How to Lose 5 Pounds in One Week

One pound of fat is made up of 3,500 calories. Therefore, to lose 5 lbs. you will have to make a caloric deficit of, and/or burn off, 17,500 calories with exercise. One strategy to lose the weight is to break up the total 17,500 into daily goals. This would entail reaching a deficit of 2,500 calories per day with some combination of dieting and exercise. You will want to consult your doctor before attempting this amount of weight loss as cutting your calories may make providing your body with enough nutrients very difficult. Exercising off a significant number of calories per day will also be challenging to your body, and you should make sure your body is able to handle exercising every day for enough time necessary to reach your calorie goal.

Step 1
Determine how many calories per day you should eat to maintain your weight. Use a resting metabolic rate calculator (see the Resource section below) to get the daily number of calories from which to create a caloric deficit. Enter your height, weight in pounds, age and gender accurately.

Step 2
Follow a low-calorie diet for the week. See the sample menus offered by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for 1,200 calories. An example of a traditional menu would include a whole wheat piece of bread and shredded wheat for breakfast, a roast beef sandwich for lunch, popcorn for a snack, and 2 oz. of salmon with vegetables for dinner.

Step 3
Subtract 1,200 calories from your resting metabolic rate calories. For example, if you need 2,500 calories to maintain your weight, then by eating 1,200 calories each day you will create a caloric deficit of 1,300 calories, leaving 1,200 calories for you to burn off from exercise. However, if you only need 1,800 calories per day then your caloric deficit will only be 600 and you'll need to burn 1,900 calories with exercise. You may wish to ask your physician or nutritionist for a stricter diet, but the American Obesity Association advises anyone eating 1,000 or fewer to be supervised by a health care professional.

Step 4
Exercise every day to expend the calories necessary to meet the 2,500 calorie goal mark to burn 5 lbs. Use a cardio machine that will count your calories for you during exercise, but be sure you enter your age and weight into the machine so the number is as accurate as possible. Otherwise, you can use an activity calculator to estimate your calories for you (see the Resource section below). Enter your weight and 60 minutes for your time so you can see how many calories you will burn in an hour. Most likely, you will need to exercise both in the morning and evening, or even break your workouts into three sessions, to meet your calories burned with exercise goal. For example, running at 10 mph will burn approximately 1,000 calories in an hour so you will likely need to exercise more than an hour a day for the week. Running is one of the higher calorie burning activities. Be prepared to budget more time for exercise if you are going to do lower intensity exercise such as walking or water aerobics.


Cutting many calories and exercising more than an hour every day will be challenging. The American Obesity Association says that losing 2 lbs. a week is healthy, so you may want to consider giving yourself two weeks to lose the 5 lbs.

Things You'll Need

Resting metabolic rate calculator