How to Effectively Lose Weight in a Week

These Habits Can Make a Big Difference

Woman walking
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Have you ever had an upcoming special occasion for which you hope to fit into a certain outfit, even though the event is mere days away? When we want to lose weight quickly, we'll do just about anything to make it happen. 

However, health experts usually don't recommend trying to lose a significant amount of weight in a week. But if you're serious about losing a few pounds by your deadline, read on for two steps you can take to change your diet and daily routine to reach your goal.

The Two-Step Plan

Are you ready for a seven-day slim down? This plan isn't easy, but it is simple, even though it requires focus and commitment. The good news is that it doesn't require any special diet pills, expensive supplements, or dangerous exercise programs.

This program is common-sense weight loss, supercharged.

Step 1: Change Your Diet

If you only have one week, you don't have time to count calories and micronutrients to manage your energy balance. Those are the steps you would take to make lasting changes to your body. Instead, take a more simple approach and eliminate these few things from your diet for seven days:

  • Baked goods. For the entire week, avoid all sweet and savory baked goods. That means not eating any cakes, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, bread, or bagels. You should also pass up salty snack foods like pretzels, baked chips, or tortilla strips. Got a sweet tooth? Opt for a single serving of fresh fruit. When you're craving something crunchy, grab some raw veggies.
  • Fried foods. Fried foods are high in calories and high in salt. So don't eat any fish, poultry, or meat that is breaded or fried. That means skipping chicken nuggets, french fries, potato chips, battered or fried veggies, etc. Keep in mind that many frozen products (such as frozen french fries) are fried before they are frozen, so those aren't healthy choices either.
  • Sauces and spreads. Eat lean protein (like chicken, eggs, fish, pork, or lean beef) that is grilled without oil and free of any sauces and spreads. These items boost the calorie intake of your meal by hundreds of calories and often add a lot of salt, which could sabotage your weight-loss plans. Eating your meal without these extras is easier than you would imagine.
  • High-calorie drinks. Sweetened beverages are full of calories. Drink water this week and avoid all alcohol (wine, beer, and cocktails), juice, sports drinks, sweetened teas, flavored coffee drinks, soda, and commercially flavored water (such as vitamin waters). You can also make flavored water with fresh lemon juice or other fruit if you don't like plain water. Stay hydrated, but avoid drinks that cause weight gain via empty (non-nutritive) calories.

How to Cut Soda and Cut Calories

Step 2: Increase Daily Movement

With just seven days, you also don't have time to put together a total weight loss workout program. And if you try to do hardcore fat-burning workouts without any previous experience, you could easily injure yourself.

So, if you want to lose weight in a week, increase your steps per day to burn more calories. Exercise can also help reduce stress and improve your sleep, both of which may also contribute to weight loss.

If you currently exercise, continue to do your normal workouts and add up to 10,000 steps per day. If you don't exercise at all, add 10,000 steps to your daily routine. Want bonus points? See if you can increase the number to 15,000 or even 20,000 steps per day. Use an activity monitor or a downloadable app to measure your steps per day.

It may seem like completing 10,000 or 20,000 steps per day is too optimistic, but once you get the hang of it, you'll feel more confident.

Try to break the steps into smaller chunks. For example, many office workers take breaks every hour to go for a short walk, adding a few hundred steps several times a day.

You can also go for a longer walk in the morning, during your lunch break, and after dinner or before bed. If you walk for 30 minutes or more, you can easily reach your step goal.

A Word From Verywell

If you follow these two steps together, you should be able to lose weight in a week. But keep in mind that experts only consider one to two pounds per week to be healthy and realistic weight loss. So, unless you make permanent changes to your lifestyle, any quick weight loss is not likely to last. 

If you're ready to lose weight and keep it off for good, take just one hour to set up a solid plan for long-term weight loss to get a better body that lasts.

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  1. National Institute on Aging. Real-Life Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity.