How to lose 2 pounds a week without crash dieting!
Weight loss isn’t easy to achieve, but losing 1 to 2 pounds per week is a healthy weight loss goal.
According to weight loss experts, losing up to 2 pounds a week is a safe and steady rate. (1, 2).
Weight loss that exceeds that rate is considered too rapid and poses some health risks (3). Research finds those who lose weight too fast are at risk of losing muscle mass and becoming nutritionally deficient (4).
It could also result in your metabolism slowing down (5).
So how do you really reach the goal of losing 2 pounds a week?
The most effective way is to manage calorie deficits in a healthy way.
More specifically, it’s all about creating the calorie deficit you need to drop 2 pounds in a week.
In this article, we’ll discuss healthy and sustainable ways to achieve that without starving yourself or fad diets.
How to Lose 2 Pounds a Week
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1. Create a Calorie Deficit
As many might already know, a calorie deficit is necessary for weight loss to occur. Especially with a lofty goal of losing 2 pounds a week.
The best way to create a calorie deficit is to make healthy lifestyle changes that reduce your calorie intake and increase your movement.
Physical activity and diet are crucial to making this deficit happen.
You can keep track of your calorie deficit by using a calorie deficit calculator or tracking your meals to monitor your daily calorie deficit.
This will show your total calorie intake versus how much energy (calories) you have burned with exercise.
Let’s look at some simple steps you can take to reach this goal for a healthier lifestyle and better health overall.
2. Healthy Eating Plan
Making dietary changes is often the hardest part of the weight loss process.
Part of this is due to habits.
For others, breaking their regular diet can feel like an emotional separation. That’s because we all have the tendency to seek comfort in the meals we eat.
But choosing healthy foods doesn’t have to be painful. It does not have to resort to deprivation and no satisfaction.
Healthy foods can bring just as much comfort as some unhealthy choices.
And most certainly, choosing healthy foods doesn’t need to be complicated.
Studies show foods rich in dietary fiber and protein can slow digestion and keep you full for longer.
Those are the foods you want to include in abundance in your diet to lose weight and to limit calories.
Whole foods are the cornerstone of those healthy satisfying foods.
Include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, and lean protein.
These foods naturally provide more nutrients than their highly processed counterparts.
They naturally contain fewer calories and are more satiating to our appetite.
The easiest way to start eating a healthy diet is to add more of those foods that promote weight loss to your meals.
This can be done without having to give up on meals you love.
If you love pizza, choose cauliflower crust pizza.
If your go-to meal is pasta, choose pasta made of lentils or zoodles and go with vitamin-rich basil sauce. Just like that, smart choices are everywhere.
By simply choosing healthier alternatives to your everyday comfort, you can eat fewer calories.
One last tip is to journal your food intake daily. A little extra knowledge on foods and how they make you feel after can go a long way in sustainable weight loss.
3. Avoid Fad Diets for Long-Term Weight Loss
Skip the crazy 1000-calorie, low-fat diet plans that leave you feeling starved and miserable.
Say no to restricting yourself to only the diet-friendly restaurant meal when dining out.
Oftentimes weight loss success for these types of diets is a matter of water weight loss.
If it’s too restrictive, it’s likely not a great option for those trying to make permanent changes.
This is especially true when you feel like you are constantly following diet rules.
Not to mention, it’s not healthy for us.
The goal is always to succeed in a healthy weight loss.
This allows you to get the physical and emotional benefits of all your hard work without worrying about gaining the weight back or dreading lunchtime.
For a beginner, skip wikiHow and learn about moderation with these simple strategies.
This can help control your cravings and keep your servings to a minimum.
4. Moderation Is Key
Whatever your guilty pleasure, you want to learn to moderate highly processed foods and snacks in order to achieve successful weight loss.
This means limiting food items such as soft drinks, dessert, and other sweet snacks to the occasional treat.
