McFarland Clinic

Expert Answer: What’s a safe amount of weight to lose on a weekly basis?

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April 17, 2012

This week's Expert Answer is from Nancy Schive, dietitian for McFarland Clinic in Marshalltown, IA.

 

What’s a safe amount of weight to lose on a weekly basis?

I prefer to set weight loss goals such that a person can achieve a healthy weight rather than an ideal weight based on a chart.  Weight loss goals must be realistic and reasonable as well.  There is a great deal of scientific evidence now pointing to the health benefits of even modest weight loss (5-10% loss in body weight).  High blood pressure, diabetes, elevated lipids,  sleep disturbances and other medical problems have shown improvement with these modest changes.  This healthier weight can make a person feel better, have more energy and reduce their risk of health complications. 

This all being said, I generally recommend no more than one to two pounds weight loss per week.  Losing weight too quickly will not necessarily yield the long-term health benefits.  Nutritional adequacy of the diet is usually compromised in quick weight loss diet plans. Additionally, it is more difficult to maintain rapid weight loss, as many times, a person's eating and exercise habits have not been addressed and/or changed.  That means when the "diet" is done, old habits usually reappear, and weight increases over time.

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