‘Lose 7lb in 7 days’. ‘Drop a dress size in a fortnight’. We all know the tempting promises, but sadly they don’t stand up long term.
What weight should we aim for, and what is a sensible and realistic rate of loss?
The good old bathroom scales are the traditional way to keep an eye on weight. They cannot show if that weight is right for us, which is a reason to move beyond the scales.
Body mass index relates weight to height, with the important point that the correct weight is a range rather than an absolute figure. However modern thinking is that the crucial measurement is waist circumference. Too much fat round the waist is a risk to health as well as to appearance.
For those in normal health, it really is a matter of calories in versus calories out. Exercise certainly helps (not least because most of us don’t eat while we exercise) but it is almost impossible to out-exercise a poor diet due to our efficient bodies.
As a guide, moderate activity uses around 300 calories per hour. Vigorous activity such as running, cycling, or swimming uses around 500 calories per hour.
Studies and experience have repeatedly shown that there is no quick fix. Rapid weight loss almost always results in the weight being regained again.
A good target is a weekly loss of half to one kilogram, which equates to using 500 more calories per day than you take in. This needs a combination of regular exercise and planned sensible eating.
The good news is that there are plenty of tasty foods that won’t destroy your calorie allowance. Whether it is a healthy office lunch , a simple evening meal or some good seasonal veg, losing weight need not mean depriving yourself of taste.
Don’t be downhearted if you have weight to lose. Stick to a realistic plan and look at the scales again in a few months for a pleasant surprise.
believe me, your trouser belt tells the truth even if the scales don't. Tight buttons mean time to take action. The good news is that it doesn't take much weight loss to loosen things off, so perhaps a realistic measure is a 'belt hole every month'?
I would say ditch the scales completely and just rely on how you feel, and measure your waist.
while I was never the old 'seven stone weakling' I actually weigh more since I started training properly. That's fine, I feel better, am stronger and fitter.
I believe that if you eat a wholefoods diet with no processed food and exercise regularly, properly, then you will stabilise at the weight that's right for you within a few months anyway,.
I don't own scales and it's never worried me how much I weigh, it's more about how I feel. That's good to know about the waist/height measurement though.
aha - is that how you tell? Love it! it is quite scary how much calorie deficit is needed to lose even a pound or two - but as the article says, it is the way things are.
1lb a week is sensible and sustainable... until you've lost enough and then you plateau. That's when you know you've found your ideal weight!