When it comes to weight loss, upcoming events can make the process daunting. Whereas day-to-day workouts and countless dietary restrictions guarantee a thinner waist over time, shedding extra pounds by the weekend might seem impossible.
Crash dieting can easily fail, too: It’s tough to adopt an entirely new fitness lifestyle on the fly—and a radical diet change, even more so. It’s no wonder why a 10-pound weight loss hill, indeed an uphill battle, can quickly seem like a cliff.
Weight Loss in a Week
The Big Question: Can A Person Lose 10 Pounds in a Week?
The answer: Yes.
We’ll say, “Yes,” conservatively, though. While it is possible to lose 10 pounds before Saturday rolls around, it isn’t easy. More importantly: It won’t be safe unless you take some necessary steps.
These steps aren’t terribly difficult to take, however, and they’re far from impossible—even when they seemingly traverse the same, steep, hillside.
After all, research conducted on daily moderate intensity exercise proves that even 20 minutes of aerobic activity can foster the mindset needed to complete the task. We won’t lie and say the 10-pound-weight-loss sprint should be undertaken by those with little to no exercise history, however. It’d be a bigger fitness sin to say a layperson’s understanding of dieting isn’t required, either.
But don’t worry: A little dedication, discipline and a solid daily schedule go a long way. If those 10 pounds need to come off, they’ll melt away before next weekend.
The process needn’t be unhealthy, either. Let’s dive in.
Step Zero: Learn the Ropes
Before starting, it’s important to take some precautions.
The 10-pound weight loss hurdle isn’t recommended for anyone with a history of anorexia—or any eating disorders, for that matter. While shaving off some extra pounds can be done healthily, doing so within seven days can spawn some unhealthy habits for those with preexisting health issues.
As a second consideration: These 10 pounds won’t entirely consist of fat. But—this said—the immediate difference will still be noticeable.
The seven-day program is grounded in caloric deficit, wherein you burn more calories than you consume. It isn’t possible to melt 10 pounds of pure fat within one week—safely, at least.
But you’ll still look leaner after losing excess water weight. The name of the game is glycogen. More or less, glycogen is comprised of stored carbohydrates. Deposited in bodily tissues, this multi-branched polymer breaks down into glucose—which is used for energy.
Glycogen and Water Weight: What’s the Process?
Glycogen is mainly stored in the liver, but it impacts your body composition. If your blood glucose levels go down, your body will use glycogen for the above-mentioned energy requirement. When this happens, your water weight decreases. This is because your body’s glycogen is packed with approximately 300 to 500 grams of carbohydrates—and it stores nearly three times this amount in water weight.
In essence: If you lose the carbs, you’ll lose the water.
If you lose the water, you’ll lose the pounds. Again, though, this process isn’t healthy for those with preexisting health issues. Aside from those with eating disorders, those with a history of diabetes shouldn’t undergo the seven-day weight loss routine, either: Getting rid of stored carbs requires lowering one’s insulin levels.
If you’re positive that your body is able to handle the seven-day weight loss routine, then you’re ready to take the first official step.
Step One: Cut the Carbs
Understandably, removing carbohydrates from your diet is paramount to this routine.
Simple carbs, or refined carbs, are the first target to neutralize. They’re rapidly absorbed by the body, resulting in quick water weight gain. You can read more about this process in MedlinePlus’s posted research.
It covers refined sugars, mostly—the simple carbs found in candy, syrups, soft drinks and similar products.
Low-carb diets can result in rapid water weight loss. The weight loss is so rapid, in fact, that it can be noticed within 24 hours.
Step Two: Cut Calories in General
Next, you’ll need to adopt a meal plan which reduces caloric intake, in general. This plan consists of two “phases” over a one-week period. It involves the strict intake of low-calorie meals for three days—followed by four “off” days. Make no mistake, however, as these off days are still low-calorie days.
To lose 10 pounds in a week, your first three days—the “on” days—will be based on 1,100 to 1,400 calories.
Just a heads up: This is a pretty low caloric intake, as health experts suggest that 1,200 calories should be considered a daily minimum. You can still consume 1,100 calories healthily, however, as per MedicalNewsToday’s dietary guidelines. In doing so, you can lose 10 pounds in a week while keeping your body healthy.
The Meal Plan
Alright, let’s break down the meals. Don’t fret, because they’re still tasty meals—and they span across breakfast, lunch and dinner. To get the most out of this meal plan, make sure you’re logging your calories correctly. This is surprisingly difficult, even for seasoned dieters. Fortunately, medical professionals have done the legwork for us:
You can check out Mayo Clinic’s caloric intake calculator here.
For the first day, you’ll make 1,400 calories your target.
You can hit this benchmark by starting the day with a healthy breakfast. One slice of toast with two tablespoons of peanut butter, a cup of unsweetened coffee and half of a grapefruit is a solid foundation.
