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How to Lose 10 Pounds Without Starving (Or Putting It Right Back On)

How to Lose 10 Pounds Fast

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Everyone knows that good things come to those who wait, but sometimes you don’t want to wait. Like, for instance, when you’re waiting for the number on the scale to creep down, whether it’s because you have a big reunion in a month, you’re headed to the beach in just two weeks, or your friend just confessed your ex is going to be at that party next weekend. Whatever the reason, it’s not wrong to want to lose weight fast. But you do want to do it in a way that’s healthy, and that won’t guarantee the pounds come right back as soon as you resume your usual diet and exercise habits. That’s why two experts weighed in on the fastest way to lose weight, no sketchy shortcuts required. (PS: This Is the Fad Diet and Weight Loss Advice That Simply Doesn’t Work.)

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How to Lose 10 Pounds In a Week

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While it is possible to lose 10 pounds in a week, it’s very unlikely—and most nutritionists wouldn’t recommend it. “I generally don't counsel that type of extreme weight loss,” says registered dietitian Maya Feller. “Losing more than a pound a day would be very challenging. Even when I’ve worked with [obese] patients, the most weight I've seen lost in a week in a real world setting—where the person has other obligations and isn’t spending the day in the gym—is 5 pounds.”

Of course, there are always exceptions. “If I had, say, an athlete who needed to make a weight class, I would adjust their caloric intake and modify the ratios of macronutrients (fats, proteins, and carbs) consumed,” says Feller. Low-carb diets have been proven to spur weight loss, while upping your intake of lean protein has been shown to rev your metabolism and suppress your appetite. (That May Be Why the Keto Diet Is So Popular RN.)

But weight loss boils down to more calories burned than consumed. If one pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories, you’d need to burn 3,500 calories more than you eat to lose that one pound, which Feller recommends doing through additional cardio and strength work. (Here’s a Strength Workout That Has Triple the Body Benefits.)

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Why You Shouldn't Lose 10 Pounds In a Week

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When you’re losing weight that fast, chances are you’ll gain it all back. “Most of that weight loss is water weight,” says Keri Gans, R.D.N, author of The Small Change Diet. “Water weight, or the body’s retention of water, totally fluctuates. There are many factors that could explain it, from eating a meal high in sodium to where you are in your menstrual cycle to being bloated due to gas and constipation. That makes it hard to actually count as weight loss.”

Plus, it’s way more likely that you’re losing lean muscle mass over fat. “Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, meaning it takes the body more calories at rest to maintain muscle,” explains Feller. “When a person loses weight quickly, the body begins to break down that muscle.” And since you don’t want to drop your muscle mass, it’s clearly not the smart way to go. (After All, Just Look at These Women Who Prove Being Strong Is Dead Sexy.)

And of course, there are health risks to think about. Super quick weight loss may cause dehydration, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and even gallstones, says Gans. “Very low-calorie and liquid diets—the kind you’d need to follow to lose 10 pounds in such a short time—should always be medically supervised,” warns Feller. 

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How to Lose 10 Pounds In 2 Weeks

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While you wouldn’t have to be quite as restrictive to lose 10 pounds in two weeks, Gans says it would still require an extra level of dedication, and Feller recommends a diet that reduces caloric intake coupled with an exercise regimen that focuses on HIIT, strength training, and cardio. Why? “A lower ratio of carbohydrates and fats and a higher ratio of protein would help preserve lean body mass and promote the breakdown of fat mass,” she says. Your ratios might look something like 50 percent protein, 25 percent fat, and 25 percent carbs, although if you’re working out super hard, says Feller, you could decrease protein to 40 percent and increase your carbs to 35 percent for more easily accessible energy.

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Weight Loss In 2 Weeks: What You Should Eat

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“I would focus on proteins from lean and minimally processed sources, two weekly servings of fish, carbohydrates from starchy vegetables, fruits, and legumes, and fats from plant-based sources,” says Feller. You’ll also want to stay seriously hydrated, as “water may help fill you up,” says Gans. Studies show that drinking just two glasses of water before a meal can help you consume less calories, and drinking throughout the day can keep you from misinterpreting thirst cues as hunger pangs.

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Weight Loss In 2 Weeks: What You Should Avoid

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For starters, avoid all alcohol and sweets, including candy, cookies, cakes, and soda, says Gans. “Those provide very little nutrition, and a lot of calories,” says Gans. You may also want to limit—but not totally exclude!—fruits and whole grains. “Many people find it easiest to eliminate carbs, which they generally tend to overeat,” says Gans.”I don’t support this way of thinking long-term, but it can work for the short-term.”

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How to Lose 10 Pounds In a Month

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Hands down, both experts agree that this is really the best way to lose weight. “I typically recommend 1 to 2 pounds per week for safe and successful weight loss,” says Gans. “Changing unhealthy habits to healthy habits takes time, and should be done slowly if you want to keep the weight off for good.”

To set yourself up for success, “you’ll need to make intentional choices about what and how much you eat, stay well-hydrated, and engage in short and long training sessions,” says Feller.

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Weight Loss In 1 Month: What You Should Eat

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For someone who wants to know how to lose 10 pounds, “I may suggest 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat,” says Gans. “The bulk of the carbs should come from whole grains, legumes, fruits, and starchy vegetables that are minimally processed; the proteins should come from lean sources as well as seafood, and the fats come from healthy sources like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olives.”

The good news is that you don’t have to focus so much on being on a diet—nobody likes that word anyway, and it means no foods or drinks are totally off limits. Instead, it’s about encouraging a healthy eating regime, says Gans. And because portion size matters, she says it’s crucial to keep that in check as you progress toward your goal. (Here Are Easy Tricks to Guesstimate Serving Sizes.)

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Weight Loss In 1 Month: How You Should Exercise

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As with any timeframe, you’ll still want to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight. Feller recommends scheduling workouts five days a week, so long as you enjoy the way you work up a sweat. That way you’ll make sure you find time for it, in turn making it that much easier to hit your weight loss goals.

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