This is definitely not an easy answer, but you need to keep in mind that changing habits on the way to a healthier lifestyle will have more effect than losing too much weight in a short time (and failing to maintain)
Let’s go to the harsh reality: losing weight takes time. And this is completely normal, for everyone. “The process of losing even a pound can depend on a list of variables, including your basal metabolic rate, starting weight, sleep schedule and more. So, when someone asks ‘how much weight can I lose in a week?’, There is really no hard and fast answer ”, says the medical nutritionist Dr. Marcella Garcez, professor and director of the Brazilian Association of Nutrology (ABRAN). “The most important thing is to move away from very restrictive diets. When there is a lot of restriction, you can lose weight faster, but in an unhealthy way, which can affect the health and beauty immunity of the skin, hair, nails. In addition, they can accentuate episodes of binge eating after the patient reaches the desired weight ”, adds the doctor.
First of all, what you can lose and what you should lose are two different things. “If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you want to do it in the range of one to two pounds a week,” says the doctor. Ultimately, this is going to be more sustainable – and easier to maintain control – than taking extreme measures to lose more weight in a week, just to see them come back immediately.
But, as mentioned, there are many variables that can affect your ability to lose weight quickly, so that number may differ depending on them. There are seven main factors that influence weight loss, which the doctor details below:
- Water weight
“If you lose weight too quickly, it’s probably not coming from fat,” notes Dr. Marcella. It’s probably just the weight of the water. “The water can be reduced very quickly, but it comes back just as quickly.” So if you are trying to lose weight, remember that just because the number on the scale is rapidly increasing or decreasing does not mean that you are achieving the results you want. “Slower may be better and a sign that your body is actually losing fat instead of other crucial elements like muscle or water,” says the doctor.
- Calorie deficit
If you really want to lose considerable weight, you will focus on calorie deficit. It is important that you perform a bioimpedance analysis (BIA) to find out your basal metabolism and what your deficit might be. “This test will take into account factors such as your muscle mass and the amount of calories you burn at rest (basal metabolic rate). It will then calculate how many calories you need to consume a day to lose one to two pounds a week. That number, plus how much you will lose during a workout, minus 500, will determine your overall deficit ”, says the doctor. “Typically, you want to eat 500 calories less than you normally burn in a day to lose about one to two pounds a week,” he says. So, let’s say you burn 1,300 calories at rest and 350 during your workout, which gives 1,650 calories in total. Therefore, you must have an eating plan of 1,150 to 1,250 calories a day to lose one to a pound a week. (Generally, you shouldn’t be below 1,200 calories a day without the supervision of a doctor or nutritionist.)
- Muscle mass
If you are losing weight very quickly, as with water, you may be losing muscle instead of fat. That is why it is so important to train strength while trying to lose weight. “Weights will help you gain more muscle and burn more calories. Muscle stimulation burns calories. People may even think that they do not want to gain muscle and become more bulky, but the truth is that physical activity, especially weight training, helps to burn more fat more efficiently ”, says the doctor.
Watch out for the night owls. Your sleeping habits can hinder your goals. “Seven hours of sleep is crucial for weight loss,” says the doctor. Often, some people struggling to lose weight are actually suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea. This sleep disorder, in particular, involves your body not receiving the proper oxygenation it needs at night, leading to poor sleep quality and tiredness. “And when you’re tired, your body craves carbohydrates for energy. This is probably disrupting your weight loss plan, ”says the doctor.
In times of life stress, it can be difficult to lose weight. “Your body knows it is in a stressed position and will not let you lose weight as it would if it were an intentional restriction. Try to eliminate stress in your life when you are on a new weight loss plan ”, says the doctor. There is no problem with prioritizing.
- Thyroid problems
If you suffer from thyroid problems and are trying to lose weight, it is important to emphasize that these things do not always go hand in hand. “When your thyroid is slow, everything slows down. This includes the rate at which you burn calories and your metabolism, both of which can hinder your ability to lower the numbers on the scale, ”says the doctor. Therefore, you may want to consult your doctor if you have been consistent with your diet and exercise, but are still not getting the results you want: it could be your thyroid.
This may be obvious, but it doesn’t make it any less important. Your diet before, during and after weight loss is extremely crucial to how easily or quickly you will be able to lose or keep your weight down. “An average adult should consume a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day. If you want to build muscle and lose fat at the same time, you will have to increase your protein intake ”, says the doctor. “If you are not getting enough protein while you are training with heavy weights, you will not recover from your workouts enough to perform well, which means you will not gain as much muscle or burn as much fat,” he explains. About 30% of your calories must come from protein, in that case.
Now, if you need to maximize your weight loss in less time, some tips can be followed in order not to end your health:
Don’t eat late at night: the metabolism of the food consumed is slower as it gets dark. You do not need to use the 16: 8 method of intermittent fasting, but eating between a certain period of time, for example in the morning and in the afternoon, can be extremely beneficial for weight loss. “In the evening, prefer lighter meals,” says the nutritionist.
Eat more protein: you can increase your consumption of plant-based proteins (pea, rice or chickpea proteins) because they do not stress your kidneys. “But if you like meat and fish, the ideal is to opt for lean meats like chicken. Other great sources of protein include wild fish, salmon and beans. And if you want to eat red meat like beef, do it occasionally to reduce your fat intake, ”says the doctor.
Take some weights: remember that strength training is the key to maintaining the muscles you need to fuel your workouts and burn calories. Three to four days a week of 45 minutes of strength and weight training (machine exercises, free weights, etc.) can help a lot.
Work on some HIIT training: the famous high-intensity interval training is the most efficient way to activate your metabolism to burn more fat. A 15 to 20 minute session alternating high and low intensity, but always as often as you can take, will burn as many calories as an hour of running.
Hydrate yourself frequently: “Our body is composed of two thirds of water”, says Dr. Marcella Garcez. We need this to survive. Calorie counting, weightlifting and high protein meals mean nothing if you are not hydrated. “In fact, dehydration can distort your results, causing more weight loss with water than fat. And remember, this type of weight will only return immediately ”, recalls the doctor.
Keep an eye on your calorie deficit: these weight loss apps can help users stay up-to-date by counting calories for you and pointing out other ways to make progress in your weight loss plan. It is very common, for example, for people to count the calories in bread and leave out the calories in curd, jam, butter. And apps can help with that.
Consult an expert: If you find that nothing is working, even after making the necessary adjustments (for example, sleep, diet, calorie intake), the ideal is to see a nutritionist doctor. It can help you develop a plan that is more specific and tailored to your body’s needs.
Ultimately, you must keep in mind that losing weight is a completely individualized process. Your journey to lose weight will not be like anyone else’s. “Try not to focus on your friend or the influencer you follow on Instagram. People are frustrated when they reach the fifth day of a new way of eating and do not lose 2.5 pounds. Comparing yourself with others can put everything at a loss, ”says the doctor. Be patient! “Weight loss takes time and consistency, and sometimes the speed with which you lose weight is also a little out of your control,” concludes the doctor.
SOURCE: * DR. MARCELLA GARCEZ: Nutrologist Physician, Master in Health Sciences from the School of Medicine of PUCPR, Director of the Brazilian Association of Nutrology and Professor of the National Course of Nutrology at ABRAN. The doctor is a Member of the Technical Chamber of Nutrology of CRMPR, Coordinator of the Academic League of Nutrology of Paraná and Researcher in Food Supplements at the Service of Nutrition of Hospital do Servidor Público de São Paulo. [email protected]