories a month. That's almost a pound and a half right there. Juice, energy drinks and sugary coffees also add calories, so cut those out to lose weight.

Step 4: Drink Water
Reward: Lose 0.5 pounds

Drinking water doesn't automatically drop pounds, but it definitely helps. Water prevents you from overeating because sometimes when you feel hungry you're actually thirsty. Drinking at least 34 ounces of water every day increases your metabolic rate (calories burned while resting) so much that you could shed nearly half a pound a month.

Step 7: Love your Exercise
Reward: Endorphins

Exercising doesn't have to be drudgery. You're not going to do it if it's awful. Meet a friend at the gym, use a running app, or do an 80s workout video. Remember to switch up your routine too, even that scenic hike gets old if you climb it every day.

 

Step 8: Cardio Plus Muscle
Reward: Lose 2 pounds

Different exercises have different benefits: cardio burns calories, building muscle raises your metabolic rate, both resulting in weight loss. Up the amount of muscle building and cardio you do to see more results. You really could lose an extra pound or two by gaining some muscle.

Step 9: Eat Dessert
Reward: Happiness

That's right, eating sugar helps you lose weight. The psychological benefits of eating sugary treats in moderation gives you the stamina to eat healthy for the rest of your meals. Eating just a little sugar also removes the temptation to binge on "off limit" foods.

Step 10: Talk to Friends and Family
Reward: Support

Telling your friends and family your goal to lose 10 pounds in a month makes you more likely to actually do it. Your support group will query you about your progress, be willing to exercise with you, compete with you and cheer you on when you reach milestones.

Step 11: Eight Hours of Sleep
Reward: Willpower

Getting more sleep gives you the energy to exercise and the willpower to stay away from junk food. Studies show you'll actually burn more calories by being well rested. If you go to bed early, you'll also prevent yourself from making bad snacking choices in the wee hours of the morning.

Step 12: Keep Your Hands Busy
Reward: Lose 1 pound

Just like biting your nails, needless snacking is a bad habit you can break. Grabbing popcorn and nachos during a movie adds 500 calories! Instead of needless snacking, keep your hands busy by learning to paint, petting your dog or folding laundry. Chores and hobbies help you shed pounds instead of putting them on.

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