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How Much Body Fat Can You Lose in a Week? (+5 Ways to Do It)

Michael Garrico
Published by Michael Garrico
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: July 29, 2022

Most of my new clients are always interested in knowing the fastest way to body fat loss.

My answer is always the same — to lose fat faster, you must combine several proven weight loss strategies simultaneously.

In this article, I’ll share some of these strategies my clients have used over the years to speed up their weight loss successfully.

Let’s dive in.

Quick Summary

  • You can lose 1-2 pounds in a week. But that depends on several factors, some of which might surprise you.
  • Diet, strength training, and amount of sleep affect how much weight you lose and are the ultimate enemies of fat accumulation.
  • Intermittent fasting is crucial to weight loss and is great for keeping your body in ketosis, which helps in losing body fat.

How Fast Should You Lower Your Body Fat Percentage?

You should lower your body fat by 1-3% during one month on a strict weight loss regimen.

The amount you should lose in a week varies because of variables that affect body composition, such as age, gender, and hormones influencing the body’s efficacy in storing and metabolizing fat [1].

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Why Is Body Fat Essential?

Body fat is essential because it provides your body with energy, protects the organs, controls blood pressure and cholesterol, and supports cell growth, among other benefits [2].

As much as losing fat is celebrated, it is paramount to the body. Focusing too much on how much fat you lose can actually deprive your body of the benefits of this macronutrient.

5 Methods to Lose Body Weight Faster

You can lose weight faster by eating better food, sleeping enough, involving strength training and cardio in your exercise, and by intermittent fasting.

Let’s go through the best strategies in more detail.

1. Eating Better Food

In a weight loss journey, diet is as important as the weight loss program. And the first step you have to take is to eat healthy foods that burn fat naturally. Focus on low-calorie foods that create a calorie deficit [3].

The main reason fat exists in our body is to serve as a backup store for energy when food is scarce. It, therefore, makes a lot of sense to cut the overall calorie intake as a way of burning fat [4].

Examples of foods you should eat: Good fats like fish, eggs, avocados, olive oils, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolates.

Foods to ditch: Fried foods, baked foods, margarine, and processed snacks.

2. Strength Training

Recent studies have shown that four weeks of resistance training decreases body fat by 1.46% [5].

In addition, stretching reduces fat mass and visceral fats, which is a type of fat surrounding the belly organs.

“When we look at diet alone versus diet plus resistance exercise, studies consistently show that the most significant reductions in fat mass happen when you combine diet and strength training.”

-Isaac Alexis, M.D. founder of Slim Samurai Weight Loss Therapeutics

Strength training activities utilize all major muscle groups such as the back, hips, abdomen, shoulders, hips, and arms 2 to 3 times a week. The training program ensures that muscle mass is retained and that the body does not use it as an energy source to compensate for the calorie deficit [6].

3. Cardio

A woman doing treadmill exercise

Cardio for weight loss is any exercise that trains your heart and lungs, such as walking, running, swimming, and cycling.

Adding these activities to your routine helps you lose body fat, especially around your belly.

Combined research on cardiovascular activities has revealed that aerobic exercises help middle-aged women burn the fat around the belly [7].

In addition to your cardio, consider including high-intensity interval training for maximum fat loss.

HIITs involve short bursts of high-intensity training followed by periods of rest and low-intensity exercises.

Studies have shown that HIIT training is more effective in fat loss than steady-state aerobic workouts [8].

4. Enough Sleep

Numerous studies show that an extra hour of sleep can positively affect your fat loss journey [9].

New claims from Annals of Internal Medicine research show a deep connection between less bedtime and the body’s negative response to insulin.

The same study finds that body cells of sleep-deprived people were 30% less sensitive to insulin [10].

See, insulin is a master hormone that controls sugar levels in the blood, among other things.

When you develop insulin resistance, it means most of your cells become resistant to the effects of this hormone, and the main effect is letting glucose enter the cells.

This raises your blood sugar and dictates how much fat you accumulate because the cells that usually remain insulin-sensitive in most people are the fat cells.

This leads to problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes [11].

Always shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Anything less exposes you to unnecessary fat gain and sabotages your fat loss journey. 

Here are some tips if you’re having trouble sleeping:

  • Eliminate caffeine 4-6 hours before bed
  • Turn off the lights in your bedroom, including your computer and smartphone
  • Relax for about an hour before sleep.
  • Try not to exercise too late as it raises your body temperature.

5. Intermittent Fasting

A clock on a plate

Intermittent fasting, unlike the more extreme - water fasting, involves alternating periods of eating and fasting.

It has been around since the 1940s, when scientists discovered that calorie restriction extended life in mice [12].

The idea behind the keto diet is that fasting helps your body stay in the state of ketosis, which prompts the body to burn fat for energy instead of carbs.

Does it have the backing of science? One study researched alternate day fasting for about 1-3 months and found that it reduced weight by 7% and decreased body fat by 12 pounds [13].

FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Lose 5% Body Fat?

It takes from ten days to several months to lose 5% of body fat with proper nutrition and exercise programs. However, you must train intensively every day for at least half an hour and stay away from foods with sugar to lose weight in such a short period.

How Much Belly Fat Can You Lose one Week?

You can lose about 1-2 pounds of belly fat in one week. But it also depends on factors such as age, gender, body fat, current weight, and muscle mass, among other factors that affect the rate at which someone loses weight [14]. Interestingly, the more your overall weight, the more you are bound to lose in the initial period.

Where Do You Lose Weight First?

It depends on your gender where you will lose weight first. If you’re a woman, your breasts, belly, and arms are the first places you’ll lose fat. On the other hand, men lose it on their trunks first, then arms and legs.

Is It Possible to Lose 10 Pounds in a Week?

Losing 10 pounds in a week is technically possible, but it's not worth it, as it’s not sustainable and it can negatively affect your overall health. You’ll likely gain the weight back, anyway.

To be safe, aim for healthy weight loss by eating better foods, practicing strength training, and sleeping longer.

And If you’re looking to fast-track the results without compromising your health, make sure to check out our list of best diet pills that we extensively tested ourselves both for safety and efficacy.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK221834/
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/know-the-facts-about-fats
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8017325/
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/calories/art-20048065
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34536199/
  6. https://pubs.nmsu.edu/_i/I111/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33825676/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28871849/
  9. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/278869
  10. https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/0003-4819-157-8-201210160-00005
  11. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/insulin-resistance-syndrome
  12. https://reference.jrank.org/diets/Intermittent_Fasting.html
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26374764
  14. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0026049520302523

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