The Independent Pharmacy

How Much Weight Is It Safe To Lose In A Month

Daniel Hurley
Daniel HurleyMPharm IPPharmacist Independent Prescriber

Reviewed on 11 Oct 2023

Losing weight can be difficult, yet incredibly rewarding. And once you decide to embark on the journey, it’s only natural to have big expectations. But if you want to make your efforts successful, you need to have realistic goals.

Based on the information from NHS, it is healthy to lose 1-2 pounds per week, which equals to 4-8 pounds per month.

However, you need to remember that everyone is different and the amount and speed of your weight loss depends on many factors.

So, don’t be discouraged if you don’t see much difference in the first few weeks. It’s the commitment and dedication that will help you to reach your goals in the end.

How Much Weight Can You Lose in a Month?

When embarking on a weight loss journey, many people want to set goals for how much weight they can lose in a certain timeframe. A common question is: how much can I healthily lose in one month?

According to many health experts, a safe and sustainable rate of weight loss is about 1-2 pounds per week. Losing weight any faster than this can be detrimental and set you up for potential health risks or regaining the weight later.

Following the 1-2 pound per week guideline, most people can expect to lose 4-8 pounds within one month. That might not seem like a lot, but it can equal 0.5-1% of your body weight if you weigh 200 pounds.

The amount of weight loss can be different for everyone. However, losing 4-8 pounds per month is often a realistic goal when adopting an improved diet and increased exercise.

The Basics of Weight Loss: Calories, Exercise, and Balance

The way weight loss is achieved is the same for everyone. For it to become a reality, an individual must create something known as a calorie deficit, which essentially means you are burning more calories than taking in calories.

Actually creating this calorie deficit can prove to be quite a challenge. Firstly, consider what your weight loss goals are, and try to find the perfect balance between what you consume and what you do each day to try and burn. You will likely know that one of the most popular ways to burn calories is through an increased level of physical activity, most commonly in the form of dedicated exercise, but how can that actually be done?

There are many different examples of exercise, from daily walks to dedicated strength training. It’s all about coming up with a workout plan that works for you, no matter what your level of fitness is. It’s important that you remember that you still need to eat and drink well at the same time, so that you can maximise your potential benefits.

We know it can be tough to stick to a new routine, but if you stay consistent and dedicated, these healthy habits will become a natural part of your daily life. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey, and with a little bit of patience and perseverance, you can achieve your goals.

Factors That Influence Your Weight Loss Progress

Navigating all the factors on your own can be confusing. So, you should discuss your weight loss goals with a medical professional. With the insight into your health condition, they will be able to help you set goals that are achievable and respond to your needs.

You may see a larger monthly deficit early on compared to someone with less excess body weight if you have a lot of weight to lose. Older adults also tend to lose weight slower than younger people.

Your lifestyle and daily habits play a big role too. Even your job and activity outside work can impact your calorie burn. Those who have an office job will burn a different amount of calories than those in an active occupation. Stress, sleep, genetics, and other influences also affect metabolism and appetite regulation.

Certain medical conditions and medications may slow weight loss or make it more difficult. Conditions like thyroid disorders, PCOS, and diabetes can disrupt hormonal signals your body involves in weight regulation.

Given all these factors, discuss your weight loss plans with a doctor to set tailored calorie, exercise, and lifestyle goals. They can help you determine a healthy rate of loss and address any barriers.

The Dangers of Rapid Weight Loss

With so many fad diets promising dramatic results fast, it can be tempting to try losing weight rapidly. It’s understandable to desire quick results, yet losing weight too rapidly can bring significant health risks. It’s a journey that requires patience and self-compassion.

Cutting calories drastically often backfires as it becomes impossible to get adequate protein, vitamins and minerals needed for energy and muscle maintenance. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, gallstones, arrhythmias and even osteoporosis over time.

Very low-calorie diets also slow your metabolic rate as the body tries to conserve energy. This makes it harder to keep weight off once normal eating resumes. Cravings and binge eating episodes are also common.

Rapid weight loss can be hard on the heart, kidneys and other organs as well. Dehydration is a frequent side effect which reduces athletic performance and focus. Immunity also suffers, making you prone to illnesses.

For sustainable results without endangering your health, experts recommend losing no more than 1-2 pounds per week. This allows you to build healthy habits over time without overwhelming your body’s systems.

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Tips for Sustainable Weight Loss

Embarking on a gentle, sustainable weight loss journey requires a loving commitment to oneself and a holistic approach. Here are some evidence-based tips to help:

  • Focus on a balanced, nutrient-rich diet full of whole foods like vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats. Limit processed items, sugar and saturated fats.
  • Incorporate exercise you enjoy, like brisk walking, swimming, cycling or dancing for at least 150 minutes per week. Add in strength training 2-3 days per week too.
  • Drink plenty of water and get enough sleep to support metabolism and appetite regulation. Manage stress with techniques like yoga, meditation and deep breathing.
  • Set realistic goals of losing 1-2 pounds weekly rather than large, rapid targets. Adjust your plan as needed based on your progress.
  • Monitor your weight, body measurements and how you feel to assess what’s working. Tweak your calories and activity to aid your rate of loss.
  • Consider prescription medications we have available at the Independent Pharmacy, such as orlistat (also known under the brand Xenical or an over-the-counter option Alli), under medical supervision, if appropriate. These can aid weight loss but also have potential side effects to discuss with your provider.
  • Surround yourself with a strong support system to help you deal with challenges. Consider working with a dietitian, trainer or weight loss program.

