Sunday

How much can I lose per week and how can I lose it faster?

A question I get asked almost daily, is ‘what is a safe rate that I can lose weight and how can I speed it up?’ Of course, everyone wants ‘instant results’; what people are really asking is how much weight can they lose quickly and still be healthy?
 
As many of the diet clubs confirm, a ‘safe’ rate to lose weight is between 1 and 3 lbs per week. Another guide to healthy weight loss is that we can aim to lose an average of about 1 percent of our body weight each week. Of course, that is an average over time; some weeks will be better and some weeks will be less.
 
While it may not seem like much, if you multiply the number out by 12 weeks or 24 weeks or even 52 weeks, this can mean 24, 48 or 100 lbs lost.
 
If we try to lose eight at a faster rate than that, our body will almost certainly spot this and begin an inbuilt ‘survival’ process; meaning our metabolic rate will slow down to preserve energy and our body will be more inclined to ‘cling on’ to the food we eat.
 
Maintaining an average of 1 to 3 lbs per week (or an average of around 1% of our body weight per week), means our body can make all the necessary tweaks and adjustments as it’s going along, it also means we’re less likely to suffer the effects of excess skin hanging around (as long as we stay well hydrated) and most importantly, it significantly increases the likelihood of us keeping that weight off.
 
With that said, if our weight isn’t coming off as fast as we would like (and it’s less than the amounts outlined above), what can we do?
 
Well, we’ll need to make some adjustments to what we are doing, that’s for sure. Generally though, it isn’t huge, sweeping changes that we need to make, it’s just one or two small tweaks; and there are lots of adjustments we can make; both with regard to the calories we eat and to the calories we burn off.
 
With regard to burning calories off, we have three main areas we can adjust which are the frequency, intensity and time (FIT) of any exercise or activities we do. In other words, to burn more calories per week, we can make a conscious decision to exercise on more days or more times in a day than we’re currently doing (frequency). Alternatively, we can cram more exercise into the same amount of time that we’re used to; raising the intensity of our exercise (Intensity), and/or you can do it for a longer period of time (Time).
 
In regard to calories eaten, one obvious approach would be to lower the calorie density of our diet, by shifting the composition of our meals to include more foods that are the lowest in calorie density (i.e, vegetables, salads, soups, etc)
 
In addition, there are also a number of simple ‘tricks’ that are proven to reduce calorie intake, without causing us to go hungry..
 
1 Calorie Density - Make sure 1/3 to 1/2 of the bulk/volume of all your meals consists of low calorie dense vegetables. This will lower the overall calorie density of the meal and allow you to eat more food volume for less calories. Or you can eat the same food volume for even less calories.
 
2 Eat Less Salt - The less you use salt on your food (or the less salty food we eat), the less you will tend to eat of it.  
 
3 Less Variety - The less variety we tempt ourselves with, the lower our food consumption will be. Just plan simple meals for simple, but effective weight loss.
 
4 Raw Foods - Foods we can eat raw, generally tend to be lower in calorie density, meaning we can feel fuller from eating fewer calories. Also, our bodies don’t digest raw food as efficiently, because cooking actually begins the digestion process, meaning our bodies will absorb less of what we’ve consumed.
 
5 Sequencing - Eating the lowest calorie dense foods first, fills us up so we’re inclined to eat less of the higher calorie dense foods… that’s the theory anyway! This can backfire to some extent if we’re ‘saving the best until last’, as ‘the best’ will generally be something from the higher end of the calories density scale.
 
Making one or two small tweaks along the lines of some of the ideas mentioned, can increase the rate of our weight-loss if we stick with it; and given that we’re only looking for tweaks, the chances of us sticking with it are significantly increased.
 
Go on then, plan ahead and get tweaking!

Best wishes

Tony

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