How I Lost 40lbs in 3 Months and Stayed Healthy

Updated on March 17, 2017

Lose Weight Fast and Stay Healthy

It was a cold autumn afternoon when I got my physical exam results from my doctor. My blood tests came back with dangerously high numbers for my cholesterol and a few other things, but all I could remember was the doctor saying: "Lose 30 pounds, or I'll have to put you on medication." This was like an alarm bell going off in my head—my father always had high blood pressure and very bad cholesterol levels as well as being overweight for as long as I can remember.

Being 5' 9" and generally unfit, I was not really overweight by any means but the high cholesterol levels were indeed warning bells. So I decided to set my goal and lose the 30 pounds the doctor told me to lose, going from from 186 to 156. I wasn't sure how long it would take or how I was going to do it, but for my health and for my family I had to do it.

Learn about what rules I lived by to get me through this weight loss process the healthy way.

Rules to Help You Stay on Target

Achieve your weight goal by following these simple rules.

1. Set a Meaningful Goal and Commit

Make sure the goal is meaningful and commit—no matter what!

Whether it was your doctor or your partner telling you to lose weight, or even it was a matter of "needing" to squeeze yourself into that new swim suit you got for summer (tennis shorts for me), like most things in life you need to set a goal and commit to it. This applies to the target weight and the time at which you will reach the target weight.

  • As part of this initial process, try to think also what it means for you and for your family's overall well-being. Did you know every pound you lose means you take four pounds of stress off your knees? What about being able to take longer walks hand-in-hand with your loved ones, as well as playing ball with your kids in the park? Be around to watch them grow up!! Fill your mind with all these positive images when you are setting your goals and I guarantee you will have the commitment to follow through
  • The old adage of "If you don't plan for success, you plan to fail," is very relevant here! But don't worry, I'm not your drill sergeant and I will guide you through the process the way I did it.

2. Set Manageable Targets

Set a reasonable weight goal that will be challenging, but not so challenging that you need to stop eating altogether or donate a limb. That means you break down the goal into manageable steps.

  • Example: I knew I wanted—had—to lose about 30 pounds with the aim to also start working out and build a better body shape. So I set a target of loosing the 40 pounds in three months, which breaks down to 13.3 pounds per month, or approximately 3.3 pounds per week. Now that doesn't seem like a lot when it's just around 3 pounds per week, right?
  • How did I figure the ultimate goal? Well, apart from my doctor telling me, I checked online at several health sites and read up on the BMI (body mass index) for my age, gender, and height. With this new knowledge I concurred with the doctors request and set my goals for my weight and time target. 40 pounds in 3 months it is!
  • My research also involved what types of food are best to eat to maintain a healthy body without gaining weight, as well as studying up on the easiest foods that the body can digest.

My plan:

After a week of researching and finding out everything I could about eating healthy, being healthy, and living healthy, I started.

  • My diet entailed a process where I watched the calories I eat everyday and concentrated on eating "live" foods, meaning fresh foods that are not over-processed or over-cooked.
  • I concentrated on salads and other types of vegetable and complemented that with either fish or chicken. So white meat not red meat and lots of vegetables and fruits.
  • I also cut out all sodas, beers, milk with coffees and all "snacks" that I would normally have during the day.

3. Get the Right Tools to Help Measure and Track Progress

Yes, I have a smartphone. In fact, I'm writing this article on one. :)

So, here's the part where I say "there's an app for that!!" (borrowing from a famous fruit company). I was able to find three very good apps that really helped me understand my food choices, told me the caloric content, and kept an ongoing record of my meals, snacks, and most importantly my weight, which I entered religiously every morning.

The apps I have used are

  1. Lose It!
  2. MyFitnessPal
  3. Fooducate.

I'm not affiliated with any of these apps or their developers but I have found them to be invaluable in helping me learning about what I can eat and what I should avoid.

  • Both Lose It! and MyFitnessPal offer an online web-based platform as well for sharing information and recording you activities. Being a loner, I mainly stuck to using these tools to set my target weight, the time for which I had to reach that weight and record everything I had consumed in terms of calories in order to help me reach my goal.
  • Fooducate basically turns your smartphone into a barcode scanner and gives you a review of the food you just scanned according to how "healthy" the product is, calories per serving, overall people rating for that product and also alternatives you can consider.

