So many of my new clients come to me with the question of what realistic weight loss goals would be for them. And as a personal trainer, it's always a difficult answer because some people are more eager and motivated than others.
From my experience and research, I can say that it is possible to achieve successful weight loss of two pounds per week on a consistent basis.
I have managed to guide many people through this process with the help of my good friend and dietitian, Susan. And we've decided to put all that information into this blog post.
Let's dive right in.
- Weight loss success isn't just about eating fewer calories and spending a few hours doing cardio.
- It requires careful planning of macro and micronutrients and just the right calorie intake to get your metabolism to respond in an ideal way.
- Your exercise regime will also need to change a lot with combinations of cardio, high-intensity, and strength training.
What Does It Take To Lose 2 Pounds A Week?
It takes a powerful combination of careful dieting and strenuous exercising to lose 2 pounds a week .
I know that sounds awfully simple, and I will admit that it's not an easy task.
To be very strict and in agreement with my dietitian, it's going to be 70% diet and 30% exercise.
And that 70% is where most people make the most significant mistakes. They simply decide to count how many calories they eat and bring that number down.
In reality, it's a lot more about where those calories come from than just aiming for an exact number .
And as far as the exercising goes, just hammering out endless hours doing the exact same workout or cardio session isn’t going to work.
I know, I've burst a few bubbles there, so let's break it all down a bit.
Is Reducing Your Calories Enough To Lose 2 Pounds A Week?
No, just relying on a calorie deficit to lose two pounds a week is not going to be enough. Yes, there is a relationship between eating more calories and piling on the pounds.
But it's a lot more important to look at your eating habits and the types of calories you're taking in.
Here's what I mean.
It takes the body quite some time to break down and absorb fat and protein, but carbs are the primary easy access fuel.
And simple carbs, or high glycemic carbs, are very easy to absorb, causing sudden blood sugar spikes .
That's fine if you're heading to the gym and will use all that extra energy. But in normal day-to-day life, that blood sugar spike may lead to the excess energy being stored in the form of fat.
"All carbohydrates are broken down into sugar, or glucose, which is the body's fuel. Carbohydrates with little fiber break down quickly. Those foods with carbohydrates trapped in fiber take longer to break down." - John Casey, Writer at WebMD.com.
So, a calorie deficit to lose weight has to ideally focus on reducing the calories from simple carbs.
The good thing is that focusing on healthy foods and avoiding things like pasta, bread, cereals, and rice will make a huge difference. The bad news is that breaking those ties with simple carbs takes quite a bit of willpower.
Basically, what you need is a calorie-controlled diet combined with low carb intake and a healthy lifestyle to start losing a lot of weight only a few weeks after starting.
How Much Will Your Diet Influence Losing 2 Pounds A Week?
This is where my dietitian friend got to shine. Whether you're just losing weight for health reasons or you're an athlete in a cutting phase, dieting will make up about 70% of your weight loss success.
Now, I have to be careful to point out that there are so many fad diets. And I'm not just referring to the crazy things like the chipotle diet. Yes, that's actually a thing.
Here are two tips that could make up the majority of your diet improvement.
Cut Out Processed And Junk Food
Far too many people completely rely on processed food. And this isn't just junk and fast food like burgers, fries, and pizzas. Next time you do your grocery shopping, take a look at what you buy and think about how much effort will go into preparing the meal.
If it's straight to the oven, frying pan, microwave, or onto a plate, then it's processed, and it'll be a major obstacle towards losing two pounds a week.
Cut Out Simple Carbs
Simple and highly processed carbs are a major contributor to weight gain and obesity . These are predominantly sugary carbs, but you'll also find them in highly refined grains like pasta, white bread, most breakfast cereals, and juices.
Next, let's talk about the importance of a calorie deficit to lose fat.
Related Article: 5 Best Diets for Weight Loss
How Much Do You Need To Exercise To Lose 2 Pounds A Week?
I already mentioned that it’s a combination of exercise and diet that is needed to consistently lose 2 pounds a week.
Let’s start with the exercises first, and I'll have all of Susan's diet info shortly.
First of all, I would say that you need to be physically active at least five days a week to lose weight at 2 pounds a week. But that doesn't mean you have to hit the gym hard for 90 minutes from Monday to Friday.
