What is healthy weight loss per week? The short answer is 1-2 pounds per week. One pound is equivalent to 3,500 calories and this means you need to reduce your caloric intake by 500 – 1000 calories per day to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week.
There are hundreds of weight loss diets promising quick weight loss that sound ideal when you want to drop a few pounds for an important event that is only weeks away.
Unfortunately, most of these diets promote methods that are not only ineffective, but in some cases unhealthy and dangerous for our bodies.
When do you lose weight?
The healthiest way to lose weight fast should be based on the same principles as a long term healthy diet. The simple combination of eating less and exercising more really is the best for short and long term weight loss.
The principle behind weight loss and gain is simple. If you eat more calories than you burn you will gain weight. If you eat less than you burn you will lose weight and if you eat the same amount as you burn you will maintain the same weight.
Hence for the most effective weight loss, we want to increase the calories we burn per day by exercising more and decrease the amount we consume by eating smaller portions and eating foods that have less calories.
What is healthy weight loss per week?
Health professionals agree that a healthy weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week. Now this rate may fill you with dread as the hope of fitting into your favorite outfit in time for that special event, but with the help of a dietician or weight loss professional you may be able to increase this whilst still maintaining a nutritionally sound diet.
A combination of calorie reduction and exercise is ideal for the most efficient and healthiest weight loss.
Step 1 – Reduce calorie intake
There 3500 calories in a pound of body fat. To achieve a weight loss of one to two pounds per week, you need to reduce your calorie intake by at least 500 calories per day.
Depending on your diet, this may be as easy as cutting out one high calories indulgence, or you may need to reduce calories across your day by choosing low calorie foods and reducing portion sizes.
If you wish to lose weight faster you may need to create a greater energy deficit. This can be done by reducing intake further or by increasing activity levels to burn more.
It is important not to let your calorie intake drop below 1050-1200 calories per day, as this is considered an unsafe level. With an hour of moderate to high intensity exercise and a calorie intake of around 1200 calories (see our 1200 calorie diet), you should be able to lose at least three pounds a week, possibly more if you have a large amount to lose.
Weight loss is generally easier when there is a large amount of weight to lose, and tends to slow as you get closer to your ideal weight.
When starting any diet and exercise plan, it is essential to consult your doctor or health professional to find the most effective diet for you.
Different people have different calorie requirements and nutrient needs, so it essential that even if you are reducing your calories, you are still receiving all the nutrients your body requires for normal function.
Easy ways to reduce calories:
- Reduce portion sizes. Try using a smaller plate as this will appear fuller with less food and you will feel you are eating more.
- Choose low fat versions when available such as dairy products
- Avoid creamy and buttery sauces and dressings and replace with vegetable or vinegar based alternatives.
- Avoided adding extra fats to food such as butter, oil and mayonnaise. Instead opt for healthy fats.
- Avoid snack foods obviously high in sugar or fat and replace with low calorie alternatives such as fresh fruit or air popped pop corn.
- Fill up on low calorie options such as vegetables and fruit and reduce portions of higher calorie foods.
- Think about what you are eating. It may help to write down your daily intake as this can help to make you more aware of unconscious eating.
Step 2 – Exercise more
The American guidelines for physical activity suggest 2 hours and thirty minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or one hour and fifteen minutes of high intensity exercise per week, accompanied by muscle strengthening activities on two or more days.
If you are trying to lose weight fast however, you will probably need to aim for more than this.
Exercise is important
Try to fit in one hour of exercise per day, with one day of rest per week. The intensity of this hour will depend on your original level of fitness, so start with something not too demanding and increase intensity as you become able.
It is a good idea to consult with your doctor or a fitness professional as to what level of workout is suitable for you. Some aerobic exercise burns calories more efficiently than others, but don’t launch straight into a high intensity spin class if you haven’t done much exercise in a while.
It’s best to start at an achievable level, for example walking or swimming, and work your way up to more intense workouts.
Weight training and strengthening exercises are also beneficial
Weight training and strengthening exercises are also beneficial. Not only do they improve muscle tone and make you look leaner, but by increasing your muscle mass you are also increasing your resting metabolic rate.
Muscle tissue uses more calories than fat; therefore if you have a larger proportion of muscle you will burn more calories even when you are sedentary.
Remember that general day to day activities can also help to burn more calories, try to walk where possible rather than taking the car or bus and use the stairs whenever possible. It all adds up.
Avoid losing weight too fast
There are a huge amount of fad and crash diets offering temptingly fast weight loss on the market. Beware, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Diets promoting dangerously low levels of calorie intake and elimination of complete food groups can be unhealthy for the body at the least and downright dangerous in many cases.
The body requires a certain number of calories to perform its normal functions and also a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to maintain cells, tissues, organs and the nervous system.
Diets that are too low in calories, say below 1050 to 1200 per day are also generally counterproductive as ketosis sets in, meaning you start to burn not only fat, but also muscle mass, which is needed to exercise.
