Trying to lose weight is a lot like cleaning out the basement: It's overwhelming and near impossible to know where to start—even when you're only looking to lose 10 pounds. But despite 10 pounds seeming like a relatively low number, that doesn't mean it'll be any easier or simpler to drop the weight compared to someone losing 50 pounds.
"How easy it is for someone to lose 10 pounds depends on a lot of things: age, gender, activity level, basal metabolic rate, and how much weight he or she has to lose," explains Kate Huether, MD, of The ReKovery MD, who also holds a master's degree in nutrition. "If someone is very overweight it is easier to lose excess weight as opposed to someone who is thinner," Dr. Huether adds.
Regardless of where you are in your journey—whether you want to lose the first or the last 10 pounds—there are plenty of ways to reach your goal.
To help you get there, we spoke with a handful of the industry's top experts regarding fitness and dieting. Because dropping the weight isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition, we've rounded up 50 of their tried-and-tested tips on how to lose 10 pounds fast.
Read through the list of 50 ways to lose 10 pounds fast, and pick out a handful you think you can commit to. A few of them are bound to work for you! And for more healthy tips, be sure to check out our list of 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.
The top five tips experts recommend to lose 10 pounds fast:
- Eat fewer calories than what you've been consuming. Putting your body in a calorie deficit is key to losing weight.
- Focus on consuming healthy, whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods, and cut back on refined, nutrient-devoid foods and beverages like sweets and alcohol.
- Drink more water. Your body may be holding onto water weight, and drinking water can help your body release these extra pounds.
- Exercise to build metabolism-boosting muscle mass by lifting weights or through high-intensity interval training.
- Get an adequate night's sleep (6-8 hours) to allow your body to recover and give yourself the energy to tackle your 10-pound weight loss goal.
These tips are highlights of what's to come. You'll see that we've broken down how to lose 10 pounds into four categories: eating habits, weight-loss-promoting foods and beverages, exercises, and general lifestyle changes.
17 Eating Habits to Lose 10 Pounds Fast
Lose water weight.
"Everyone has excess water weight which is usually the first type of weight to lose, especially in shorter time frames," Dr. Huether shares with us.
Her top three tips to lose 10 pounds of water weight fast are:
- Drink more water. This might seem counterintuitive but our body starts to retain water.
- Focus on eating whole, non-processed foods
- Increase protein eating, decrease sodium and carb intake (especially simple carbs like sugar, pasta, bread)
"Most people will lose four to twelve pounds by doing this for one week. Combining with at least 30 minutes of exercise per day will lead to fast 10 pound weight loss," Dr. Huether adds.
Try intermittent fasting.
If you have more than a week to lose 10 pounds, Dr. Huether recommends trying intermittent fasting.
"For longer-term weight loss and maintenance, I like to use intermittent fasting where I choose an 8-hour window to eat (for me its 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.). By doing this your body learns to use fat as fuel (instead of glucose), so it becomes easier and sustainable over time."
Track your diet in a food log or journal.
"Whether it's an app or paper food logs, tracking what you eat will certainly be eye-opening. Almost everyone consumes more than they think. Write everything down as soon as you're done eating so you don't forget anything. The simple act of recording what you eat will make you eat less. When the calories are in your face, it makes you think twice!" — Martha McKittrick, RD, CDE
To lose 10 pounds fast, Jackson explains you'll then want to cut your calorie consumption by 10%. "For example, if you average 2,000 per week, reduce that amount to 1,800 calories and see if you lose weight. You'll also want to take notice of the percentage breakdown of protein, carbs and fat. Aim for a 'bodybuilder breakdown' which is 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat. You'll begin to drop weight in no time!"
Cut back on sugar-sweetened foods.
"The American Heart Association recommends that men eat less than 36 grams of added sugar and that women consume less than 24 grams. However, for optimal weight loss, I tell my male clients to consume less than 20 grams of sugar per day and I tell the women to consume less than 15 grams. The easiest way to cut back on the sweet stuff is by consuming less sugary drinks and dressings. Cut the sugar, lose the fat, regain your health and life." — Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS
Here are 14 Sneaky Sources of Added Sugars.
Replace refined carbs with healthy alternatives.
"Spaghetti squash is a great alternative to pasta," says Shaun T, celebrity fitness trainer and creator of Insanity, Max:30 and Hip Hop Abs. "I love pairing it with homemade spaghetti sauce so I feel like I'm eating noodles but am getting a dose of vegetables instead!" Just make sure you don't pair it with the unhealthiest pasta sauces in America.
Here are The 9 Best Complex Carbs for Weight Loss.
Ditch the junk.
