I'm a Weight-Loss Expert and Here's My Proven Plan for Dropping Pounds in 2024

Doing three things now will set you up for success in the new year.

When it comes to New Year's resolutions, weight loss and improved fitness typically top the list. But as we all know, launching a whole new lifestyle when the clock hits midnight can make you more likely to quit before you've made any meaningful change.

"The number one reason that people fail at their New Year's resolution by February is because they try to start too much at the same time and it ends up making them burn out," explains weight loss expert Amanda Black in a TikTok video. "To avoid that, lay the foundation of healthy habits now and then worry about the calorie deficit side for weight loss come January."

That's why Black recently shared which December habits lead to greater weight loss success in January and beyond. By laying the groundwork for healthy habits now, you can look forward to real change after the new year—without restricting during the holidays, she says. Here are the three things Black recommends doing right now to lose 20 pounds in 2024.

December is for laying a foundation of health.

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Like many of us, Black says she's "not a huge fan of walking into the holiday season trying to be in an aggressive dieting phase." Instead, she uses the month of December to start streamlining other healthy habits that will aid in weight loss later, once she changes her diet.

"Starting our deficit in January is just a little more realistic since we have more time to do that. But that doesn't mean December has to be a wash. We can utilize it to our benefit," Black says. "If you focus on these three things… guess what we get to focus on in January? Simply entering into a calorie deficit. We don't have to try to build a million different habits at the same time."

1
Start optimizing protein.

Balsamic grilled chicken breast with fresh herbs sliced on a rustic wooden board
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Black says that the first change you should make now is to "start optimizing protein at every single meal." This means getting 20 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a total of 60 to 90 grams daily. That equals "about a palm full" of protein per meal, the weight loss expert notes.

"Start to get in the habit of doing that now—that way when we utilize that habit in January, you've already built it—it's done," she says.

2
Up your water intake.

young beautiful woman by the window at home drinking water. Lifestyle
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When you want to lose weight, staying hydrated is key. By increasing your intake now, you can take it off your to-do list for later.

For optimal effect, Black suggests aiming to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water. "For most of us, that's going to be anywhere from 80 to 100 ounces—you do not need to be drinking a gallon of water," she explains. By getting that habit "out of the way… that's going to make your weight loss journey in January far easier," she adds.

3
Move more.

Female Hiker Walking Across the Forrest Field in Winter
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Though Black says your diet can wait until January, there's no reason to put off exercising—even if you do so in moderation. "Let's focus on getting our movement up a little bit," she says.

In particular, she recommends increasing your step count as a simple way to increase your physical activity without it feeling like a chore.

"See where your steps currently fall on average and make it a goal to get 1,000 to 2,000 more steps for the remainder of December," she says. "That's going to set us up for a much easier time entering into a deficit in January because we don't have to focus on entering a deficit and getting our movement up at the same time."

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Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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