How to lose 5 pounds in 2 weeks
A healthy amount of weight to lose per week is 1 to 2 pounds, which equates to 2 – 4 pounds in 2 weeks. However with a strict eating and exercise plan, you should be able to lose 5 pounds.
You need to consume a certain number of calories in order to maintain your current weight. The number of calories that you need depends on your weight, height, age, gender and how active you are.
To lose weight, your body needs to burn more calories than the amount that it obtains from food. This is known as a calorie deficit and forces your body to use its fat stores as a source of energy.
You can use the calculator below to estimate your calorie requirements:
This calculator will never show a number below 1000 calories per day. Please speak to a qualified health professional before attempting to eat less than that.
For example, a 30 year old lady who weighs 180 pounds, is 5 foot 8 inches tall and exercises 4 times a week will need approximately 2,465 calories to maintain her weight, 1,972 calories to lose weight and 1,479 calories to lose weight fast.
(It is important to note that weight loss is not a straightforward linear process; one week you might lose 2 pounds and then the next week only half a pound. A large number of factors can influence the amount of weight you lose.)
Different foods have different amounts of calories. Foods that are mainly made up of water, like fruits and vegetables, tend to be low in calories; this is because water has 0 calories.
On the other hand, foods that are mainly made up of fat, like nuts and seeds, tend to be high in calories. However that doesn’t mean you should avoid them entirely. When eaten in moderation they can help you lose weight by filling you up, thanks to their protein and fiber content (more on this later).
It is generally advised that you do not consume fewer than 1,200 calories per day because doing so can negatively affect both your health and weight loss efforts. Everybody is different so your best option would be to speak to your doctor, he or she can advise you on the minimum number of calories you should be consuming.
Reducing your daily calorie intake might sound intimidating at first, but with some planning it is achievable. Here are some tips to help you:
Keep a food diary to monitor calories
Keeping a food diary is simple to do, after every meal you write down what you ate. For example:
Breakfast – 2 boiled eggs, half an avocado, 1 cup of coffee
You can then use a website such as calorieking.com to estimate the number of calories. 2 boiled eggs have 155 calories, half an avocado has 161 calories and coffee has 0 calories. So your total calorie intake for breakfast would be 312 calories.
You simply enter the foods that you eat and the app will calculate your total daily calorie intake, together with a breakdown of macros (protein, carbohydrate & fat). It also has a handy bar-code scanner for store bought foods.
You can then decide if you are consuming more calories than you should be, and make healthy substitutions.
Both will fill you up equally, but with the chicken breast you save 600+ calories.
Eat more protein and fiber
Continuing from the section above, you should aim to increase your intake of protein and fiber. Both have a high satiety, which means they fill you up faster so you end up eating less.
Various studies have investigated how protein can help with weight management. This study found that increasing protein intake to 30% of total calories led to 441 fewer calories being consumed per day.
Another study found that overweight men who consumed a high protein diet had fewer obsessive thoughts about food and less of a late night desire to eat.
Protein can also help prevent weight regain, once it has been lost.
Fiber also increases satiety. This study found that making a simple change and increasing daily fiber intake to 30 g or more helped people lose weight.
Protein and fiber rich foods include vegetables, fish, lean meat, legumes, nuts and seeds. Here is an example of a low calorie, high protein menu:
Breakfast – 2 boiled eggs, half an avocado, 1 cup of coffee – 312 calories
Snack – Greek yogurt with half a cup of strawberries – 125 calories
Lunch – grilled chicken with steamed vegetables – 382 calories
Snack – hummus with carrot sticks – 150 calories
Dinner – grilled tilapia with steamed vegetables – 250 calories
Total: 1,219 calories
Even though they are low in calories, the protein in the eggs, Greek yogurt, chicken, hummus and tilapia will help you feel full. The avocado has healthy fats & fiber and when combined with the vegetables and hummus, increases your overall fiber intake.
An interesting fact is that half a 14 inch pizza has the same number of calories that the above foods have, combined.
You should also be wary of certain sauces and toppings; just a tablespoon serving of mayonnaise has 90 calories!
Watch what you drink
A sneaky way that calories make their way into your body unnoticed is via sugary drinks such as sodas. For example, a can of ordinary cola has more than 100 calories in it.
Sugary drinks are one of the main causes of weight gain. The reason for this is they don’t make you feel as full as eating solid food with the same number of calories would.
Chewing solid food, together with the bulk that it adds to your stomach tells your brain that you have eaten, so you should feel less hungry. But when you drink soda, your brain does not register this as efficiently.
Soda tends to contain a large amount of fructose, which leads to an increase in visceral fat. The sugar also causes your blood sugar levels to rise and fall dramatically, which can leave you feeling hungry, causing you to overeat.
Unfortunately switching to diet soda (which has almost no calories) doesn’t seem to help, as seen in this study.
The best option is plain water. It has 0 calories and 0 g of sugar. Additionally, studies have shown that drinking enough water can help you lose weight. Tea and coffee are also fine as they both have very few calories, but do contain caffeine, which helps to boost your metabolism slightly.
Fruit juices should be drunk with caution. Whilst they do provide your body with vitamins & minerals and are not “empty” calories like soda, they are still fairly high in calories and sugar. You are better off eating solid fruit instead.
Depending on your body type, it may not be possible to create a large enough calorie deficit just by changing your diet. This is where exercise comes in handy because it can help you burn more calories and create a higher net deficit.
The more strenuously you exercise, the more calories you burn. A person who runs for 45 minutes 5 times a week will burn more calories than someone who walks for 30 minutes twice a week.
You should gradually increase the intensity at which you workout, aiming to get at least 30 minutes of exercise that makes you sweat, 4 times a week.
An effective way of exercising is high intensity interval training (HIIT). This involves doing short bursts of intense exercise, followed by a longer period of slower paced exercise.
For example, you could sprint as fast as possible for 30 seconds and then jog at a comfortable pace for a minute. Repeat this cycle for 15 – 20 minutes. HIIT has been shown to help boost metabolism and burn more fat than regular cardio.
It is also important to do some resistance training when trying to lose weight. This is because your overall goal should be to burn fat and retain muscle. Without weight training, you will end up burning both muscle and fat, which will give you a “skinny fat” body rather than a lean one.
A protein rich diet together with weight training will mean that you preserve muscle mass. Which brings up an important point – when it comes to weight loss, your overall goal should not be to lose a certain number of pounds in a certain amount of time, but instead to change the way that you look in the mirror.
Obsessively monitoring a weighing scale everyday is not ideal. This is because once you start working out, you will build muscle. And just like fat, muscle has mass.
However 1 pound of muscle is much more compact than 1 pound of fat. So whilst you may not see the numbers you would have wished to see when you step on the scale, you will definitely see the changes in the mirror.
After 2 weeks
It is possible to lose 5 pounds in 2 weeks, but long term weight management does require lifestyle changes. Once the 2 weeks are over, it is important to assess the number of calories that you should be eating to maintain your weight. Overeating and not getting enough exercise will result in all the weight being put back on again.
If you want to continue losing weight after 2 weeks, you will need to remain in a calorie deficit. As mentioned previously, a healthy amount of weight to lose per week is 1 to 2 pounds, which equates to a daily deficit of approximately 500 – 1,000 calories. Your overall goals will determine how many calories you should be eating.
Your BMI tells you what a healthy weight would be, given your height. It is calculated using the following formula:
BMI = ( Weight in Pounds / ( Height in inches x Height in inches ) ) x 703
A BMI of 18.5–24.9 is considered normal, so this is the range that you should aim for.