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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Weight Management arrow How to Lose 3 Pounds a Week: Mission Slimpossible

How to Lose 3 Pounds a Week: Mission Slimpossible

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: April 7, 2023
8 min read 1949 Views 0 Comments
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Revealing all the answers that you need about safe weight loss

how to lose 3 pounds a week

Whether you are trying to lose weight for health purposes or be fit and healthy, weight loss is not an easy feat. Different things come to play when you try figuring out the optimal method for losing weight.

This article will discuss how to lose 3 pounds a week, the challenges you may face, and how to keep off that stubborn weight.

How to Lose 3 Pounds a Week: 5 Methods That Will Change Your Body

Regardless of the amount of weight you want to lose, it is best to focus on forming better habits like healthy eating rather than staying fixated on the number on the weight scale.

When you develop sustainable weight loss habits, you will lose weight at a healthy rate, and it will be easier to keep off the excess weight. Minor practical tweaks in your lifestyle are more achievable than targeting to shed a specific number of pounds.

If you still want to lose 3 pounds fast, below are simple tips that will change your body in no time.

#1 Burn more calories than you consume

To lose weight, you need to be on a calorie deficit. You can do this by adjusting your daily energy expenditure and burning more calories than you consume.

One pound of fat equals 3,500 calories, and you, therefore, need to be on a total calorie deficit of 500 a day to lose one pound of fat in seven days. A day deficit of 1,000 calories will lead to an estimated weight loss of 2 pounds per week.

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The most effective way to burn calories is by eating a low-calorie diet and combining it with aerobic exercise or strength training. Exercising results in a higher metabolic rate, leading to a caloric deficit.

Healthy dieting habits like eating a low-carb diet rich in nutrient-dense foods make the body spend more time digesting food. Slimming down can also be as simple as avoiding processed foods that contain empty calories.

Drinking more water also helps you burn off more calories and suppresses your appetite, especially if taken before meals.

Another way to burn more calories is by drinking caffeinated green tea. Caffeine is a stimulant that causes metabolic changes, thus increasing the number of calories burned. It can also give one the impression that they have more energy, making them move more.

#2 Stay active

The more active you are, the faster your body burns calories. As you exercise, your body burns calories for fuel. Staying active is the gift that keeps on giving because even after a workout session, your body still burns calories.

Staying active alters your body composition by burning fat and increasing muscle mass. Lean muscle mass increases the body’s metabolic rate as it requires more energy to maintain than fat.

#3 Eat more zero-calorie foods

It is vital to keep tabs on the calories you consume to lose 3 pounds. Here zero calorie foods come in handy as it means you can consume larger portion sizes with fewer calories. They keep you satiated and help control your hunger.

It is not that zero-calorie foods have no calories. Your body uses up more calories to chew and digest them than the calories they contain, hence adding fewer calories to the body and bringing their net caloric value to zero. 

Most of these foods are fruits and veggies characterized by high water and fiber content. Fruits and vegetables are low energy-dense foods with high fiber and water content, providing weight and volume but fewer calories.

Fiber-rich foods also take longer to digest and keep you full for longer with fewer calories. Examples of zero-calorie foods include celery, apples, and kale.

#4 Avoid added sugar in any form

Sugars naturally occur in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. However, most pre-packaged and processed foods contain a lot of added sugars that give extra calories and no nutritional benefits.

Eventually, excess sugars are converted into fats in the body, which cause you to gain more weight. You, therefore, need to check the labels on your food. If you know how much sugar is in your food, you can limit how much you eat.

Avoid sodas and energy drinks and drink water instead, as these drinks are laden with empty calories and can sometimes be worse than many solid food sources.

The average American adult gets 15% of their calories from added sugars. These sugars are linked to harmful health conditions like heart disease, obesity, high cholesterol levels, weight gain, chronic inflammation, and dental plaque.

Substituting sugary foods with healthy options helps a person get all the necessary minerals without additional calories. Another way to reduce added sugar is by avoiding baked goods such as cakes, brownies, and muffins.

Avoid refined carbohydrates and artificial sugars. It would also be best to focus on whole foods such as vegetables, lean meats, nuts and seeds, and unprocessed grains as they are rich in nutrients.

Meal prepping also makes it easy to stick to a diet plan and avoid sugary snacks. When healthy food is available, it is easier to resist reaching out to that candy bar or soda.

#5 Try intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting contrasts the regular eating patterns as it involves going for short-term fasts with minimal or no food consumption. This makes people cut calories since they consume less food, leading to weight loss.

IF also helps in disease control by lowering the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, as fasting lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It also helps lose weight in no time.

Is It Possible to Lose 3 Pounds a Week?

It is possible to lose 3 pounds per week, but health experts do not recommend it. 

