Weight loss goals can drive just about anyone crazy. When we want to lose weight, we want to lose it right now, not months or even years down the road. Unfortunately, striving for too-rapid weight loss isn't always healthy or realistic.
Our desire for instant gratification can lead us to consider unhealthy ways of reaching our weight loss goals, such as fad diets that deprive our bodies of the calories and nutrients we need for normal, healthy body function. Healthy weight loss goals don’t put the body at risk. Instead, they allow for the gradual shedding of pounds and consumption of a balanced diet.
Sometimes our goals for our physical appearance are unrealistic as well. Sure, some people may be able to shed enough weight to fit into the jeans they wore in high school. For others, however, this goal is unrealistic and simply sets us up for continual disappointment. The same goes for considering models in swimsuit magazines as the physical ideal. Each person’s normal body structure and shape is different. Having a weight loss goal that fits your body type is far healthier than trying to look like someone else. Additionally, keep in mind that it’s better to reach a healthy body weight and feel good about yourself than it is to be super thin.
Too-Rapid Weight Loss
If you are trying to lose several pounds per week, your weight loss goals are both unhealthy and unrealistic. There are diets that claim to help dieters lose 10 lbs. in two weeks. Some even claim to help them lose 10 lbs. in a single week. Be wary of these diets. They typically involve practically starving yourself and may cause you to land in a hospital rather than in smaller jeans. Furthermore, much of what you’d lose on such a diet would be water weight and muscle. You’re likely to just regain the weight once the diet ends.
Realistic Weight Loss Goals
If you’re aiming for weight loss of one to two lbs. per week, you’re on the right track. To achieve this amount of weight loss, opt for a low-calorie diet and at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. If you can burn an extra 500 to 1,000 calories per day, you can achieve this amount of weight loss. This means you could end up losing eight pounds in one month, 16 pounds in two months and close to 50 pounds over a six-month period.
If you exercise enough to burn 233 calories each day and stick to a 2,000-calorie diet, you can lose about two lbs. per month. If you reduce your caloric intake by 233 calories per day and exercise enough to burn an additional 233 calories, you now have a calorie deficit of 466 calories per day and the potential to lose about 4 lbs. in a single month. Reduce your caloric intake by 500 calories per day and exercise to burn 500 more, and you could even lose eight lbs. in a single month.