Question:

I am wondering what you recommend for a diet to lose 10 lbs. in 2 weeks when I work out every day on the elliptical for 1 hr. I know I should do calorie counting, but I was hoping to adjust my diet to eat foods that promote weight loss.

– Lou G.

Answer:

Calorie counting is a good start IF you know what your estimated energy needs are and how much you were eating before. Of course, you can just choose an arbitrary number or follow generic advice, often a flat 1,500 calories daily. However, that method isn’t an accurate guide as to how much you can lose. Losing 10 pounds in two weeks means you’re sure to decrease lean body mass as well, so I don’t recommend it. The most effective weight loss is fat loss, which doesn’t occur as rapidly as you intend. Keeping off those pounds means changing your lifestyle permanently. 

Foods that promote weight loss are rich in micronutrients, low in saturated fat and full of phytochemicals and fiber. Vegetables are perfect! You can work some sort of veggie into every meal and snack. Whole grains (e.g., barley, rye, wheat berries, quinoa) give you sufficient energy for your daily elliptical workout. Lean proteins (e.g., most fish, egg whites, poultry breast, extra lean meats) will support muscle retention as you curb caloric intake. Water is critical for efficient metabolism and to help dampen appetite. Fruits are a great substitute for desserts and work as ready-to-eat snacks pre/post workout. Even something higher calorie like nuts can work into your diet given you control portions – an ounce per serving. 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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