"The best thing you can do for your belly is to give up processed foods. A study in the journal Food & Nutrition Research found that our bodies burn only 50 percent as many calories digesting processed foods as they do real foods. So it's like eating twice as much, even if the calories are the same!" — Mark Langowski, celebrity trainer, CEO and Founder of Body By Mark
Don't skip breakfast.
"Don't skip breakfast—it really is the most important meal of the day. Eat breakfast within 90 minutes of waking, and then have something healthy to eat every three to four hours after that. When we skip breakfast or wait too long to eat in the morning, our bodies start to conserve energy and our metabolism slows down. Skipping breakfast also leads to overeating throughout the day." — Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN, author of Should I Scoop Out My Bagel?
Understand portion sizes and stick to them.
"Eating directly out of a box or bag (almost always leads to overeating. Serve your food on a plate or in a bowl to keep portion sizes in check and to get used to what one serving looks like. Also, when we take the time to sit down during meals versus standing or driving, we tend to feel more satisfied with our meal. In fact, research shows that you will eat up to 30% more food at the next meal if you ate standing up! Serve yourself, sit down, and enjoy!" — Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, food and nutrition expert
Shrink your portion sizes.
"One of the keys to long-term and sustainable weight loss is to cut total calorie intake, and there's no better way to do that than by eating just a little bit less of what you currently eat. Once you get into a habit of reducing portions—especially of sugary, fatty and other nutrient-poor foods—you can fine tune your diet to incorporate more nutrient-rich foods. But paring portions is still the best first step [in an effort to lose 10 pounds]." — Elisa Zied, MS, RDN, CDN, author of Younger Next Week
"If you're feeling deprived by your diet, build in a cheat meal at least once a week in which you can indulge guilt-free. Doing this will help you avoid viewing certain foods as 'off limits,' which will help you crave them less." — David Zinczenko, author of Zero Belly Cookbook
Cut back on alcohol if you haven't already.
"Alcohol not only contributes extra calories, but often keeps company with juice/tonic, slows metabolism, triggers hunger, and can lead to poor food judgment (drunk people order cheese fries, not salads). 'A glass of wine' (or two) 5x a week definitely adds up. It may behoove you to go cold turkey on booze temporarily and see if it makes a difference. Plus, alcohol can be rather bloating." — Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, nutrition consultant for RSP Nutrition
Eat more often.
"A study by David Jenkins, MD, PhD—the University of Toronto pioneer in low-glycemic eating — demonstrates that eating small portions at frequent intervals is good for your health in a number of remarkable ways. Within the study, they found that people who ate every three hours reduced their blood cholesterol by over 15% and their blood insulin by almost 28%. That's key, because in addition to regulating your blood sugar level, insulin plays a pivotal role in fat metabolism, inflammation and the progression to metabolic syndrome. When your body produces less insulin, you're much less likely to convert dietary calories into body fat.
"Your body begins to work differently. This study proves that small amounts of nourishment throughout the day are better than the same amount of food concentrated in three big sittings. If we feed the body at regular intervals we send a signal to the body that it doesn't have to store calories. Conversely, when we skip meals we send just the opposite signal for the body to store calories, creating a negative effect on the metabolism." — Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, co-founder and Medical Director at Take Shape For Life
Not sure what to nosh on? These best snacks for weight loss are all delicious, safe bets for your waistline.
Stop eating low-fat.
"Don't buy low-fat dairy products. They're usually loaded with sugar. Besides, an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that the more high-fat dairy products a person ate, they lower their risk of diabetes; the more low-fat dairy products, the higher their risk. — Mark Langowski, celebrity trainer and author of Eat This, Not That! for Abs
Focus on food quality rather than counting calories.
"Stop focusing on calories and start focusing on the quality of the foods you eat. High-quality diet options are natural, whole, minimally processed foods, like vegetables, fruits, nuts or seeds that offer a lot more nutritional value in the form of vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and fiber. These foods help tame hunger naturally and nourish our cells at the deepest level so that we aren't left with constant cravings. — Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, CSSD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Go Wellness in Orange County, California
Have a healthy appetizer.
"Eat vegetables before or with meals. Whether you are hungry on your way home or right when you walk in the door, snacking on veggies can help you keep your portions in check once you sit down to a meal. I also recommend starting your dinner with a vegetable salad or vegetable soup to fill you up and prevent overeating. — Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN, author of Should I Scoop Out My Bagel?
Keep eating your favorite foods.
