It may be possible to lose 10 pounds in a week. However, it will not be 10 pounds of body fat. Some of the weight loss will likely be from water. Losing significant amounts of weight quickly is not recommended and may be dangerous.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommend people looking to lose weight aim to lose between 1–2 pounds per week for safe, healthy weight loss. While some individuals may be able to lose a more significant amount of weight per week at the beginning of their weight loss journey, it is not possible for everyone.
Those that do manage to lose a lot of weight should be aware that this rate of weight loss is not sustainable. People attempting to lose more than the recommended 1–2 pounds per week should only do so under the supervision of their doctor.
Rapid weight loss does come with risks including:
- increased likelihood of gallstones
- electrolyte imbalance
- disruption of the menstrual cycle
The risks increase the longer someone follows a very restricted diet intended for rapid weight loss.
Losing 10 pounds is a very realistic goal over a longer period than 1 week. To lose 10 pounds, a person can follow these steps.
1. Follow a low-calorie diet
Cutting calories is key to weight loss.
The amount of calories burned per day depends on:
- body size
- activity level
If someone consumes fewer calories per day than their body uses, they will lose weight.
People should follow a low-calorie diet to create a calorie deficit. This calculator can give an idea of how many calories to eat daily to lose weight.
Most experts recommend that a person should not eat less than 1200 calories per day when trying to lose weight.
2. Avoid junk food
Junk foods are:
- high calorie
- not filling
- lacking nutrients
- high in carbs
- high in salt
- very processed
Examples of junk food include:
- baked goods
- processed snacks
- most desserts
People should try to eat whole, single ingredient foods to help reduce calorie and carb consumption.
3. Add lean protein
Lean protein helps build muscle. Lean protein also helps a person feel fuller after eating. This may mean that people eat fewer calories during a meal and, as a result of feeling fuller, may be able to cut out some unnecessary carbs, which may lead to weight loss.
4. Move more
Simply moving around more can help burn calories, and burning more calories can help a person to lose additional weight in a week.
Ways to add more movement to everyday routines include:
- parking further from the door
- taking 5 to 15 minute-long walking breaks
- walking during lunch
- taking the stairs
5. Try high-intensity cardio
High-intensity cardio exercise is effective for losing weight in some people. It is an interval training method where people combine periods of intense exercise with periods of rest.
One study found that people who did high-intensity cardio three times a week lost a lot of weight over a 15 week period, compared to people who did steady-state exercising. Steady-state exercise is a type of activity where a person maintains roughly the same heart rate and muscle movements throughout the session.
Before beginning any high-intensity cardiovascular exercise, people should check with a doctor. This intense exercise is not appropriate for everyone.
Anyone with the following health problems or lifestyle issues should get medical clearance before attempting any high-intensity exercise:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- coronary artery disease
- diabetes or pre-diabetes
- cigarette smoking
- abnormal cholesterol levels
- mainly sedentary lifestyle
6. Add weights
Resistance training or lifting weights can help protect the metabolism from the crash that can occur while dieting.
Lifting weights builds muscle. Muscle mass burns more calories than fat cells. The body also uses up more of its carbohydrate stores when doing full body resistance routines.
When someone couples resistance training with aerobic and cardio training, they will burn more calories.
Prolonged exercise of low-intensity to moderate-intensity for over 30 minutes per session will gradually cause the body to stop relying on carbohydrates for fuel and start relying on fat.
This is known as the "fat-burning stage," which will lead to weight loss.
7. Eat fewer carbs
A low carb diet can help a person to shed several pounds in a short time. Some studies support reducing overall carb intake.
One study, for example, showed low carb diets could help people with or without diabetes to lose weight.
When starting a low carb diet, some people might see an immediate drop in weight, as well as long-term weight loss.
Carbs cause the body to store excess water; so when a person reduces their carb intake, the amount of stored water decreases, causing weight loss.
Before embarking on a low carb diet, it is essential to get advice from a doctor or dietitian, as this type of diet can cause health risks.
8. Reduce bloating
Bloating occurs when the body holds on to extra water or gas. Removing foods that cause bloating can help reduce weight. This includes foods that are high in sodium, such as canned soup, frozen dinners, and carbonated beverages.
9. Follow a meal plan
Following a meal plan can help people stick to a diet and stay more accountable. There is a wide range of meal plans that a person can try. Start by planning each meal for the week and make sure to stick to the daily goals.
10. Change behavior
Changing behavior patterns and lifestyle habits can be critical in ensuring a successful weight loss plan. Research shows that when people are aware or mindful of what they are eating, their cravings reduce and they are more successful at practicing portion control, which are two significant components to successful weight loss.
11. Seek support
Teaming up with other people who are also looking to lose weight may make individuals more likely to reach their weight loss goals. People can find weight loss support from friends, family, and online communities dedicated to healthful lifestyles. Studies have shown that simply receiving text message support can promote healthful behavior that can lead to lasting weight loss.
While it may be possible for someone to lose 10 pounds in one week, most people should not attempt to do so unless under direct guidance and supervision from a doctor. Losing 10 pounds is much more attainable over a period of several weeks rather than just one.
People who have trouble sticking to or following their doctor's suggestions may still find some success with losing weight through making small changes over time to their diet and exercise routines.
Although many people may feel encouraged to see a significant weight loss in one week, it is essential to remember that this is not sustainable and can be dangerous. The best and most successful weight loss occurs as a result of small changes that a person can sustain for an extended period.