Shed 15 Pounds by Summer? Absolutely.

Summer is right around the corner and many are stressing about losing those few extra pounds.

Whether you want to lose the weight for the warm weather or to just become a healthier you, there are a few diet and exercise changes you can make.

While losing 15 pounds does not seem like a substantial amount, it will require changes to your current lifestyle.

According to a 2016 study published by Cell Metabolism, if you are overweight, losing just 5 percent of your body weight is enough to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

By the numbers

Losing a lot of weight in a short amount of time seems ideal, but with fat loss comes the loss of calorie-burning muscle. To avoid losing too much muscle while you are shedding those 15 pounds, aim to lose about 2 pounds a week. Losing 15 pounds by the time summer rolls around requires dropping just over 2 pounds per week.

One pound of fat contains 3,500 calories, so to lose 15 pounds you will need to maintain about a 1,250-calorie daily deficit. To maintain this deficit, use a combination of diet and exercise. You can determine the number of calories you should consume to lose the weight by tracking what you normally eat and reducing that number by 1,000. Work out to burn the additional calories.

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states that you should not eat less than 1,000 calories a day unless directed by your physician.

Nutrition

Cutting 1,000 calories through diet is a massive change, and the biggest hurdle to overcome may be hunger. However, it is not the calories that keep you full, but the amount of food you eat.

Fill your diet with low-energy-dense foods, which contain fewer calories in larger portions. Examples include fruits, veggies, fat-free dairy foods (watch the sugar content), whole grains, beans, lean proteins and broth-based soups.

Watch your intake of oils, nuts and seeds because while they are healthy, they are also high in calories.

Meal Plan
Another way to make sure your calorie count is where you want it is to plan your meals. Every day you should plan three meals and one snack. Skipping meals could lead to hunger, which results in overeating.

Exercise

Regular exercise should be a part of any healthy lifestyle, but especially so if you are looking to lose weight.

To limit muscle loss with your weight loss, include strength training two nonconsecutive days a week. You will need these muscles as they burn more calories than fat does.

Calories burned per workout depends on how much you weigh. For example, a 155-pound person will burn 260 calories during a 30-minute low-impact aerobics class while a 185-pound person will burn more than 300 calories in the same workout.

Whether you want a lean body by the time the warmer weather rolls around or you want to shed a few extra pounds to get back your life, these tips will help. Consult your primary physician before drastically changing your diet or beginning a new exercise program.