Losing 4 lbs in a week may not sound like much of an undertaking, but it's actually twice as much as the recommended amount of weight loss for that length of time. This doesn't mean you can't both effectively and safely achieve such an aggressive goal. To drop that amount of weight in 7 days, you'll need to use a fairly strict diet in combination with daily exercise. This is largely due to the fact that it takes a deficit of 3,500 calories to shed a single pound of fat, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Calculate the caloric value of each food item consumed by using an online calorie counter. You can also tally the amount of calories your body needs each day mathematically yourself by using your height in inches, your weight in pounds and your age in years.
Males use the following equation: 66 + (12.7 x height) + (6.23 x weight) - (6.8 x age)
Females use a different equation: 655 + (4.7 x height) + (4.35 x weight) - (4.7 x age)
Take this number and multiply it by 1.2, giving you a rough estimate of your total daily caloric need to maintain your current weight without any exercise.
Cut calories from your diet. By using the number from the previous equation, you can establish how many calories you can eat each day and still lose weight. The number of calories you cut is wholly up to you, but eliminating 500 calories each day adds up to 3,500 calories for the week, which translates into a pound of fat. Cutting 1,000 calories each day is equivalent to 7,000 calories for the week, which adds up to 2 lbs of fat.
Choose vegetables, fruits and whole grains over animal-based foods. To help you reduce the amount of calories you consume on a given day, stick to plant-based products. They are naturally lower in calories than those foods that come from animals. Edamame, soy, tofu, tempeh and legumes are all great low-calories substitutes for meat. Apples, oranges, pears, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower are ideal substitutes for sweetened or salted snacks. Have a bowl of unsweetened oatmeal for breakfast, salads piled with vegetables, nuts and seeds for lunch and beans and brown rice for supper.
Opt for low-fat dairy over their full-fat counterparts. Most low-fat dairy products contain far fewer calories than whole milk varieties, so pick up low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cottage cheese to help eliminate calories in your diet while keeping your meals balanced.
Stick to lean cuts of meat whenever eating animal-based foods. This means chicken, turkey, rounds and tenderloins. However, keep the ounces on the low end, ranging anywhere from 3 to 6 oz to lower calories consumed.
Drink water instead of sweetened beverages. Water doesn't contain any calories while juices, sodas, teas, coffees and alcohol all are laden with them.
Track everything you eat by hand. Writing down each food item and their caloric worth ensure you won't accidentally go over the number of calories each day.
Integrate exercise into your daily life. To increase the number of calories burned, you need to integrate exercise into your daily life, especially when hoping to lose 4 lbs in a week. To help determine the number of calories burned for a given exercise, use the tool provided in the Resource section.