Physical Health, Tips & Techniques, Wellness / Self-Care

Is there a safe number of pounds to lose in a given month?

Hint: It varies.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Apr 3, 2022

If you’ve been following us for a while, you’ve probably noticed I am on a bit of a weight loss journey. To catch you up, prior to the world reopening up again in the summer of 2021, I began practicing bad health habits and gained a significant amount of weight. Perfect timing I know, as mask mandates were just starting to lift.

 

So, since about August 2021, I’ve been trying to get serious about losing excess weight on me. Like many, weight loss is my ultimate goal. But first and foremost, I want to do it safely. Unfortunately, weight loss that is too fast or too extreme can actually do more harm than good, both physically and mentally.

 

Instead, it’s better to clean up your diet (hello, green train), add in some physical activity, and focus on getting a good amount of sleep in order to have sustainable weight loss. With wedding season on the horizon, and all 2021 events that were cancelled and postponed to this year, I have very large goals. But what I keep coming back to is if my timeline is realistic. And more importantly, how much weight can I safely lose in a month? How much is actually healthy?

 

As it turns out, the amount of weight you can safely lose in a month is unique to each person. Some people might start at a higher number and drop more weight initially than another person. Translation, the more weight someone has to lose, the more they can lose in a given month. So, it’s best not to compare. With that, there are some rules and loose guidelines that you can stay close to. To discover the 411 on how to healthily loose weight every month (in a sustainable way, of course), here’s a guide.

 

Stop dieting. Period.

First and foremost, please let go of the fact that you must diet in order to lose weight. Diets don’t set you up for success. Either you end up cheating and feeling guilty, or you lose all the weight, then gain it back once you go back to your normal lifestyle. Or, you grow tired of the diet and start to feel suffocated. Dieting is a totally wrong mindset for your food intake and weight. They are nothing but quick fixes. Not to mention, extreme and restrictive.

 

And don’t get us wrong, you can lose a significant amount of weight on a diet if you have the discipline, but they aren’t the most sustainable practice. Most of the time, if you stop following a diet, you will gain the weight back, then look for another diet to follow. Basically, it’s an unsustainable cycle that can repeat for years. Just don’t.

 

Fine, what should I do instead?

Good question. You want to find a practice and habit that you enjoy, and can seamlessly fit it into your lifestyle. This is the only weight loss tactic to ever follow. It should allow you to maintain habits for long-term success, and considers the occasional indulgence, but isn’t restrictive with the overall goal and better health. Of course, you might not get there as quickly as you want, but you’ll get there safely.

 

The best things to do are below.

Set your eye on nutrition.

Make sure your meals are rich in whole foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean proteins and fats. Try your best to avoid processed food when you can, and portion control if you’d like.

 

Next, practice mindfulness.

You can food journal if it makes it easier for you to see your process on paper and hold yourself accountable. Or, you can make a mental note. Also, don’t give into cold turkey. We repeat, nothing will ever work if you have an all-or-nothing mentality.

 

Lastly, be consistent.

Like many things achievable in this life, consistency is key. Stick to whatever healthy lifestyle you decide. And, if you fall off track, don’t be too rude to yourself—just get back on it the following meal.

 

Okay, so how much weight can I loose?

Again, this will totally vary based on how much weight you have to lose, but generally, most guidelines state between 0.5 to 2 pounds (or 1 to 2%) of total body weight per week. If you plan to lose a large portion of weight, go about things slowly, and aim to lose less per month over a longer time frame (more than 6 months). Of course, if you’re concerned about how to tackle your weight loss, you can speak to a medical professional or dietician, who can come up with a plan tailored specifically to your needs.

It’s important to mention that plateaus will occur. Some weeks, you’ll stay the same, or even gain weight. Please remember that the scale does not have the final say. If you are feeling stronger, have more energy, and notice toner muscles—you’re still on the right path. Most scales don’t show the total amount of fat, lean muscles and other factors that could cause the number to increase. Basically, don’t get discouraged and keep it up.

 

Here’s some nutrition apps that can help you along your journey. Good luck!