If you're like many of us, you've probably wondered before just how much weight you can actually lose in a month. In fact, it's one of the most common questions we get here at Dioxyme.
That's why we've decided to put together this complete overview to answer any questions you may have about the overall process. From understanding what a realistic and sustainable monthly weight loss target is to develop a solid long-term strategy, we're going over everything you need to know.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, however, let's first talk about why traditional dieting plans don't end up working out for most people in the long run.
Why Dieting Often Doesn’t Work
When it comes to losing weight, there are ultimately many different reasons why it can be difficult to see the kind of progress you’re after, however, one of the most common is that your dieting routine is not set up for long-term success.
The unfortunate reality is that many low-calorie weight-loss diets are simply hard to follow because they drastically restrict your calories and/or the kinds of food that you can eat.
Sure, maybe you can lose 10+ pounds in the first couple of weeks by eating next to nothing and working out all the time, but most people end up just putting it right back on when they’re not able to keep up with such an extreme routine.
And on top of making it difficult to stick with the long run, many diets with extreme restrictions also end up depriving your body of important nutrients, which can ultimately lead to a whole host of health problems over time.
Losing Weight the Healthy Way
So in order to see weight loss results that can be healthily sustained for several months or longer, you’ll ultimately need to find dieting practices that you can actually stick with.
First and foremost, that means avoiding extreme low-calorie diets in favor of an eating routine that only moderately reduces your calorie intake; if you’re just struggling with hunger and cravings every day, it’s only going to be a matter of time before your progress comes to a standstill.
True, you will need to create a calorie deficit in your diet in order to lose weight but that deficit doesn’t have to be extreme in order to see results. In fact, research shows that a 20% - 40% deficit (meaning you’re taking in twenty to forty percent fewer calories than your body needs) is more than enough to see steady, consistent weight loss.
On top of being far easier to stick within the long term, it's always a better way to assure that you're not depriving your body of vital nutrients, especially when you’re eating the right kinds of foods.
Remember, the goal is not just to lose a lot of weight in the beginning, you want to be able to continue to lose weight until you reach your goal, and then once you’re there, you want to be able to actually keep it off.
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How Much Weight Can You Lose In A Month?
Ok so then how much weight can you lose in a month if you’re following a healthy diet set up for long-term success?
Though results can vary from person to person (due to a number of different factors), “a healthy and sustainable weight loss target is 1 -2 pounds a week or 4-8 pounds a month”, says Dr. Schneider, a practicing physician, and co-founder here at Dioxyme.
While that may not seem like a whopping number, it’s ultimately something that can be manageably sustained for a long period of time, and your progress can really start to add up after stringing a few months together.
One of the main issues with extreme low-calorie approaches like crash dieting is that they can wreak havoc on your metabolism, so while you might end up losing 10 or even 20 pounds over the course of the first month or so, your progress will stall out soon after.
That’s because when you drastically restrict your calorie intake (like with crash dieting), your body turns to itself to make up for the energy that you cut out of your diet. When you only take in something like 500 calories a day, your body starts to turn to muscle mass -- not just stored fat -- to meet its energy needs.
The issue is that the more you decrease your muscle mass, the fewer calories your body ends up burning, which can make it more and more difficult to lose weight as your body’s calories needs continue to decrease. At the end of the day, it’s the main reason that most people who crash diet wind up putting any weight they lost right back on within a few months.
Tips For Long-Term Weight Loss Success
There are also sorts of different strategies at your disposal when it comes to setting yourself up for long-term weight loss success. And from finding the right eating routine to developing a workout plan that’s both rewarding and easy to stick with, here are a few tips and tricks you can use to make your weight loss goals a reality.
Intermittent fasting can help you naturally reduce your daily calorie intake (without actually apply any kind of rigorous restriction to your diet), which makes it an ideal eating routine for long-term weight loss success. And at the same, it can also help to assure that your metabolism doesn’t pay the price while you’re losing weight, which is another added bonus.