For lunch, eat half a cup of tuna, another slice of toast and another cup of coffee or tea. The coffee and tea, both for breakfast and lunch, are optional. Just try to avoid soft drinks and juices, here.
When in doubt, drink water.
Even though you’re trying to reduce water weight, drinking more water won’t result in extra water retention: If your body is hydrated, it’ll store less water for hydration reserves.
Dinnertime is reserved for essential vitamins, minerals and more lean meat. A 3-ounce serving of fish or poultry is ideal—but try to avoid meats with a lot of sodium, as a high salt intake will result in more water retention. Alongside the lean meat, you’ll have small fruit servings. One half of a banana, and one small apple, will provide the nutrients you need.
Day Two is similar to Day One—only you’ll be targeting 1,200 calories, as opposed to 1,400.
For breakfast, stick to the one-slice-of-toast rule. Add a hard-boiled egg, half of a banana and the optional cup of unsweetened coffee.
For lunch, have another hard-boiled egg. Alongside this, we suggest eating a few saltine crackers with a cup of cottage cheese. Even though saltine crackers contain simple carbs, having only five won’t do any damage. Sodium can increase water retention, but a little salt is necessary for electrolyte balance. While saltine crackers provide essential sodium, the bananas included in this diet are packed with potassium.
As you’ve probably noticed, Day Two’s lower calorie count is counterbalanced by the type of food you’ll be consuming. It’s far tastier, especially at dinnertime: At the end of the day, have one half of a banana, two hotdogs (without buns), half a cup of carrots and half a cup of vanilla ice cream.
Day Three wraps up the low-calorie stretch with an electrolyte-balancing breakfast—as you’ll be targeting an intake of 1,100 calories. Here, you’ll have a few saltine crackers (as above, five crackers is ideal), a small apple and one ounce of cheddar cheese. As always, a cup of unsweetened coffee is an option.
For lunch: One hard-boiled egg, and one slice of toast.
For dinner, we’ll be shifting back to lean meat. One cup of fish or poultry is ideal, alongside half of a banana and an optional one cup of ice cream for desert.
Days Four Through Seven:
If you’ve hit the mark on all three days: Congrats! It’s a tough stretch, but it’s incredibly rewarding to complete—as it’s the seven-day-plan’s toughest part.
Now, you’re ready for Days Four, Five, Six and Seven. These days do involve dieting, but they’re much more lenient. They’re also important steps to follow if you want to lose 10 pounds in a week.
Try to target a 1,500-calorie intake goal. You aren’t limited by food group restrictions, here, and you’re allowed to have small-portion snacks throughout the day, too. But remember Step One as you proceed: Lower carbs equals less water weight—so try to keep these low.
We totally suggest using the MyFitnessPal app, too. It includes a calorie calculator, but it also includes a fast, easy way to count the calories of every food item you consume. It even includes a barcode scanner for quick nutrition logging. How cool is that?
You can learn more about MyFitnessPal here.
Step Three: Hit the Gym
While dieting alone will account for a majority of the 10 pounds, exercising can shed the rest. This said, try to scale your exercise routine based on your energy levels. Because you’ll be consuming fewer carbohydrates, you’ll likely become fatigued quicker.
Still, studies suggest that anaerobic exercise—such as lifting weights, as opposed to running (which is aerobic)—can protect your metabolism. It can protect your hormone levels, too, while you lose 10 pounds in a week.
If you’re more accustomed to aerobic exercise, don’t worry: You can mix up your routine to incorporate both. High-intensity interval training, also called HIIT, is a great way to do this. Even five to 10 minutes of daily HIIT can multiply one’s weight loss results by a factor of five.
But what’s the secret behind anaerobic training and programs like HIIT?
Primarily, these types of programs are just really good at reducing the carbohydrates stored in your muscles. Plus, they keep your metabolism moving—and a metabolism in motion burns more calories than a metabolism at rest. Even if you’re idle, even if you exercised hours ago, your body will shed more weight than usual.
Staying 10 Pounds Lighter: Long-Term Habits
In all likelihood, you’ll see a thinner waistline pretty quickly. Once the weekend rolls around, you’ll be about 10 pounds lighter. Remember, though, that a majority of this weight is water weight. To stay 10 pounds lighter—or even more—adopting a consistent, healthy diet is key.
Consuming under 1,200 calories can be rough on the body—even if it’s once per week. Ideally, adopting a low-carb diet and a moderate exercise plan will make your weight “level off.” You might regain some of those 10 pounds with an increased caloric intake following those seven days—but that’s alright, and it’s completely natural.
If you want to stay trim, we suggest embracing a lifestyle of intermittent fasting—which, science proves, is an incredibly healthy way to lose weight. It’s even healthy in general: It reduces oxidative stress, improves disease resistance and can even increase cognitive functions.
So, there you have it. You can lose 10 pounds in a week in a safe, healthy way. If you’re ready to start, pick a day exactly one week away from your finish line. Before long, you’ll see awesome results.