How to Lose 1lb. Per Week
One pound per week might not sound like a lot, but this actually equates to 52 lbs in a year! The problem is, when you want (or need) to lose weight, you want to lose it fast.
We want instant gratification. This is probably because we are constantly exposed to advertising for popular weight loss diets claiming to induce the greatest weight loss in the least amount of time. Unfortunately, we fail to recognize that the weight we are trying to take off, didn’t just appear overnight–it took time to put that weight on, and it will take time (and effort) to get it off.
Faster is not better in this case. Although those extreme diets are indeed successful at weight loss, they promote diet and/or exercise changes which are so drastic, they are unlikely to last a lifetime. You lose weight for the duration of the diet plan, but once the diet plan is over, you are likely to go back to your old eating habits and regain any weight that was lost.
Habits are hard to break, especially food-related ones. After all, we’ve been developing them since we were children! Losing 1 lb. per week is achievable and more valuable because it encourages gradual diet and exercise changes which are more likely to become long-term habits.
Mathematically, this mean you would need to cut out 500 calories per day (to lose 1 lb. per week)–or alternately, 500 calories every other day (to lose 1lb. every 2 weeks). In reality it is a bit more complicated than this, but for many people weight loss can be achieved by diet-related changes alone, exercise-related changes alone, or a combination of diet and exercise changes.
Depending on your individual needs, schedule, lifestyle, etc. you should determine what changes work best for you. However, a combination of both is encouraged because it allows for greatest flexibility in changes. For example, to people who only require 1200 calories per day, 500 calories can mean cutting out an entire meal! But if you burned 400 calories with exercise, you would only have to cut out 100 calories from your food instead. Here are 25 easy ways to cut calories from your diet on a regular basis.
For many people this simple strategy doesn’t always work because reality is that there are other factors (in addition to diet and exercise) that may impact one’s weight. These include: sleep habits (whether or not you are getting enough sleep), genetics (some people are just genetically heavier than others), stress level (typically stress makes it harder to lose weight), other hormone levels, any medications that may cause weight retention, etc. In these cases, a multidisciplinary approach may be best and a Registered Dietitian or other health care practitioner can help you determine a plan of action.
In any case, stay committed and be patient with your weight loss. Remember, these changes are intended for a lifetime so that you can keep the weight off for a lifetime!
By: Scarlett Full, in-house Registered Dietitian