HOW MUCH WEIGHT CAN YOU ACTUALLY LOSE IN A WEEK?
Wondering how much weight you can lose in a week? I'M READY TO RESET 🚀
A weight-loss specialist gets real about what it takes to lose weight quickly—and keep it off.
If your goal is to lose weight, you want results—and fast.
But experts have cautioned against losing weight too quickly, as it may not be sustainable for the long haul.
So, realistically how much weight can you lose in a week?
The answer is not so clear-cut. “I recommend between one and two percent of your body weight per week,” says Philadelphia-based board-certified obesity medicine physician and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) Charlie Seltzer, MD.
For quick math, if you’re 150 pounds, that might be between 1.5 to three pounds per week, or around six to 12 pounds in a month.
That said, everyone is different. Some people may be able to lose more weight than that in a month.
The specific amount largely depends on your starting weight, as the percentage will be higher if your starting weight is higher.
Still, dropping more than that may not be realistic, and it certainly may not be sustainable month after month.
So, if you’re feeling frustrated and thinking you’re not losing it fast enough, consider the flip side: You might be at the exact right pace you need to be to make this a permanent change.
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THE PROBLEM WITH LOSING WEIGHT QUICKLY
Let’s be clear—quick-fix diets are not the way to sustainable weight loss, and they often backfire.
You might lose five pounds quickly by going on a liquid cleanse or another fad diet, but you can’t drink beet and lemon juice forever. So, when those five days are over, you will return to your normal eating habits, and your body will settle back at your starting weight.
The bigger promises a diet makes, the more your BS radar should go off.“Quick diets are very unmaintainable. They basically set you up for failure,” says Dr. Seltzer.
“We live in a part of the world where there is food everywhere, and you have to learn the skills to navigate it,” he adds. That means making lasting food and behavioral changes that work with your lifestyle and cultural and food preferences. When you lose weight too fast, your body has no time to adjust.
“Your body is designed to try to get back to its starting weight,” says Dr. Seltzer. “It will do everything it can to fight back and add those pounds back by increasing your appetite.”
On the other hand, slower weight loss gives your body the opportunity to reset. It’s also a sign that you’re changing your behaviors in ways that are doable for you to maintain in the long term.
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HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT SUSTAINABLY
While there are many different nutrition plans out there, a calorie deficit COMBINED with at least 100g of protein daily is the most important piece of the weight loss puzzle.
What is a calorie deficit? It means you’re consuming less calories than you’re burning, leading to weight loss.“People are always looking for a way around a calorie deficit, but if you don’t maintain a calorie deficit, you will not lose weight. Period,” says Dr. Seltzer.
How do you achieve a calorie deficit? This has to come from a combination of eating fewer calories in your diet or burning more calories through exercise, though ideally both. If you are not losing weight, that means your body is not in a consistent calorie deficit, explains Dr. Seltzer.
Here’s a three step plan to ensure you’re in a calorie deficit so you can lose weight sustainably and safely.
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DON’T GET DISCOURAGED
Even though you may be measuring your progress with a scale and looking for the numbers to go down, weight loss per se isn’t what you’re after—it’s specifically fat loss.
Unfortunately, “fat loss is a slow process,” says Dr. Seltzer. “A pound of fat stores about 4,000 calories, so it takes a while to lose body fat.
”Often what happens is that at the beginning of a diet, you may choose to restrict carbohydrates.
Each gram of carbohydrate (stored as glycogen in muscle) holds on to at least three grams of water.
A diet lower in carbs means you will naturally shed more water weight.
Unfortunately, when you eat a high-carbohydrate food, such as a bagel, you’ll restore these glycogen stores that will then attract extra water.
On the scale, this can translate into a big dip on the scale (cue the triumphant music) followed by a quick, confusing rise the next day (cue the bad mood).
That process didn’t necessarily mean you lost or gained fat, says Seltzer, only that you were shifting your body’s water balance.
However, it’s easy to get discouraged.
That’s why it’s so important to stick with your calorie deficit beyond this initial phase.
And developing plans for how you’ll handle any setbacks and coping with them when they inevitably happen (totally normal!) can help keep you on track so you can keep it off for the long haul.
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Frequently Asked Questions
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From The Founder Of Protein Milkshake
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