My Process

Here's what I went through during the first few months of my diet:

The First Month

  • The weight see-sawed up and down, and I was hard pushed to lose even half of what my target weight was. I was not gaining, but I was also not losing it at the rate I wanted either. This is partly the body wondering what you are doing with the lower calorie intake, and the process of it attempting to store the food for "emergencies."
  • By about the third week of the first month, I had lost about four or five pounds—still not spectacular, but I noticed that the seesawing slowed down and eventually stopped. This means that the body realized that it was not being starved, and that there is always food, but just less of it. The body adjusts to that nicely and the weight then starts to plateau off.
  • At the end of the first month and during the second month, monitor your weight every day and continue to follow the calories you are taking. If you use the apps I mentioned, you will notice that (and this is common sense, really) if you do any form of exercise, you will have to eat more then your allocated calories for that day. You are burning more calories doing exercise, so accordingly you will need to eat more to compensate or you will fall over from lack of food. This is an important point to remember!

Second and Third Months

  • During your second and third month, you will notice your weight consistently going down. In fact, you can feel you are in control of your diet and not the other way around. It's a great feeling when you notice that perhaps your jeans that have always been a little tight are now a little loose ,and it's time to throw them in the dryer to shrink them a little.
  • You will also notice at this stage that when you go to restaurant (and yes, you can go to restaurants, just calculate the calories you are about to eat first), that you cannot eat as much as you did before and you'll end up taking half the meal home with you. That's when you have made real progress. You body has adapted so much to your new way of eating that it stops you from eating too much.


  • Use apps to your advantage. Most folks now have smartphones these days, so use that to your advantage with the apps I mentioned above. Also, think about adding some fitness apps as well that will track your exercise activity and if you're that inclined, you can share and compete with your friends. It's been proven to be a great way to get really motivated and support each other to reach your goals.
  • (UPDATE) Wearable trackers are also great. Moving with the times, I also suggest "wearable" trackers and smartwatches to help track your fitness. You can connect them with almost any device you have, and access heart rate monitoring and notifications by email, SMS, on the device for some and even using the "wearable" to make and answer calls like with the Apple Watch. See below on some specific suggestions I have.
  • Cravings cheat meals are normal. Although the diet is not very strict, you should follow it religiously. However when you have cravings, rather than falling into a eating binge, put in your calendar that one meal a week where you allow yourself to eat anything you like—within reason. Calories are taken for that meal as well and spread over the week. The rule is you have eaten too many calories one day, you have to eat less the next day, and visa versa.

This is not a science, and everyone is different in how they react to having less food and different foods in their diet. During this process, you have to listen to your body and try to make note of foods that you like and didn't like and also of what you can perhaps eat and it doesn't cause any weight gain as compared to foods that seems to just stay in your body. Take notes and try to understand your diet.

  • For example, fresh fruits contains natural sugars that can give you some energy in the afternoon and they are easily digested by the body.
  • A slice of pizza with pepperoni and cheese in the afternoon will probably put you to sleep as the body goes overtime to try to digest all the flour, cheese, and meat.

Wearable Trackers and Smartwatches

As mentioned above, the activity tracker features have more or less included built in heart rate monitoring and we see smart watches getting smarter. This means you can get even more from your device. Keep an eye on the Samsung and Apple smartwatches' new features, which are coming very soon.

  • I tried both the Jawbone UP and UP24 for several months and they are very good minimalistic activity trackers as they do not have a display and you operate one button for different settings/modes. Everything is referenced on your device.
  • Another excellent product is the Fitbit Flex, which is similarly minimalistic and comes with an excellent app from Fitbit! I used an earlier version but once I started using the UP24 found that the features suited me the most. Each to their own so I would suggest checking it out before making a decision.
  • Now if you are really looking for a wearable activity tracker that can double as a smartwatch Samsung has the Samsung Gear 2 and the Samsung Gear Fit. These work directly in parallel with the latest Samsung Galaxy S 5 / S 4/S III / Mega / Note II / Note 3 with the new Samsung S Health app.

As you can see, you have plenty of options, from the bare minimals to the full-on smartwatch with all the interconnectivity and alerts you will ever want.

Keep fit, keep safe, and keep healthy—all from your wrist!


  • Understand your goal(s) and make them tangible.
  • Make a plan.
  • Set a weight target and when you would like to reach it.
  • Go slow at first to notice how your body is reacting to the dietary change.
  • Use available tools.
  • I used my iPhone with a couple of free apps to help find out what diet to have.
  • Reward yourself with a special meal once a week
  • Enjoy life and enjoy the food you are having.

As a last note, if you do have any dietary issues you should check with your family doctor before you drastically change it.


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    • profile image

      Cajun Injun 5 days ago

      I did it without even reading this article, but basically the same. 5'11" weighed 228 now 197. Sept 13 - December 13th.

