Before starting on any weight-loss program or setting a weight-loss goal, you must first figure out how much weight you need to lose and still stay healthy.
Weight loss should not just be about fitting into a certain clothing size or being thin. There are a variety of factors you need to consider when setting a weight-loss goal, or if you even need to do so.
Your sex, age, height, current weight, level of physical activity, kind of lifestyle, and overall health are the main factors that will determine how much weight you should lose overall. Additionally, you also need to consider how much weight you can safely lose per week.
Slow and Steady
Slow and steady weight loss is the realistic and healthy goal. Whatever the overall number is, you should stick with a weekly weight-loss goal that is safe for your health and easy for you to commit to. This will ensure that you will be able to sustain your weight loss each week until you reach your overall weight-loss goal, and that you’ll be able to keep off the weight.
Slow and steady weight loss also ensures that what you’re losing are your excess fats – not just water and glycogen. During the first two weeks of a weight-loss plan, and especially with quick and drastic weight-loss measures, the weight you lose comes mostly from your body’s glycogen stores. This is the body’s natural response to the sudden change in your food intake and, consequently, the drop in its immediate energy source. To compensate, it uses up some of its glycogen stores in the liver to fuel the body.
The weight you lose during the early weeks of your weight-loss program is not actually from excess fats – which is what you want. To achieve this, you will need to sustain your efforts for an extended period.
How Much Weight Should You Lose?
A healthy weight varies for each person, and having a healthy weight does not necessarily mean not having any excess fat. People who are overweight may need to lose weight to reduce their risk for certain health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease. Your doctor will be able to give the best recommendation as to how much weight you may need to lose to stay healthy. But you can also get started on your own.
You can find out what your healthy weight range is by calculating your body mass index, or BMI. Your BMI compares your weight to your height, and can be calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in meters squared, or BMI= kg/m2. Or you can use any of the BMI calculators available online.
A BMI range of 18.5 to 24.9 is normal; anything over a BMI of 25 is considered overweight. If you’re aiming to lose weight, your target weight should fall within the aforementioned range.
With an online BMI tool, you can also figure out how much your daily calorie intake should be to lose weight safely. Ideally, you should aim to lose about 10% of your body weight within a six-month period, at a rate of one to two pounds per week.
Some people aim for a big weight loss within a short period of time, but this strategy is rarely realistic and sustainable. Whether it’s through extreme carb-restriction or intense exercise regimens, or both, such drastic measures are not only difficult to commit to long-term but also quickly takes a toll on the body. The weight-loss plan eventually comes to a halt and the lost weight comes back.
For long-term and healthy weight loss, slow and steady is the way to go.
Healthy Weight-Loss Strategies
There are a lot of ways to lose weight effectively and healthfully, but the most basic always works the best: through healthy eating and regular exercise. There are a number of tried and tested weight-loss plans out there – some are free, while others require payment – with tons of fad diets thrown in the mix. When choosing a plan, make sure it promotes healthy eating and an overall healthy lifestyle that is right for you.
Here are some healthy strategies you can try individually or in any combination.
- Counting calories. This is based on the science that in order to lose weight, you should burn more calories than you consume, or consume fewer calories than you burn. You will have to figure out by how much you should reduce your calorie intake. And then you will keep track of the calorie content of everything you eat.
- Count on nutrition instead of counting calories. If you maintain a balanced diet that contains a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables; lean protein; whole and unprocessed carbohydrates; and a small amount of unsaturated fats, then you will be supplying your body with all the fuel it needs without having to worry about consuming more calories than you need.
- Drink more water than other beverages. Avoid sugar drinks; minimize caffeine and alcohol intake.
- Exercise. But it’s important to mix it up to keep your metabolism going and to put to work all of your muscle groups. The body has a tendency to adapt to new conditions and adjust calorie and fat burning accordingly. By having a varied exercise routine, you will keep your body from simply settling into a new normal. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, at least 3 times a week, with adequate rest in between.
- Get adequate sleep – at least 7 hours of good quality shut-eye every night. Poor sleep or lack of sleep messes with your metabolism and hormone levels which, in turn, can impact your energy levels and eating habits.
- Take advantage of weight-loss and fitness technologies, such as online calorie calculators and fitness trackers to make things easier for you.
Healthy Weight Loss – Final Thoughts
When figuring out how much weight you need to lose, remember that your target weight should be a healthy number. And whether you need to lose just a little or a lot of weight, the best strategy is to aim for a slow and steady weight loss per week.
A combination of healthy eating, physical activity, adequate rest and sleep, and handy technologies will help you achieve your weight-loss goals safely and effectively. Developing healthier habits will help you keep the weight off and keep you fit and healthy for life. Sign up for Modern Fit‘s customized 16-week plan to help you get started on the right track!