Many of us are used to reaching for these snacks as a quick way to find comfort or simply out of habit.
in order to obtain long-term weight loss and better control your appetite overall, these items should be limited to moderation.
However, they should not be completely avoided.
This means swapping out those sugar-sweetened beverages for water instead.
But the occasional sugary drink is okay.
Choose to replace your dessert with a piece of fruit.
Unless it’s a celebration that doesn’t come around often.
You will be more successful in the long run if you stick to this versus restricting yourself to no treats at all.
If we think it’s a sin, we are only going to want it more.
Now let’s look at the right way for choosing our foods without diet rules to reduce that pooch and cut down on those pounds.
5. Focus On Quality Over Quantity
Not all calories are created equal.
Weight loss is not only about counting calories.
You can choose a low-calorie diet without choosing high-quality foods when on a weight-loss plan.
Unfortunately, this often leaves us less satisfied, not as healthy, and less likely to sustain our weight loss for the long run.
Swap out calorie-free or diet-marketed grocery items in place of more whole foods for a simple way to cut down on calories and increase nutrition.
Make simple swaps such as choosing a sweet potato over a regular white baked potato to reduce starch.
Another good way to improve the quality of your food is to avoid dressing it up.
Stick with black coffee and unsweet tea versus adding a ton of sugar and cream and drink water more often.
6. Try Eating More Food To Lose Weight
Another big mistake many people trying to lose weight make is eating too little.
There is a balance when trying to achieve a calorie deficit for successful weight loss to occur.
You want to reduce your calorie intake by enough to lose weight but not too much or you will have the opposite effect.
If you choose too low a calorie diet, your body will mistake this as famine, a survival technique ingrained in us.
In this situation, our body will hold on to all of our fat reserves to protect us from perceived starvation.
Not to mention, very low-calorie diets are unrealistic for long-term success (6).
For those who are eating enough but still don’t feel satisfied during their meals, consider volume eating.
This is when you choose more foods during your meals without increasing the calorie content of the meal.
You would do this by choosing more low-calorie high-fiber foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Not only are these nutrient-rich, because they are high in fiber they are more filling.
This allows you to feel like you are eating a lot more, be more satisfied during your meals, and also consume fewer calories.
Fiber helps to slow down digestion and fill you up during meals.
A fiber-rich diet can help you consume fewer total calories each day (7).
A high fiber diet can also decrease your risk of developing certain chronic conditions such as high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease (8).
7. Get More Active
Adding regular physical activity to your routine can help you burn additional calories to help with that calorie deficit.
Here are a few important components you should include to reach your goal of losing 2 pounds a week.
9. Strength Train
Strength training is a great way to build lean muscle mass.
The more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn at rest.
These extra calories burned help to increase your overall calorie deficit and fuel your weight loss goals when combined with a healthy diet.
Strength training causes your body to work harder in order to recover.
This results in prolonged calorie burn, also known as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) (8).
Building lean muscle mass also helps to cut down on body fat.
This means, not only will the scale show improvements in weight, you will notice physical changes such as being more toned or lean.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adding at least 2 or more days a week of working all major muscle groups.
These include legs, hip, back, abs, chest, shoulders, and arms.
If you are new to strength training, consider working with a personal trainer to help you with proper form.
They can also help you determine a good amount of weight for you to start off with.
Bonus: Walk 10,000 Steps A Day
An activity that is perfect for almost all activity levels, walking 10,000 steps a day can actually make a big difference in your weight loss goals.
Although, it’s not the exact amount of steps that make a difference, the fact that tracking steps is an easy way to get more to move more throughout the day.
The more calories you burn the better your metabolism functions.
You can do this by going on a formal walk around your neighborhood5 or on a treadmill in the gym or at home.
Another good way to add steps is by parking father away at stores while running errands or even doing laps in your home between tasks.
The best way to track your steps is by using a step counter or a smartwatch.
Adding in brisk walking most days of the week can boost calorie burn while being light and easy on your joints.