"To lose weight you should primarily eat whole foods, but don't eliminate your favorites. Consistently eating nutrient-dense food on a day-to-day basis will improve the chances of upregulating metabolism and of eliminating nutritional deficiencies. That may mean tracking what you eat in some way at first, but it doesn't mean ruling out entire food groups or foods you love. Consistent quality nutrition while learning to enjoy treats in moderation will set you up for long-term sustainable success. — Victoria Viola, PN Certified Nutrition Coach, NSCA CPT, Co-Founder, Excelerate Wellness, LLC
"When clients come to me, many of them have been through the diet wringer. They've tried every fad and gimmick and, of course, they've failed to maintain long-term success. The key to losing 10 pounds and weight loss, in general, is to never feel like you're on a diet, because diets don't work. If you feel deprived, you will never make it past a few weeks. The only way to achieve long-term weight loss is to learn to appreciate food as fuel and slowly replaced processed food that cannot properly energize the body with real food that can. After a while this will become second nature and won't feel like a daily struggle." — Laura Burak, MS, RD, CDN
13 Foods & Drinks To Help You Lose 10 Pounds
"If I had to pick one food for weight loss, I would choose oatmeal. It's a whole grain, high-fiber carbohydrate that sticks to your ribs, so it keeps you full and satisfied. Eating it also leads to a slow rise in blood sugar, which has been shown to keep insulin levels from spiking, leading to less fat storage. The key with oatmeal is how to make it so it's not a calorie bomb. I recommend making it with nonfat milk in place of water, stirring in chopped raw nuts or natural nut butter, and topping with fresh or frozen fruits. If you need some added sweetness, a drizzle of maple syrup should do it. — Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, culinary-nutrition consultant and founder of Nutritioulicious
"Nuts are a superior weight loss food in my book. They offer plenty of protein, healthy fat, and fiber that can really take the edge off hunger at any meal or snack. Nuts are also so versatile and convenient. They can be mixed into overnight oatmeal or yogurt at breakfast, paired with fruit as a snack, or tossed into a hearty salad for a little satisfying crunch at lunch. — Michelle Loy, MPH, MS, CSSD, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Go Wellness in Orange County, California
"Hard-boiled eggs are easy to cook ahead of time, inexpensive, rich in the best quality, satiating protein there is, and they're good for a snack or meal plus they're portable. I recommend including them in any weight loss plan." — Christine M. Palumbo, RD, a Chicago-based dietitian
"There are many foods that aid weight loss, but one that I often recommend to my clients and eat myself is grapefruit. Researchers at Scripps Clinic in San Diego found that when obese people ate half a grapefruit before each meal, they dropped an average of 3.5 pounds over 12 weeks. Apparently, the tangy fruit can lower insulin, a fat-storage hormone, and that can lead to weight loss. Plus, since it's at least 90% water, it can fill you up so you eat less. However, if you are on certain medications you should not have grapefruit or grapefruit juice, so check the label on all your prescriptions, or ask your pharmacist or doctor." — Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, author of Eat Right When Time is Tight.
"Oolong, or 'black dragon,' is a kind of Chinese tea that's packed with catechins, nutrients that help promote weight loss by boosting your body's ability to metabolize fat. A study in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine found that participants who regularly sipped oolong tea lost a pound a week, without doing anything else to change their diet or exercise habits." — Kelly Choi, author of The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse
To discover more teas that will zap away your flab, check out these best teas for weight loss.
"Research continues to support the role of a high-protein diet and weight loss, however, we don't want to reach those protein needs exclusively with animal proteins. Plant proteins found in beans not only help us feel full and stabilize blood sugar but beans are associated with longevity. Who cares about being skinny if you die young?" —Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, food and nutrition expert
"Eat more omega-3 fats from fatty fish. You know they're good for your heart, but they're also good for your belly. They fight fat in four ways: They reduce inflammation, they control hunger, they turn off your fat-storage genes, and they control blood sugar." — Mark Langowski, celebrity trainer and author of Eat This, Not That! for Abs
"It's no big surprise, but my go-to weight loss tip is to eat more vegetables. They are the most low-calorie food you can consume, and they're filled with health-boosting, satiating nutrients. From smoothies and eggs to soups, main and side dishes, they can fit in anywhere and boost volume and nutrition. If you want to eat more while still losing weight, veggies are your answer. —Laura Burak, RD, CDN
"A study published in Nutrition Journal found that participants who ate foods high in monounsaturated fats for lunch (in this case, half an avocado) reported a 40 percent decreased desire to eat for hours afterward. Monounsaturated fats from sources like olive oil, nuts and avocados can reduce cholesterol, promote weight loss, even boost memory." — David Zinczenko, author of the Zero Belly Cookbook
Here's why avocado is The One Food To Eat To Feel Full, According to a Dietitian.
