One-Month Diet & Exercise Plan

Many diet and exercise plans exist, yet the obesity rate in the United States is on the rise. More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight, according to the Weight-Control Information Network. You have tried diet after diet with some success, only to gain the weight back when you resumed your normal eating habits. This time, develop a diet and exercise plan of your own that you can live with easily for one month -- and when you see the results, you'll be motivated to continue your new healthy lifestyle.

Focus on Your Goals

An important aspect of a one month diet and exercise plan is keeping a healthy focus. The main reason why you are implementing this program is to give your body its best shot at a long and healthy life. Every week, set a small goal for yourself. One pound lost, one more 15 minute walk, one less fast food meal -- all are reasonable goals that lead to your long-term success in losing weight and implementing a healthy lifestyle. Journal your progress by weighing and measuring yourself on the first day of your new plan. Follow up with a weekly weigh-in and remeasuring your arm, chest, waist, hips and thigh. Documenting your progress helps keep you on track all month long.

It's a Lifestyle Change

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Your one-month plan requires adjustments that both fit your current lifestyle and allow you to make small, lasting changes. Work on implementing your new plan by making the easiest changes first. During the first week of your new, healthy plan, cut down on portion sizes, drink eight to 10 glasses of water per day and add 15 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every day. By simply reducing your calorie intake by 250 calories per day, you'll easily lose 1/2 pound per week.

Schedule Your Exercise

In the second week of your new plan, add easy aerobic activities to your schedule. If you already take the dog for a walk, add an extra 15 minutes to your walk or pick up the pace to intensify its calorie burning intensity. Every week, add an additional 15 minutes of walking, bicycling or swimming to your daily schedule. A full hour of brisk walking, for instance, burns 297 calories, according to the American Cancer Society. Because one pound is the equivalent of 3,500 calories, a one hour walk burns approximately 3/4 pound weekly.

Start Tracking Your Calories

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Begin counting calories if you're not losing weight by the second or third week of your plan. Don't become discouraged. Consult your doctor or dietitian and set your calorie goal at a reasonable 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day, according to her recommendations. Balance your meal according to Harvard School of Public Health's healthy eating plate. One half of your meal should consist of fruits and green vegetables. One quarter of your meal should be low-fat protein. The remaining quarter should consist of complex carbohydrates, such as brown rice, whole grains or sweet potatoes.

Set Reasonable Goals

Many diet plans fail because you don't want to give up your favorite high-calorie foods. Focus on moderation instead of complete elimination by enjoying one small cookie instead of two large cookies, or a half-slice of cheesecake instead of a large piece. Substitute healthy low-calorie or low-fat snacks and beverages for processed or less nutritious foods, such as potato chips or a few glasses of wine. Enjoy a salad, fresh fruits, vegetables or a sandwich instead of a burger and fries.