How Much Weight Should I Lose In A Week?

The obesity epidemic in the United States is a major public health concern and is continually growing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 42.4% of Americans were obese between 2017 to 2018.¹

It’s no surprise that weight loss has become a goal for many people.  However, the question of how much weight you should lose is unique to you. A rapid or extreme weight loss can do more mental and physical harm than good.

If you’re planning to lose weight, learn how you can achieve it safely and sustainably.

Have you considered clinical trials for Weight management?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Weight management, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Body mass index explained

Body mass index or BMI is a measure of a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by their square of height (in meters).² It is merely a screening tool that is inexpensive and super easy to calculate to identify the amount of body fat.² ³ four broad categories classify your BMI—underweight, average, overweight, and obese.

Here’s an example:

A man weighs 200 pounds (roughly 91 kg) and is 5’9 (1 m and 75 cm) in height.

BMI value = 91 kg / (1.75 m)2= 29.7

The man’s BMI classifies him in the overweight category.

Image retrieved from.¹

Remember, this is a very crude measurement and does not tell us the entire picture of an individual's health status. Should you have any questions on whether your BMI poses any potential health risks, please talk to your doctor for further health assessments.

How much weight should you lose?

Despite the BMI scale being a crude screening tool, a normal BMI value (approximately between 18 and 25) is an ideal target.

Diet programs advertised on television and in the media today may seem attractive as they promise high weight loss within a short time. These programs, however, will almost always leave you very hungry and unmotivated to continue healthy habits, which may, in turn, result in unfavorable weight gain.

According to the CDC, approximately 1 to 2 pounds a week (equivalent to 4 to 8 pounds a month) is a healthy number that is achievable to successfully keep off the weight loss in the long run.⁴

However, this may vary depending on the starting weight of the person. For example, someone who is morbidly obese may be able to safely lose around 11 pounds a week, while someone closer to a healthy weight range may only lose as little as 200 grams a week as they have less weight to lose.

Losing weight is not a short-term goal but rather a continuing lifestyle with long-term changes in daily habits like eating and exercise. Losing 1 to 2 pounds a week is more sustainable and will allow the body to adjust gradually to the weight loss while prioritizing fat loss instead of muscle loss.

What is this amount of weight loss based on?

The two major factors that influence your weight loss are eating habits and exercise. By managing these two factors in your lifestyle, you can lose and maintain a healthy weight in the long run.

However, the magic number as to how much weight a person can lose depends on several factors. One thing to note is any pre-existing or underlying health conditions that may affect the person to adopt certain eating or exercising changes. Before starting anything, advise your doctor to understand the impact of any underlying conditions on your weight loss.

Adopting healthier eating habits and implementing exercise in your everyday routine is a crucial yet difficult task for most people. Numerous studies conducted in the United States reported successful weight loss and management when overweight people implement healthy diet patterns and exercise routines.⁵ ⁶ ⁷

When followed up, the majority of the successful weight losers maintained their weight in the long term. Talk to your doctor for any advice for weight loss and setting a realistic weight loss goal.

Calculating weight loss is very simple and easy to do and requires only your weighing scale.

Weight loss = initial weight - new weight

If the number of the calculated weight loss is negative, it means you have gained weight.

Tips on how to manage healthy weight loss

Set realistic weight loss goals

As per the CDC’s advice, if you want to lose weight and maintain it in the long run, aim to lose no more than about 1 to 2 pounds per week with healthy eating and regular exercise.

Keep track of your calories

One pound is equivalent to 3,500 calories.⁸ So, to lose 1 pound of body fat, you could reduce your caloric intake to 500  every day for a week. A good idea to track your calories may be to use a food diary and record what you eat/drink.

The lowdown

Maintaining a healthy weight is important as it reduces the likelihood of several health diseases and conditions like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. As everyone is different, there is no magic number as to how much weight you should lose.

A healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition and physical activity is key in achieving safe and sustainable weight loss. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about losing weight, so they can help organize a plan for your journey.

Have you considered clinical trials for Weight management?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Weight management, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

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