What’s a Healthy Amount of Weight to Lose In a Week

In the age of reality t.v. shows like “The Biggest Loser”, you may be confused about what’s a healthy amount of weight to lose in a week? There is a standard answer to that question but the truth is that it depends. In general, it’s safe to lose about one to two pounds of fat per week. However, that does not mean that it’s necessarily unhealthy to lose more than two pounds in a week. Below are some things that determine how much weight you should lose in a week:

Determinants of a Healthy Amount of Weekly Weight Loss:

  • Your current weight. More important than the number of pounds you lose each week is the percentage of weight you lose. That means that if your starting weight is 300 or 400 pounds, then it’s perfectly safe to lose three to four pounds in a week since that’s only one percent  of your total body weight. Still, it’s not uncommon for lighter, yet still overweight, people to lose upwards of five or six pounds in a week. Especially in the first weeks of diet and exercise changes.
  • Your weight loss methods. Fast weight loss isn’t necessarily unhealthy. What’s more important is the methods you use to lose weight. If you’re losing a lot of weight by reducing calories from fat and sugar while increasing your calories burned from exercise then that’s considered healthy. However, if you’re taking extreme measures such as skipping meals or outright starving, then it’s not healthy to lose lots of weight.

Why Weight Loss Methods Determine How Much Is Healthy

Fast weight loss isn’t bad when it’s fast fat loss. However, doing things like starving yourself or taking water pills creates a weight loss in the form of muscle and/or water. Losing excess water weight by cutting sodium is perfectly healthy but you shouldn’t mistake it for fat loss. That’s why it’s important to know your body fat percentage, not just your overall weight.

However, extreme weight loss methods cause your body to break down its own protein (your muscles) and use them as fuel. In effect, you eat yourself. This hurts your future weight loss since your muscle tissue is what contributes to a fast metabolism. Unfortunately, this is what happens with many people that have weight loss surgery. They lose fat and muscle which makes it easier for them to gain weight back in the form of fat.

The Moral of the Story

The take-home lesson here is that it’s more important to focus on healthy methods of weight loss than the speed of weight loss. It’s also best to measure your body fat percentage changes as you lose weight, not just your total weight loss. This will help to ensure you’re losing weight the healthy way so you’ll keep it off for good.

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