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Weight Loss Help: What’s the Best Healthy Weight Loss Per Week?

By Rob Poulos...

The allure is undeniable: Fad diets that promise to help you lose 10 pounds in a week, exercise need not apply.  While the premise lures in millions of desperate dieters each year, the outcome is always the same–they lose weight but rebound, weighing more than they did before they lost weight.

For most, losing weight is a tricky endeavor–and unfortunately, they aren’t any shortcuts to losing weight.

How to Lose Weight the Healthy Way

Regardless of what some fad diet told you, the evidence is clear: People who lose weight in a steady, controlled manner keep the weight off for life.  But what’s the right healthy weight loss per week?  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), your best bet is 1 to 2 pounds per week.  For calorie counters, this means reducing your overall caloric intake by 500 to 1000 calories per day, though most nutritionists recommend sticking with 500 calories at first to ease into dieting.

For instance, if you currently eat 2500 calories, eating 2000 calories a day for a week should help you lose one pound.  It may not seem like much, but over a period of 3 months, you can expect to lose 12 pounds.  If you want to double your weight loss, increasing your caloric deficit to 1000 calories can help you lose even more, though you may struggle to keep up this deficit–even at the high end of being healthy, it’s still a large caloric deficit that’s hard to maintain.

However, all diets have exceptions, even the healthy ones.  For most people who start dieting, they can expect to lose more than one pound per week even while eating a moderate deficit.  Why?  Because your body weight isn’t the only thing that disappears when you first diet–so does incremental amounts of water weight.  Some people lose an additional two pounds during their first week of dieting; for others, they could lose up to 20 pounds, depending on how much they weigh (people who are heavier usually lose more water weight).

Why Shouldn’t You Diet on Low Calories?

A steady, small deficit is the key to long-lasting weight loss, but what if you wanted to lose more?  Though it may seem tempting, here are some reasons why losing weight fast won’t help you in the long run:

 It could ruin your metabolism.  Crash dieting has been shown to decrease muscle mass, which plays a role in your metabolism.  People with lower muscle mass have slower metabolisms than those who have higher muscle mass, so it’s a metabolism killer.

 It’s hard to maintain.  Eating too few calories can significantly increase your desire to binge–often because your body is being denied the nutrients and calories it needs to optimally function.  So how low is too low?  If you’re eating below your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, chances are you’ve gone too far.

 It’s bad for your health.  While losing weight fast can be a self esteem booster, eating a low calorie diet probably means you aren’t getting enough nutrients, which you need to sustain a healthy body.  Remember, weight loss just isn’t about looking good–it’s about being healthy too!

So avoid the temptation to crash diet–moderate calorie deficits are the best and safest choice for making weight loss last for life.

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