In our first installment of this session we talked about consistency and energy balance. This week we will discuss expectations vs reality. One of the hardest parts of losing weight is that it takes time. Sustainable and effective weight loss is not a super-fast process. Understanding what a good goal is can be helpful in keeping us motivated and allow us to make necessary adjustments.
So how much weight should we be aiming to lose? Approximately 2lbs per week. If we have more weight to lose it can be a little more, if we have less weight to lose it can be a little less. This number allows us to do the following:
1.) Not lose excessive muscle tissue while consistently losing fat. If we try to lose weight too fast, we will lose muscle tissue, which is our best defense from gaining fat or rebounding into poor health.
2.) Crash diets have shown to promote hunger and binging, leading to excess weight gain, unhealthy habits, and poor self image. It leads us to believe we can never keep weight off.
3.) It lets us create a lifestyle that fits our needs and wants. Flexibility is important and something we can do for long periods (months and years) is always the best choice
With this information in mind it allows us to know if something is working. Someone should weight themselves the same days (2x/wk) under the same circumstances. Same time of day, on the same day of the week, preferably in the morning. This allows for less fluctuation in data points and gives us the most accurate information to use for adjustments. If we are losing less than 2lbs per week, we can probably cut a couple hundred more calories per day (typically from fat or sugar).
If someone is new to nutrition changes and adjusting for the first time, it is likely it will take a week or so to find a good consistent rhythm. We cannot expect long term health success in a couple of weeks. Letting ourselves commit to the process needs to be part of the expectation. Knowing what the journey will entail makes it easier to be prepared.
Stay positive. While 2lbs per week may not seem like a lot, if we started TODAY, you could lose 50lbs by the new year. Looking forward that may seem like a very long time but looking back to Jan from July will never seem like that long of a time.