A Promised Quick Fix
Have you ever searched the internet with the thought: “I want a weight loss meal plan to lose 5 pounds in a week”. If you have, then you may already know that it is not that easy to find a diet that would provide you with such results in a healthy way. Not easy, but not impossible, especially if you are trying to slim down before some event and are not planning on sticking to that diet for a long time. Of course, there are hundreds of diet plans that promise you even better results, for example, 10 pounds in 10 days. Sounds alluring? Then what about 10 pounds in 7 days? 10 pounds in 5 days?
There is even a meal plan that claims to help you lose 10 pounds in 4 days. If you are not new to the dieting world, you know that all those promises are empty and either cannot be fulfilled healthily or cannot be fulfilled at all. You should always prioritize your wellness and choose a weight loss diet based on how it will affect your health in the long run. Therefore, the best meal plans are those that will provide you with all the essential nutrients, reduce your intake of unhealthy components, and give you gradual and sustainable results. Such diets will improve your health and reduce the risk of various diseases. So, is “lose 5 pounds in a week meal plan” one of those diets? Read on to find out!
How Does “Lose 5 Pounds In A Week Meal Plan” Works?
The main question that you need to ask first is: “Can you lose 5 pounds in 7 days?”. To answer that question, let’s take a look at how exactly the fat burning process works.
Your body stores excess energy in a form of fat. When you are dieting, you tend to create a caloric deficit, meaning that you consume fewer calories than your body needs to perform all your daily activities and maintain the functioning of your body. Because of that lack of calories from food, your body starts using the energy from the deposited fat (16). That is how you burn more calories than you consume and lose weight (13, 4).
Weight Loss Pace
Another important aspect of a slimming process that you need to understand before getting down to dieting is the weight loss pace. You see, a very slow weight loss pace will take a lot of time and may leave you with no motivation, but it is still better than a very rapid weight loss. The latter is reached with the help of very low-calorie diets that can create an extreme caloric deficit. Such diets should only be prescribed to people with severe cases of obesity by specialists and followed under medical supervision (10, 11). If an average person creates a drastic caloric deficit, they put their health in jeopardy since rapid weight loss can lead to health issues such as nutrient deficiencies, gallstones, dehydration, electrolyte imbalances, headaches, irritability, dizziness, constipation, muscle loss, and others (7). That is why an optimal variant is gradual but safe weight loss.
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How Much Weight Can You Lose In A Week?
Now, back to the “Lose 5 pounds in a week meal plan”. Can you lose 5 pounds in 7 days? Technically, yes, but that weight might not be only fat. You see, 1 pound of fat contains 3,500 calories (12, 8), so, to lose 5 pounds of fat, you will need to burn 17,500 calories in a week, which equals to 2,500 calories a day, and that is a problem because of two things. First, a diet of an average adult man consists of 2,500 calories, and an average adult woman consumes 2,000 calories a day (15).
This means that to burn 2,500 calories a day, an average adult man will have to restrain from eating at all, and an average adult woman will have to starve all day while performing additional physical activity that would burn 500 more calories. As you can see, this is not only difficult for those whose diet consists of 3,500 calories but also extremely dangerous and almost impossible for those whose diet is less than 2,500 calories. Second, the recommended healthy and sustainable weight loss pace is 1-2 pounds (0.45-1 kg a week), which comes down to reducing your daily energy intake by 500-1000 calories (17, 6). Therefore, the experts do not recommend creating a daily caloric deficit of 2,500 calories.
A Healthy Diet To Lose 5 Pounds In A Week Meal Plan
As seen above, it could be dangerous to follow a diet to lose 5 pounds in a week’s meal plan if you want to achieve a healthy and sustainable result. However, some people are ready to risk their health and stick to this kind of diet meal plan. If you want to know what is the best diet to lose weight fast and safely, then intermittent fasting may be the best option.
The Concept Of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is not like other calorie-restricting diets. It is a nutritional pattern that doesn’t necessarily limit what and how much you eat, rather when you do it. The main rule of intermittent fasting is that you are only allowed to consume food during the so-called “eating windows”. Now, you may ask, how is intermittent fasting related to the “lose 5 pounds in a week meal plan”? The thing is that intermittent fasting can help you successfully slim down without wreaking havoc on your body.
Although there are no limitations on the types or amounts of food that you can eat during eating windows, healthy eating patterns are strongly encouraged. This will naturally create a caloric deficit, which will help you lose weight. You should also remember that consumption of any food during the fasting period is strictly prohibited unless it is a type of intermittent fasting that allows such exceptions.
