How to Lose Weight Fast (the Healthy Way)

A woman stepping onto a scale.

Summer is filled with weddings, graduations, vacations, and lots of other reasons to feel fierce in a swimsuit. But if you’ve got an event coming up, and kind of wish you had already lost 5 pounds, it’s never too late. “Everyone wants to lose weight fast,” sighs Tracy Morris, nutrition curriculum designer at Fitbit. “Of course, I want to help you see quick results! But if weight loss is too drastic, your body will fight back—and there’s no point starving yourself, if you’re just going to end up binging and feeling discouraged.” She definitely coaches a more moderate approach. “But that said, if you lose weight quickly at the outset, you are more likely to continue losing weight. It can be incredibly motivating, to see that initial drop.”

So don’t call it a crash diet. Let’s say it’s a strong start. Here’s a healthy eating plan that’s nutritionist approved, so you can slim down and feel awesome for that upcoming event—and then keep the momentum going.

Set a Goal to Lose 2 Pounds per Week

Clinically trained dietitians and accredited nutrition experts agree, you don’t want to lose more than 2 pounds in a week. “Any more aggressive than that, and you start compromising your metabolism,” Morris confirms. So take a look at the calendar, and set a realistic goal for the time you have. If you have 2 to 3 weeks before the big day, awesome! Aim to lose 5 pounds and feel better in your clothes. Just a week before the date? Don’t despair. You can still de-bloat a bit and drop a couple of pounds.

Cut Your Calories by 500 to 750 per Day

Next, crunch the numbers. Figure out how many calories you really need, and reduce that number by 500 to 750 calories per day, in order to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. The food logging feature in the Fitbit app makes it extra easy. Just don’t dip below the bare minimum your body needs—1200 calories per day for women, or 1500 for men.

Eat Fresh and Clean to Lose Weight Fast

But of course, where those calories come from makes a big difference. Morris recommends a natural detox—no pills, no shakes, just fresh, whole foods. Here’s how to do it the healthy way:

  • Cut alcohol. Alcohol is a toxin, and it undermines weight loss in several ways. Give your liver a break, save the calories, and sip on sparkling water.
  • Cut added sugar. Sugar isn’t just high in calories, it causes inflammation. Nearly half of added sugars come from drinks, so put down the soda, as well as the cookies and candy.
  • Cut salt. Sodium helps your body hang onto water, which is why it makes you bloat. Ditch processed foods, which contribute 75 percent of the sodium in an average diet.
  • Eat lots of colorful fruits and veggies. Morris recommends making a big veggie soup, loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and water—to fill you up.
  • Drink lots and lots of water! Aim for 2 to 3 liters per day. Once you stop eating those processed foods and salt, water will flush out your system naturally.  

Start Strong: Tracy Morris’s 7-Day Kick-Start Diet

Okay, so you knew you’d have to cut back on wine and brownies. But what can you eat? Morris has a meal plan for the first week that makes hitting those calorie counts super simple. Even though she hearts whole grains, for the first 2 days, she recommends dropping grains, and focusing on lots of fruits and veggies, with small servings of protein. By days 3 and 4, you can start reintroducing grains, but keep portions small, and time them early in the day.

Breakfast Lunch Dinner
Saturday Green smoothie Bowl of veggie soup 3–4 oz salmon +
veggies
Sunday Berry smoothie
(with ½ cup plain, low-fat yogurt)
Bowl of veggie soup 3–4 oz grilled chicken +
veggies
Monday Green smoothie
(with ½ cup plain, low-fat yogurt)
3 oz chicken +
½ cup quinoa +
chopped veggies
3–4 oz mahi-mahi +
veggies
Tuesday Overnight oats +
fruit
3 oz tuna +
½ cup quinoa +
chopped veggies
3–4 oz grilled chicken +
veggies
Wednesday Overnight oats +
fruit
3 oz turkey +
½ avocado + whole-wheat wrap
3–4 oz stir-fried shrimp +
veggies
Thursday Whole-wheat toast +
2 eggs
3 oz smoked salmon +
½ avocado +

whole-wheat wrap
3–4 oz lean steak +
veggies
Friday Breakfast burrito
(whole-wheat wrap +
½ cup black beans +
1 egg)
3 oz turkey +
½ avocado +
2 slices whole-wheat bread
Treat dinner!
Fill a plate with
whatever you want.

Morning & afternoon snacks: 2 pieces of fruit, veggies, and a small handful of nuts.

