What you need to know before setting fast weight loss goals.

By Mike Roussell, PhD
Updated: September 27, 2016

Q: Is it safe to lose 10 pounds in a week?

A: When it comes to safe weight loss, the difference between safe and unsafe doesn't have to do with how much you lose but how you lose it. One to 2 pounds per week is often cited as a safe amount of weight to lose, but little safety data exists to support that number. What makes 3-4 pounds unsafe? Only the way in which you lose weight.

If you drink nothing but lemon juice and maple syrup with a dash of cayenne pepper for a week and lose 10 pounds, I would consider that unsafe weight loss. On the other hand, if you complete three intense, metabolic resistance-training sessions, another three interval-training sessions, and you are diligent about eating a low-calorie, low-carbohydrate diet and lose 10 pounds in one week; I wouldn't say that was unsafe. I would say you worked hard and lost the weight the right way. I should note that 11 pounds is the most weight I have ever had a client lose in one week (not counting athletes that were cutting weight). This client worked extremely hard to lose that weight, and he was relatively fit to begin with.

The question of losing 10 or 20 pounds in one week has become very popular, thanks to TV shows like The Biggest Loser. When losing "biggest loser" type numbers, there are three major factors that come into play: amount of weight to lose, time, and experience/fitness level.

1. How much weight do you have to lose? If you weigh 180 pounds and your goal weight is 130 pounds, losing 20 pounds in one week-the right way-teeters on the brink of impossible. If you're more like a Biggest Loser contestant, weighing 380 pounds, then losing 20 pounds in one week is plausible (especially considering the large amount of water weight you would lose during the first week). This follows the general rule that the more weight you have to lose, the easier it will be for you to lose weight.

2. How much time to you have to dedicate to weight loss? Unlike The Biggest Loser, most people don't have all day to dedicate to weight loss. Chances are you have a job, social life, family responsibilities, etc. that make it hard to put in the time required to burn enough calories to lose 20 pounds in one week.

3. What is your current fitness level and how much experience do you have exercising? This is where safety becomes an issue. Starting out on The Biggest Loser, most contestants have a hard time walking one mile. If you find yourself in this situation, then embarking on an intense resistance-training program will hinder your progress, not help it (and you'll likely injure yourself in the process). Knowing your physical limits and abilities is an important part of any exercise program, especially if you are going to set very aggressive weight-loss goals. Medical teams are readily available on TV sets to deal with the contestants collapsing and passing out. You should never put yourself in a situation where you are pushing your fitness level to those limits.

All of this aside, the most important questions are why do you need to lose so much weight so fast, and what is going to happen afterwards? I support setting aggressive weight-loss goals, but why give yourself such a short time span? Expand this to one month, and give yourself a chance to live a little during the process. Allow your body to recover and respond to your intensive training and diet program.

The bottom line: I have found that the fast your lose weight, the faster you can gain it back. Losing 10 pounds in one week usually creeps back on right away. The best way to lost weight is losing 10 pounds in one month (or even 20 pounds), since it typically stays lost for good. Work hard to reach your weight loss goals, but be smart about it.

Dr. Mike Roussell, PhD, is a nutritional consultant known for his ability to transform complex nutritional concepts into practical habits and strategies for his clientele, which includes professional athletes, executives, food companies, and top fitness facilities. Dr. Mike is the author of Dr. Mike's 7 Step Weight Loss Plan and the upcoming 6 Pillars of Nutrition.

Connect with Dr. Mike to get more simple diet and nutrition tips by following @mikeroussell on Twitter or becoming a fan of his Facebook page .

Advertisement


Comments (44)