Speaking of various types of this nutritional pattern, there are many, and here are the most popular ones:
The 16:8 fasting allows you to eat during an 8-hour eating window and requires you to fast for the rest 16 hours a day. This type of fasting is quite popular and is often followed by people who are new to intermittent fasting. They usually choose an eating window from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or noon to 8 p.m. You are encouraged to drink calorie-free beverages like water or black coffee while you’re fasting.
A person that follows this type of intermittent fasting can eat what they usually eat for 5 days a week, and fast for 2 days. During these 2 non-consecutive days, men are allowed to consume 600 calories daily, and women 500 calories, respectively. If you reduce your caloric intake during your eating window, you should be able to enjoy some weight loss results.
Alternate Day Fasting
A bit stricter type of intermittent fasting that could help you successfully shed a couple of pounds is alternate day fasting. It requires you to fast every other day. According to the rules of this type of fasting, you are to follow your regular diet for a day and then fast for the next day.
18:6 Intermittent Fasting
Rules of this type of fasting are similar to those of 16:8 intermittent fasting, only here you are allowed to eat during a 6-hour window and have to fast for the remaining 18 hours. During the eating window, you can have 2 full meals and a snack. People who stick to 18:6 intermittent fasting usually either skip breakfast and have an early dinner or skip dinner and have a late lunch.
This type of intermittent fasting is the best for beginners, as its eating window lasts for 10 hours, which is pretty long. You can sleep through most of your fasting time, and then have your first meal at 7 a.m. and your dinner at 5 p.m., or eat your breakfast at 8-9 a.m. and your dinner at 6-7 p.m. It is also recommended to stay hydrated and drink calorie-free beverages while fasting.
What To Eat On A Healthy Diet?
Although you technically can eat whatever you want during your eating windows, if you want to reach better results, you need to stick to a healthy diet. It will not only help you reach your desired weight but can also significantly improve your health. Here are the recommendations on what to eat on a healthy diet:
Protein is essential for your body and is one of the most important dietary components for weight loss. It will not only help you preserve your muscle mass but also prolong your feeling of fullness. You can find plenty of protein in lean meats, fish and seafood, dairy, beans and legumes, and nuts.
Fiber, like proteins, can help you stay full for longer. It can also improve your digestion, which is necessary for the proper functioning of your body and successful weight loss. The best sources of complex carbs include fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
There are two types of fats: healthy and unhealthy. Healthy fats include mono- and polyunsaturated fats. They are essential fats that can improve your cardiovascular health. These are often found in fatty fish, nuts and seeds, avocadoes, olives, vegetable oil and others.
Vitamins And Minerals
Micronutrients are an inseparable part of any balanced diet. They ensure the proper functioning of your body and should only be consumed in the recommended amounts. Lack of a certain vitamin or mineral or its abundance may bear negative consequences. Vitamins and minerals are found in all types of foods, such as vegetables and fruits, lean meats, fish and seafood, dairy, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds.
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Water is essential for any human being. And proper hydration can not only improve your wellness but also promote weight loss. If you drain a glass of water before a meal, you are less likely to overeat. You should also drink plenty of water before, during, and after a workout. Having a glass of unsweetened tea before going to bed and first thing in the morning is also a good idea.
What Foods To Avoid?
Knowing what foods are bad for you is as important as knowing what your diet should include. Here are the components that you should keep at bay if you want to successfully slim down healthily:
It was already mentioned above that there are two types of fats. Unhealthy fats include trans and saturated fats and should be avoided to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes. You should reduce your intake of saturated fats to less than 10% of your daily calories and replace them with their healthy counterparts, which are mono- and polysaturated fats.
Sugary drinks, candy bars, desserts, syrups, and other foods that contain lots of added sugars should be consumed less often. They only add empty calories to your meals without providing you with any essential nutrients. Instead, eat up on naturally sweet foods, such as fruits, nuts, and others. You can also replace your soda and other sugary drinks with flavored water, such as lemon water, oatmeal water, cucumber water, or aloe vera water. These will provide you with lots of vitamins and minerals. Moreover, they are very easy to make. All you need is to add an ingredient of your choice to your water and leave it there for some time.
Unlike complex carbs, increased consumption of refined carbohydrates could lead to health complications like an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, asthma, and osteoarthritis. These are only a few of the negative effects of overconsumption of refined carbs in the long term. Therefore, you need to keep such foods as white bread and tortillas, white rice, pizza, bagels, waffles and pastries, and others at bay (14). Instead, opt for a healthier version of these foods that use whole grains, such as whole-grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, and others.
