According to Google, safe weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week.
And heaven forbid you lose 5 pounds in a week.
Google didn’t ask me.
Excuse me, but I can gain 5 pounds in one weekend without even trying. With a bit of trying, I can lose it again in just a few more days. What world are these people living in where they can’t gain or lose 5 pounds in a week? They’re not even trying anymore. If we can personally debunk this in about 3 seconds, why is it constantly repeated as though it’s fact?
But it is listening to the “experts”.
I recently listened to a popular nutrition podcaster do a segment on how much weight it’s possible to lose in one month. She claimed that even 2 pounds per week is too fast, and it’s even better if you aim for 1-2 per month!
I feel sad for the people following this woman. That’s the opposite of encouraging. If you have 50 lbs to lose, she says you must work out vigorously for over 1 hour, 7 days a week, and cut back on calories, every single day, for over 2 years. That’s at least 761 days in a row. If that’s the best you have to hope for, you might as well just give up now. Very few people can or want to keep that regimen up. With this kind of advice from “expert” sources, it’s truly no wonder so many of us continue to get heavier and sicker.
Since Google refused to give me any defensible reason for the 2 pounds per week rule, I came to my own conclusions. I think the reasoning behind both the 2 pounds per week, and this new 2 pounds per month advice, is to keep people trying the same old things even though they aren’t getting results. This podcaster said she thinks most people gain their weight back because they lose it too fast. Who is she to decide how fast a person’s body should lose weight?
Dieting is the devil.
I certainly agree that diets don’t work and they tend to cause you to lose muscle and energy and other things that aren’t fat. And, yes, weight loss can sometimes be a slow process. And, certainly, you will feel miserable and not be able to detect progress and need all the outside encouragement you can get. These are the realities of dieting, because dieting, founded on false pretense and shaming, is misguided at best, and put more frankly, just plain wrong.
If you’re following a conventional restricted calorie or increased exercise diet plan, expect very few results and a lot of suffering. Conversely, if you’re eating correctly for your biology, creating and maintaining a healthy environment inside your body, expect to feel amazing and you might even lose weight at rates the “experts” would say aren’t possible.
Here are 2 defensible reasons why it’s totally fine to lose as much weight as you can as quickly as you can.
- Fat cells are meant to function as quick storage units. When people repeat this “fast weight loss is bad” bunkum, it’s like they don’t even understand what fat is. Fat cells are there for storage. They are meant to be used. So, it’s not harmful to use your fat stores. That is their entire purpose. In a healthy, lean person, any excess they eat is stored in fat cells immediately and then starts to be used immediately as soon as they stop eating. In an overweight person, there’s an imbalance in the body that’s preventing what’s gone into fat cells from coming back out. It has everything to do with hormones (mostly insulin and glucagon). Once you understand how to eat to bring those hormones into balance again, there is nothing preventing stored fat from being used. When everything is working right, what’s stored in fat cells is meant to flow in and out quickly. Google says humans don’t gain 5 pounds in a week. Of course we do, all the time. And we can lose it just as fast.
- Even people who lose weight slowly tend to gain it back. The speed of weight loss is not the issue. The issue is whether or not you can maintain the actions that improved your health and allowed your body to release those stored nutrients.
But, the experts…
The “experts” also understand that the measure of a lifestyle’s success is whether or not it can be maintained. That’s why they tell you not to expect to lose too much, because they know their advice is useless. They know that you won’t be getting very good results using the same tired tips and tricks like filling a quarter of your plate with whole grains. They want you to focus on the actions, not the results. Then, they hope you won’t notice the actions aren’t netting you any results. The problem is that most diets inevitably end in a plateau, after which we give up entirely and go back to eating whatever we want. To get around that, the experts are now telling us, don’t rethink your approach, just lower your expectations!
Your body is smart.
There are a lot of factors that can change your weight, but if you’re eating in a way that maintains a healthy hormonal environment in your body, then you have access to your stored nutrients (in your fat cells), and there’s no reason for your body to take from anywhere else to provide you with energy, or even to lower your metabolism, which is exactly why most people stop losing weight on calorie restrictive diets.
Losing or gaining weight is an indication that something has changed in the environment inside your body. If you have weight to lose, losing as much weight as you can is a good thing.
Now this isn’t to say that weight loss is easy or that it necessarily will all happen in a month. Even if it did, you wouldn’t be able to stop eating properly after the month was over. This is only to say that you don’t need to lower your expectations. Instead, raise them. Your body is smart. Trust that if you’re doing what’s right for it, it will respond well. If you’re not getting a positive response, maybe you’re not giving your body what it needs.
The Reframe Lifestyle does not focus on weight loss, but we believe that a normalizing weight is a by-product of improved overall health. If you’re interested in learning more about how to improve your relationship with the best health advisor around (your body), click the link to come join our growing community of Reframers on Mighty Networks!
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“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”