Losing weight quickly is a goal for many people looking to drop pounds for an upcoming event, to improve their health, or simply to feel better about their appearance. But is it really possible to lose 10 pounds in just one week? While major weight loss in a short period of time is not recommended for most people, there are some circumstances where losing a significant amount of weight in a week can be done safely with proper precautions.
Is it safe to lose 10 lbs in a week?
Losing 10 pounds in a week is likely to be unsafe for most people. The typical recommended rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. Losing weight more rapidly than that can cause health problems:
- It can lead to nutrient deficiencies if you severely restrict your food intake, as rapid weight loss diets require.
- You may lose muscle mass along with fat due to inadequate protein intake.
- Rapid weight loss can increase the risk of gallstones.
- You may experience side effects like fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and dizziness.
However, for some people, losing 10 pounds in a week may be appropriate if supervised by a doctor. This includes people who are obese with a body mass index over 30 and have medical reasons for requiring fast weight loss, like before bariatric surgery. The key is to do it safely by working with your doctor to create an appropriate plan.
How to lose 10 lbs in a week safely
Here are some steps you can take to maximize safe weight loss if you have specific circumstances where fast short-term weight loss is necessary:
- Work with your doctor to rule out any health conditions that could make rapid weight loss dangerous for you.
- Calculate a calorie deficit that is appropriate for your starting weight – around 500-1000 calories below maintenance level.
- Increase your activity with daily exercise targeted to burn 500+ extra calories.
- Follow a structured low-calorie diet with adequate protein (at least 50g per day).
- Stay hydrated by drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day.
- Limit sodium to reduce fluid retention and bloating.
- Get enough potassium, calcium, iron and other important vitamins and minerals.
- Manage hunger and cravings with high-volume, low-calorie foods like fruits, vegetables and soups.
- Avoid crash dieting or fasting – stick to a reduced calorie plan with proper nutrition.
Following a plan like this under a doctor’s supervision can promote more fat loss and help preserve muscle compared to extreme low-calorie crash dieting.
How to create a calorie deficit to lose 10 lbs
To lose 10 pounds in a week, you need to maintain a large daily calorie deficit through diet and exercise. Here is the estimated calorie deficit needed each day to achieve this goal:
|Starting Weight||Calorie Deficit Needed Per Day|
|200 lbs||2000 calories|
|220 lbs||2200 calories|
|250 lbs||2500 calories|
To create a deficit this large, you need to both restrict calories through your diet and burn extra calories through exercise:
- Reduce your calorie intake to 1000-1200 calories per day.
- Aim for a minimum of 500 calories burned through cardio exercise like brisk walking.
- Add in strength training to build muscle and boost metabolism.
- Increase non-exercise activity like standing and fidgeting.
This extreme calorie restriction should only be followed for one week and under medical guidance. Staying hydrated, getting nutrients and having proper medical supervision is crucial.
Example rapid weight loss diet plan
Here is a sample 1,200 calorie diet plan and exercise regime that can help you lose 10 lbs in a week if followed carefully:
|Breakfast||1 egg, 1 slice whole wheat toast, 1/2 grapefruit||185 calories|
|Snack||Small apple||80 calories|
|Lunch||Salad with 4 oz chicken breast, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, 1 tbsp light dressing||340 calories|
|Snack||1 cup berries||70 calories|
|Dinner||4 oz grilled fish, 1 cup steamed vegetables, 1 small baked potato||400 calories|
|Snack||Sugar-free pudding||100 calories|
- 45 min brisk walking – 300 calories
- 20 min jogging – 290 calories
- 30 min strength training – 120 calories
- Total additional calories burned: 710 calories
This would create a daily deficit of about 1,900 calories below your maintenance needs, allowing you to potentially lose up to 10 pounds in 7 days.
Other rapid weight loss tactics
In addition to calorie restriction and exercise, other tactics can help support fast short-term weight loss:
- Intermittent fasting – Restrict eating to set times like 8 hours per day to reduce calories.
- Low carb diet – Cut back on carbs to deplete glycogen stores and decrease water weight.
- Increase protein – Eat foods high in protein like lean meats, eggs and beans to preserve muscle.
- Drink plenty of water – Stay well hydrated to prevent fluid retention.
- Reduce sodium – Minimizing sodium can lower water retention.
However, these extreme measures should only be followed for one week at most to avoid potential health consequences.
Precautions for losing 10 lbs in a week
It’s important to keep these precautions in mind if attempting to lose 10 lbs in one week:
- Consult your doctor first – rapid weight loss can be dangerous for some people.
- Maintain proper nutrition – follow a reduced calorie diet that still includes vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein.
- Stay hydrated – drink at least 64 oz water per day.
- Avoid “starvation mode” – eating 1,000-1,200 calories prevents your body from preserving energy by slowing metabolism too much.
- Exercise safely – ease into increased activity levels to prevent excessive soreness or injury.
- Don’t restrict calories too low or for too long – low calorie levels should only be followed for one week.
- Weigh yourself no more than once per week – more often can lead to obsession.
- Expect that the weight loss will slow – losing 10 lbs in a week is extreme and won’t continue at the same pace.
- Be prepared to regain some weight – you may regain 3-5 lbs of water weight after ending the diet.
Rapid weight loss is difficult to sustain long-term. The best option is to lose weight at a slow steady pace of 1-2 lbs per week on an ongoing basis.
Can you keep off 10 lbs lost in a week?
It is very unlikely you will keep off all 10 pounds lost in one week. Here is what you can expect in terms of keeping the weight off:
- 2-5 lbs may be regained as water weight when you resume normal eating.
- Any additional weight beyond water weight that stays off will require sticking to a reduced calorie intake and exercise plan.
- If you go back to old eating habits, most of the remaining weight is likely to be regained.
- To maintain the weight loss, you need to make long-term lifestyle changes like improved diet and increased activity.
- Expect that you may need to continue eating 300-500 calories less per day than your maintenance needs.
Losing 10 pounds in a week requires major short-term sacrifices that are difficult to sustain permanently. To keep the weight off, make small sustainable changes you can maintain in the long run.
Final tips for losing 10 lbs in a week
- Check with your doctor before attempting rapid weight loss.
- Calculate the large daily calorie deficit required to lose 10 lbs in a week.
- Restrict calories to around 1,000-1,200 calories per day.
- Burn 500+ extra calories through exercise.
- Follow an aggressive but safe diet and exercise plan for one week at most.
- Stay hydrated, get proper nutrition and medical supervision.
- Expect to regain 2-5 lbs of water weight afterwards.
- Make lifestyle changes to keep the weight off long-term.
- Aim to lose 1-2 lbs per week on an ongoing basis for better results.
The bottom line
Losing 10 pounds in one week is extreme and requires major short-term sacrifices. While very rapid weight loss is not recommended for most people, you may be able to lose 10 lbs in a week safely if you have medical oversight and follow a rigorous but nutritionally balanced diet and exercise plan. Just keep in mind that most of the weight is likely to come back on if you return to old habits. Making small, sustainable lifestyle changes is the best way to lose weight and keep it off long-term.