Although you can lose weight without exercising, incorporating regular workouts into your routine will only increase your calorie expenditure, thus boosting your results. If you are new to exercising, then cardio is the best option for you. It makes your blood pump, strengthens your muscles, and burns a great number of calories. Cardio doesn’t require any special skills or fitness level and can be performed by anyone. There are different types of this workout so you will surely find one that will fit you like a glove. You can start with light cardio such as walking or slow jogging, and then gradually increase the intensity of your workout, progressing to running, cycling, swimming, or any other type of cardio.
If you don’t have time for a full workout, you can increase the amount of physical activity that you perform throughout the day. For example, during lunch, go out for a walk instead of using an elevator, take the stairs instead of driving a car, ride a bike when watching TV, or make small pauses and perform a couple of simple exercises while using a phone. These are only a few ways in which you can increase your activity level when doing routine tasks.
Tips On How To Lose Weight Fast
Of course, gradual weight loss with the help of a healthy diet and regular exercise is safe and sustainable, but what if you want to know how to lose weight fast without exercise? Don’t worry, this article has got you covered! Read on for some tips on how to lose weight fast (2).
Choose Low-Calorie, Nutrient-Dense Foods
Empty calories are your worst enemy when you are trying to trim a couple of inches of fat. Keep away from foods that can increase your caloric intake without providing you with any vital nutrients. Include in your diet a more low-calorie nutrient-dense food instead, such as (5, 3) romaine lettuce, cucumber, tomato, carrot, grapefruit, lemon, lime, berries, watermelon, papaya, cantaloupe, orange, arugula, asparagus, beets, broccoli, broth, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, chard, fennel, garlic, iceberg lettuce, kale, white mushrooms, onions, peppers, radishes, and others.
Eat Filling Food
Reducing your caloric intake is great and effective at helping you slim down, but no one likes the feeling of hunger. Luckily, certain foods like oats, Greek yogurt, soups, berries, eggs, popcorn, chia seeds, fish, cottage cheese, potatoes, lean meats, legumes, and a watermelon (1) are both low in calories and filling because of their high protein and fiber contents, so make sure to add any of the above-mentioned in your menu.
Use Smaller Plates
This simple trick will help you naturally reduce your portions and prevent overeating. When finishing a meal from a smaller plate, your brain will think that your body should feel full by now, so it will seem like you have satisfied your hunger while your caloric intake is lower than usual.
Have A Proper Night’s Sleep
Sleep is overall extremely important for your body. During sleep, your body recovers and charges for the following day. Sleep deprivation will not only make you feel tired and irritable but also increase the risk of various health issues, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Another serious negative side-effect of lack of sleep is weight gain (9). That is why, if you want to trim a couple of inches of excess fat, you need to get enough shuteye.
Chewing more slowly can help you stop eating when you are actually full, instead of when you feel like you are full. Since your brain usually takes a while before registering that you satisfied your hunger, spending more time to thoroughly chew your food can decrease your caloric intake.
There is nothing wrong with looking for the most effective weight-loss method. Jumping right into dieting without figuring out if the nutritional plan you are looking into is safe, however, is wrong. You should always prioritize your health. Therefore, instead of looking for some “lose 5 pounds in a week meal plan”, you need to ask if such a weight loss pace is even safe. Specialists recommend losing 1-2 pounds a week. This result is sustainable and can be reached with the help of a balanced diet and regular exercise.
If you need to lose weight fast and don’t mind losing a couple of pounds of water weight along with fat mass, then intermittent fasting may be what you have been looking for. It doesn’t limit your food intake, instead, only restricting the time when you can consume that food. It encourages healthier eating habits and proper hydration since, during a fasting period, you are to consume only water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee. The main components of a healthy diet that you should consume are lean proteins, healthy fats, complex carbs, and plenty of vitamins and minerals. You should also keep away from added sugars, refined carbs, and unhealthy fats, as they will only hinder your weight loss and harm your health. Keep in mind that before getting down to dieting, you need to consult a dietitian.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 13 Low-Calorie Foods That Are Surprisingly Filling (2018, healthline.com)
- 26 Weight Loss Tips That Are Actually Evidence-Based (2018, healthline.com)
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- Where Does Body Fat Go When You Lose Weight? (2019, health.clevelandclinic.org)
- Why do doctors recommend a slow rate of weight loss? What’s wrong with fast weight loss? (2020, mayoclinic.org)