How to Lose 5 Pounds in 5 Weeks

Four Parts:Preparing for Weight LossEating for Weight LossExercising for Weight LossMaintaining your Weight Loss

Losing five pounds in five weeks is considered healthy and safe weight loss. Losing any more than one to two pounds per week can put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies, fatigue, and is usually not sustainable for longer periods of time.[1] Very low calorie diets used for more rapid weight loss make it very difficult to eat enough of the vital nutrients your body needs. However, with small changes to your diet and lifestyle, losing five pounds in five weeks can be quite easy while still be safe and healthy for most people.

Part 1
Preparing for Weight Loss

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    Talk to your doctor. Before starting any weight loss plan, talk to your doctor. She'll be able to discuss your weight goals and let you know if weight loss is safe and healthy for you.
    • Ask your doctor about being referred to a registered dietitian. She may have a colleague she works with on a regular basis.
    • A registered dietitian is a nutrition expert that can help you design your weight loss plan, assist with meal planning, or suggest certain foods for weight loss.
    • Visit the EatRight website and click on the orange "Find an Expert" button on the top right to search for a dietitian in your area.
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    Count calories. Losing five pounds in five weeks can be fairly simple — especially when you count calories. To lose about one pound a week, aim to cut out 500 calories daily from your diet. This generally results in about a one pound weight loss per week.
    • Do not cut out too many calories or eat fewer than 1200 calories daily. This may result in nutrient deficiencies as it can be difficult to consume enough vital nutrients on very low calorie diets.[2]
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    Keep a food journal. A food journal is a great weight loss tool. You can use it to see what changes you can make in your diet and also to help keep you on track throughout your diet.
    • Purchase a journal or download a journaling app on your smart phone. Track as many days as you can — both weekday and weekend days. Many people eat differently on the weekends, so including both weekend and weekdays is important.[3]
    • When you're first starting your journal, take note of how many calories you're eating daily. Many of the food journal apps do this for you automatically. This can give you a idea of a calorie goal to follow for your weight loss plan.
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    Write up a meal plan. Meal plans are another great tool for weight loss. Planning out your meals and snacks in advance can help you stay on track and stick to your plan.
    • Consult a dietitian in regards to a meal plan to ensure that it is accurate and appropriate for your health history.
    • Take a day each week to write out your meal plan. Include all meals and snacks that you'll need for the week.
    • Your meal plan can also help you create a grocery list each week so you only buy the items you need.

Part 2
Eating for Weight Loss

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    Eat lean protein at each meal. Protein is an essential nutrient, especially in terms of weight loss. Eating lean protein at each meal has been shown to aid in weight loss and can help you lose more weight in the long-term.[4]
    • Eat an appropriate portion size of protein at each meal. Aim to include about 3-4 oz of lean protein at each meal.[5] This is approximately about the size of a deck of cards or a checkbook.
    • Include a variety of lean protein at each meal and throughout the day. Lean protein options include: poultry, eggs, lean red meat, pork, seafood, and low-fat dairy.
    • Vegetarian protein sources are also considered lean. These include: beans, lentils, nuts, tofu, and tempeh.
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    Make half of your meals a fruit or vegetable. Fruits and vegetables should make up a fairly large portion of your diet. These foods are low calorie and full of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
    • For a well-balanced diet, try to include a fruit or vegetable at each meal and snack.
    • One serving of vegetables is about 1 cup or 2 cups of leafy green vegetables.[6]
    • One serving of fruit is 1 small whole fruit, 1 cup of sliced fruit, or 1/2 cup dried fruit.[7]
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    Eat only 100% whole grains. Whole grain foods provide your diet with an essential source of fiber and some vitamin and minerals. They are minimally processed and contain the bran, germ and endosperm of the grain.[8]
    • 1 serving of whole grains is 1 oz or 1/2 cup of grains like rice or pasta.[9] Using a food scale is another accurate way of measuring pasta or other grains.
    • Examples of whole grain foods include: quinoa, brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread, millet, barely, oats, or 100% whole wheat pasta.
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    Snack healthy. An occasional snack can help make weight loss easier. This is especially true if a snack will help prevent you from overeating at a meal.[10]
    • Take caution when deciding to snack. A snack can be a great tool to get you through an extended period of time between meals (more than four or five hours) or as pre/post workout fuel. [11]
    • Keep snacks to about 100-200 calories. Also, try to include lean protein, fruits or vegetables, or whole grains. The combination of protein and fiber may help keep you satisfied longer. [12]
    • Healthy snacks can include: low-fat cheese and an apple, low-calorie protein bar, or a greek yogurt and fruit.
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    Drink water. Aim to get an adequate amount of fluids daily. It's generally recommended to consume around eight glasses or 64 oz daily. Although the amount is different for everyone, adequate hydration can also aid in weight loss.[13]
    • Keep a water bottle close by and monitor how much you're drinking each day.
    • Also, drinking right before a meal can calm your hunger and decrease your overall intake at your meal.
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    Avoid indulgent foods. When you're trying to lose weight, it's important to moderate how much you indulge in your favorite foods. Many indulgent foods or comfort foods are higher in calories and fat and can slow down or prevent weight loss.
    • Save indulgent foods like sweets or higher fat foods for a special occasion. Or, try consuming them in moderation — like once or twice a month.
    • If you're planning on indulging, consume a small portion to keep the calories in control.[14]
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    Avoid alcohol. Drinking alcohol on a regular basis can prevent or slow down your weight loss. Alcohol can be very high in calories and sugar (especially in mixed drinks). Limit or avoid alcohol.
    • Women should limit alcohol to a maximum of 1 glass daily and men should limit alcohol to a maximum of 2 glasses daily.[15]
    • Like indulgent treats, if you enjoy drinking alcohol, try to consume it in moderation. For example, a glass of wine once or twice a week.

