Healthy weight loss is a very abstract term for dieters. This is because every dieter wants to lose weight healthily but very few really understand or know what it is. Try asking a dieter what it means and you will probably get some blank stares. Without a proper understanding of the concept, dieters are struggling with what healthy weight loss per week should be.
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Defining healthy weight loss
The goal of any weight loss initiative is to lose body fat. Healthy weight loss is when all of your weight loss results from losing fat. This is the ideal condition but is seldom the case. Most of the time, there is some amount of muscle and water loss. Muscle loss is detrimental to long-term sustainability as it adversely affects your metabolism and hormonal balance.
Dieters need to firmly understand the difference between weight loss and fat loss to achieve sustainable and healthy weight loss.
Your body’s fat burning ability
Your body burns fat in tiny power plants in the cell called mitochondria. Fat is transported to the mitochondria where it is metabolized into energy. The number of mitochondria in the body are physically limited. Your fat burning rate is obviously limited by the physical quantity of mitochondria in your body.
The body can generate more mitochondria if it recognizes that it needs more energy. This happens over time and can often be stimulated by exercising. Aerobic activity is one way to increase mitochondria density in your cells.
Healthy fat loss per week
The American College of Sports Medicine advocates 2 to 3 pounds of fat loss per week. Most experts will also agree that your body cannot burn more than this in a week. This is the determining factor of healthy weight loss per week. The exact fat burning rate may vary according to your body size and activity limit but it will not be very far from this number. As you can see, the physical quantity and efficiency of the mitochondria in your body will ultimately decide on the fat burning rate. This is also what ultimately decides the healthy weight loss per week.
Some obese people can lose fat equivalent to 1 % of their body weight. Unless one is 300 pounds and more, this too does not far exceed the 3 pound fat loss limit per week.
What happens during healthy weight loss
Healthy weight loss requires a holistic approach. As this holistic approach should include regular exercise, dieters tend to not only lose fat but also build muscles. Losing fat and building muscles is one of the main characteristics of healthy weight loss. Dieters especially women, should not be intimidated as the body builds more muscle. This additional muscle is what gives women the coveted hourglass shape and men the V-shaped torso.
What is healthy weight loss per week
As mentioned earlier, healthy weight loss constitutes the process of losing fat and building muscles. This process happens simultaneously. As such, there could be times when there is only a small weight loss even though there is a large fat loss. This could happen when the weight attributed to fat loss is compensated by the weight of new muscles.
In some instances, there could also be no weight loss or even a slight weight gain. This is most prominent in people who have not exercised. Dieters do not have to be intimidated by this occurrence as it mostly happens in the early phases of healthy weight loss.
The point is that there is really no way of knowing what is healthy weight loss per week. If you are experiencing healthy weight loss, you will be losing fat and muscle. If you are losing fat and muscle, you cannot reliably measure the rate of weight loss.
Read this article to get a more in-depth understanding about weight loss, fat loss and muscle loss.
Measure the rate of fat loss
Healthy weight loss cannot be measured. You know that you are experiencing healthy weight loss if your body fat percentage is reducing. As such, you should be measuring body fat loss instead of weight loss. As long as you are dropping body fat, you are getting healthy weight loss.
You can measure and track body fat loss by using a body-fat caliper. Read this article about how you can take effective fat loss measurements.
Healthy weight loss is pure fat loss
Focus all your efforts on getting pure fat loss. You must make sure that you lose minimum muscle or water. You could achieve this by following the 7 keys of correct weight loss. This is a holistic approach to losing weight and if you follow the recommended steps, you should be getting effortless weight loss.
In summary, you have to make sure that all of your weight loss is resulting from fat loss. If this is indeed the case, you can only lose up to a maximum of 2 to 3 pounds in a given week. This is also the answer to the proverbial question of what is healthy weight loss per week.