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to shed extra pounds fast, but some of the methods used are unhealthy, dangerous, and unsustainable.

If you plan on losing weight the healthy way, it would be best to slim down at a slow and steady rate. Rapid weight loss may also require excessively cutting down calories, depriving you of the nutrients and energy necessary to function.

What Is a Healthy Amount of Weight to Lose per Week?

Most healthcare experts recommend a weight loss rate of one to two pounds per week. That means that it should take you at least one and a half weeks to lose three pounds.

Your weight loss rate depends upon your current weight, diet, physical activity levels, sleep patterns, stress levels, and hormonal health.

To lose weight, you need to be on a calorie deficit, and going below your recommended daily intake of calories can be detrimental to your health.

Losing weight faster than the recommended rate is associated with some health problems. Some of the most common are moodiness and irritability, chronic fatigue, constipation, hair loss, and brittle nails.

The mental strain of suddenly cutting down calories is also quite problematic as it leaves you sluggish and unable to concentrate. Rapid weight loss is a cause for concern, and it is always best to seek medical advice before starting a weight loss program.

What Foods to Eat to Lose 3 Pounds a Week?

To lose 3 pounds per week, you need to eat foods that curb cravings and keep you full for longer. Some of these foods also kick up metabolism helping your body burn more calories.

One excellent addition to your weight loss diet is fiber-rich foods like fresh fruits and dark leafy greens. They have an assortment of fiber and micronutrients that are great to incorporate into your diet. They suppress your hunger and reduce cravings for less nutritious foods.

Fatty fish like salmon is satiating and incredibly nourishing. It is also loaded with fatty acids that reduce inflammation associated with obesity and metabolic disease.

Meats such as lean beef and grilled chicken are packed with lean protein, have less saturated fats, and are thus associated with better weight management.

Some legumes such as lentils and green beans are high in fiber and protein, two nutrients that promote satiety. They also contain resistant starch, so they do not increase your blood sugar levels.

Whole foods rich in lean protein, such as egg whites, tofu, and skinless chicken breasts, are good protein sources and help limit your daily calorie consumption and intake of unhealthy fats.

Whole grains like oats, brown rice, and quinoa also improve metabolic health and increase satiety. Whole wheat pasta is also lower in calories and rich in satiety-boosting fiber.

Whole wheat toast is also an excellent source of vitamins, fiber, and minerals, making it suitable for facilitating weight loss. Nuts provide you with protein and fiber and can make perfect snacks.

Green smoothies also help reduce the calorie intake from sweetened beverages, increase energy levels, and provide nutrients necessary for a weight loss diet.

Low-fat dairy products like cottage cheese have fewer calories and less saturated fats, making them suitable for your weight loss plan.

Together with moderation and a good workout routine, these foods pave the way for healthy weight loss.

What to Avoid if You Want to Lose 3 Pounds a Week?

There are common mistakes that might hinder you from getting the results you are looking for while trying to lose weight. Sometimes, you might be misguided by outdated advice.

A common mistake people make is eating too few calories. Cutting too many calories from your daily calorie intake can be counterproductive, leading to muscle loss and reduced metabolism.

It would also be best to avoid sugary drinks and sweetened beverages as they are loaded with sugar, leading to weight gain. Some foods like white bread, candy bars, pastries, pizza, ice cream, and processed breakfast cereals have added sugars that inhibit weight loss.

As much as you eat nutritious foods, it is best to track what you eat, as you might be consuming more calories than your body needs.

Another common mistake is over-exercising and overestimating how many calories you burn from exercise. Overexercising causes strain on your body, is unsustainable in the long run, and may lead to stress.

Avoid having unrealistic expectations as they may demotivate you, cause dissatisfaction, and lead to future challenges in weight loss.

A Word From RD

Losing three pounds per week is an unhealthy weight loss goal. To lose that much weight, you need to cut back on calories, and if your daily calorie intake is too low, you will lose the wrong type of weight – muscle instead of fat.

Fast weight loss also deprives your body of proper nourishment and can lead to side effects like dizziness, dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, irritability, fatigue, hair loss, and headaches.

It is best to stick to the safe weight loss rate guidelines for long-term results. Before starting your weight loss journey, seek medical advice from a personal trainer, licensed nutritionist, and medical healthcare practitioner.


Losing three pounds per week is an uphill task, and though it is possible, losing that much weight in one week is not recommended. People who lose weight too fast are more likely to gain the lost weight back quicker than those who lose it at a slow, steady pace.

Rather than specifically focusing on weight loss, it is best to try and form healthy habits that help you keep your weight in check. Adjusting your diet and adding a workout plan with strength training, cardio, and HIIT exercises will put you on the road to achieving your weight loss goals.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: April 7, 2023
8 min read 1949 Views 0 Comments

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