Diet and weight loss ads will promise quick weight loss and 10-15 pounds lost in a month, and while that sounds fantastic, it's not realistic and is actually very dangerous.
So, how much weight should you be losing in a month?
The safest and healthiest rate to lose weight is 1-2 lbs per week or 4-8 lbs per month. This also reflects the average rate of weight loss that research has found most men and women can achieve in a healthy, sustainable way.1
To put it simply, while that 15 lbs in one month may sound nice, it’s not realistic nor is it safe for your body.
There is a reason the diet industry makes millions of dollars every year and is constantly coming up with new ways to draw people in; losing weight is incredibly challenging, and people want a quick fix.
Doing it the right way is the best way to keep the weight off for good while maintaining positive health.
Weight Loss Factors
Weight loss is different for everyone, there is no one size fits all miracle fix to lose weight. Factors like age, sex, starting weight, caloric intake, caloric deficit, exercise, previous weight loss attempts, and genetics all play a role.2
Diets that promise they can help everyone lose weight are empty promises because they don’t take into account your unique factors.
For example, people who have a history of losing weight and regaining it in endless cycles tend to have a harder time keeping weight off, because their body is used to the cycle of regaining.2
The most important personal factor is your health. If you have a health condition that makes it difficult to lose weight, make sure you're being as safe as possible and going slow and steady; remember, slow and steady wins the race.
Healthy Weight Loss
One pound of fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. So, that means that you need to eat 3500 calories less a week to lose one pound. But 3,500 calories less than what?
Many diets and social media will tell you to eat 1200 calories or less a day to lose weight, but not only is this not necessary, but it's also incredibly dangerous, not sustainable, and will only lead to weight gain down the line.
To find a good starting calorie amount for you, take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by 15. This number is the number of calories you need a day to maintain your current weight.
Subtract 500 calories per day to find the number of ideal calories you need to lose 1-2 lbs a week. This equals 3500 calories a week.
All the other factors also play a role in whether you can lose weight, but it's important to try to not cut out more calories a week than this so you can give your body what it needs to survive and thrive during your weight loss journey.
What Happens When You Don’t Eat Enough
Our bodies need food to function properly daily, never mind supporting you if you work out, or spend most of your day on your feet.
As our body adapts to exercise, dieting, and trying to maintain our everyday bodily functions, it requires plenty of energy to do so.
We must attempt to find the balance between being in a calorie deficit for weight loss, and eating enough calories to actually fuel our everyday activities, as well as maintain our muscle mass.
Extreme calorie restriction is unsustainable, and eventually, you will get so hungry and frustrated that you go back to eating how you used to and still end up gaining weight. This is what yo-yo dieting is.
After you have figured out what your ideal calorie intake is for losing 1-2 pounds a week, you need to figure out how to do it the most sustainably.
Forming healthy habits, learning how to properly cook and eat, staying hydrated, and reducing stress is the best way to make sustainable changes so you won’t fall back into the yo-yo diet trend.
Start small, like making dinner at home 3 times a week instead of eating out, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Then, you can work your way up to bigger changes slowly and at a pace that feels good for your body.
Weight loss is very individualized, and you need to make sure you are doing it properly so that you don’t fall into the yo-yo dieting cycle. Start with trying to lose 1 pound a week and forming healthy habits that you can do for the rest of your life.
If you have struggled to lose weight in the past, we recommend Burn Lab Pro to help jump-start your weight loss.
Burn Lab Pro is designed to help you break down fat while preserving muscle mass so you can burn more calories during intense training and reach your body goals.
It’s not designed to replace a good diet and solid exercise routine, but to assist them and make your body more effective at burning fat.
Combined with a good diet, healthy sustainable habits, and a consistent workout schedule, Burn Lab Pro will help you reach any weight loss or body composition goal you have.
- D F Williamson, M K Serdula, R F Anda, A Levy, and T Byers. Weight loss attempts in adults: goals, duration, and rate of weight loss. American Journal of Public Health.1992;82:1251-1257
- Elfhag, K. and Rössner, S. Who succeeds in maintaining weight loss? A conceptual review of factors associated with weight loss maintenance and weight regain. Obesity Reviews. 2005;6:67-85.