"Drink more water. Doing so keeps you more energetic, hydrated, fuller, and can even boost your metabolism. Drink water before a meal to avoid overeating, and replace other beverages with water for immediate results, including weight loss." — Dustin Hassard, NCSF, Head Coach, Modern Athletics
"Sweet potatoes are a great post-workout snack. They're low on the glycemic index and rich in fiber which helps tame that out-of-control appetite many people have after they exercise." — Shaun T, celebrity fitness trainer and creator of Insanity, Max:30 and Hip Hop Abs
How to Lose 10 Pounds by Exercising
Make a workout schedule ahead of time—and stick to it!
"Write down your workout and fitness class schedule before the week starts, and treat each workout like an important appointment. This will help you stick to a more consistent workout schedule, which can aid weight loss efforts." — Jim White RD, ACSM HFS, Owner of Jim White Fitness and Nutrition Studios
Do what you already know.
"People should pick activities they enjoy and that fit into their lifestyle in order to increase their chances of sticking with it to lose the last 10 pounds. For those who have hit a weight-loss plateau and can't seem to lose that weight, you'll need to mix things up in order to see results. Tabata-style training, HIIT classes and resistance training can all be effective weight-loss modalities for the right person." — Timothy Lyman, ACE certified personal trainer and Director of Training Programs at Fleet Feet Pittsburgh
Here are 20 Ways To Get Over A Workout Slump.
Maintain a consistent workout schedule.
"In order to increase your resting metabolic rate, it is the consistency of exercise that is crucial and not the intensity or duration. Focus on consistent, quality movement (walk, bike, climb, paddle board, etc.) every day, rather than embracing the weekend warrior mentality." — Timothy Lyman, ACE certified personal trainer and Director of Training Programs at Fleet Feet Pittsburgh
"If weight loss is the goal, I recommend learning how to properly deadlift. Deadlifting recruits more muscle fiber at once than any other exercise. More muscle working equates to more blood flow, an increased heart rate, more metabolic demand and output. It's compound, multi-joint and more bang for your buck, not to mention you'll develop an excellent posterior from them." — Victoria Viola, PN Certified Nutrition Coach, NSCA CPT, Co-Founder, Excelerate Wellness, LLC
Work in burpees.
"Burpees are such a great way to activate multiple muscles, get the heart rate up and burn mega calories. In one single burpee, you work your legs, arms and abs and you also elevate the heart rate to increase cardiopulmonary strength. If you're looking to lose weight, incorporating them into your workout routine is a must."—Kit Rich, celebrity trainer and co-owner of SHIFT by Dana Perri
Here are the 3 Healthiest Workout Habits for a Flat Belly.
Try high-intensity sprints.
"High-intensity sprints are my #1 go-to exercise to burn fat. It keeps the heart rate elevated and puts your body into what's called an oxygen debt. This allows you to burn fat hours after your workout ends." — Alex Petecca NCSF, New York City-based personal trainer
"Even though a smart diet is key, exercise can help boost your body's metabolism to shed fat. Through health care providers often recommend brisk walking or jogging, these exercises may not help you see the results you want. Instead, try interval training," shares Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC/L, CSCS Owner and PT, Naples Personal Training, LLC
Here's how to use interval training to lose 10 pounds fast:
While performing your usual walking or jogging routine, intersperse faster paces periodically throughout your workout. In other words, you may be walking at your normal pace for 2 minutes and then begin a slow jog or fast walk for 1 minute.
After the faster speed, return to your slower speed and continue this alternation for 20 minutes. Research shows this type of exercise can stimulate metabolism, melt fat and push your fitness status to the next level."
Use a VersaClimber.
"Use a VersaClimber or take a VersaClimber class. These machines are still not that common, but in my opinion they are far more effective for weight loss than other forms of cardio. They require you to use a large portion of your muscles and it's functionally better for you than other forms of cardio like spinning. Everyone is talking about Rise Nation in LA at the moment as they are the first dedicated VersaClimbing studio. There's no harder cardio workout I have tried. To lose fat you have to put in the work. — Dan Roberts, celebrity trainer and creator of Methodology X
"Lifting heavy weights is the best way to increase your metabolism, sustain long-term muscle growth and stay lean. If you're doing more than ten reps with ease, your weight probably isn't heavy enough, so vary your reps and consistently increase the amount you're lifting" — Dustin Hassard, NCSF, Head Coach, Modern Athletics
Stop cheating reps.
"When clients skimp on their reps or don't complete their full workout routine, they're only hurting their own end results. It doesn't matter how long it takes or if you need to rest in between exercises, what matters is completing the full workout" — Lori-Ann Marchese, fitness celebrity and owner of Body Construct LLC
10 Lifestyle Habits for Losing 10 Pounds
Clean your house.
