Can I Lose 10 Pounds in a Week?

Even by combining diet with vigorous exercise, it would be very difficult--and potentially dangerous--to try to lose 10 pounds a week.
Avoiding foods that are high in carbs may be part of an extreme weight loss plan.
In order to lose weight, caloric input needs to be less than caloric output.
Slower methods of weight loss are considered much safer than sudden drops in weight.
It's far more realistic and safe to aim to lose 10 pounds over a five-week period.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 December 2014
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It is very difficult and unhealthy to lose 10 pounds (4.53 kilograms) in one week. To understand why it's not likely that you will safely lose that much weight in one week, consider how many calories make up 1 pound (453 grams). There are 3,500 calories in 1 pound. To lose 1 pound of weight, you must eat 3,500 calories less than what is necessary to maintain your weight. In order to lose 10 pounds in one week, you need to eliminate and/or burn 35,000 calories and almost 1.5 pounds (680 grams) per day. This means eating 5,000 fewer calories each day or burning that much. Even if you incorporate exercise, this goal is still unrealistic.

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A more practical, safe, and realistic goal may be to lose 10 pounds in five weeks. To do this, you would need to lose 2 pounds (907 grams) per week, which translates into 7,000 calories on a weekly basis. You could do this by eliminating 600 calories per day from your normal diet, for example, and then exercising enough each day to burn another 400, for a reduction of 1,000 calories per day and 7,000 over seven days. Keep in mind that you may need 1 to 2 hours of exercise every day in order to burn 400 extra calories on a daily basis, depending on the type of exercise you choose. If you're not used to exercising, you'll need to get to this level gradually to avoid straining your muscles or even injuring them.

To figure out whether or not you can afford to subtract 1,000 calories from your daily diet, first determine how many calories you need to cover normal body function and the amount of physical activity you have each day. You can get a rough estimate of the amount needed for body function by multiplying your body weight by 10. The number you get is referred to as your basal metabolic rate (BMR). For example, if you weigh 150 pounds (68 kilograms), you need about 1,500 calories per day for normal body function, including digestion, breathing and maintaining your body temperature.

Next, you'll need to figure out how many calories you need in total, considering your level of physical activity. If you know about how many calories you burn each day, just add that number to your BMR; however, most people have no idea how many calories they burn. Some weight-loss websites have calculators you can use to figure this out, or you can come up with a good, rough estimate by taking your weight and multiplying it by 14; this is about the number of calories you need each day if you are sedentary. If you are moderately active, multiply your weight by 17. Multiply it by 20 if you are very active.

Using this formula, you'll see that a sedentary person who weighs 150 pounds needs 2,100 calories per day to account for regular body function and her normal level of physical activity. To lose 10 pounds (4.53 kilograms) in five weeks, she could cut 600 calories per day from her diet and exercise for two hours per day to make up the other 400. Doing this, she could lose 2 pounds (907 grams) per week. It would be unwise to cut out more than 600 calories and go below the 1500 calories she needs for normal body function, as she could experience unwanted health effects.

There are many fad diets available that claim to offer users ways to lose 10 pounds or more per week. It's important to keep in mind that these diet plans may not work, despite their convincing sales pitches. Many of them include water weight loss in their estimates, skewing their numbers. Additionally, starving yourself to try to meet incredible weight-loss goals could leave you tired and edgy from lack of sustenance. You could even damage your body by trying to lose too much too quickly.

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anon315462
Post 22

I was looking for an easy and simple explanation about how to lose weight based on calories burned. Recently I lost significant weight (10kg) only by using diet and I am only 5kg close to my ideal weight which is 85kg. But I want now to exercise too, in order also get in shape. Thanks for the clear explanation in the article.

anon307175
Post 21

It depends on how much you weigh. The more weight you have, the faster it comes off! So it's doable to lose that much weight.

anon291481
Post 20

I lost five pounds in three days. All you need to do is follow this.

Morning: White chicken breast 8 oz; brown rice or complex carb.

Three hours later: Veggies, multivitamin, protein shake.

An hour later do a 30 minute session of intense weights

In a two-hour time period, take in a fast digesting protein source and this time anything that is simple carbs actually will help.

About 30 minutes before bed, take another protein shake to prevent catabolism where your body breaks down your muscles for energy. So next morning you won't feel as sore but also your metabolism will have probably increased. Also drink three quarts of water if possible and maintain a good sodium level.

anon172755
Post 17

absolutely not! i had hoped for at least five but not even that. i lost 1 pound in nine days (which is today) and i need to lose 20. Going at this rate means it will take me 20 weeks?

dellogirl
Post 16

I have lost pounds in a week but I'd be afraid to lose that much because when you started eating just a little bit more and the weight will just come flooding back and more so it's not advisable unless you plan to drink fluids for the rest of your life.

anon152743
Post 15

It can't be that unhealthy. Look at these people on the Biggest Loser. Some of them are losing 15-18 pounds a week and nothing bad seems to happen with them. They just keep losing and in the end are so much more healthier. It just depends on the weight of the person.

anon150644
Post 14

My thought is why worry about the amount of weight loss. If you are being a healthy eater, working out, and being careful why is it unhealthy to lose the weight? It gets unhealthy when you are not giving the body the nutrients it needs. Focus on what you are putting into your body, and the stuff that is coming out probably shouldn't have been there in the first place.

anon149825
Post 13

I think it's presumptuous to say that it's unhealthy to lose ten pounds in one week, simply because everyone's situation is different. A lot depends on how overweight you are, how active your metabolism is, what you current diet consists of and more.