Anonymous
April 19, 2019
Over the years I've tried many methods recommended by both my friends and family but none of them seemed to work out for me until I chanced upon this holy grail where I've lost almost 33 pounds in just 1 month trying it out! I can now fit in dresses two sizes down and receive many compliments from not only my lovely husband, but colleagues and girlfriends about how great I look right now! I'm here to share with you guys because I really am thankful and hope someone who also needs this can experience similar results as me! Here is the link to my holy grail method! https://bit.ly/flatbelly21dayfix
Anonymous
March 23, 2019
The Secret to Losing Unwanted Weight Fast and Keeping It Off: https://bit.ly/2pRzPPy
Anonymous
March 22, 2019
This controversial method can make you lean fast: https://bit.ly/2DmMBxk
Anonymous
March 17, 2019
It's been a year since my husband practically threw me away like GARBAGE for being too fat and disgusting, as he called me.And that’s when I decided I’d had enough… No matter what it took I was going to look great! The first thing I wanted to do was to get rid of cellulite. After much trial and error, I finally found a program that taught me the correct body movements to stimulate all 90 muscles of my lower body and the right way to optimize my hormones through nutrient balance. The end result is astonishing. Cellulite is gone.The firmness and tightness of my body is something I've never felt before.I feel proud of myself. And so can you... Visit ==> http://bit.ly/cellulitefreenow
Anonymous
March 15, 2019
Losing weight is not so difficult with the right guidance and methods. What worked for me was this amazing guide: https://bit.ly/2QvsWDd Explains the science of losing weight, right foods to eat, foods to avoid, tips and tricks to lose weight quickly and stay healthy.
Anonymous
February 18, 2019
A breakthrough Yoga Program that melts away flab and reshapes your body in as little as one hour a week. https://bit.ly/2S3Fk9s
Anonymous
January 30, 2019
My life is totally transformed after I followed this diet. https://bit.ly/2safCoC Have Lost 27 pounds in last 1 month and feeling great about myself.
Anonymous
January 28, 2019
Hi, my name is Kate and I would like to share my story. Up until about 2 years ago, I was 30 pounds overweight. Over the years I had followed many different diet plans, but failed every single time. I was "blessed" with a pear shaped body and no matter what i did, I always retained lots of stubborn fat in my lower body. Everything changed when I found the right diet program. My story is here ==> http://bit.ly/mydietstory
Anonymous
January 25, 2019
Did you know there’s a “deep detox” you can do first thing in the morning to burn more fat? And the good news is It only takes 13-seconds! Here it is: https://bit.ly/2x45lQy
Anonymous
January 25, 2019
This controversial method can make you lean fast: https://bit.ly/2DmMBxk
Anonymous
December 17, 2018
The simple 30 second ritual that stops fat storage: https://bit.ly/2LjBabD
Anonymous
December 14, 2018
Losing weight is not so difficult with the right guidance and methods. What worked for me was this amazing guide: https://bit.ly/2QvsWDd Explains the science of losing weight, right foods to eat, foods to avoid, tips and tricks to lose weight quickly and stay healthy.
Anonymous
December 10, 2018
Lost 41 pounds and 4 dress sizes. I am in the best shape of my life. Wish I had seen this amazing video earlier: https://bit.ly/2xZoIIy
Anonymous
January 31, 2019
Nice.
Anonymous
December 7, 2018
I had used Brian’s method to reduce 8 kg in just 3 weeks; I followed step by step procedure as per Brian’s instruction. This is one of the perfect weight loss product to reduce weight without any side effect and keep the body fit for lifelong, refer here => weightlossin3weeks.com
Anonymous
December 7, 2018
Eat this “superfruit” before bed to burn more fat: https://bit.ly/2G7zzXt
Anonymous
November 28, 2018
Wanna increase muscle size, strength and performance ? i found this powerful product that is a safe, legal and side effect free i tried it myself and it realy shows good results for more info check in here -> bulkm.net
Anonymous
November 16, 2018
This controversial method can make you lean fast: https://bit.ly/2DmMBxk
Anonymous
October 30, 2018
hey i found a rapid weight loss program that can help you lose up to 23 pounds of pure body fat in just 3 weeks!!! watch this video here -> 3weeksdiets.net
Anonymous
October 19, 2018
The Secret to Losing Unwanted Weight Fast and Keeping It Off: https://bit.ly/2pRzPPy
Anonymous
October 19, 2018
Lost 41 pounds and 4 dress sizes. I am in the best shape of my life. Wish I had seen this amazing video earlier: https://bit.ly/2xZoIIy
Anonymous
October 12, 2018
I have always been what most would consider a “big girl”. In January 2018, I weighed 180 lbs, which is quite overweight for a woman my height. I wasn’t always this weight though. In my teenage years, I weighed only 140 pounds and I felt much healthier and happier. I strived desperately over the years to get back to this weight. But with a stressful and busy work life, I struggled... continue here https://bit.ly/2QNXQm6