"Whether you have ten pounds to lose or 100, the first thing you should do is create an environment for success." That requires removing all temptation from your kitchen and reorganizing your pantry for weight loss. "Collect all of the processed, sugary and fatty foods from your house, and bring them to a local food bank for donation. Then restock your kitchen with healthy groceries—real, natural, whole foods—like fresh fruits and vegetables, almonds and lean proteins like turkey, chicken, fish and eggs." — Chris Powell, the trainer who has helped hundreds of overweight people lose up to half their body weight on ABC's reality series Extreme Weight Loss
Hide your vices.
"Keep foods like fruits visible on the counter and put all else away. The foods that are visible will be eaten and those that are not will be forgotten about (or less likely to be eaten). Out of sight, out of mind." — Christopher Mohr, PhD, RD
Get 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
"I tell all of my celebrity and professional-athlete clients to get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep per night. Everyone is overly focused on food, water and exercise, all of which are extremely imperative to weight loss and optimal health. However, without proper sleep, all of these the other factors are null and void. When you don't get enough sleep, levels of the hormone leptin drop, which increases appetite. This surge in appetite makes comfort food more appealing, which can derail weight loss efforts." — Jay Cardiello, celebrity fitness and nutrition expert
Make your time between the sheets work double duty with the help of these surprising ways to lose weight in your sleep.
"When you're anxious, your body feels like it's under a tremendous amount of stress all the time. This is why anxiety is a powerful trigger for weight gain. Two of the most proven cures for anxiety are exercise and spending time in nature. Combine both with an outdoor run or bike ride and race away from the anxiousness. Making this habit part of your lifestyle can help you stay lean for life." — David Zinczenko, author of the Zero Belly Cookbook
"If a client has come to me looking to lose 10 pounds, I would tell them to simply move. Move more, and more often. Walk or bike ride to class or work, even park further away from your location in the parking lot. Take the stairs or take a walk during lunch. You don't have to spend hours every day in the gym sweating, but you do have to make a conscious effort to move more, and sit less. This works great because it doesn't feel like work and you're burning more and more calories throughout the day." — Ajia Cherry, personal trainer and Founder at Functional Innovative Training
Don't miss a day.
"Every day, break a sweat, even if just for a few minutes—a bit of exercise is better than getting none at all. Regular physical activity and exercise is one of the best long-term solutions to weight maintenance." — Dan Roberts, celebrity trainer and creator of Methodology X
Meal prep your food.
"It's far more difficult to eat a healthier diet and fit in exercise if you don't plan ahead. Plan out your meals for the week ahead and go grocery shopping over the weekend to ensure you have the ingredients you need on hand. If you can, do some meal prep in your downtime—cut fresh veggies, marinate your protein, cook up a batch of whole grains in advance. When you're prepared you're far less likely to order takeout. — Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, culinary-nutrition consultant and founder of Nutritioulicious
Here are the 30 Healthiest Foods to Meal Prep.
Weigh yourself regularly.
"Stepping on the scale frequently makes you aware of small changes and helps you quickly react to those changes. The National Weight Control Registry, a large group of people who have successfully lost at least 30 pounds and kept it off for 5 years, found that successful 'losers' weigh themselves often and make adjustments accordingly. When you begin to understand that sodium, carb intake, hormones and alcohol intake can impact weight and that it isn't possible to gain 2 pounds of fat overnight, you will begin to better understand your body. The key is to pay attention to overall trends; don't obsess over day-to-day numbers! — Jennifer McDaniel, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD, food and nutrition expert
Reassess your body's needs regularly.
"Keep track; whether that's every day, week or two to make sure you're on track and if not go back over your plan of action and tweak it; nothing's set in stone and it has to work for you not someone else! If it's not working, reassess other alternatives that do. There are many routes to the same destination. This doesn't mean giving up on your goals, it means finding new ways to achieve them that works for you." — Eve Dawes, Certified Personal Trainer, NASM, founder of Fitness By Eve.
Get into a routine.
"While losing weight for effective long-term benefits takes time, there are a few quick ways to help shed 10 lbs in a month or so. It requires getting into a routine you know you'll stick with, making small nutritional changes so that you can stick with a plan, and having a bit of patience before you notice changes. It takes 4 weeks for you to see changes in your own body, and sometimes up to 8 weeks for others to notice!" — Nicole Houvig, AFPA Certified Personal Trainer with the Rockay expert team
Here are 30 Healthy Habits Fit People Live By.