There are a lot of people who want to lose weight.
Unfortunately, when people want to lose weight, they opt for drastic measures such as restrictive dieting, too much exercise, and unnecessary supplements.
However, effective and long term weight loss cannot be achieved by any fad diet. Sure, you might be able to step on a scale and see immediate results, but we guarantee that within several months, you’ll be back at the starting point.
Before we talk about how you can actually lose weight and keep it off, let’s start off with how much weight you can realistically lose in one month.
Although some may get frustrated after dieting for a few days only to see little or no change in the scale, keep in mind that it could take weeks before changes to the body or on the scale occur. Weight loss is also dependent on factors such as your genetic makeup, your eating habits, your current body composition, your activity level, and more!
Each of these variables is going to play a role in weight loss and not all of them are going to weigh equally for everyone. This is also why it may be easier for certain people to lose weight.
For example, if someone is 100 pounds overweight, he might see as much as a 20 pound decrease in the first month. This is simply because the more weight you have to lose, the more you will initially lose.
That being said, the American Council on Exercise reports that most people can safely lose up to 1% of body fat per month. However, losing fat is not the same as losing weight: you would likely need to lose more than 1% body weight to lose 1% body fat, as water weight and lean muscle are also lost.
As for pounds, the CDC recommends losing weight at a steady and consistent rate of 1-2 pounds per week, which works out to 4-8 pounds per month. In any case, if you’re looking to permanently lose weight, you should be more concerned with sustainability than speed.
Now, there are a LOT of ways to lose weight. There is no shortage of nutrition plans, fad diets, exercise regimens… the market is saturated with them. Of course, there are good and bad ways to lose weight.
The National Weight Control Registry is a self-reported database of people who have lost at least 30 pounds and have kept it off for a year or more. They released a list of common habits that their participants used to lose weight and keep it off!
Not surprisingly, the research shows that almost all participants altered their food intake and increased their exercise, on average, about one hour per day. Nearly all of the registry members also ate breakfast every day and weighed themselves once a week. Eating breakfast can be very beneficial for weight loss as it keeps your appetite satisfied during the morning, meaning that you’re less likely to overeat later in the day. Weighing yourself once a week can give you a general sense of how you are progressing and is infrequent enough so you don’t feel discouraged every day.
Furthermore, while some of the participants lost weight on their own, a small majority got help from some type of program. It was also noted that these participants watch less TV than the average American, with the majority watching less than 10 hours of TV per week.
Notice how these habits are NOT drastic and can be maintained for your entire life. No matter what you decide to do to lose weight, it’s important that it works for you. Weight loss is about being patient and taking small but consistent steps toward your goals.