Fad diets, old wives' tales, and pseudoscience can make the process of losing weight a struggle for many who don’t know where to start. Losing 3 pounds a week is a difficult but possible benchmark for most, and if you’re committed, try out the following methods to lose that excess weight and keep it off.
On paper, losing weight seems effortless.
We know that the body runs on the vitamins and nutrients in our food. Put in more than required, and you’ll gain weight. Do the opposite, and you’ll lose weight. In many ways, weight loss is mathematics.
While that might sound great in a vacuum, anyone that has suffered through late-night hunger pangs and cravings knows that just because something sounds easy, does not make it easy to execute.
There’s no getting around it—losing weight is hard work. With more than 35% of all American adults struggling with obesity, people aren’t looking for mathematics or simple explanations. They want solutions.
A simple weight loss goal, like losing three pounds a week consistently, is required to maintain motivation. During off days and weekends, perhaps there is no better motivation than stepping on the scale and seeing a clear, linear weight loss take place.
So how do we lose that much weight that quickly? We can’t promise that the below methods are easy, but what we can tell you is that—if you stick with any of these three diets—you can depend on consistent and rewarding results.
1. Calories In, Calories Out (CICO)
The CICO method of weight loss is the quickest to explain but takes considerably more time to implement. There is only one rule with the CICO method: count calories in, and subtract calories out. To lose weight, keep that resultant number as far below zero as possible.
We know from institutions like the Mayo Clinic that one point of body fat is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories. The average person will need anywhere from 1,800 to 2,400 calories a day to maintain body weight. Some quick math tells us that to lose 3 pounds a week; you'll need to exercise about 10,500 calories from the weekly diet.
We’ll save you some time and let you know that, to lose weight on the CICO method, simply cutting 10,500 calories is not only difficult—it’s impossible if your average caloric burn is so low.
Using the above numbers and cutting 10,500 calories a week puts you at only 300 to 900 calories a day. This is highly unhealthy and can result in serious damage to your body.
To make CICO work for a tight 3 pounds per week diet, you’ll need to burn more calories.
Consider taking up running, which can burn several hundred to even a thousand calories per hour. Other cardio-focused activities, like swimming or hiking, will also help you increase your caloric output (calories out) per day.
The more calories you burn per day, the more you can afford to eat while still sticking with your fitness goals. CICO requires a stringent understanding of your daily calorie usage, so be sure to start tracking your meals before beginning the weight loss regimen to ensure you’re using the right numbers.
The CICO method is perfect for numbers-focused people that want to easily track out where the weight is coming from, what meals to avoid, and how quickly they can lose weight. It may also require added exercise and a careful examination of necessary vitamins and minerals, so if that sounds a bit too complex for you, feel free to try out some of our other suggestions.
2. Ketogenic Diets
Ah, the ketogenic diet.
This method of weight loss is perhaps one of the most famous and least-understood of all diets. Strict adherents swear by the diet, while others loathe the dreaded “keto flu” that comes with the first few days.
The ketogenic diet works best for people that might not be able to keep a tight leash on their calorie counts or aren’t interested in radically increasing exercise. To understand how the ketogenic diet works, we’ll need to refresh your memory on how the body processes food quickly.
While the ketogenic diet could warrant it’s very own article, the short explanation is that it relies on foods that are incredibly low on carbohydrates. Less than 20 carbs a day between all meals, to be precise. After several days of this, the body enters ketosis, which forces the body to run on ketones instead of glucose.
The theory behind ketogenic diets is that when counting calories, many people eat carbohydrates that take a long time to digest and thus prevent the body from burning fat cells.
By relying solely on ketones for energy, the body is already burning fat cells. Therefore, the second the body is finished processing a meal, it will move directly to fat cells in the body.
The amount of heresy about ketogenic diets on the Internet can be alarming, but despite fears from others, studies show the diet is widely effective in combating obesity. Provided you survive the first few days, which are often filled with a lethargic feeling referred to as the “keto flu,” the ketogenic diet almost doesn’t feel like a diet at all.
Knowing how to lose 3 pounds a week on the ketogenic diet is much simpler than with the CICO diet. Calories are less important than maintaining ketosis and eating little sugar, lots of healthy fats, and almost no carbohydrates. The only care needed is in making sure you manage to get enough vitamins and minerals to get you through the day.
Adding exercise on top of a ketogenic diet will also improve weight loss, and is why many muscle-builders practice the diet to produce lean muscle. Whether you’re attempting to pack on muscle or not, the ketogenic diet is a proven method of weight loss and certainly deserves your attention for possible solutions to a weight problem.
3. Mediterranean Diets
Similar to the ketogenic diet, the Mediterranean diet eliminates much of the processed food and sugar content found in American diets and utilizes several food groups to encompass a wide variety of minerals.
Reported by Mayo Clinic to be one of the best diets for heart health, the Mediterranean diet follows after traditional European diets to keep off fat. This diet is high in fruits, vegetables, grains, and oils, and utilizes lean seafood like fish and shrimp to add some heft to an otherwise- light meal.
One of the more popular suggestions in the Mediterranean diet is to include a glass of red wine per night. Of course, this should not be taken in moderation is a struggle, but is a welcome and surprising addition to a diet nonetheless.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the Mediterranean diet is great not only for the prevention of chronic diseases but in maintaining a healthy weight as well. In many ways, the Mediterranean diet combines the best of both worlds of our above suggestions. The diet is both calorie-light and mostly free of added sugars. The seafood content and suggestion to consume more nuts also allows dieters to feel energized and healthy enough for strenuous physical activity.
While similar to a modern American diet, the Mediterranean diet will require a few extra products that aren’t normally found in the kitchen. If you’re interested in taking the diet on, be sure to conduct your research and figure out which foods are acceptable on this diet.
The Centers for Disease Prevention and control only recommend losing 1 to 2 pounds per week to combat vitamin and mineral deficiencies. If you’re looking to meet that 3 pounds per week deadline, regardless of which of the above diets you choose, it isn’t going to be easy to lose the weight in a manner that’s medically safe.
Regardless of diet, increase your exercise as much as possible. Running, sports and hiking are the common suggestions, but the little moments in between the day are just as important. Swap out soda for water. Walk to work instead of driving. Find small concessions you can make in your schedule and attempt to spend them outdoors instead of inside.
At the same time, increase your water intake, which has been shown to help alleviate the process of weight loss from unnecessary headaches and dehydration. Finally, if you currently suffer from chronic illnesses or start to feel ill from the new routine, don’t hesitate to seek help. Contact a medical professional when making any drastic change to your diet, and consult your physician to make sure that the path you’re taking promotes healthy weight loss that doesn’t come at the expense of your overall health.
Losing weight is hard, but with the above methods combined with exercise, it can certainly be possible. Knowing how to lose 3 pounds a week is easy, but enacting that plan is far more difficult. Utilize proper research, work to hit your goal weight, and start enjoying life on your terms.
Jane is news writer presenting the latest trending information as it's released. She's spends most of her time sourcing premium news from our top sources bringing fresh updates to her loyal subscribers. She loves ice-cream and her dog Sally!