Morris recommends starting on a Saturday, just in case your energy is a little low, so you don’t have to struggle through the office. But wait, what about working out? Don’t sweat it, first steps first. During the first week, get 30 to 60 minutes of walking in every day. By the second week, once you’re enjoying small portions of whole grains, that’s when you can pick up a couple of strength workouts.

Finish Stronger: Keep Up the Momentum

“People love the 7-day plan,” says Morris. “They’re super excited at the beginning, and they love that big drop that comes with cutting out carbs, alcohol, and sugar. But I care even more about what you’re eating the day after the event, not to mention the following weeks and months.” So right away, reset your weight goal. And check in with your mindset and motivation. Because looking great at a pool party is great, but it’s not the end goal! Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is really about your long-term health and happiness.

98 Comments   Join the Conversation

98 CommentsLeave a comment

  • It’s a little bit of a rabbit hole to get to a point where you can actually find a way to calculate how many calories are required daily in order to know how much to cut.

      • Salad. Anything that is healthy! Eat your greens! Get V8 juices! But yeah salad and greens are the first thing I would think of if I was a vtarian

      • Same comment all these diet plans seem to be for flesh eaters….plenty of vegetarians need help with weight loss. I don’t see any diet plans here that don’t contain meat or fish

  • When it comes to weight loss and 7 day plan’s, most plan’s can be difficult to follow for a vegetarian. The example plan above has a mixture of different meats for all the meals, but what can a vegetarian do to achieve the same balance of meals and manage weight loss?

  • I lost 12 kilos (26,46 pounds) in 3 months! How? Cutting out ALL animal products and animal by-products. It’s quite easy. 😉

    • @petermichaelschmidt Can you please give me an example of what you ate? I’d be game for cutting animal products and by-products but would love a gander at your meal plan

    • I’m vegan and here is smoothie I like 1st thing: In vitamix, add in the following order> 1/4th (or so) cup coconut water, banana, handful of kale, handful of frozen strawberries, and handful of either frozen mango or blueberries. blend until a good smoothie consistency. Adjust ingredients to your taste. You can add tablespoon of ground flax seed too for your B12 fix. And note, this mixture will be a light brown, but you won’t taste the kale or seed. So good!

  • I have a real hard time loosing weight….underactive thyroid!!!!! I do everything right and exercise 4-5 times a week……and still don’t loose. I have recently cut out carbs (bread, potatoes, etc) and just get carbs from veggies and fruit…and still its at a standstill. I have gone to 1200-1500 and actually gain weight….gone to the lower end, loose a few lbs but the its at a standstill…can you or anyone advise me what to do, banging my head against the wall…..thanks for any help

    • Hi! As someone who has the same condition, please listen to me when I say to you that the dose of your medication is not at the right level for your body if you are eating well and still not managing to lose weight. In my case, it wasn’t the meds that were the problem but a blood test revealed that my body could not convert the T4 into T3. Now I take a combination. Other people I know who also have the condition found that once the T4 meds were adjusted to how they FELT not just relying on the blood test which really is not a good indicator for everyone, then… were they able to lose weight. Slowly, but it happened. I understand your frustration completely. Please go and talk with your doctor and dont take no for an answer! Many are clueless about how to really treat this condition! Good luck!

    • I am in my mid 60s with thyroid problems too and I have been losing weight with having a green smoothie and breakfast and a large salad with a small amount of protein for lunch and soup for dinner no snacking. And I am sure that it’s under 1000 cal probably closer to 800 or less,but that’s the only way I can lose weight….I am also under 5 foot.

  • I have a real hard time loosing weight….underactive thyroid!!!!! I do everything right and exercise 4-5 times a week……and still don’t loose. I have recently cut out carbs (bread, potatoes, etc) and just get carbs from veggies and fruit…and still its at a standstill. I have gone to 1200-1500 and actually gain weight….gone to the lower end, loose a few lbs but the its at a standstill…can you or anyone advise me what to do, banging my head against the wall…..thanks for any help..btw why do I have to put a website in what is it for…….

  • Firstly, I’ve been on a -1000kcal deficit for 4 months and not seen any weightloss, dispite eating around the 1900 mark ( for a man ), doesn’t help the change in calculation between the tile and the application telling me two different numbers.