Anonymous
December 7, 2018
Thanks.
Anonymous
October 8, 2018
Unusual weight loss method that actually works: https://bit.ly/2NeMdD5
Anonymous
October 4, 2018
Lost 41 pounds and 4 dress sizes. I am in the best shape of my life. Wish I had seen this amazing video earlier: https://bit.ly/2xZoIIy
Anonymous
September 14, 2018
Hi! Everybody knows that to lose weight you should eat less and move more. Weight loss can frequently seem like an arduous task that requires a lot of willpower, self-control and restriction. For anyone trying to lose weight, you’ll know that lots of people have advice on what to do. We need effective weight-loss strategies now. Set yourself a weight-loss target. Have a goal weight in mind that you are working towards, or a certain amount of weight that you want to lose each week. The diet that follows is not part of fad diets do not promise miracles and will not reveal a closely guarded secret that will make us all -with some magical way- lose those pounds dreamed. The diet that follows is based on the Mediterranean diet is healthy, balanced and targeted at anyone who wants to lose weight safely and keeping it off just started eating more. Check out this website: www.mydietplantoday.com
Anonymous
September 8, 2018
Did you know there’s a “deep detox” you can do first thing in the morning to burn more fat? And the good news is It only takes 13-seconds! Here it is: https://bit.ly/2x45lQy
Anonymous
November 16, 2018
Nice.
Anonymous
October 8, 2018
Thanks.
Anonymous
September 27, 2018
Sounds good.
Anonymous
August 20, 2018
36-year old mother of 3 Reveals The French Weight Loss Solution That Helps You Naturally Slim Down Without Exercise: https://bit.ly/2KOb2Ee
Anonymous
August 11, 2018
hey this is an extreme rapid weight loss system that can help you lose up to 16 pounds of pure body fat in just 2 weeks! watch this video here: => http://the2weekdietnow.com
Anonymous
August 2, 2018
Hi. While there are endless diets, supplements, and meal replacement plans claiming to ensure rapid weight loss, most lack any scientific evidence. There are, however, some strategies backed by science that do have an impact on weight management. Being a healthy weight offers many health benefits, as well as a feeling of wellbeing. Some start off by making dietary changes while others hire personal trainers and begin working out three times a week. Do you have trouble losing weight? Or would you like to lose faster? You’ve come to the right place. If you want to read more, click hete to find out more: https://bit.ly/2ib9C92
Anonymous
July 30, 2018
The simple secret to lose weight quickly, safely and permanently without starving yourself or stepping foot in the gym. https://bit.ly/2vfKoOH
Anonymous
June 21, 2018
I'm liking my new lifestyle. I don't want to go back to how I used to live. Usually by this time into a new program I lose my motivation. But this time is different. The motivation is actually increasing. I'm feeling like my goal is truly attainable! I really can do this! In 20 days, I'm down 14.6 lbs! following this weight loss program: https://bit.ly/2rHqH0d
Anonymous
June 21, 2018
Did you know there’s a “deep detox” you can do first thing in the morning to burn more fat? And the good news is It only takes 13-seconds! Here it is: https://bit.ly/2x45lQy
Anonymous
June 13, 2018
If you want to know how to lose weight really fast take a minute and read what I did to lose over 10 pounds in two weeks ..... http://bit.ly/2G4Gr6T
Anonymous
June 1, 2018
Discover The #1 Detox Tea That Melts Away Fat EFFORTLESSLY: https://bit.ly/2Laaysp
Anonymous
October 8, 2018
Interesting.
Anonymous
May 25, 2018
My life is totally transformed after I followed this diet.https://bit.ly/2safCoC Have Lost 27 pounds in last 1 month and feeling great about myself.
Anonymous
September 27, 2018
Thanks a lot for sharing about this. I have good great results from this diet.
Anonymous
September 8, 2018
great
Anonymous
April 30, 2018
I had used Brian’s method to reduce 8 kg in just 3 weeks; I followed step by step procedure as per Brian’s instruction. This is one of the perfect weight loss product to reduce weight without any side effect and keep the body fit for lifelong, refer here: http://weightlossin3weeks.com/weight-loss
Anonymous
March 2, 2018
Since I turned 40 it has been increasing harder to lose weight. I have tried every diet, watch what I ate etc., nothing worked. One day my husband came home and told me about this system, I thought why not. Three months later I lost 34 pounds and 3 sizes. Now that I’m on the maintenance part of the system I lost a total of 38 pounds and now down 4 sizes…. This system works. It really had me change my eating habits. I have learned valuable nutritional information to ensure I keep the weight off and look great. Three months later I lost 34 pounds and 3 sizes, just following this system: >> leanbellybreakthrough1 .club << Google it