How to lose 1 pound a day?

Losing 1 pound per day is an aggressive weight loss goal, but it can be done safely through a combination of diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. While crash diets or extreme calorie restriction may help you lose weight quickly, they are not sustainable or healthy over the long term. The key is to create a moderate daily calorie deficit of 500-1000 calories so that you lose weight at a rate of about 1-2 pounds per week. With the right plan, you can meet your goal of losing 1 pound per day in a safe and effective way.

How many calories should you eat per day to lose 1 pound?

To lose 1 pound per day, you need to create a daily calorie deficit of about 3500 calories. Here’s the math:

  • 1 pound of fat = 3500 calories
  • To lose 1 pound, you need to burn 3500 more calories than you consume
  • Recommend daily calorie deficit for weight loss: 500-1000 calories

So to lose 1 pound per day through diet alone, you would need to eat about 500-1000 fewer calories than your body burns each day. For most people, that would mean eating only 500-1200 calories per day, which is extremely low and not recommended.

Instead, it’s best to create a 500-1000 calorie deficit through a combination of diet and exercise. Here are some guidelines:

  • Women: Eat 1200-1500 calories per day
  • Men: Eat 1500-1800 calories per day
  • Burn 500+ calories per day through exercise

This will allow you to lose about 1-2 pounds per week in a healthy, sustainable way while eating a nutritious diet. Rapid weight loss of more than 2 pounds per week is not recommended.

Sample meal plan to lose 1 pound a day

Here is a sample 1200 calorie meal plan that can help you lose about 1 pound per day when combined with daily exercise:

Breakfast (300 calories)

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal cooked in water with 1 tbsp chopped almonds (150 calories)
  • 1 cup skim or low-fat milk (90 calories)
  • 1/2 grapefruit (60 calories)

Lunch (400 calories)

  • Tuna salad made with 3 oz tuna, 2 tbsp light mayo, mustard, 1 cup spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers (300 calories)
  • 1 small apple (80 calories)

Dinner (500 calories)

  • 3 oz grilled salmon (180 calories)
  • 1 cup roasted broccoli (60 calories)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice (100 calories)
  • Small garden salad with balsamic vinegar (60 calories)

Snacks (100 calories)

  • 1 part-skim mozzarella cheese stick (80 calories)
  • 3⁄4 cup blueberries (20 calories)

This sample menu provides about 1200 calories and focuses on lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. You can modify it based on your own food preferences and calorie needs. The key is sticking close to 1200-1500 calories per day for women or 1500-1800 for men.

Exercise plan to burn 500+ calories per day

In addition to reducing your calorie intake, you need to burn extra calories through exercise to create a daily deficit of 500-1000 calories. Here are some exercise options to burn 500+ calories per day:

  • Brisk walking for 60-90 minutes (burns 300-450 calories)
  • Jogging for 45-60 minutes (burns 450-600+ calories)
  • Swimming laps for 60 minutes (burns 500+ calories)
  • HIIT training for 30-45 mins (burns 300-450+ calories)
  • Cycling for 60 minutes (burns 500+ calories)
  • Using an elliptical for 45-60 mins (burns 300-450+ calories)

Aim for at least 60-90 minutes of vigorous cardio exercise each day, such as jogging, swimming, HIIT training, or cycling. You can also combine 30-45 minutes of cardio with 30 minutes of strength training to burn 500+ calories. Getting in 10,000 steps per day through brisk walking can also help you maintain a 500-1000 calorie deficit.

Lifestyle changes to boost weight loss

Making the following lifestyle changes can help boost your weight loss efforts to reach 1 pound per day:

  • Drink water: Stay well hydrated by drinking at least eight 8-oz glasses of water daily. This can increase fullness and boost metabolism.
  • Prioritize protein: Eat high-protein foods like lean meats, fish, eggs, and beans at each meal to help retain muscle and feel full.
  • Eat fiber-rich foods: Aim for whole grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds to get 20-30g of fiber per day to support weight loss.
  • Limit alcohol: Alcohol is high in empty calories. Limit to 1-2 drinks per week while trying to lose weight rapidly.
  • Cut out sugary drinks: Skip soda, juice, energy drinks, and other sources of liquid calories.
  • Get more sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours per night. Poor sleep is linked to increased hunger and belly fat.
  • Manage stress: High stress can increase cortisol levels and promote weight gain. Try meditation, yoga, or deep breathing.
  • Keep moving: Stay active outside of planned exercise by taking the stairs, walking more, fidgeting, standing up while working, and stretching.

Making these simple lifestyle changes can optimize your metabolism, reduce hunger, and make it easier to sustain the 1000+ calorie daily deficit needed to lose 1 pound per day. They support your diet and exercise efforts.

Is losing 1 pound per day too fast?