    Secondly: “Morris recommends a natural detox—no pills, no shakes, just fresh, whole foods. Here’s how to do it the healthy way”

    “Tracy Morris’s 7-Day Kick-Start Diet:
    Saturday morning, Green smoothie
    Sunday morning, Berry smoothie
    Monday morning, Green smoothie”

    Eh, isn’t that a ‘shake’ ?

    By the British NHS they recommend you don’t drink smoothies because of the amount of natural sugar you can intake and the blending of the fruits / veggies can increase the damage done to teeth compared to having the fruit naturally. Our health service recommends you don’t have any more than 150ml of smoothie or juice a day because they don’t count towards the “5 a day” after the first one and don’t contain enough fibre to be worth drinking.

    NHS Website:
    http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/water-drinks.aspx

  • Hello , what is the green smoothie, berry smootie and overnight oat recipie as suggested in the menu above ? –
    thanks

  • Reducing salty food and processed food containing nitrates is good. But as one exercises you need to maintain a healthy intake of sodium and balance of electrolytes as I found out to my cost and ended up having cramps and palpitations. So now I track my food and drink intake and as I exercise more intensely I have to take hydration supplements. My doctor told me that dietary advice should always come it’s reassessing diet and activity levels s fitness improves and weight loss occurs. Using a one off set of instructions without biweekly reviewing is utter madness.

  • I have been logging my food on Lose It for a couple years now and they recommend 1160 calories per day for me. That seems to maintain my current weight and if I go over on a meal out to dinner or a restaurant my weight can jump 2 lbs. your recommendation is 1200 calories for women. I don’t think could work for me. Comments please.

  • What about an Anti-Inflammatory weight loss 7DayDiet? Fitbit may need to focus on a few different options – not foods loaded with gluten, high potassium, phosphorous and sodium.

    • Lynn, I would love to talk with you about weightloss and inflammation! Inflammation affects every aspect of our lives and is the beginning of most diseases.

    • Cut the fufu keep the soup. add more bitterleaves and stockfish reduce oxtails. Replace palm oil with tomato paste. And maybe replace some of the foods with alternatives. A lot of the food is based on a way more active day of farming then we are doing in the West or even in some parts of Nigeria and we need to change our eating habits to reflect that

  • It is so difficult to calculate what you’re eating when you are a vegetarian. I never eat sugar or junk foods. We use only whole grains and eat a lot of healthy vegetables and legumes. There are zero processed foods in our diet as I cook everyday. I drink at least 8+ cups of water per day, work out, walk and still I can’t lose weight. so depressing.
    What the heck is wrong? Can it be age?

  • I love some of the suggestions that you have made in this newsletter. Encouraging people to eat lean meats. You also talked about having vegetables and fruits which are both good for you if you are eating the right kind. I would have to disagree with the amount of carbs and low-fat suggestions that you have made though. The truly get healthy and stay healthy people need to find the root cause of why they are gaining weight because most likely it is more than just what they’re eating. They need to look at toxins in their environment the alignment of their spine as well as the amount of healthy fats that they are eating. Healthy nuts full-fat yogurt full fat Bulletproof Coffee as well as fat bombs cannot only reduce to a healthy weight but can help your body heal itself from the inside out. Long term healthy weight has to start with good nutrition good probiotics prebiotics healing your gut as well as detoxifying your kidneys liver and immune system. My wife and I have been going to a holistic chiropractor and he has changed our life. My wife was diagnosed with diabetes and had blood sugar’s over 300 with an A1c of 12 in April of this year. After starting this full body cleansing program consisting of low carbs or no carbs high fat lots of water very little sugar exercise appropriate supplements to detoxify her body and a solid support team she has now dropped her blood sugar below 100 most days and her A1c has gone down under 7. She is living proof that when you cut out the carbs the sugar and the toxins from your body not only will you lose weight but you will feel better you will look better and your body will be healed from the inside out.

  • It would be nice if the suggested week’s menu included recipes. Smoothies can have various ingredients. Enjoyed the article. Good, practical help!

  • Your article says to never eat less than 1,200 a day. Using my Fitbit, it says that most days, I only burn 1,400 a day unless I walk 10,000 steps and get on the elliptical for at least 30 minutes. How in the world am I supposed to lose weight?

  • Thank you for the article but it would be helpful to offer a vegetarian–or even a vegan–version of the kick-start diet.

  • On Thursday, July 13, I reached a lifetime milestone of 10,000,000 steps in just less than 2 1/2 years time since I started wearing the tracker on March 10, 2015. Has anyone else done better than that?

