Let’s be real – once we decide to lose weight we want it off – fast. When we hear the recommended 1-2lbs per week, very rarely does someone say they’re going with the slower number. There’s just too much pain attached to the pounds we’re holding.
It’s true that the more body fat you currently have the faster you could potentially lose it. If you’re over 15% body fat for men or 25% for women you could lose weight at a pace of 1-1.5% of your body mass each week.
For a 200lb person that’s 2-3lbs/week. That’s exciting, but there are some big caveats at play.
For starters, if you currently maintain your weight on 2000 calories or less, you’d need to eat 1000 calories per day to lose 2lbs/week. That’s not exactly ideal.
More importantly, your psychology will be the limiting factor. If you have a poor relationship with food, exercise, or your body – then accelerated weight loss will tend to exacerbate these issues and create the dreaded yo-yo outcome (quick weight loss followed by rapid regain).
For this reason I view rate of weight loss as an outcome, which means I let it be a natural byproduct of working on improving psychological struggles. So if you have a good amount of weight you’d like to lose or you’ve struggled most of your life trying to lose it – you’re better off not strong-arming your weight loss pace.
For you, your pace will be determined by how well you’re able to overcome struggles like emotional eating, weekend or nighttime overeating, or even body image issues – not by where you arbitrarily set your calorie intake.
Once you overcome those inconsistencies your ideal body will be the natural outcome, and how fast you get there will be correlated to how well you tackle those struggles instead of trying to work around them via “band-aid behaviors”.
So if you fall into that lifetime weight loss struggle category, focus less on mathematical formulas and calorie calculators, and more on mindset and your relationships with food and body. You’ll have a much better chance of achieving transformation.