You have started your diet and the pounds are coming off.
But are you losing it too quickly or too slowly?
How much weight should you be losing per week?
Fat not weight
Before I share with you the formula I use to calculate how much weight you should be losing each week, I want to make an important point.
Losing fat, NOT weight should be your goal.
Fat is the bad stuff – the stuff that makes you look ugly. Weight is EVERYTHING about you – your organs, your muscle, your bone, your fat. You should aim to preserve the weight that isn’t fat, and drop the fat only.
If you still don’t understand this, please read why losing weight isn’t a great goal.
So how much weight should you aim to lose per week?
The ideal weight loss formula
Aim to lose 0.7% of your body weight per week.
This figure is based on the research conducted by Precision Nutrition in their body transformation challenge. It’s the average amount that participants in their study lost.
Some lost 0.3% of the body weight per week, others lost 1.2%.
But the average was 0.7%.
Here’s the calculations for varying weights:
- 400 pounds – aim for 2.8 pounds per week (146 lbs per year)
- 350 pounds – aim for 2.5 pounds per week (130 lbs per year)
- 300 pounds – aim for 2.1 pounds per week (109 lbs per year)
- 250 pounds – aim for 1.8 pounds per week (94 lbs per year)
- 200 pounds – aim for 1.4 pounds per week (73 lbs per year)
- 150 pounds – aim for 1.1 pounds per week (57 lbs per year)
You can see where the often quoted “you should lose 1-2 lbs per week” comes from.
Even though the figures per week are small, the yearly totals are significant. Losing 1.4 lbs per week will amount to a whopping 73 lbs in a year.
That would be one amazing body transformation.
Why so slow?
You might be thinking – why can’t I just increase my calorie deficit and lose more, like 5 or 10 pounds per week?
Well, you could. But there are a couple of important points to make:
- Water weight. You might lose 5-10 pounds when you first start a diet, but this is not fat. It is the water and glycogen being released from your muscles (notice how you pee more when you diet). This weight is a side-effect of dieting and won’t make you look any leaner. Losing fat weight will.
- The faster you lose, the more likely you are to re-bound. In order to lose fat rapidly you have to severely restrict your calories. Being too strict on yourself will only make you want unhealthy food more. The better way is to adopt healthy eating habits that you will continue for life, not just the 12 weeks when you want to lose weight.
- You screw up your hormones. Create a huge calorie deficit and your body will begin to shut down. Your libido will drop. You’ll be tired, irritable and no fun to hang around with. Is it really worth it?
- Think of the yearly pound totals. Remember that losing just 1lb a week means a 52lb loss in a year. That’s nothing to be sniffed at.
- You’re more likely to lose lean mass. And losing muscle mass along with fat is not ideal. You want your muscle to give you that lean look at the end of your diet quest. Keep up the resistance training to prevent muscle loss when dieting.
In conclusion, aim to lose 0.7% of your body weight per week. Be kind to yourself, and don’t drastically reduce your calories in order to lose weight faster. You’ll only end up re-bounding and miserable. Slow and steady wins the race.