One of the better ones questions I have received about weight loss is “what is a realistic weight loss goal?”
More specifically, “how many pounds can you lose in a week?”
If you believe what’s out there, losing one to two pounds per week is realistic and sustainable for weight loss but is there actually any proof to back this up?
The truth is: I've seen no factual data to back that up.
It's one of those things that get repeated enough that it turns into fact.
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Avoid this Weight Loss Trap
When I talk to clients, we hear is some variation of “I think it's realistic to lose one to two pounds per week.”
I then ask them what are the specific changes they need to make to their nutrition, exercise and lifestyle in order to lose 1-2 pounds per week for a prolonged period of time, for example 6 months.
They usually give me a blank stare and then say “I don’t know.”
Many people believe this myth of losing one to two pounds a week.
They not only avoid questioning it but they are missing the next key question: can I sustain this or is this realistic?
The assumption is out there that if you eat a little healthier or move a bit more that you can lose weight and do it at a consistent pace.
Unfortunately, there is more to it than that.
Another thing we notice are people developing habits that are unsustainable given their lifestyle. For example, some have eliminated sugary foods and alcohol intake or exercise for endless hours in a week.
We also have another set of people who lose all the weight needed to reach their goal. But struggle to sustain the habits that helped them reach that goal. Inevitably, this leads to them regaining all the weight back.
Most people losing weight don’t stop and ask if they can keep these changes up to maintain their weight loss.
There is a clear miscommunication about what it takes to lose weight and to keeping losing 1-2 pounds every week.
When talking to people who’ve experienced reaching their goal only to gain all the weight back I’ve found they’re understandably beating themselves up.
Unfortunately, this usually leads to people being too hard on themselves and makes it incredibly challenging to start the whole weight loss process over again. They feel like they’re starting from square one.
How Many Pounds Can You Lose in a Week?
Remember that everybody is different, everyone's going to lose weight at a different pace, but regardless of those individual differences you want to look towards finding a sustainable way to lose the weight that works for you.
We've worked with many clients over the years who've lost an average of 2.5 pounds per week, over a six month period, and are able to sustain that for years.
On the flip side, we've had clients only lose 0.25 pounds per week, and they struggle to be able to sustain those results.
From our experience, losing one to two pounds per week is a lot harder than most people anticipate.
If you want the results to be realistic and sustainable, you have to ask yourself, “am I ready to make those changes, not just over the next few weeks, but make them for long periods of time, and actually make it part of who I am and how I live my life?”
If the answer is no, then it's not realistic for you to expect to lose one to two pounds per week and actually maintain those results.
You need to figure out what changes, you're ready to make, and then see what results those changes produce. That’s how you figure out how much weight you can lose in a week.
Yes, it might be at a slower pace than that one to two pounds per week, but it's what's going to work for you because it's realistic and sustainable for your lifestyle.
How many pounds can you lose in a week? That will ultimately depend on what you’re ready to do consistently with your nutrition, exercise, lifestyle.
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