Is Rapid Weight Loss Healthy?

So you have some extra pounds of goo hanging around your mid section that you want to lose. I mean you want to lose it fast! But is there such a thing as losing weight too fast and is rapid weight loss healthy?

First let's define rapid weight loss. For some that might be 2 pounds a week and for others it might be two pounds a day. Anyone who has seen "The Biggest Loser" knows that weekly double digit weight loss is possible. But to achieve weekly double digit loss you need to be extremely obese. You will also need to have personal trainers, nutritionists and doctors at your disposal as well as time to workout at the gym for four or so hours a day. These conditions probably rule you out.

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Let's now talk in more realistic terms. A person who weighs 300 plus pounds has the potential to lose five or more pounds a week with the right diet and exercise plan. However, sustaining a loss of five pounds per week for an extended period of time will be difficult. This is because the less you weigh the fewer calories it takes to function. So you won't burn as many calories in a day, which, assuming all else stays equal, will reduce your caloric deficit which is what determines how much weight you lose.

To figure out reasonable weight loss expectations you can do the following. Go online and find a caloric calculator. This will calculate the number of calories you burn in a day (commonly referred to as maintenance calories). It takes approximately 3,500 calories to burn one pound of fat. So if you want to lose five pounds in a week you need to burn 17,500 more calories than you consume in a weeks time, or a caloric deficit of 2,500 a day. So let's say your maintenance calories are 3,000 a day; you would need to go on a 500 calorie a day diet (500 - 3,000 = -2,500 caloric deficit) to lose five pounds in a week.

Generally speaking a 500 calorie a day diet is not considered healthy and could do damage to your body. So what you can do is add exercise to increase the amount of calories your burn. One hour of cardio workout burns approximately 500 calories (note this does not have to be in one session, you could do two 30 minute sessions). So if you add this exercise routine to your day, you could go on a 1,000 calorie a day diet and lose about five pounds a week. This would be a much healthier plan than a 500 calorie a day diet and this is probably the optimum results you can expect. To establish realistic and achievable goals for weight loss I have a little rule of thumb: lose about 1% of your body weight a week.

So for the 300 pound person in our example the 1% rule would equate to about three pounds a week. Now I know that this may not fit the express time frame you were hoping for but remember weight loss is about being persistent and consistent. Gradual and consistent weight loss will get you to your goal weight. At three pounds a week you could loss 150 pounds in a year. Not too shabby! But of course remember that as you lose weight the amount of weight you lose in a week will continually be less. This is just an unfortunate reality of life.

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