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Healthy Weight-Loss Plan to Lose 1 Pound Per Week

author image Erin Coleman, R.D., L.D.
Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics and has extensive experience working as a health writer and health educator. Her articles are published on various health, nutrition and fitness websites.
Healthy Weight-Loss Plan to Lose 1 Pound Per Week
A scale with an apple, tapemeasure and a glass of water. Photo Credit: Emir Memedovski/Hemera/Getty Images

Losing 1 pound of body weight weekly is not only safe, but it helps you keep lost weight off for the long term, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of total calories you require daily to lose 1 pound per week depends on your usual calorie intake.

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Create a Calorie Deficit

To achieve a weekly weight loss of 1 pound, reducing your current calorie intake by 500 daily is often effective, notes the CDC. For example, if you normally eat 2,000 calories daily, consume 1,500 calories a day to shed 1 pound per week. You may also choose to keep your calorie intake the same but expend an additional 500 calories per day by boosting physical activity.

Boost Caloric Expenditure

Although eating fewer calories to lose 1 pound per week may be easier than burning an extra 500 calories per day, boosting caloric expenditure might be more effective for individuals who enjoy being physically active. Harvard Health Publications reports that a 155-pound person burns 670 calories per hour using an elliptical machine or jogging at a pace of 5.2 miles per hour. You can also burn 520 calories using a stationary bike at a moderate pace for one hour. In general, the more you weigh, the more calories you’ll burn performing the same activity as a smaller person.

Choose Nutrient-Dense Foods

Protein- and fiber-rich foods increase satiety, and protein boosts your body's energy expenditure, according to a 2009 study published in “The Journal of Nutrition.” Try protein-rich egg whites, soy products, lean poultry and seafood, seitan and low-fat dairy foods -- such as cottage cheese, reduced-fat cheese, plain Greek yogurt and skim milk. Eat plenty of fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. Although nuts are high in calories, weight-loss diets containing nuts often lead to greater weight loss than nut-free weight-loss plans, according to a 2008 review published in “The Journal of Nutrition.”

Cut Empty Calories

Cutting empty-calorie foods -- or foods that contain calories but few essential nutrients -- is an excellent way to lose 1 pound weekly. For example, cutting two cans of regular soda reduces your daily intake by about 300 calories. Other foods to avoid include sweets, honey, syrups, sugary gum, other sugary drinks and refined grains -- such as white bread, highly processed foods, white rice and regular pasta.

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