  • Ooof. Lots of good advice but a number of problems too that hopefully don’t distract people or set them on a frustrating path.

    For one, setting a goal expressed in pounds lost (at all, much less per week) focuses on something you can’t always control. Body recomposition can mean you can stay the same weight while dropping body fat and be much healthier. The focus should instead be on reaching exercise and dietary goals and trusting that in time you’ll get the results wanted.

    Two, reducing by 500-750 per day is pretty arbitrary and won’t necessarily get you a 1-2 pound weight loss if you were gaining weight on your previous diet – it can mean you just stop gaining.

    Three, the suggestion to reduce salt intake for weight loss gains is misleading. Yes, you retain less water… but so what? It’s not fat loss or a lasting change in body composition of any meaningful kind.

    Four, it is in vogue in certain (largely yoga) circles to label alcohol a “toxin” but that’s not scientifically what it is at all – it’s actually a form of sugar. There are numerous studies that have shown moderate amounts of wine to even provide certain health benefits. Nobody would argue it’s nutritious for the calories it costs your diet and excessive drinking is bad news for your health, but there’s no need to lose people from getting healthier by suggesting drinking shouldn’t be part of their lives to do so.

    Just a suggestion for Fitbit’s bloggers: you don’t have to lose readbility if you use footnotes to cite studies for claims; instead it can be a great way to add credibility AND self-correct common weight loss myths and bad advice rather than perpetuating them.

    • You’re making really valid points. Hopefully, someone sees your comment and takes it into consideration.

  • I am a vegetarian and have a difficult time adding protein to my diet because almost everything has carbohydrates in it. Any suggestions?

    • If you’re a vegetarian then you should be focusing on reducing processed foods as well as high fat/sodium dairy products, especially cheese. It is essentially unheard of to get insufficient protein if you are eating enough calories, but if you are concerned then you should include more legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) in your diet as they are high in protein as well being very strongly associated with both weight loss and good health in general.

      Also, realize that carbs have 4 calories per gram, the same as protein, while fat has 9 calories per gram. Add onto that the fiber and water in whole plant foods which are often absent in processed and animal foods, and you can see why veggies, legumes, whole grains, and fruit are all helpful for weight loss. As a vegetarian you already have a head start, so you simply need to eat more whole plant foods (limiting healthy fats like nuts, seeds & avocados) and less processed/animal foods which are more calorie dense.

    • I used to think eating fish meant eating salmon or some other expensive fish that needed to be cooked. I would add in some tuna for lunches and that would help. One night I was watching Alton Brown discuss his diet success and he mentioned eating sardines or other canned versions of fish. You may try these options to see if they help.

  • The problem with this article is that there are no links to recipes. What is in a green smoothie or healthy veggie soup. Plus no one from the support team responds to any comments.

  • First of all, for many people, this is not enough protein.

    Second, this isn’t sustainable.

    I lost 50 pounds and have maintained my weight loss for 8 years — but not this way. I lost much much more slowly, 2 pounds a month over a two-year period.

    Guidelines: (1) Cut portion size. (2) Nothing is forbidden. we are social creatures and eating is a big part of our social lives. Fortunately, I didn’t have a soda or chips habit to break! (3) Double the fruits and veggies, halve the carbs. (4) Choose treats wisely: a glass of wine, a slice of that sourdough, 5 fries, half a small dessert? Pick one. This way, one changes one’s habits, changes one’s portion sizes, and finds new balance. (5) Don’t get too hungry — you then overeat and make bad choices. (6) Eat slowly, only until you are not hungry — not until you are “full!” (7) Learn to recognize the difference between hunger and “the munchies” — this is still difficult for me! (8) Weigh yourself frequently. When your weight creeps up even a few pounds (Vacations! Wedding weekends! Visitors and too many restaurant meals!) — act immediately. (9) If you have time, cook. For instance, I make my own salad dressing — simple and half the fat. I cook simply, always a veggie and a salad at dinner. Few processed foods. I eat a large variety of foods, but again, more fruits and vegetables. A legume/veggie soup is filling, has some protein, works for vegetarians. I am not a physician. YMMV…

  • Here’s my problem, meat is totally gross for me. I still get my protein through dairy products and nuts but put a piece of meat in front of me and I’m liable to throw up. Smell is bad enough but my husband is a meat eater.

  • I bike 50 – 80 miles a week and don’t eat fish or eggs. What do I do for breakfast & what about ride food?