At a calorie intake this low the body also starts to adapt to what it considers starvation and begins to conserve calories. This slows down the metabolism and increases fat storage.
Any diet promoting the use of laxatives and diet pills should also be avoided as these are often dangerous, ineffective and a waste of money.
Consult a professional to find the best diet for you and remember that although it might be tempting to get the weight off fast, you are much better off establishing a long term healthy eating pattern that can be maintained in the long term.
Weight loss may be slower, but in time you will see lasting results without drastic dieting measures.
David Allen says
How much to lose each week? – Depends on how fat you are in the first place I suppose..
Alex Chris says
Your initial weight and the weight you need to lose overall play their role in calculating how much weight to lose each week but in general a healthy weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week; unless otherwise suggested by your doctor or dietitian.
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If you want to read more about women’s dieting, please click on my name…
You will see the exact reason women should NEVER diet like men. Special tips for controlling female metabolism for that tight tummy and waistline you deserve…
Hope all this has helped out…
Stay strong and never give up!
I found this very helpful. I want to lose weight but at a health rate and I can see it will take patience and careful planning. Thank you.
I lost 22 pounds in about two months. I gave up all pop and chips and snacks. Instead of the pop I started drinking water and a cup of coffee everyday. I was scare something was wrong with me because of the weight loss. But after looking at the calories from the pops ( total of at least a 1,000) per day and the chips and sweet I realized I had cut all the extra calories I needed too. I always ate salads, fruits and other healthy stuff. It just kept getting lost because of all the junk I ate everyday too. When I went to see my doctor she was worried I had some other illness. She doesn’t believe that doing what I did should have made me lose that much weight in such a short time. Does anyone out there have an opinion on this?
Dianne, I went through the same thing. Stopped eating junk food and snack food and mos tfast food, along with sodas. I lost 22 lbs in about 10 weeks, and most of my friends thought I was sick or starving. My Dr was amazed. I was able to discontinue bothny chlorestrol and blood pressure meds. I feel great, but am not getting much support from thise around me.
Dion Krystali says
Simple rules to follow actually work….not just to lose weight but to do the more difficult part of the equation….which is to keep it off and maintain your healthy weight. One golden ripple —Eat healthy food – if you can’t pronounce or recognize the ingredient leave it alone. If you follow that rule then…..Eat everything but in smaller quantities but don’t make your portion so slow your body is nourished. Our body and brain need energy to function.
Find something you love to do and do it for 30 to 60 minutes a day – walk, swim, bike – you can do something different everyday maybe with a different friend to keep you motivated and on track!
After dinner….brush and floss your teeth – and don’t put another thing in your mouth till breakfast! This works so persevere the first day or so by getting involved in an activity so your focus is not on your stomach.
It won’t take bit a few weeks before you’ll start hearing – You’re looking good…what are you up to? ????????
This works for me…..and its totally in line with this article.
Dianne, I wouldn’t be surprised by this (especially if you were really eating 1,000 calories worth of that junk a day….) and especially if you were severely overweight or obese to begin with. My dad cut out junk food for a month and lost 10 lbs 🙁 I think you’ll find the effects will slow down the closer you approach your good weight. For example, I’m about 30 lbs overweight and I can easily lose 10 pounds, lose another 5 with some ease, but the other 15 pounds is hard work to get off! If you’re over 50 pounds overweight, you’ll find the beginning weight coming off easier. The last 10-15 pounds is always the hardest! And the last 5 probably make people cry! But I think if you’re making real change to your diet, you won’t focus on how long it’s taking to lose weight. One day, you’ll just be at the weight you were looking for! Good luck with the changes. Sounds like it’s going wonderfully 🙂
I have only just started and I have lost 10 lbs in two weeks. I currently plan on losing at least another 30 lb in the next 3 months so 10 lb a month. I currently work out 6 days a week (cardio for at least 35 minutes then some ab workouts)
All I really did was cut out alcohol and chocolates.
This is not a crash diet, I just wanted to give my body something healthier to take in insetad of shots and mnms
Sultan Mallo says
I want to lose 18 lbs in 2 months. I am 21 yrs 5’8. My current weight is 160 lbs. Suggest some workouts and diet to achieve my goal.
I’m about 235 lbs, 5’4″ and my New Years resolution is to lose about 100 lbs. I’m a junk food addict and I am having a hard time eating healthy. Can someone let me know what to do? Any suggestion would be insanely helpful. I just want to be in a good place with my body and definitely hating the weight I have wreaking havoc on my body right now.
I am losing around 2.5-3.5 lb per week. I am working out an hour a day (approx 30-45 min cardio and 15-20 min strength training) and I consume anywhere from 800-1100 calories per day. I quit sodas and went to water. I stopped eating rolls at restaurants and started eating wellness tortilla wraps with fish, I am eating grains and vegetables and really trying to make sure I am eating good foods. Does this seem like too much weight to lose too quick? I am really enjoying it but want to stay healthy.