How To Lose 2 Pounds A Day: Your Helpful Weight Loss Guide

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reviewed by Katelyn Tocci

A popular weight loss question is: “Can I lose 2 pounds in a day, or how can I lose 2 pounds a day?” 

Searches for tips for how to lose 2 pounds a day are increasingly popular, given the prevalence of obesity in the United States and other Western countries.

But can you lose 2 lbs in a day, and is it safe to do so? What should you eat to lose 2 pounds in a day? Is it better to diet or exercise to lose 2 lbs a day?

In this guide to how to lose 2 pounds a day, we will discuss whether you can lose 2 lbs in a day, how long it takes to lose 2 pounds of fat, how many pounds you can lose a day in a healthy manner, and tips for how to lose 2 pounds a day or as fast as safely possible.

We will cover: 

  • Can You Lose 2 Pounds A Day?
  • How Much Weight Can I Lose a Day?
  • Tips for How to Lose 2 Pounds a Day (Or How to Lose Weight As Fast As Possible)

Let’s dive in!

A person on a scale.

Can You Lose 2 Pounds A Day?

Before we dive into how to lose 2 lbs per day or tips for putting together the best 2 lbs a day weight loss plan, we need to answer the question: “Can you lose 2 pounds in a day?”

You might think that it is easy or straightforward to answer this question, but it’s a little more complicated than you might expect.

While it’s possible to lose 2 pounds in a day, and many people do lose 2 lbs in a day, losing 2 pounds per day every day is not safe, sustainable, or recommended when you are talking about losing 2 pounds of fat a day.

We have to contrast what it means to lose 2 pounds in a day.

People conflate “weight loss“ and “fat loss.“

Weight loss refers to total body weight, including body water, undigested food, body fat, lean body mass such as muscle, etc., whereas fat loss refers only to actual fat, known as adipose tissue.

A scale.

Losing 2 pounds of weight in a day is very easy to do, simply by dehydrating yourself, eating less food, using the bathroom more, cutting out salt or carbs for a day or two, etc. 

This is because in any of these circumstances, losing 2 pounds in a day was primarily the product of losing water weight.

Some people have daily weight fluctuations of upwards of 5 to 6 pounds, so if you step on the scale and see that you have lost 2 pounds in a day, it is absolutely normal and not indicative of true fat loss.

Perhaps you are dehydrated after a long workout, had a late dinner, had some meal that upset your stomach and led to diarrhea, so that you had a lot of bowel movements, etc. 

On the other hand, losing 2 pounds a day of fat is a different story.

Fat loss requires a caloric deficit equivalent to 3,500 calories for every pound of fat.

This means that to lose 2 pounds of fat a day, you would need to generate a caloric deficit of a whopping 7000 calories per day.

A person measuring their waist.

This is completely unreasonable and unsafe and multiples above the average daily caloric expenditure and needs of most healthy adults, according to the USDA.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, healthy fat loss should not exceed 1-2 pounds per week for most people, not 2 pounds a day.

Short-term, rapid weight loss can cause a range of health risks and is unsustainable.

Therefore, we want to present the strong disclaimer that we are not recommending trying to lose 2 pounds in a day of body fat.

However, you can strive to lose 2 pounds a week of fat while staying at the upper end of the recommended rate of fat loss. 

If you want to know how to lose 2 pounds a week, you need to burn 1,000 calories a day above what you are eating. 

This can be achieved by cutting the calories in your diet, being more physically active so that you burn more calories or a combination of both approaches to weight loss.

A person drinking a bottle of water.

How Much Weight Can I Lose a Day?

So, how much weight can you lose a day? How many pounds can you lose a day?

Taking the 1 to 2 pounds per week and dividing it over seven days, you can lose between 1/4 and 1/3 of a pound per day at most when considering healthy fat loss for most individuals. 

Note that those diagnosed with obesity (BMI, body mass index, over 30 kg/m2) can often safely lose fat at a faster rate.

Tips for How to Lose 2 Pounds a Day (Or How to Lose Weight As Fast As Possible)

Restating our disclaimer that losing 2 pounds per day of fat is not safe, you should reframe your weight loss goal to how to lose 2 pounds a week.

Here are some tips for losing weight fast:

A calorie counting app.
  • Track and record everything you are eating and drinking so that you can create a caloric deficit.
  • Get a good fitness watch or use an online calculator to figure out how many calories you are burning per day.
  • Find a diet plan that works for you. There is no “best weight loss diet.“ Consistency is what matters most. Even the best weight loss meal plan won’t result in weight loss if you don’t stick with it.
  • If you want to lose 2 pounds a day of water weight, switch to a low-carb diet. It will help you shed excess water, as the body stores 3 to 4 g of water with every gram of glycogen (stored carbohydrates).
  • Remove all processed food, sugar, alcohol, refined grains, fast food, high-sodium foods, fried foods, and foods with artificial sweeteners and chemicals from your diet, and eat only whole, natural foods.
  • Incorporate foods that boost your metabolic rate, such as spicy foods, green tea, caffeine in general, and lean proteins.
  • Implement stress-management techniques because stress increases cortisol, a hormone that can increase fat storage, water retention, food cravings, and fatigue.
  • Dabble with different types of cardio to find something you actually enjoy so that you’ll stick with your weight loss workout plan.
  • Studies show that eating off of smaller plates can trick your brain into thinking you are consuming more food than you are, so try smaller plates to help you reduce your portions more easily.
  • Try to eat as much fiber and protein as possible because these nutrients increase satiety on fewer calories.
A person doing a squat on the beach.
  • Befriend non-starchy vegetables and make these the majority of your plate, followed by some lean protein, a little bit of complex carbohydrates, and a tablespoon of healthy fats.
  • Plan your meals in advance. Studies suggest that meal planning is associated with lower risks of obesity, and if you have planned and prepped your meals, you are more likely to stick with your diet and not make impulse food purchases or binge eat foods that don’t align with your weight loss goals.
  • Be as physically active as possible, not just by exercising at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week, but also aiming to accrue at least 7000 steps per day.
  • Get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, which is the recommended amount for adults, to help control appetite, regulate hormones, and keep your energy levels high enough to make smart food choices and exercise.
  • Try joining a support group for weight loss or taking on a weight loss challenge for accountability and motivation.
  • Consider an intermittent fasting diet if you struggle with late night eating or constant grazing. 
  • Work with a personal trainer if you have the financial means, or find a good beginner strength training program to help you have accountability, direction, and purpose in your workouts for weight loss.
  • Drink enough water every day. According to the U.S. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes for Electrolytes and Water, the total daily fluid intake for adults is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women. According to research, drinking more water can help burn calories, control appetite, and regulate body systems, all of which can reduce inflammation and support losing weight fast.  pounds fast. 

If you need motivation to drink more water for weight loss, try our 14-day weight loss challenge by drinking more water here.

A person drinking a glass of water.
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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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