It can be incredibly frustrating not seeing results quickly on the scales – but what is the average weight loss per week?
In this article, we’ll have a look at what it is, what factors affect how much weight you can lose, what are the risks of losing weight too quickly, and how to calculate your ideal weight loss per week.
Let’s find out!
One of the first questions people ask when starting a new diet or exercise regime is ‘what is the average weight loss per week?’, and for good reason.
The truth is, nobody wants to be slogging away at the gym for an hour each day and eating foods which aren’t their first choice, just to be rewarded with a measly 1lb-per-month weight loss.
The average amount of weight loss per week really does matter, not only because you need to see results to know that you’re following the right lifestyle choices, but also because slow weekly weight loss can be extremely demotivating – to the point that you may just give up trying if you’re not seeing the results you crave.
So, what is the average weight loss per week? Well, this can depend on a number of factors, which we’ll go into in a little more detail below, but on average, if you have 20lb or more to lose, you can expect to lose between 1 – 2lb per week if you’re eating a healthy diet within your calorie deficit goals and exercising for at least 30 minutes per day, 5 times per week.
There are several important influencers that affect how much weight you can lose in a week, month or year. Some of these you can change, and some you’re stuck with:
Without a doubt, the amount of energy you put into your body through eating is the biggest influencer of how much excess fat you carry. Sadly, the notion of ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’ is all too true, and no matter how hard you work out unless you’re doing it to professional bodybuilder extremes, you’re really going to struggle to lose any weight if you’re still consuming 3000 – 4000 calories per day.
For most people, they probably believe their daily diet doesn’t come anywhere near to this figure, but if they inputted their daily calories into a calorie counter, they’d be shocked at what they found. Even those who buy the correct foods (and stick to eating them) frequently underestimate their portion sizes and consume many more calories per day than they realize.
The only way to check whether this is an issue for you? Start counting calories – and yes that means weighing all portions!
Exercise certainly has its place in increasing the average amount of weight loss per week, but it’s always secondary to diet.
Adding a 30-minute brisk walk to your day can burn around 200 – 250 excess calories, but as with food intake, people also tend to be economical with the truth when working out just how much exercise they’ve actually done in a day.
A good way to measure accurately whether you’ve moved enough each day is to get a smartwatch that records your exercise minutes. This is a great way to encourage you to move more both at home and at work, and if you’re a sedentary office worker it can be just what you need to encourage you to get out each lunch break to have a good stroll.
Sadly, as we age, weight loss does become more of a challenge, and you may just find that your weight loss average per week is much less than it used to be when you were younger. This is due to your metabolism gradually slowing down. The good news is that there’s plenty you can do to counteract this effect, no matter what your age.
The amount of muscle you carry has a huge influence on the rate at which your body burns calories, and as you age you naturally begin to lose some. Less muscle means a slower metabolism – the rate can slow by as much as 5% each decade. But muscle loss isn’t inevitable.
By increasing your protein intake, concentrating on eating whole foods and beginning a strength training workout, you can pack that lost muscle back on. And don’t worry, we’re not talking about you ending up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger here – simply a more toned, stronger version of yourself!
There is some evidence that in some cases being predisposed to retaining more body fat can be genetic, and there’s definitely evidence that there are stark differences between where fat is stored in women when compared to men.
However, genetics do not account for all cases of obesity (or even the majority), so it’s not the first conclusion you should come to when you find it difficult to lose weight that there’s no hope because ‘being fat is in your genes’.
What is much more of a risk factor is the environment you live in and were raised in. For instance, if your parents rewarded you or comforted you with junk food, it’s highly likely you’ll retain that emotional connection into adulthood.
In a similar way, if your parents made you feel guilty for leaving food on your plate and urged you to ‘eat-up’ at every meal, you’ll struggle to stop eating simply because your appetite is satisfied as an adult.
This mindset being passed down from generation to generation, in combination with an increasingly heavily available supply of calorie-laden junk food is a sure-fire recipe for an obesity epidemic – and that’s exactly what we have in the modern western world.
Losing too much muscle
We get it. It can be exciting when you jump on the scales after a week of hard dieting to see a loss of 5 or 6lb – but the unfortunate truth is that when you’re losing weight that quickly, the weight you’ve lost won’t be pure fat. In fact, over half of it is likely to be muscle and water – and that’s terrible news for your metabolism and long term weight loss.
