If you want to lose 10 pounds (4.5 kg) in one week, then you need to follow an effective plan.
I've tested this plan on clients who were looking to lose weight fast before an event like a vacation or photo shoot, and it works wonders.
In fact, some of my clients who use this look like they've been on a three- or four-week diet after just one week.
Although it's not a long-term fix, this can kick-start your weight loss journey and motivate you for more sustainable long-term changes.
While it's certainly possible to lose 10 lbs in one week, it won't be pure body fat.
Due to the calorie deficit needed to burn each pound of fat, it's simply not possible to safely burn 10 pounds of pure body fat in just one week.
However, this isn't to say you can't lose that much weight and still look leaner.
While a lot of the weight loss will certainly come from body fat, you will also drop pounds by losing excess water weight ().
This is partly because this plan lowers your insulin levels and makes your body get rid of stored carbs, which bind water.
Although your body can only store about 300–500 grams of carbs in a form known as glycogen, stored glycogen does hold around three times that weight in water (, ).
Reduced insulin levels will also make your kidneys shed out excess sodium, leading to reduced water retention (, ).
Along with reduced body fat and water weight, you may also lose some weight due to less intestinal waste and undigested food and fiber in the digestive system.
Here are the 7 steps you should follow in order to lose 10 pounds in a week.
You can lose several pounds by following a low-carb diet for just a few days.
In fact, lots of research has shown a low-carb diet is a very effective way to lose weight and improve health (, , ).
A short-term decrease in carb intake can also reduce water weight and bloating.
This is why people who go low-carb often see a difference on the scale as early as the next morning after starting the diet.
Additionally, making sure you eat plenty of protein can help reduce your appetite even further while boosting your metabolism (, ).
Try eliminating or drastically reducing all starchy carbs and sugars for the week. Replace these with low-carb vegetables, while also increasing your intake of eggs, lean meats and fish.
Check out this article to learn more about how to set up a low-carb diet and which foods to include.
Bottom Line: Reducing your carb intake can lead to a significant amount of weight loss, from both body fat and excess water weight. Eating more protein also helps.
When you're trying to lose weight quickly then it can be helpful to eat a simple diet based on whole foods.
These foods tend to be very filling, and make it easier to eat fewer calories without getting too hungry.
During the week, you should make sure to eat mostly whole, single-ingredient foods. Avoid most foods that are highly processed.
Eating mostly lean proteins and low-carb veggies can be incredibly satisfying even if you're not getting that many calories.
Bottom Line: In order to help you achieve the 10 pound goal, then you should try to eat only whole foods during this week. Base most of your diet on lean protein and low-carb veggies.
Reducing your calorie intake may be the most important factor when it comes to weight loss.
If you aren't eating fewer calories than you expend, then you will not lose fat ().
Here is a calculator that shows you how many calories you should eat to lose weight (opens in new tab).
Here are a few simple tips to reduce calorie intake:
- Count calories: Weigh and log the foods you eat. Use a calorie counting tool to keep track of the amount of calories and nutrients you are taking in.
- Eat only at meals: Reduce all snacks and don't eat anything after dinner.
- Cut your condiments: Eliminate calorie-dense condiments and sauces.
- Fill up on veggies: Fill your plate with vegetables and limit starchy carbs and added fats for the week.
- Choose lean proteins: Choose lower-fat proteins, such as chicken and fish.
- Don't drink your calories: Instead, opt for water, zero-calorie drinks, tea or coffee. Protein shakes are fine if you count them as a meal.
Bottom Line: Reducing your calorie intake is a vital factor for weight loss. You may need to do this aggressively in order to lose so much weight in just one week.
Exercise is one of the best ways to burn fat and improve your appearance.
Resistance training, such as weight lifting, can lead to a similar amount of weight loss as regular aerobic training. It also helps you add or maintain muscle mass and strength (, ).
Full-body resistance training workouts are also a great method to lower your body's carb stores and water weight, which can lead to a sharp decline in weight (, ).
Lifting weights can also protect your metabolism and hormone levels, which often decline during dieting (, ).
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is another very effective training method.
Research suggests that 5–10 minutes of HIIT can lead to similar or greater benefits for health and weight loss as five times that amount of regular exercise (, , ).
Like weight lifting, it can quickly reduce muscle carb stores and also boost other important aspects of weight loss, such as your metabolism and fat-burning hormones (, ).
You can perform HIIT three to four times a week after a workout or as part of your normal training regimen. It is very important to do this with 100% effort or intensity. Most sprints should not last more than 30 seconds.
Here are a few protocols you can try. These can be done running in place or outside, or applied to a cardio machine like a bike, rower or treadmill:
- Session 1: 10 x 20-second sprint with 40 seconds rest
- Session 2: 15 x 15-second sprint with 30 seconds rest
- Session 3: 7 x 30-second sprint with 60 seconds rest
- Session 4: 20 x 10-second sprint with 20 seconds rest
Bottom Line: Lifting weights and doing high-intensity intervals are among the best ways to lose weight and deplete muscle glycogen stores. They can also boost your metabolism and provide other benefits.
In order to burn extra calories and lose more weight, you can also increase your daily activity.
In fact, how active you are throughout the day when you aren't exercising also plays a very important role in weight loss and obesity (, ).
For example, the difference between a desk job and a manual job can account for up to 1,000 calories per day. This is the same as 90 to 120 minutes of high-intensity exercise ().
Simple lifestyle changes such as walking or biking to work, taking the stairs, going for walks outside, standing more or even cleaning the house can help you burn a lot of calories.
Bottom Line: Increasing your daily activity is a great way to burn extra calories and lose more weight.
Intermittent fasting is another effective and proven tool for dropping fat (, ).
It forces you to reduce your calorie intake, since you are limiting your eating to a short window of time.
There are many different protocols, such as a 16-hour fast with an 8-hour feeding window, or a 20-hour fast with a 4-hour feeding window.
If you're combining fasting with exercise, it may be wise to do the fasting at a different time than your workout.
Bottom Line: Intermittent fasting is an excellent method to reduce calorie intake and lose weight.
Several other methods can help you drop water weight and appear leaner and lighter. These include:
- Take dandelion extract: A supplement called dandelion extract can help reduce water retention ().
- Drink coffee: Coffee is a healthy source of caffeine. Studies suggest that caffeine can help you burn more fat and lose excess water ().
- Mind your intolerances: Eating things that you are intolerant to, such as gluten or lactose, can lead to excessive water retention and bloating. Avoid foods that you think you may be intolerant to.
Here are 13 more ways to lose excess water weight.
Bottom Line: Other ways to lose water weight include supplementing with dandelion extract, drinking coffee and avoiding foods you are intolerant to.
By optimizing your diet and training regimen you can lose a large amount of weight in just one week.
Although this won't be pure fat loss, it may give you the kick-start and motivation you need to follow a more sustainable diet.
You do not need to follow all of these steps, but the more you apply, the more weight you will lose.
Keep in mind that people who go on "crash diets" often end up gaining all the weight back when they're done.
When the week is over, you should switch to a more sustainable plan so that you can continue to lose weight and keep it off.