This makes it easier to avoid any risk of injury for those new to adding in daily movement.
7-Day Healthy Meal Plan to Lose 2 Pounds a Week
To create a calorie deficit while still getting all the nutrients your body needs, consider a meal plan such as the sample below.
This is a generalized, 1600-calorie meal plan to give you an idea of what a certain amount of food looks like.
This meal plan will not be appropriate for everyone.
- Breakfast: 6-ounces low-sugar Greek yogurt, 2 scrambled egg whites with 1/2 cup spinach,1 slice whole grain bread, 1-ounce of cheese, 1 cup canteloupe.
- Lunch: 5-ounces canned tuna in water, 1/3 cup cooked brown rice, 1/2 avocado, 2 cups mixed greens, 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, 1/2 sliced cucumber,1 tsp. olive oil and 1 tsp. lemon juice.
- Snack:1 small apple, 1 Tbsp peanut butter
- Dinner: 6-ounces lean ground turkey, 1/2 cup, cooked black beans, 1/2 cup, cooked quinoa, 1 cup cooked bell peppers, 2 tsp. olive oil.
Total calories: 1578, total fat: 65g, total carbs: 146g, total protein: 113g
- Breakfast: 3/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese, 1/2 cup raspberries, 1/2 cup blackberries, 1/2 whole grain English muffin, 1 Tbsp. almond butter, 1 tsp. local honey
- Lunch: 4-ounces grilled chicken, 2 Tbsp. hummus, 1 whole grain pita pocket, 2 cups mixed greens, 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, 1/4 cup diced cucumber, 1 tsp. olive oil, 1/2 cup red grapes
- Snack: Peach, 1-ounce cashews
- Dinner: 4-ounces wild caught salmon, 1/2 small baked potato, 1 cup steamed broccoli, 1-ounce cheese, 1/2 Tbsp. butter
Total calories: 1609, total fat: 73g, total carbs: 137g, total protein: 110g
- Breakfast: 1-cup steel cut oats (cooked), 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 Tbsp. chopped walnuts, 1 tsp. local honey
- Lunch: 4-ounces grilled chicken, 1/2 cup cooked quinoa,1 oz. cheese, 1 oz. peanuts, 2 cups raw spinach, 1 cup roasted brussel sprouse, 1 cup roasted mixed bell peppers, 1/3 avocado, 2 tsp. olive oil
- Snack: 6-ounces low-sugar Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup granola
- Dinner: 3-ounces ground turkey, 1 cup cooked whole grain pasta, 1/2 cup cooked carrots, 1/2 cup cooked zuccini, 2 tsp. olive oil
Total calories: 1632, total fat: 74g, total carbs:168g, total protein: 98g
- Breakfast: 1 cup honeydew melon, 1⁄2 whole grain bagel, 2-tablespoons low-fat cream cheese, 1/2 avocado
- Lunch: 4-ounces wild caught salmon, 1 small sweet potato,1 cup cooked broccoli, 2 tsp. olive oil, 2 tsp. butter
- Snack: 1 small banana, 1-Tbsp. peanut butter
- Dinner: 4-ounces cooked tofu, 2 Tbsp. hummus, 1 cup mixed greens, 1/2 cup roasted veggies, 2 tsp. olive oil, 1 whole grain wrap, 1/2 cup fresh cherries
Total calories: 1616, total fat: 82g, total carbs: 156g, total protein: 62g
- Breakfast: 6-ounces low-sugar Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup granola, 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds, 2 Tbsp. sliced almonds
- Lunch: 4-ounces ground turkey meatballs, 1 cup cooked whole grain pasta, 1/2 cup marinara sauce, 1⁄2 cup steamed broccoli, 2 tsp. olive oil
- Snack: 2 clementines
- Dinner: 3-ounces canned tuna in water, 1-ounce cheese, 1 slice whole grain bread, 2 pieces of lettuce, 2 slices tomato, 2 Tbsp. diced onion, 2 cups mixed greens, 2 tsp. olive oil, 2 tsp. lemon juice
Total calories: 1599, total fat: 68g, total carbs: 163g, total protein: 76g
- Breakfast: 1 slice whole grain bread, 1/2 avocado mashed, 2 whole eggs, 1 small grapefruit
- Lunch: 3-ounces lean ground beef, 1/2 cup black beans, 1/4 cup shredded cheese, 2 cups mixed greens, 1/4 cup corn, 1/2 cup roasted zucchini, 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, 2 tsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp non-fat, plain greek yogurt, 2 Tbsp. salsa.
