Reality check. You are starting to see that dreaded muffin top. You’re in denial…but it could just be bad lighting, right?
Maybe your shirt feels too tight and you catch a glimpse of back fat around the edges of your bra. Or you find yourself reaching for loose fitting dresses and stretchy leggings because that’s all you feel comfortable in. Perhaps your pants just barely fit but the thought of (gasp!) going up a size is just not an option. It’s that feeling of well, bleh. So now what?
First, a high five for realizing that some of your healthy habits are slipping. Not everyone can come to terms with it when that happens, and it often happens to everyone at one time or another. Weight loss can be simple though, all you have to do is set goals for yourself, stick to your plan, and do the work to get results. Remember there are no magic pills out there, it’s going to take some hard work — though having a buddy take the journey with you can be a fun option. And whether you want to lose 5 pounds in a week, two weeks, or even a month, we can help you get there.
Continue reading to find out our best tips!
Is it Safe to Lose 5 Pounds a Week?
To lose 5 pounds a week, it’s important to realize that exercise and nutrition go hand-in-hand, so don’t sabotage all your hard work at the gym by bingeing in the kitchen.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that all those protein shakes, bars and ‘healthy’ cookies at the gym will help you burn fat faster, or are even good for you for that matter. Some are great, but the truth is that many are not. Often times they’re loaded with sugar and calories that we don’t really need unless we’re planning on skipping a meal — but who does that?!
The first step in how to lose 5 pounds a week is easy, no matter what your timeline is. Drink water. And plenty of it. Carbonated is fine, but avoid the flavored ones in pretty bottles. Due to dehydration, caffeinated water-based teas are also off limits. Finally, make sure to weigh yourself, and then drink half your weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you’d want to aim for 75 ounces of water a day. If you want to chug extra water, go for it. There’s no such thing as too much when it comes to H2O. And a heads up: prepare yourself for lots of bathroom breaks.
The next step to lose 5 pounds in a week, move! You’re not going to shed pounds by sitting on your duff all day. This is true no matter your weight loss timeline — you need to expend calories by moving that body of yours, even if it is 5 pounds heavier than you’d like. To get the biggest calorie bang for your exercise buck, choose quick, intense workouts. If you’re a fan of cardio, structure your workouts around high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. This type of training involves periods of high-intensity work broken up by bouts of recovery and is an effective way to target that belly fat and torch calories. If you hate cardio with a passion but love to hit the weights, make sure your workouts are performed in a circuit-type fashion. By this I mean crank out your exercises one after the other with little to no rest between stations — this has been shown to be an effective way to burn fat and build muscle (a double whammy when you’re trying to determine how to lose 5 pounds in a week or more).
Next, choose your game plan…what’s your timeline? How quickly do you want to drop those 5 pounds? The faster you want to see the scale move, the less flexibility you’ll have, but most people will find that even a week is totally doable.
How to Lose 5 pounds in a Week to 2 Weeks
It is possible to drop weight fast, but a one or even two-week time frame should really be looked at more as a jump start. You’ll need to decrease your calorie intake drastically to see results in one week. In two weeks, you’ll have a tad more leeway. However, chronic calorie restriction is really something that should be avoided. A week or two is fine, but longer than that and you could be looking at some serious adverse effects like weight gain or even metabolic problems. Making lifestyle changes that you can sustain are always a better option than starving yourself to reach your goal weight. What’s the point of being downright miserable in an effort to drop pounds only to gain them back as soon as you exhaust your willpower? Just keep that in mind when deciding how to approach your weight loss goals.
No matter what kind of weight loss timeline you decide to go with, you’ll have carefully portioned out items like lean chicken breasts, ground turkey, lots of leafy greens, limited low sugar fruits (think berries) and plain 1 percent Greek yogurt on the menu. Plan on foregoing your morning cup of joe, your nightly cup (or two) of wine, and skip the office happy hour…unless you can commit to ordering only water at the bar. Heads up: that strategy has the potential for your colleagues to question whether you’re pregnant – which isn’t a bad thing – but you might want to anticipate questions.
A one week plan should not be repeated consecutively due to the low-calorie count, but a typical day could look something like this:
You’ll still have to be careful with your portion sizes when figuring out how to lose 5 pounds in 2 weeks and strategic as to when you eat what but there is a little more leniency. If you were to follow the above plan, you can adapt it to do things like:
- Add a slice of whole wheat toast to your breakfast
- Add an extra snack, such as a half cup of reduced fat plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon of dried old fashioned oats and half a banana
- Add a root vegetable such as half a sweet potato to your dinner
How to Lose 5 Pounds in a Month or Longer (30+ Days)
If you need to get your fix of fast food, order a kid’s meal for yourself to avoid a calorie overload.
Even though we’ve already seen how to lose 5 pounds in 2 weeks, or even how to lose 5 pounds in a week, if you want sustainable, healthy weight loss you’ll be better off giving your 5-pound weight loss goal a one-month time frame. You don’t have to think strategically as much when it comes to what you eat at what time of day (hello veggie-packed pasta dinner!) when you have a longer time frame and 5 pounds in a month is still a very good weight loss rate.
Even with a month to lose 5 pounds, you still need to make smart food choices. Skip the boxed, processed dinners. They not only have a ton of preservatives and calories, they’re also loaded with sodium, which is not only bad for your blood pressure but also makes you retain water — something you definitely don’t want to happen when you’re trying to lose weight. The majority of your food should be fresh, whole and real — veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean proteins and healthy fats. Keep it simple and you’ll find success.
Portion control will always play a role, be it weight loss or maintenance, but when weight loss is your goal, here’s where you can still meet that while splurging a little. I usually discourage complete deprivation when you’re not in such a rush to lose the weight, and instead suggest following a 90/10 rule here. That is, eat clean 90 percent of the time, and indulge the remaining 10 percent. Plan for one cheat meal per week, be it pizza, the greasy, can’t-live-without sweet and sour chicken at your favorite Chinese joint, a fancy date night, or a trip to the drive-through. Savor it. You’ve worked for it. Just make sure you’re not going overboard. And, once you’ve hit your weight loss goal and are ready for maintenance, you can even drop that 90/10 rule to an 80/20.
It’s important to remember that everyone is different. Maybe your bestie will lose a little more than you, or maybe she’ll lose a little less. Just keep your eye on the prize (and on the next size down of your jeans) and you’ll discover how to lose 5 pounds in a week, how to lose 5 pounds in 2 weeks, or lose 15 pounds in a month.