The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend aiming to reduce only 1-2 pounds of weight per week for an effective and safe weight loss. Losing more than that is not advised because it may cause more harm than good.
Losing 5 pounds a week comes to reducing your food intake by 3500 calories over seven days. The value that represents the decrease in calorie intake is known as the calorie deficit. If you want to lose 5 pounds in a week, you will need to reduce your food intake by 17,500 calories, which is a huge calorie deficit. If you weigh 250-pound, you will need to reduce your daily calorie intake to about 1,250 calories per day, an amount which is too low amounting to starvation.
Reducing calorie intake drastically can reduce your weight by 5 pounds a week. However, do you think this weight loss is inclusive only of the fat?
Our body weight is composed of muscle, water content, and fat, which vary as per our diet, lifestyle, and the physical activities we perform. When rapid weight loss such as losing 5 pounds of weight a week is achieved with a highly calorie-restricted diet, you lose out on the muscle mass and water as well. Without hydrating yourself, you can fall prey to dehydration. Losing on the muscle can make your metabolism slower because metabolism also depends on your muscle mass. A slower metabolism makes it hard for you to lose weight. Your bones may become more porous and brittle.
Rapid weight loss programs are considered unhealthy in the long-term because it can make you fatigued, give you headaches, compromise your digestion, and even cause hair loss. You may also develop a medical condition known as gall stones (cholelithiasis), which may need surgery.
Remember, losing a few inches around your waist and hips is more important than weighing less on the scale. The focus should be on building the muscle mass as well as losing the excess fat in the body.
What are the healthier ways of losing weight?
A slow and steady weight loss is a healthier and sustainable weight-loss strategy than rapid weight loss.
Instead of simply keeping a check on calorie intake, concentrate on making smart dietary changes and following exercise regimes that support a healthy body and weight.
Here is what you can do:
- Substitute high-calorie, low-nutrition food with low-calorie, high-nutrition food
- Opt for food containing whole-grain cereals instead of the processed, packaged foods, such as white bread
- Choose boiled, roasted, or baked chicken over the fried chicken
- Cut back on soft drinks and instead replace them with fruit smoothies or unsweetened fruit juices
- Look for the fat content in dairy milk and go for low-fat milk
The American Heart Association recommends moderate physical activities of 30 minutes for 5 days in a week or 150 minutes of activities spread over the week. To lose more weight, you can stretch it to 300 minutes a week. To spice it up and stay motivated, you can perform a combination of various exercises or physical activities that are dispersed throughout the week.
- Aerobic activities (also known as cardio exercises, endurance activities): These include brisk walking, jogging, cycling, dancing, Zumba, and swimming.
- Strength training: Gaining one pound of muscle through strength-training exercises will help you burn 5-10 extra calories a day.
Chronic stress that is poorly managed may lead to elevated cortisol levels that stimulate your appetite. This may cause you to gain weight or make losing weight difficult for you. Activities like deep breathing, yoga, and meditation are proven stressbusters that can help you shed that extra weight.
You can stay in touch with a healthcare provider or a certified dietician to counsel you throughout your weight loss journey. This method has been shown to accelerate the weight loss program than trying to manage it all alone.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Mayoclinic. Counting Calories: Get Back to Weight-Loss Basics. July 02, 2020. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/calories/art-20048065
Hall KD, Kahan S. Maintenance of Lost Weight and Long-Term Management of Obesity. Med Clin North Am. January 2018;102(1):183-197. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29156185/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Losing weight. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html
Top How Many Calories Should I Eat to Lose 5 Pounds? Related Articles
30 Ways to Lose Weight NaturallyOne can lose weight naturally and safely, but it is important to adhere to a strict diet plan, exercise regime, and lifestyle modifications. It’s normal for anyone trying to lose weight to want to lose weight very quickly, which is often an unrealistic goal. It is important to set realistic goals and achieve healthy weight loss. Healthy weight loss is losing weight gradually and steadily (around one to two pounds per week).
Can Medifast Really Help You Lose Weight?Medifast claims that it helps to lose 2 to 5 pounds each week. People on this diet are given five prepackaged Medifast meal replacements that should be eaten five times a day for losing weight.
Best Diet Tips SlideshowLearn to lose weight in a realistic way that works. Find healthy weight loss by eating right, sleeping more, understanding portion sizes. Learn how to set reasonable diet standards.
How to Lose Weight Fast? Four Simple StepsAggressive efforts to lose weight faster can damage your joints and reduce your muscle mass. Here are four simple steps—which if followed religiously—can help you lose weight fast and at the same time help you achieve sustained weight loss too.
Mirena Weight Gain: Do IUDs Cause Weight Gain?Nonhormonal IUDs generally do not cause any weight gain. Hormonal IUDs cause weight gain in about 5% of patients. As Mirena is a hormonal IUD, there are chances of weight gain. This weight gain is mainly due to the hormone progestin that causes water retention and bloating.
Weight Control and Smoking CessationOne concern smokers have when considering quitting smoking is weight gain. Not everyone will gain weight when they stop smoking. There are lifestyle changes that can be made to avoid weight gain during smoking cessation. Lifestyle changes include regular exercise, proper nutrition, limiting snacking and alcohol, medication, and weight management counseling.
Weight Loss QuizAre you trying to lose weight? Take this quiz to see what you can add to routine to get on the right track for results!
What Is the Ideal Average Weight for Women?The ideal average weight for women is the one that is healthy for her. It varies amongst women as per their height. As per the CDC report, the average weight of American women in 2015-2016 was 77.4 kg (170.6 lb) in 2015–2016, up from 74.3 kg (163.8 lb) in 1999–2000.