Because we're consistently bombarded with exercise and diet plans that promise extravagant weight loss results, it's hard to decipher what truly is a realistic and healthy rate of weight loss. There's no doubting that those looking to losing weight are interested in the most effective weight loss program; the workout and nutrition plan that will have them losing the most weight as quickly as possible.
However, while it may be tempting to strive for quick, significant weight loss, it's essential that body fat loss is thought of as a long-term objective that is obtained over time. Losing weight too quickly is dangerous as it places stress on your cardiovascular system and heart. Plus, weight loss that occurs quickly is more than likely to be short term because you're unable to keep up with the extreme eating or exercise plan.
Rapid weight loss is commonly due to fluid loss or malnutrition, both of which are only short-term changes. A person will immediately gain the weight back once they take in fluids or return to their normal eating habits. Skipping meals or extremely limiting your food intake can be extremely dangerous, as it can cause a lack of protein, which is essential for building and maintaining new tissue cells, it can cause you to become calcium and vitamin D deficient, thus increasing your risk of brittle bones and osteoporosis, and it can place abnormal stress on your cardiovascular system.
Slow and steady weight loss that comes from an overall lifestyle change featuring consistent exercise and a healthy nutritional plan, however, will not only help ensure that adequate nutrients and energy are delivered to the body to maintain properly function, but because the change comes from healthy living habits, there is a better chance of maintaining the weight loss long-term.
A healthy rate of weight loss is 1 to 2-lbs. of fat per week. Remember that for every pound you lose, a caloric deficit of 3,500 must be created. A caloric deficit occurs when you consume fewer calories than you burn over a period of time. Therefore, to lose 1 to 2-lbs of fat in a week, you must burn 3,500 to 7,000 more calories than you take in from food during that week. This equates to a 500 to 1,000 caloric deficit per day.
To create a 500 to 1,000 caloric deficit per day, you'll want to shoot for cutting 250 to 500 calories by dietary means and the other 250 to 500 calories via exercise. Monitor and make adjustments to your eating and drinking habits. You don't need to be incredibly anal about tracking your calories, but you should be aware of what foods and drinks are high in calories so that you can avoid those items. Plus, you want to have a good idea if what you're eating and drinking is really the appropriate items that will set you up for weight loss success. Burn 250 to 500 calories most days by participating in high-calorie-burning exercise activities such as jogging, swimming, biking or riding an elliptical machine. You should try to get four to six workouts in per week.
If you're making efforts to lose weight, but are not losing 1 to 2-lbs. per week, you should make efforts to increase your caloric deficit by making adjustments to your eating or exercise habits. On the contrary, if you're losing significantly more than 1 to 2-lbs. per week, then you need to make sure you're not making too drastic of changes to your eating habits.
Keep in mind that it's likely you'll burn more than 2-lbs. at the very beginning of your weight loss efforts. Plus, those who have a significant amount of weight to lose may see greater changes at the start because their new healthy habits will create a much larger caloric deficit. In both circumstances, the rate of weight loss should eventually level itself out to average to the recommended weekly loss of 1 to 2-lbs.