With the right tools and outlook, you can lose weight sustainably and successfully!

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How to Track Your Weight Loss Progress

Monitoring your weight loss journey through consistent tracking is crucial for staying motivated and making adjustments as needed to keep losing weight at a healthy rate. Here are some tips:

  • Weigh yourself at the same time daily or at least weekly to track pounds lost. Use an accurate digital scale and take an average for the week to measure your rate of weight loss.
  • Take body measurements with a tape measure around your waist, hips, chest, arms and thighs monthly or every couple of weeks. Compare to see changes in body composition.
  • Assess how your strength, endurance and energy levels are progressing through exercise tracking. Improving fitness indicates positive muscle and metabolism changes.
  • Monitor how your clothes are fitting. Loosening belts, better zipping up dresses and getting compliments show your improved body shape.
  • Use a food journal, calorie tracking app or spreadsheet to log calories consumed, protein intake, fibre and nutrients. Identify eating patterns that aid weight loss.
  • Note lifestyle factors like sleep quality, stress levels, hydration and more. Improving health habits supports weight goals.

Consistent tracking of weight, measurements, diet, exercise and other metrics provides insight so you can celebrate successes and modify areas as needed on your sustainable weight loss journey.

Your Next Steps

Embarking on your weight loss journey is an empowering first step. To set yourself up for sustainable success:

  • Discuss your goals and plans with a healthcare provider to get personalised medical advice.
  • Reflect on your deeper motivations beyond the number on the scale. Focus on holistic wellness goals.
  • Research evidence-based programs and resources that fit your needs and lifestyle. Ask friends for recommendations.
  • Start shifting your mindset toward lifelong healthy eating and activity habits. Small changes lead to big progress.
  • Explore The Independent Pharmacy website for more weight loss tips, tools and inspiration from experts to support your journey.

You’ve got this! With preparation and support, you can achieve your weight goals in a healthy, sustainable way. The first step is believing in yourself and your ability to create positive change.

Frequently Asked Questions

Starting a weight loss plan brings many common questions. Here are answers to some often asked:

Is it possible to lose a stone in a month?

Losing a stone (14 pounds) in a month is very ambitious and generally not advisable. A safer, sustainable goal would be 4-8 pounds monthly through an improved diet and increased activity. Rushing weight loss risks health consequences. Focus on incremental changes that fuel big progress long-term.

What is a realistic weight to lose in a month?

Most experts recommend aiming for 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week, which equates to roughly 4-8 pounds in a month. Those with more excess weight may see slightly faster loss initially. The key is losing at a gradual rate through calorie deficit rather than drastic measures.

Is it possible to lose 5 kg in a month?

Losing 5 kg (11 pounds) could be possible but challenging. It requires consistent effort through an approximately 500-750 calorie daily deficit from reduced eating and increased exercise. As long as you are losing weight safely and sustainably without extreme dieting, a 5 kg monthly loss may be reasonable for some.

Can I lose 20 pounds in a month?

Trying to lose 20 pounds in one month is extremely difficult and inadvisable. You would need an extreme calorie deficit, which risks health, muscle loss, and burnout. Focus on incremental loss by following expert guidelines of 1-2 pounds weekly for more achievable, sustainable results.

Does drinking water help you lose weight?

Water helps weight loss by controlling appetite, temporarily increasing metabolism, flushing out waste and preventing water retention. However, results require overall calorie deficit through diet and exercise.

How do celebrities drop weight fast?

Celebrities often use very low-calorie diets, intense exercise regimes, prescription medications and even surgeries for rapid weight loss before events. However, these measures are generally unrealistic and unsafe for everyday people.

Conclusion

The weight loss journey is about more than just a number on the scale. It's about improving your overall health and well-being. Even though it doesn’t seem like a lot, losing 1-2 pounds per week can make a big difference over months and years.

A healthier, happier future is within reach. All you need to do is to take the first step. Believe in yourself and ask for help when you're struggling. You are not alone on this journey. Every effort you make is a testament to your resilience. You’ve got this!

Sources:

How to lose weight safely - Food and nutrition | NHS inform

Burning calories without exercise - Harvard Health

The impact of lifestyle counselling on weight management and quality of life among working-age females - PMC (nih.gov)

Reducing Calorie Intake May Not Help You Lose Body Weight - PMC (nih.gov)

Public knowledge of dehydration and fluid intake practices: variation by participants’ characteristics - PMC (nih.gov)

How to eat a balanced diet - NHS (www.nhs.uk)

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