For example, a number of weight-loss trials involving intermittent fasting have shown that it can be just as effective as any traditional low-calorie diet when it comes to producing significant weight loss outcomes. (1)(2)(3)
And better yet, what makes it particularly attractive for long-term weight loss, is that research also shows that intermittent fasting helps to preserve more lean muscle mass and burn up more fat compared to extreme low-calorie crash diets.(4)(5)
Consume Plenty of Protein Every Day
When it comes to keeping your hunger in check, which is key for long-term weight loss success, increasing your daily protein intake can do wonders. Research shows that compared to either carbs or fat, protein is more satiating calorie for calorie.(6)
For example, in one three-month weight-loss study, subjects who followed a high-protein diet (30+% of their total daily calories came from protein) reported feeling significantly more satiated in the minutes and hours after they ate compared to subjects who consumed less protein and more fat in (18% and 45% total daily calories respectively).(7)
And not only does the research suggest that dieters tend to have fewer issues with hunger with an increased protein intake, but they also, on average, end up losing more weight in the long term because of it.(8)(9)(10)
Find an Exercise Routine You Can Stick With Long-Term
Exercise can also be a powerful tool to have in your arsenal when it comes to seeing long-term weight loss success, however, not only do you have to be doing things that are effective in your workout routine, but you also have to find a routine that isn’t too boring or otherwise difficult to get motivated for.
Ultimately, traditional steady-state exercises like walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes can get pretty monotonous over time. If that’s all you’re doing week after week, it may get pretty hard to keep up with, especially if you start dreading your workouts.
However, following a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) program can be an easy and effective way to keep your workout fresh and exciting. And on top of that, you can get a full HIIT workout done in half the time while still burning the same amount of calories.(11)
The general consensus amongst experts is that 1 - 2 pounds a week or 4 - 8 pounds a month is a safe and attainable weight loss target for most people.
While you may be able to lose more than that at first with extreme low-calorie crash diets, you’re far more likely to end up putting it right back on in the weeks and months to follow.
On top of making it difficult to keep your hunger and cravings in check, crash diets can also wreak havoc on your metabolism, which at the end of the day, can make it much more difficult to see long-term weight loss.
Instead of drastically reducing your calorie intake, intermittent fasting can be an easy and effective way to see more sustainable weight loss results over the course of multiple months. And better yet, it can also help to preserve your metabolism and lean muscle mass.
On top of that, increasing your daily protein intake is another tried and true way to reduce your overall hunger and daily calorie intake without applying any kind of formal restrictions to your calorie intake.
On the exercise side of the spectrum, finding a workout routine that you actually enjoy and can stick with in the long term is also important. HIIT can be an effective replacement for more monotonous exercises like walking on a treadmill. On top of taking as little as half the time, you can also switch up your HIIT routine more consistently, which can keep things stay fresh and keep you motivated.
- “Effect of intermittent versus continuous energy restriction on weight loss, maintenance and cardiometabolic risk: A randomized 1-year trial.”Sundfor, T.M., Svendesen, M., Tonstad, S. Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Disease. Jul. 2018.
- “Do intermittent diets provide physiological benefits over continuous diets for weight loss? A systematic review of clinical trials.” Seimon, R., Roekenes, J.A., Zibellini, J., Zhu, B., Gibson, A.A., Hills, A.P., Wood, R.E., King, N.A., Byrne, N.M., Sainsbury, A. Mollecular and Cellular Endocrinology. Dec. 2015.
- “Intermittent energy restriction and weight loss: a systematic review.” Davis, C.S., Clarke, R.E., Coulter, S.N., Rounsefell, K.N., Walker, R.E., Rauch, C.E., Huggins, C.E., Ryan, L. Europoean Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Mar. 2016.
- “Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss?” Varady, K.A. Obesity Reviews. Jul. 2011.
- “Effect of intermittent versus continuous energy restriction on weight loss, maintenance and cardiometabolic risk: A randomized 1-year trial” Sundfor, T.M., Svendesen, M., Tonstad, S. Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Disease. Jul. 2018.
- “The satiating power of protein—a key to obesity prevention?” Astrup, A. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Jul. 2005.
- “The satiating effect of dietary protein is unrelated to postprandial ghrelin secretion” Moran, L.J., et al. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Sep. 2005.
- “Variations in Postprandial Ghrelin Status following Ingestion of High-Carbohydrate, High-Fat, and High-Protein Meals in Males” Moran, L.J., et al. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Sep. 2005.
- “Protein, weight management, and satiety” Paddon-Jones, D., et al. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. May. 2008.
- “Effect of normal-fat diets, either medium or high in protein, on body weight in overweight subjects: a randomised 1-year trial” Due, A., Toubro, S., Skov, A.R., Astrup, A. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders. Oct. 2004.
- “The effects of high‐intensity interval training vs. moderate‐intensity continuous training on body composition in overweight and obese adults: a systematic review and meta‐analysis”Wewege, M., van der Berg, R., Ward, R.E., Keech, A. Obesity Reviews. Apr. 2017.