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Does Losing 1-2 Lbs a Week Feel Like a Disappointment?

If your answer if yes, I totally understand why. Weight loss TV shows, success stories in the media, and ads often tout double-digit weight loss in mere days, but most experts cite 1-2 pounds a week as the safe, expected pace. So what’s the deal?


Well, it boils down to 2 basic facts:


1) The more overweight you are, the faster you lose weight.


2) In order to lose just one pound of body fat, you have to create a calorie deficit (or negative calorie balance) of 3,500. That means even if you slash your calorie intake by 1,000 a day (which would really only be safe/healthy if you were eating 1,000 calories a day more than your body needs to support your ideal weight – which goes back to #1), you’d still need to burn another 2,500 cals through exercise to lose a pound in a day. While that’s possible, and it does happen on TV shows, it’s not realistic for most people. And that much exercise can have some nasty side effects, including injuries and a weakened immune system.


Now, not every pound lost on the scale is body fat, which means a lot of what you lose, especially rapidly, is actually water and glycogen (the carbs stored in your liver and muscles). 


That said, I understand that bigger numbers can be a lot more encouraging, and motivation is a major factor in sticking with a weight loss regime. But, striking the right balance is the key to long-term results.


Consider these 3 tips:


If you need a jump start, start off with a detox, but limit it to about 5 days (see my previous post The Dos and Don’ts of Detoxing).


Try to put your progress in perspective. Even if you only lose half a pound a week, when it’s mostly body fat, that’s the equivalent of nearly two cups of lard!


Think about your personal track record. This is a biggie. When my clients get frustrated, I ask them to think back on a past weight loss attempt when they threw in the towel because they weren’t seeing quick enough results. Giving up usually results in either continuing to gain weight or staying the same. But hanging in there, at a rate of a half-pound a week, means shedding 26 pounds in a year’s time. That may seem like a snail’s pace, but I’ve met dozens and dozens of women who regret delaying those results.


So, what are your thoughts? Can you make peace with an unhurried transformation? Please share your thoughts!


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