Part 3
Exercising for Weight Loss

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    Include cardio exercises weekly. Although exercise doesn't cause weight loss by itself, including regular physical activity will help support your weight loss efforts. Aim to be active for at least 150 minutes each week.[16]
    • Aerobic activities can include exercises like: dance classes, hiking, jogging, or biking.
    • Be wary of the calorie estimates on cardio machines. The numbers listed aren't necessarily accurate for your height, weight, or gender.[17]
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    Participate in strength training. Resistance training is a great compliment to cardiovascular activity and your weight loss. As you build more muscle mass, you will increase your metabolism and burn more calories overall.[18]
    • It's recommended to include two days of strength training each week.[19]
    • Strength training includes activities like: weight lifting, Pilates, or isometric exercises like push-ups or crunches.
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    Sign up for a session with a personal trainer. Scheduling a session or two with a personal trainer might be a good idea. This is especially true if you're unfamiliar with some exercises or want to find an exercise routine that will support your new weight loss plan.
    • A personal trainer can assist you in creating an exercise plan that is progressive, periodized, and appropriate for your abilities/goals.
    • Many gyms offer a free or discounted personal training session when you join or as part of your membership.
    • A personal training session might be costly, but you may only need one or two sessions to learn a routine or learn how to use the machines.

Part 4
Maintaining your Weight Loss

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    Weigh yourself one to two times weekly. It will be important to weigh yourself at least one to two times per week. This is especially true since you want to lose five pounds in five weeks; since it's a shorter dieting period, you'll want to make sure that your diet plan is working well.
    • Don't weigh yourself each day. You might notice a slight gain or loss that's just reflective of something you ate or physical activity you did the day before. These fluctuations might not accurately reflect your overall progress. [20]
    • Purchase a home scale so you have the right tools at home to keep yourself on track.
    • For the most accurate weights, weigh yourself at the same time of day, on the same day of the week, and in the same clothing.
    • Regular weigh-ins have also been shown to help prevent weight-gain.[21]
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    Evaluate your diet. In order to meet your goal of losing five pounds in five weeks, it'll be important to check in and evaluate your diet along the way. Since the timeline is so short, if you notice your diet is not causing adequate weight loss, you'll want to make adjustments as soon as possible.
    • If you're not losing weight, check in with your food journal and calorie count. Are you slipping up? Snacking more often or eating larger portions? Make the necessary changes or cut out a few more calories to induce weight loss.
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    Avoid ditching your diet plan. Ideally, after you've lost your desired amount of weight, you should keep it off. Stick to your diet plan long-term to maintain your weight loss.
    • Maintain the lifestyle changes you've made: monitoring calories, portions sizes, and eating a balanced diet daily.
    • Also monitor how often you indulge in treats or alcohol. Although the occasional treat is OK, keep them to a minimum long-term to help maintain your weight.


  • When counting calories, look into the total number of servings in a container and then calculate. Often times calories per serving are in mind and one tends to forget that there might be 2.5 servings in the bag or can.
  • Don't avoid fat (or carbohydrates for that matter) altogether! Healthy fats such as mono-unsaturated fat (predominant in olive oil) and foods which contain naturally high amounts of fatty acids such as Omega-3 are perfectly acceptable.
  • Drink two glasses of water 10 minutes before every meal. This will fill you up, causing you to eat less in total.
  • You have to burn 3,500 extra calories or eat 3,500 fewer calories per week to lose one pound.
  • Never eat fewer than 1,200 calories in a day or restrict your calories by more than 550 per day.
  • A gradual, moderate restriction of calories together with exercise is one of the safest and healthiest methods to lose weight and keep it off.
  • Treat yourself to a little "cheat meal" once a week, but with caution. That cheat meal could turn into a cheat day, then a cheat week.


  • Don't try to lose more than a pound a week. More than that is not considered healthy.
  • Fast and extreme weight loss is unhealthy and may result in weight gain. (This is also called "yo-yo dieting".)
  • Be sure to consult with your physician regarding your weight loss program; your physician is there to help and may have additional suggestions for you.

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Categories: Weight Loss Goals