If you consult any doctor or health magazine they will always cite “2lbs a week” as the healthy guidelines for weight loss.*
And yes, research has shown that weight loss of any more than 2 lbs a week over a sustained period is likely to lead to a reduction in lean muscle tissue AS WELL as body fat.*
However, is the ‘2lbs a week’ the right approach? My view is it’s DANGEROUS advice, and here’s why..
My problem? It simply doesn’t reflect the average weight loss journey. Whilst it is clear that guidelines are seeking a ‘one size fits all’ rule, generalisation can often be a bad thing.**
In my experience this generalisation leads to confusion, demotivation, and panic dieting and as a consequence is DANGEROUS to the success of your weight loss regime.
When you first start on a some diets, especially low carbohydrate diets such as Paleo, Dukan, and our own Thrive 21, you are likely to lose far more than 2lb’s in your first week.*
This is primarily because these diets cause rapid depletion of the bodies glycogen stores (the stored and most readily accessible energy in the muscles and liver).*
This means that you will drop weight FAST!*
Bearing in mind ‘weight’ includes muscle mass, fat and water, a large amount of this weight loss will be water. Glycogen requires water in order for it to be stored by the body as energy: a lot of water – nearly 3 grams of water for every gram of glycogen!*
So on the first day of dieting, if you have created a calorie deficit of say 100 grams of glycogen (400 calories) you are going to see a 400 gram weight loss! That’s nearly 1lb in just a day!!!!*
What’s even better is that your body has around 1100 grams of this easy to use glycogen to burn up before you even START burning fat!*
THAT”S NEARLY 10lb’s OF WEIGHT LOSS WITHOUT ANY FAT BEING BURNT!!!!!*
If you are aiming for 2lb’s a week and you lose 8lb’s in your first week how are you going to feel?
You may be anxious at the large weight loss but most likely you’ll feel delighted!!!
Government guidelines TOTALLY IGNORE this temporary acceleration and hence will leave you questioning why you lost 6lbs more than was recommended. Clearly you are just much better at this weight loss thing than the Government give you credit…
But wait, once you have got through the first week the guidelines start to do the opposite – They demotivate you.
Having been AHEAD of the government guidelines for the first week you are now likely to be DEMOTIVATED by them in the second week.
Assuming you have burnt off all your glycogen in the first week (it will probably take 2/3 weeks in reality) *you will now move into the more densely packed FAT stores! This is the stuff you really want to shift if you want to look great!
The trouble is FAT is immensely calorie dense. In fact you can pack 9 calories into a single gram and it doesn’t need any water to store it!
Therefore creating the same calorie deficit you created in the first week will now lead to a measly 1/3 kg (1/2 lb) weight loss!
Exactly the same work that created 8lb’s weight loss in the first week now creates 1/2 lb weight loss in the second week!
How demotivating is that!
So what do you do?
Having fallen behind the government guidelines you now panic and start eating less and doing even more exercise!*
This leads to an increase in the stress hormone cortisol and SLOWS DOWN the burning of fat. (Cortisol is a hormone linked to the preservation of fat stores)*
Your weight plateaus and you give up….
You eat a big piece of Birthday cake and wolf down three bowls of cereal (thus replenishing your body’s glycogen stores) and your body regains the 9lb’s you taken three weeks to lose in about 24 hours.
So what is the best course of action?
IGNORE THE GOVERNMENT GUIDELINE ON WEIGHT LOSS FOR AT LEAST A MONTH**
2lb’s a week is a healthy (and ambitious) rate of fat loss AFTER the body has got rid of glycogen stores in the first month of dieting.
MEASURE & PHOTO yourself during the first few weeks of dieting so you can see progress but please STAY AWAY from the scales.
They will merely confuse you, demotivate you and eventually lead you to panic.
*Results may vary for each individual
** While every caution has been taken to provide my readers with most accurate information and honest analysis, please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this blog. Author will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.