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Steady weight loss is considered 1–2 pounds a week, so losing 10 pounds may take 5–10 weeks or more. However, weight loss is not always consistent and people’s experiences differ. Losing weight too fast may be unsafe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people looking to lose weight aim to lose 1–2 pounds per week for safe, healthy weight loss. Losing 1 lb per week requires an average calorie deficit of 500 calories per day.

People attempting to lose more than the recommended 1–2 pounds per week should only do so under the supervision of a doctor.

Rapid weight loss comes with risks, including:

The risks increase the longer someone follows a very restricted diet for rapid weight loss.

The following sections outline 11 ways to lose 10 pounds.

Collage depicting food and exercise for losing 10 poundsShare on Pinterest
Design by MNT; Photography by Milles Studio/Stocksy & plpictures by Paedii Luchs/Stocksy

Cutting calories and eating a nutritious diet are key to weight loss.

The amount of calories burned per day depends on a person’s:

  • age
  • body size
  • activity level

If someone consumes fewer calories than their body uses, they create a calorie deficit, which leads to weight loss.

Experts recommend eating at least 1200 calories per day for females and 1500 for males when trying to lose weight. Restricting calories further may be unsafe.

Junk foods are highly processed foods that tend to be:

Examples of junk food include:

  • pastries, cakes, and cookies
  • fried foods
  • fast foods
  • ready meals
  • processed snacks
  • store-bought desserts

People should try to eat whole, minimally processed foods to help reduce calorie and simple carb consumption.

Protein helps people build muscle and feel fuller after eating. This may mean that people snack less between meals, which helps with weight loss. Examples of protein foods include:

Simply moving around more can help burn calories, and burning more calories can help a person lose weight.

Ways to add more daily movement include:

  • parking further away and walking the extra distance
  • try “exercise snacking” — taking regular, short exercise breaks
  • walking during lunch
  • taking the stairs

High intensity interval training (HIIT) can contribute to weight loss and has well-documented health benefits. HIIT is an interval training method where people combine periods of intense exercise with periods of rest.

Before beginning any high intensity cardiovascular exercise, people should check with a doctor. This intense exercise is not suitable for everyone.

Anyone with the following health problems or lifestyle issues should get medical clearance before attempting any high intensity exercise:

Learn more about the benefits of HIIT.

Resistance training using weights or body weight can help build muscle and change body composition.

Muscle is more metabolically active than fat and burns more energy, even when a person is resting. So building muscle can speed up the metabolism and help with weight loss.

In addition, muscle is more dense than fat, so one pound of muscle has less volume or size than one pound of fat. If a person builds muscle, they may not lose weight but will likely look leaner.

Read about building muscle with exercise.

Intermittent fasting is having regular periods with no or very limited calorie intake. People can try fasting for various periods, such as:

  • a 24-hour fast on alternate days
  • 10–16 hours per day, which can mean extending the period between dinner and breakfast
  • fasting 2 days per week on non-consecutive days

A 2020 review of 27 studies reported that, in all studies, intermittent fasting resulted in weight loss regardless of changes in participants’ overall caloric intake. Most of the weight lost was fat loss. Twelve studies compared intermittent fasting with calorie-restricted diets and found similar weight loss in both groups.

Intermittent fasting increases the body’s need to tap into fat stores to burn energy. When glucose from food is unavailable as a fuel source, the body will burn fat instead.

Read about six ways to do intermittent fasting.

Bloating occurs when the body holds on to extra water or gas. Avoiding foods that cause bloating can help reduce water weight. This includes foods high in sodium, such as processed meals and snacks.

Read more about ways to reduce bloating.

Following a meal plan and preparing food ahead of time can help people stick to a diet. It can also mean people are less likely to reach for unhealthy foods when hungry.

There are many healthy meal and snack ideas online. People can plan the week’s meals and snacks ahead of time and stock the fridge with the foods they need to stick to their plan. Batch cooking and preparing meals in advance may save time and reduce the decisions a person needs to make when hungry.

Read about the 12 best meal deliveries for weight loss.

Water is essential for the smooth running of all the body’s processes, and drinking water may also help with weight loss. A 2019 review looked at six randomised controlled trials studying the effects of water consumption on weight loss. The studies used the following strategies:

  • increasing daily water intake
  • replacing caloric beverages with water
  • drinking water before eating a meal

Each strategy led to weight loss, but replacing caloric beverages with water made the biggest difference.

Despite these promising results, more research is necessary before healthcare bodies can make evidence-based water consumption recommendations for weight loss.

Read more about drinking water and weight loss.

Teaming up with others looking to lose weight may help people reach their weight loss goals. People can find weight loss support from friends and family, online communities, and digital apps.

Digital weight loss interventions are gaining popularity and may be attractive due to their 24-hour accessibility and anonymity. A 2019 meta-analysis found that digital weight loss interventions resulted in greater short-term weight loss than offline interventions, but the results of online and offline programs were similar in the long term.

Losing 10 pounds may take 5–10 weeks or more. This equates to a calorie deficit of around 500 calories per day.

While diet is the most important factor in losing weight, people can make other lifestyle adjustments to help them reach their goals. These include moving more, trying different types of exercise, drinking plenty of water, and intermittent fasting.

The most successful and long lasting weight loss occurs when people make small changes they can sustain over the long term.