A much more sensible, realistic, and achievable approach would be to do weight training, high-intensity interval training, and cardio on one day each. Then, on the 2 or 3 other days, get outdoors for long walks, short runs, or any other kind of physical activity you might enjoy.
The best way to approach exercise for weight loss is not to get bored doing the same thing all the time. By avoiding too much muscle and metabolic memory, you'll avoid hitting that dreaded weight loss plateau .
What Types Of Exercises Should You Consider?
Anyone that wants to lose weight more drastically should not just look at one form of exercise. Here are the three that you should consider.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT for weight loss is one of my top recommendations for people who want to lose body fat. You can make it a great combination of cardio and weight training, and because you can switch out the exercises regularly, you're less likely to get bored.
Studies have also found that HIIT may help people deal more effectively with belly fat .
I'm not suggesting that you aim to become a ripped bodybuilder. But building up muscle strength will help you increase your basal metabolic rate . Essentially, the more muscle mass you have, the more your body will burn calories while at rest.
Related Article: 10 Best Exercises for Weight Loss
It's wrong to assume that weight loss programs with just cardio will result in sustainable fat reduction . But there is always scope for some cardio, even if it's light cardio to add activities for two less intense days of the week.
The important thing is that you don't want your body to get used to the same exercise and strain week in and week out.
Related Article: 15 Best Cardio Workouts for Weight Loss
Creative Ideas To Boost Your Chances Of Losing 2 Pounds A Week?
Here are six creative ways to make your calorie deficit goal more achievable.
Rewards For Gym Sessions
It's easy to say, "I'm going to the gym three days a week!"
And then you find excuses not to go.
Instead, set yourself weekly calorie-burning goals from exercise. If you achieve or exceed those goals, then set certain rewards.
It could be a massage, trip to the spa, a new gadget, or a healthy meal at your favorite restaurant.
Watch What You Eat At Restaurants
Eating out can be a huge problem for calorie and macro counting to lose weight.
Many places don't consider the real needs of their customers when they try to make meals as tasty as possible.
But if you eat out regularly, then watch out for the carbs and take note of restaurants with more healthy options.
Understand Your BMR
You have to understand your basal metabolic rate to figure out what calorie restriction you need to aim for.
With a simple BMR calculator, you'll understand how much energy your body needs, excluding physical exercise .
It's a simple calculation that could make a huge difference, especially for your rest days.
Not only does dehydration lead to water retention, but staying hydrated could also cause a significant boost in your resting metabolic rate .
Even a small boost of calorie burning each day could contribute significantly to weight loss over the weeks and months.
Experiment With Snacks
We all end up reaching for snacks, but it all comes down to what kind of snacks we eat. If you get hungry between meals and reach for a Twinkie or donut, then you're going to clock up a huge calorie expense from sugar.
Instead, try out different healthy snacks that include fresh fruits, seeds, and nuts. They can be very filling with slow-release energy to keep you going until your next meal.
Take Weight Loss Supplements
No, I'm not talking about dodgy magic pills you see advertised. There are perfectly legitimate fat burner supplements for men and women that help you create a slightly larger calorie deficit to lose weight faster.
These natural supplements may also help you maintain weight loss, so you avoid that common yo-yo effect on the weighing scales.
Is It Realistic to Lose 2 Pounds a Week?
Yes, it is realistic to lose 2 pounds a week. You can achieve successful weight management with a healthier lifestyle, diet, and exercise routine. But it's difficult to sustain the necessary choices to make a lasting impact.
What exercises burn the most calories?
High-intensity interval exercises burn the most calories. These drive your heart rate up high and aim to maintain that intensity for longer periods . The result is a more sustained metabolic rate and a higher caloric deficit.
Are You Going To Try To Lose 2 Pounds Per Week?
Successful weight loss remains a tough challenge for most people. But with the above information and the dedication to achieving healthy weight loss, this is something that most people can achieve.
Start your strict routine today and see if the first couple of weeks can motivate you enough to keep with it.
And if you need a bit of help to burn off a few extra ounces of fat, then take a look at what we achieved with a supplement called PhenQ.
We actually tested this product and you can check our full results in our PhenQ review article.