- Snack: 1-ounce cashews, 1/2 cup strawberries
- Dinner: 4-ounces grilled shrimp, 3/4 cup brown rice, 2 tsp. olive oil, 1/2 grilled peach, 1 cup grilled bell peppers and onions.
Total calories: 1559, total fat: 73g, total carbs: 149g, total protein: 93g
- Breakfast: 2 scrambled egg whites, 1/2 diced sweet potato, 1/2 cup diced broccoli, 1/2 cup strawberries , 4-ounces non-fat plain Greek yogurt, 1 tsp local honey, 1-ounce chopped walnuts
- Lunch: 2 slices whole grain bread, 2-tablespoons hummus, 1/2 cup fresh spinach, 1/2 avocado, 1/4 cup roasted red peppers, 2-ounces low-sodium deli turkey, 1-cup green grapes
- Snack: string cheese, 1-ounce low-sodium turkey jerkey.
- Dinner: 2-ounces ground turkey, 1/2 cup kidney beans, 1/2 cup tomato sauce, 1 tsp taco seasoning, 1-ounce shredded cheese, 1-ounce tortilla chips
Total calories: 1649, total fat: 66g, total carbs: 173g, total protein: 98g
How Many Calories Should I Eat a Day To Lose 2 Pounds a Week
The number of calories each person should consume to lose 2 pounds a week will differ from person to person.
An individual’s recommended calorie intake depends on many different factors.
These factors include age, gender, height, activity level, current weight, and many others.
If you want to know your specific calorie recommendations for weight loss, consider speaking with a Registered Dietitian.
The Bottom Line on How to Lose 2 Pounds a Week
Losing weight is hard work.
Unfortunately, there is no magic food or pill that can help you lose that much weight.
However, there are things that will make it easier and more sustainable to lose as much weight as 2 pounds a week without requiring a weight loss coach.
Following a healthy diet rich in whole foods, choosing smaller portions, and adding in regular exercise will help you consume fewer calories and boost the number of calories you burn in a healthy way.
These simple strategies for lifestyle changes will improve your weight and increase your overall wellness.
This can reduce your risk for various chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity if made as permanent changes in your habits.
- Campos, Carlos. “Chronic hyperglycemia and glucose toxicity: pathology and clinical sequelae.” Postgraduate medicine vol. 124,6 (2012): 90-7. doi:10.3810/pgm.2012.11.2615
- “Losing Weight.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17 Aug. 2020, https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html.
- Dansinger, Michael. “Rapid Weight Loss: Is It Safe? Does It Work?” WebMD, WebMD, 19 Aug. 2021, https://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/rapid-weight-loss.
- Calton, Jayson B. “Prevalence of Micronutrient Deficiency in Popular Diet Plans.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, BioMed Central, 10 June 2010, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2905334/.
- Fothergill, Erin, et al. “Persistent Metabolic Adaptation 6 Years after ‘The Biggest Loser’ Competition.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2016, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4989512/.
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- Clark, Michelle J., and Joanne L. Slavin. “The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition 32.3 (2013): 200-211.
- Da Silva, Rodrigo Lavinas, Michel Arias Brentano, and Luiz Fernando Martins Kruel. “Effects of different strength training methods on postexercise energetic expenditure.” The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research 24.8 (2010): 2255-2260.