  • Para calcular las calorias necesarias diarias tanto en hombre como mujer hace falta mas información, y basandose en su gasto calórico díario además de peso y dimensiones de la persona, sin contar que es un trabajo de especialistas y bajo analítica. Hay que comprobar niveles minimo básicos de analisis y compensarlos. No se tomen las dietas por su cuenta es mi consejo incluso las verduras dependiendo de la patología de la persona pueden provocar una trombo y atasco en la circulación esto no es una broma. Cualquier alimento sano dependiendo de la persona y su metabolismo tambien puede perjudicar y mucho. No se puede seguir una alimentación de reducción solo en funcion de calorias es mucho más que esto. Todas las personas somos diferentes al igual que no nos convienen o sientan igual los alimentos. LO que a unos les hace perder peso a otros les retienen. Cuidado con la falta de vitaminas y minerales en el proceso de tomarse por mano libre alguna dieta. Cada hora del día necesita un aporte específico en el cuerpo y esto se lo puede hacer solo un profesional. Para esto hay que centrarse en invertir algo dinero en la salud y ahorrarselo en otras cosas que no son esenciales. Los consejos se quedan en consejos nada más.
    Aquí seguro que encontrarán los especialistas en nútrición que le hagan un plan personalizado 100% para ustedes. Un saludo a todos.

  • Nancy Servais. Hola a todos. Nancy otra opcion de proteina es la carne pero de pollo como pechuga y pavo, es lo más usado en estos casos, aparte de buscar otras proteinas vegetales. Necesitas bastante carga de hidrato antes de carrera te dará la energía que necesitas.

  • DO NOT take diets because your hand is more dangerous than you think. Going to a specialist may have drops of sugar, iron, vitamins and minerals. Nutrition diets must be administered by specialists each person is different and can not give generic levels to anyone, it is important pathologies, body weight, daily activity and much more. This if, it carries a monetary expense but if we remove it from less necessary things we will be investing in health that is the best investment of quality of life. Here you will only have advice which does not assure anything, ask them for a nutritionist or personal plan and sure help you. I encourage you to do so and to become aware of this. It is the only way to not lose neither time nor money.

  • Some excellent points here! Realistic goals are extremely important. What should be kept in mind is that what works for some might not work in the same way for others. Each body is different in how it converts calories, and one should not be discouraged if they don’t hit the magic number at first. Changing your mindset and food approach is an excellent start and to stay motivated is crucial on a weight loss journey.

  • I am 73 year old female, border line diabetic, overweight, have all the aches and pain and old person has. Oh forgot all my joints hurt also. My children do not want me to leave this earth right now; so I have a Fitbit for Christmas for them to see how I’m doing. I agree with them. It’s too soon to leave. Will do your diet, I’ve done and been on every diet plan ever published, so hear goes. Wish me luck …where can I get recipes for the smoothies and if there’s an alternative to doing the smoothies….love milkshake s though……oh one more thing, go to doc in morning for a battery of blood work. 1/22/18

  • I take a replacement thyroid hormone…mine does not function… I’m having a hard time just really starting to lose.. my body just wont let go of weight..some days I get in 10 miles and still

  • I know you’re supposed to cut down calories, but I hate calorie counting. In the past what worked for me was just sticking to a healthy diet, avoiding baked snacks, cookies, and all that.

  • Wow Becky, this diet seems to be very effective. I really want to try your plan and I’ll keep you update about my journey!

    Since a few days, I’m trying the 2 week diet plan and I already lost 5 pounds in this first week! What do you think about this different plan?
    You can find it here http://bit.ly/discoverthetwoweekdiet

    Thanks, Amanda

  • Excellent program! Very easy to understand! I have had great results following the basic rules outlined, cutting out the sugar like it said made a world of a difference. I will be applying this in combination with bit.ly/2IOTffB to look good by summer!

  • Weight loss seem to think easy but when it comes to implementation it is most difficult to do. Exercise and diet together leads to fastest weight loss.
    i agree to BECKY DUFFETT, if you want to reduce weight you would have to limit yourself on diet… Cut sugar , cut added sugar and drink water as much you can. As these are essential step to do burn fats….
    I would contribute three more things which necessary for weight loss….Motivation , commitment and hard working.
    Eat those foods that increase your metabolism…I know it is hard to limit yourself from diet instantly…. start lowering down quantity and than go for totally cut off.

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