How to lose 2 pounds this week
For long-term weight loss, you have to lose at a reasonable pace. Otherwise, you are losing muscle and water along with the fat.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off for good, you need to do it the right way. Losing muscle and water will slow your metabolism, resulting in weight gain. So, diets that promote very rapid weight loss don't offer lasting results. They offer a yo-yo of weight loss and gain.
Lose 2 pounds per week, max
Instead, aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week, and your body will have time to adjust positively to the change. This might not seem like enough, especially if your ultimate goal is to lose more than 25 pounds. But this is a marathon, not a sprint. You need to take your time with weight loss if you want it to last.
Losing more than 2 pounds in a week will alarm your body. It will believe it's starving and try to hold on tighter to the few calories you do supply. You might experience fatigue, hunger pains, and depression.
Keeping your weight loss within the target range of 1-2 pounds will help you avoid those negative side effects. You might feel a tiny bit hungry, but if your diet is nutritious, you might not. Losing weight is never easy, but taking it one pound at a time makes it doable.
How many calories in a pound?
Here is some quick math to keep on hand: one pound equals 3,500 calories. Therefore, if you cut or burn an extra 500 calories, you will lose 1 pound in a week. To lose 2 pounds in a week, you need to cut or burn an extra 1,000 calories per day.
Most diets are based on consuming 2,000 calories each day. Cutting 500 calories means losing a quarter of your normal intake. Cutting 1,000 calories per day means losing 50% of your normal intake! Clearly, this is a lot. Now you can see why losing more than 2 pounds per week is simply damaging to your body.
In fact, if you don't have a lot of weight to lose (you are trying to rid vanity pounds), you should aim to lose only half a pound to one pound per week. You shouldn't let your calorie intake dip below 1500 in a day. Take your time, and your body will keep the weight off.
However, if you typically consume greater than 2,000 calories in a day, you can probably cut 1,000 calories and still be okay. It's best to start with cutting a few hundred calories in a day, and then working up to cutting more. This gives your body time to adjust. It also gives you time to mentally prepare yourself, and so much of weight loss success is based on that mental work.
What does 500 calories look like?
A large snack or a small meal is typically 500 calories, so that is what you will need to cut daily if you want to lose one pound this week. For weight loss of 2 pounds this week, you need to double that.
Some examples of 500-calories meals and snacks include a bagel with cream cheese, a Starbucks venti frappuccino, a six-inch ham sandwich with oil and vinegar, a nine-ounce lean steak, or two slices of pepperoni pizza.
It's a loss of a decent amount of food, so you will probably feel it at first. Your body will get used to the change in time. The simplest snack to cut is anything eaten after dinner. Skipping breakfast isn't the best idea, but cutting off your food intake late in the day won't harm you. It will actually give your digestive system more of a window to rest between dinner and breakfast the next day.
If cutting your after-dinner food isn't enough, eliminate other daytime snacking, and stick with three evenly spaced meals instead.
In all, weight loss is work. But it will be completely tolerable if you aim to only lose 1-2 pounds per week. Patience and consistency are what wins the race in this game.