Losing more than 2 pounds per week after the initial water weight loss is not recommended by health authorities. Here are some downsides of losing weight too quickly:

  • You are more likely to burn muscle along with fat.
  • It can be unsustainable and leads to rebound weight gain.
  • You may experience nutritional deficiencies.
  • It can cause gallstone formation.
  • Extreme calorie restriction slows your metabolic rate.

That said, losing 1 pound per day through a moderate calorie deficit combined with exercise does not necessarily cause these adverse effects. It can be done safely if:

  • Your calorie intake does not go below 1200 calories (for women) or 1500 calories (for men).
  • You are eating a nutritious, protein-rich diet.
  • You incorporate strength training to maintain muscle.
  • It is only done short-term until you reach your weight loss goal.

The key is to make your deficit moderate and sustainable rather than extreme. Slow and steady weight loss is best for long-term success. But losing 1 pound daily in the initial weeks through healthy diet and exercise strategies can be safe for most people and help you stay motivated.

Supplements that may aid weight loss

The following supplements may provide additional support for losing 1 pound per day when combined with diet and exercise:

Protein powder

Whey or plant protein powder taken 1-2 times per day can help ensure you meet your protein needs to retain muscle mass while cutting calories.

Green tea extract

Compounds in green tea like EGCG may slightly boost metabolism. Drink 2-3 cups of green tea daily.

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)

CLA is a fat burning supplement that may help inhibit body fat storage and enhance fat burning. Take 3-6 grams daily.


This soluble fiber supplement helps promote fullness. Take 2-4 grams before meals.

However, there are no magic bullet supplements for weight loss. Proper diet and exercise are most important.

Should you try a very low-calorie diet?

Very low-calorie diets (VLCDs) providing 800 calories or fewer per day can sometimes be used under medical supervision to achieve rapid weight loss. However, they limit nutrients and are hard to sustain.

Potential risks of a VLCD include:

  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Muscle loss
  • Gallstones
  • Electrolyte imbalances
  • Rebound weight gain

If you want to follow a VLCD or meal replacement diet, only do so under medical supervision. Make sure to take supplements to meet nutritional needs. This approach should be used cautiously and only on a short-term basis.

For most people looking to lose 1 pound per day, sticking to a reduced calorie diet of 1200-1500 calories that includes solid whole foods plus exercise is a better approach. This creates a sufficient deficit without depriving your body of necessary nutrition.

What results can you expect from losing 1 pound daily?

If you are able to safely maintain a deficit of about 1000 calories per day through diet and exercise, here is the weight loss you can expect:

  • Weekly weight loss: Approximately 1-2 pounds per week, or 7-14 pounds in total
  • Monthly weight loss: Approximately 4-8 pounds per month, or 12-24 pounds in total
  • Yearly weight loss: 48-96 pounds

However, the rate of weight loss will gradually slow over time. As you lose weight, your metabolic rate slows and your daily calorie needs decrease. So maintaining a 1000 calorie daily deficit may become more challenging.

You can continue to lose 1 pound per week or even 1 pound every 10 days. But losing precisely 1 pound daily for more than a couple months is unlikely. The goal should be consistent, steady, sustainable weight loss over the long haul.


Here are some precautions to take for safe weight loss when aiming to lose 1 pound per day:

  • Do not cut calories too severely, especially without medical guidance. Eat at least 1200 calories (women) or 1500 calories (men) daily.
  • Include lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats to meet nutritional needs.
  • Take a multivitamin and supplements like calcium, vitamin D, iron, and omega-3s while dieting.
  • Drink at least 64 oz of water daily to stay hydrated.
  • Monitor for warning signs like fatigue, headaches, weakness, dizziness, constipation, or gallstone pain.
  • Incorporate strength training and not just cardio to help retain muscle mass.
  • Weigh yourself no more than once weekly rather than obsessing over daily fluctuations.
  • If you plateau, recalculate your calorie needs and temporarily increase calories by 100-200 per day.
  • Transition to a sustainable, moderately low-calorie diet after rapid weight loss phase.

With appropriate precautions, losing about 1 pound per day can be done safely in the initial weeks of a weight loss plan. But the ultimate goal should be long-term weight maintenance, not continuing to lose weight rapidly for months on end.


Losing 1 pound per day requires creating a daily calorie deficit of about 1000 calories through diet and exercise. It is an aggressive but achievable goal if your diet provides at least 1200-1500 calories and you burn 500+ calories through cardio and strength training.

However, losing more than 2 pounds per week after the initial water weight loss is not recommended. Make sure your deficit is moderate and your diet includes nutrient-dense whole foods.

Achieving a loss of about 1 pound per day in the initial weeks can help you kickstart your weight loss journey and see results fast. But transition to a more moderate pace for sustainable long-term success.

With determination and consistency in following an evidence-based diet and exercise plan, you can safely reach your goal of losing about 1 pound per day. Just be sure to take precautions and consult your doctor before making major changes to your diet.

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