Over the last year or so, I gained a significant amount of weight due to inactivity and taking prescription drugs that caused weight gain as a side effect. I am 5'11 and I was 220 pounds.

My doctors told me from the get-go that I would gain weight, but that taking this medication was more important, and I agreed. However, when I reached 220 pounds I decided that it was not acceptable to me to be that overweight, and I began a diet.

I did two very simple things: I reduced my diet to healthy, low-calorie food and drinks, and changed from eating three meals a day to eating small portions consistently throughout the day, always stopping when I was no longer hungry. I never let myself starve. Whenever I feel hungry, I eat.

The results? I lose 2-3 pounds every single day (roughly 17 - 18 pounds per week). Your mathematics suggesting you need to eat 3500 calories less per day to lose 10 pounds a week are obviously way off target.

According to your math, I would need to eat almost 6000 less calories than needed per day to lose the weight I am currently losing. Obviously this is not true, considering I do absolutely no exercise. I would have to be exercising all day every day to burn that many calories.

anon142866
Post 12

To that poster, losing 10 pounds in 5 weeks is normal and healthy, unless you are severely overweight. And your body will adapt to it easier and keep the extra weight off in the future.

And you are someone who thinks at 5'7, 14 stones is 'ideal weight'? That's so overweight its ridiculous. Unless you are some professional bodybuilder, but judging from the fact you say you were around 20 stones, i highly doubt it.

People like you spread misleading information about how to properly diet and stay that way for a long time to come.

anon136707
Post 11

I am going travelling in weeks and I decided to lose some weight before my trip.

I did 2:30 hours of workouts a day (lots of cardio, and also weight training) ***most important part***

I had lots of fibre for my dinner (salad without dressing).

I ate eight meals a day, but very small portions each time (stop eating before you are full and don’t lie to yourself). I didn’t eat anything three hours before I went to bed, no white sugar. I had olive oil instead of vegetable oil, I had my vitamin pill every day, I didn't eat any fast food, I didn't have anything that had high calories, had white meat.

I lost 10 pounds in one week, and I will lose another 10 pounds. I will only reduce my workout to every other day after I am done losing the second 10 pounds.

anon135811
Post 10

120 lbs at 5"7'? Your weight is perfect! You probably want a little toning but no weight loss!

anon124298
Post 9

i just want to lose weight. i am 5"7 and 120 lbs. help

anon99356
Post 8

The person who lost 19 pounds only lost that because they are heavy in the first place. I'm losing weight at a a rate of a pound a week and I'm 12.6 and 5ft 9 in height. My husband is heavier than me and is losing weight quicker because the calories he took in before the diet were a lot higher than mine.

anon87677
Post 5

Depends what you mean by safely lose weight. i say losing 10 pounds of fat every five weeks, is way too slow. There would be literally no effort involved, doing it that way. I'm 5ft7inch with quite a big build so my ideal weight is 14 stone, but i currently put on six stone over a period of doing nothing for two years.

When i hit twenty stone i decided to go on a diet, where i'd eat the same amount i would when i was 14 stone, and did a lot of exercise and lost 19 pounds in 10 days. Now how is that possible? If you're saying losing weight fast, say 10 pounds in a week is almost impossible. I'd like to say that mainstream diets don't work, so just look at the science of losing weight, with food low in fat and high in calcium are good for losing weight, because the calcium stops the body absorbing the fat from the food you eat.

so when you eat drink something high in calcium with food. It's also proven, that soup fills you up a lot longer, than just a normal dinner.

Don't go slowly. Do it fast, and keep it off with lots of exercise, and enough food to keep you healthy.

anon72280
Post 4

slow progress is always better than fast progress. you need to develop a routine you can sustain to become healthier.

anon71484
Post 3

I lost eight lbs in one week. My doctor told me to go on a no carb diet and eat nothing but veggies and fruits with lots of water.

anon68031
Post 2

I don't think its very unhealthy. if you drink just fluids for 72 hours you will lose about 10 pounds, but later you may gain back as much as five and it's just pointless because it slows down your metabolism. i don't know -- doesn't seem worth it.

apolo72
Post 1

I agree. Definitely unhealthy, and unwise, to lose that much in a week.

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