This is a tricky question. On the one hand, it can mean: “How much weight is too much to lose per month and how do I know if I’m losing enough or I’m overdoing it?”
On the other hand, it can mean: “How much weight is too much to lose in total and it is not healthy for me to lose that much?”
I’ll answer both and I will also tell you about a blind spot that goes beyond this question… but very few people know to about it.
And, this blind spot is the reason why most people only lose weight temporarily but can’t keep it off long-term.
“How much weight is too much to lose per month?”
The safest weight loss rate is 2 Lbs a week or 8–10 Lbs a month.
More than 8=10 Lbs a month can mean that you are cutting calories too drastically (crash diet), which will get you stuck soon.
The reason: your body will slow down your metabolism to “protect your survival”.
Less than 8=10 Lbs a month can mean that you aren’t consuming fewer calories total than what you need to maintain your weight.
In other words, you are not in a calorie deficit - which is the only reason why we lose weight.
A couple of things to keep in mind:
1) Do NOT do crash diets (ex.: 500 Cal/day) because this will slow down your metabolism long-term. Google “the biggest loser study” for more info on this.
2) When you start a weight loss plan, it may take several weeks before you start seeing any results. It takes time for the body to shift gears and start using fat as a fuel source.
Most people expect results almost immediately. And, when they don’t see them they get discouraged, disappointed, disheartened, and end up giving up.
So, know that you are doing the right thing and be patient.
“How much weight is too much to lose in total?”
You will hear all kinds of different opinions on this. And, that’s fine. What I’ll tell you is what I’ve personally found to be the best measuring stick.
It’s called Ideal Body Weight (IBW). All you need is your gender and your height.
You can find free IBW tables on the internet. There are also tons of free calculators. I even have a free calculator on my website here.
One thing to keep in mind: Some people are naturally more muscular, some are less. For the more muscular type (especially for someone who has trained in a gym for some time) the IBW numbers will show a bit less. So, they should keep that in mind and adjust upwards a bit.
For example, I am in great shape and very lean. I hardly have any fat on my body. My Ideal Body Weight is 148 Lbs. I weigh 155 Lbs - and that’s normal and healthy for me.
The Blind Spot
Most people who want to lose weight do that by dieting. Dieting doesn’t work as it gets people stuck and ultimately causes a yo-yo effect (lose some, gain some, repeat).
The reason for that is what scientists call the Fat Mass Setpoint or Settling Point. It’s basically a body fat thermostat in the brain.
Its job is to protect you from losing weight (In the old times that meant survival. The problem is we still have ancient brains that work that way.)
What really works is not dieting but eating fewer calories while tricking the brain that we are not dieting. The best way to do that - and it’s what I personally use - is Intermittent Fasting (IF).
IF alternates fast periods with normal eating periods. The sum effect is that over the course of a week we still consume fewer calories (calorie deficit) while the brain “thinks” we aren’t dieting.
It simply works.
But, the biggest reason why I mention this is that for a long-term successful weight loss we must “reset” that body fat thermostat, which in overweight people is set higher (the brain defends higher fat levels in the body).
And, the only way to do that is to lose weight without getting that body fat thermostat to kick in and slow down the metabolism (which happens with dieting).
So, that really is the bigger issue: Not only how do we lose weight and how much is safe to lose, but how do we keep the results long-term, how do we stay in shape permanently.
This is how:
1) Drop the excess weight at a safe rate without dieting but rather by causing a calorie deficit without the brain figuring this out, and
2) Reset your body fat thermostat by maintaining this new normal weight for a while to give time for the brain to lower the Fat Mass Setpoint.
I hope this answers your original question. If it was helpful please share it with others who might find this info useful.
Cheers ~ Ivan
I help you get rock solid abs, skyrocket your confidence and self-esteem. Then take your body to the next level of physical performance, and in the process - discover your true Power and become Unstoppable. My community: "BODY MASTERY PROJECT"