To avoid muscle loss, never dip your calories below 1000 per day, and be sure to increase your protein intake tenfold right from the start. Studies have shown that by simply switching up the amount of protein you eat, you can burn up to 27% more fat and gain up to 8x more muscle. That’s pretty spectacular when you think about it, because not only does it mean you’ll be leaner and slimmer, you’ll also find it easier to feel fuller for longer too.
One further way to ensure you don’t lose muscle when you’re losing weight is to make sure your body knows you need it! The best way to do that? Simply use it. Remember the old notion ‘use it or lose it’? Turns out that’s still true. If your body is repairing muscle because it’s been worked hard, there’s no way it’s going to let go of any anytime soon – it’ll be taking that energy from your fat stores instead. Win-win!
One common issue with a large amount of weight loss is the appearance of sagging skin. This is always more of a problem if you lose weight too quickly, so it’s definitely something to bear in mind when planning your calorie deficit. If sagging skin would bother you massively, it may be worth considering losing weight more slowly.
Having said this, if you have a large amount of weight to lose – for instance, more than 5 stone, it’s highly likely you will experience some loose skin following weight loss no matter how slowly you lose it.
Metabolic damage is a condition that can occur if you repeatedly follow a very low-calorie diet, lose a lot of weight and then regain it. Also known as ‘starvation mode’, metabolic damage is essentially your body’s way of preventing your body from perishing when times are tough – and if huge calorie deficits followed by huge binge episodes are a frequent occurrence in your life, your body will soon learn to store fat for the oncoming food shortages it grows to expect.
Of course, this means your body will hold on to its fat reserves for as long as possible, which isn’t great news when you’re trying to lose body fat. The only way to prevent this is to lose weight more slowly – and that means not reducing your calorie intake below 1000 cals per day.
When you’re eating very little food, it’s obviously going to be much harder to keep your intake of essential vitamins and minerals at the right level. Not only this, you’re going to struggle to get the right balance of macronutrients too. How many times have you begun dieting just to find you’re suddenly extremely constipated or feeling lethargic all the time?
Lack of fiber will stop your bowels from functioning properly, and lack of essential nutrients such as iron will leave you feeling constantly drained. If you’re reducing your calorie intake, be sure to use a calorie tracking app which also records your vitamin and mineral intake – and be sure to check these each day so you can spot any potential deficiencies before they occur.
Gallstones are often symptomless, but occasionally, they can cause a huge amount of pain if they get stuck in a duct inside your gallbladder. Made up of cholesterol, gallstones are often present in obese people – and rapid weight loss can make them even more of an issue. Gallstone pain can be severe, and can last for anything from 1 hour right up to 6 or more hours. Just another good reason to consider losing weight more slowly (and keeping that excess weight off)!
Dizziness and nausea
Dizziness and nausea can become a problem for you if you lower your calorie intake too much, due to your blood sugar levels being unstable. Cutting out an entire food group such as carbs or fat can also have this effect – so be sure that no matter how much you want to lose your excess weight, you don’t fall below 1000 calories per day and ensure your diet is varied each day too.
Of course, this is always harder to do when you have very few calories to play with, which is another good reason to keep your calorie intake at a reasonable level.
The best way to calculate your weight loss per week is to use an average weight loss per week calculator. Luckily for you, we’ve got just the tool below for you to do just that:
Using the calculator above, it’s interesting to note than just a small decrease in daily calories can add up to a large effect on weight loss per week. Spend some time working out what is an acceptable amount of weight loss per week for you before you embark on your weight loss journey.
Calculating your TDEE
Again, calculating your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) is best done with the aid of a calculator built for the purpose. By taking into account your age, weight, sex and activity level, a calculator such as the one below gives a pretty accurate estimate of your individual TDEE.
PhenQ is an effective natural appetite suppressant that can help you to keep hunger pangs at bay whilst you reduce your daily calorie intake. This can make weight loss seem easier in the short term and can be especially helpful while your body begins to adapt to taking in fewer calories, especially at the beginning of a low-calorie diet.
Why not give it a try and see if it can help you on your weight loss journey? Take a look at the advantages of taking PhenQ here >