      UPS driver so I walk about 6-7 miles. Diet=Breakfeast 2 hard boiled eggs,coffee with local raw honey...Snack at 11am 1 banana and 1 protein granola bar...12:30pm Coffee with honey....lunch 1:00pm Turkey sandwich 3 slices Turkey....whole wheat bread-low fat mayo-lettuce....followed up with greek yogurt with 10 dark ch chip morsels...Snack 3:30pm 6 baby carrots and about 30 low salted almonds...5:30pm Snack 1 Gala Apple...UPS drivers work late so I have an 8pm rule.If I get home after 8pm I just have Soup...Low sodium and usually chicken. I have only been home prior to 8pm about 3 times over this time...yes it sucks! And I drink about 96 ounces of water per day. Benefits so far=Lost weight without starvng-I sleep great-I have not had a headache since- Usually get one full blown migraine every Christmas with our busy day,NONE this year!!! I have gone down 4 pant sizes. My energy levels are the highest they have ever been. I am feeling the best I have ever felt in a long time. And I am getting plenty of compliments on how I thing is I can eat pretty much whatever I want on he weekends and maintain my weight....but I am still It works!!!

      I believe my calore intake is around 1700 per day. This is what I eat everyday, may not be the most exciting but neither is weighing 228!!!

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      John 2 weeks ago

      I been losing and gaining for year's after 20 before was skinny now 221 about 33 pound's over weight if 187 is wear I should be at I'm 5'11 maybe could be 6 but now working out at the YMCA workout about 60 min's sometime's less or more 350 calories a day but have burned 400 500 800 and once a 1000 been losing a pound every other day joined the YMCA last month my starting weight was 228 or 230 about 7 to 9 pound's missed about 3 day's just not going and maybe 3 more when they was closed so in 4 month's maybe I'll be down to 187.

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      Nayef 5 months ago

      Im calling bs. You have to be probable 6"5 to lose 40 pounds in 3 months on a 1700 calorie daily intake. And even if we assume you worked your ass off in the gym, that still won't get you as far as 1 pound a week. No way you lost 40 pounds in 3 months given the information mentioned above.

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      jenny 13 months ago

      very possible to loose 40 pounds in three months.I have lost 41 pounds since August 20.

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      Shaista Tariq 14 months ago

      Thank you so much for giving so much information . you are great person who wants to distribute good things to every one, thanks a lot this is the best article who answered my all problem.

    • Aikonia profile image

      Aikonia 17 months ago from New York

      Hi Khalifa, thanks for your question. Initially, my weight was going up and down and as mentioned it took some time to start going down gradually. I believe it will be different for everyone regarding how much weight will be lost initially and during the process. I reduced the "normal" 2100 calories per day for myself to 1500-1700 calories per day. Do it gradually and go with how your body is coping with the change - everybody reacts differently. Also, if you ate less one day you can potentially eat a little more the next day IF you feel like it. If the weight goes off too quickly I have noticed it will come back quickly so be patient and notice what works for you and what needs to change.

      Hi Louise, thanks for your question. The sites I mentioned as well as the sites that FitBit, Jawbone runs for their users offer some level of Social support and I believe they allow connecting to Facebook and other social media sites. These would be the sites I start with and post questions to the current group on what you are seeking - most of the folks I have interacted with have been very friendly and helpful.

      Hi Kristal - Congratulations - So happy for you!!

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      kristal 18 months ago

      It works, I've lost 40 in 3 months!!

    • profile image

      Louise 18 months ago

      Hi! I just came across this site and hope that I can be as successful as you. Is there a site that would provide a buddy system to compare notes and keep me on track? Thanks!

    • profile image

      khalifa 18 months ago

      I don't understand how it's possible for you to lose 40 lbs in 3months, your calorie defecit is between 200-300 per day, if you multiply that by 7 days it equals at most 2100 calories (if all days were 300), that's not even a loss of a pound per week, and the first 3 weeks you mentioned it not really working out for you, so how on earth did you have the next 3months and a week to work out for you?

    • Aikonia profile image

      Aikonia 19 months ago from New York

      Hi, thanks for your question. I'm in my early 50's. The 3lbs per week is specific to the target weight loss I was trying to achieve in the 3 months.

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      kayla 19 months ago

      how old are you? why 3lbs a week? I'm a older woman in my 40's, will this work for me?

    • Aikonia profile image

      Aikonia 3 years ago from New York

      Hi Heather, Thanks for your question. I was working on burning more calories than I consume so I targeted 20% less than what is recommended as my average calorie intake. In my case 200-300 calories less so I targeted around 1800-1900 per day. Hence, having an app to roughly keep track of calories intake and used is good. Now calories required for a person depends on age, gender and physical activity. Also I noticed my calorie requirement changed from Summer to Winter. Check this link out to help you determine your requirements Let me know if you have more questions.

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      Heather 3 years ago

      How many calories a day were you eating?

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      nick 3 years ago