Monday, April 6, 2009

How Much Weight Can I Safely Lose In a Month?

This is, by far, the most common question I get asked. The pat answer is difficult to give because it depends on so many variables.

-Males can lose weight more quickly than females because they usually have a higher muscle mass, and therefore a higher metabolism.

-If you exercise you can lose weight more quickly than if you do not participate in any physical activity.

-It depends on what your diet looks like now, and how much you expect to be able to change it.

So the general answer is, "one to two pounds a week" taking into account all these variables. Here's how it works: It takes about 3500 calories to equal one pound of fat. This means for every 3500 calories you eat above what you are burning off, you will gain one pound. Likewise, if you eat 3500 fewer calories than you burn, you will lose one pound.

It's pretty difficult to eat 3500 fewer calories in just a couple of days because most of us eat just about 2000-2500 calories a day. However, if you are very overweight and eat thousands of calories a day, you might be able to cut out 3500 calories in a shorter time, and lose a pound every few days.

The way dietitians calculate an expected weight loss for a client is simple: we encourage you to try cutting out 500 calories each day to lose a pound at the end of the week. It's usually easy to find 500 extra calories of "junk" food, like soda, candy, pie, cake, cookies, donuts, ice cream, or candy bars. Each serving is likely to have close to 500 calories, so you don't even have to cut these foods entirely out of your diet and you can still lose weight easily. Extra added fats, like butter, margarine, gravy, salad dressing, sour cream, and those found in whole milk, cream, and fried foods also add hundreds of calories: just cut back a bit and see how quickly the scale shows a change.

It's also pretty hard to lose weight quickly by exercising: You have to burn 3500 calories, which equates to about five or six hours of exercise. The good news is, you can start exercising for 45 minutes a day and lose nearly another pound each week. Incorporating exercise into your daily routine will ensure that the weight loss continues.

Yes, two pounds a week sounds very slow. But if you make these changes part of your lifestyle instead of a goal for just this month, think of where you can be in a year. Two pounds a week is 104 pounds a year! Most people don't have that much to lose. But if you do, you can see how easily it can be done--no crash dieting, no giving up everything you like! Just cut out a few items each day that aren't contributing nutrition but are piling on the pounds from calories of fat and sugar.

The best perspective when trying to lose weight is to figure out how you can change your eating and activity habits to get the weight off and keep it off. If you lose 30 pounds for the summer by trying the latest fad diet, where will you be six months later? Probably asking, "how much weight can I safely lose by New Year's Eve?" Don't go there! Make a few simple changes; focus on becoming a healthy, active person; and get to your healthy weight for good!

1 comment:

  1. Losing weight is not an easy task at all. Good article with good observatrion.Nice Work. keep it up & Keep on Posting.