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Why Weight Loss Slows Over Time

Why Weight Loss Slows Over Time
October 1, 2009 Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

As many of us have experienced, we can lose 6, 8 or 10 lbs within the first week of almost any weight loss plan.Ā  But as we also have experienced, weight lose will slow considerably over time, why is this?

The weight dietersā€™ lose within the first few days is composed of 70% water, 5% muscle and 25% fat.Ā  Over time the amount of water and muscle loss decreases and the proportion of fat lost increases and after about a month, an average individual will lose 75% fat and 25% muscle and water. The initial rapid loss of water is due to a fluctuation in stress hormones our body will express when it senses a sudden decrease in calorie intake.Ā  This lasts for only a few days and decreases back to normal within a week.

A pound of fat contains approximately 3,500 calories of excess calories and many individuals will slow there rate weight loss to only lose 1-2 pounds per week.Ā  Patients often feel a little frustrated or impatient with this seemingly slow rate of weight loss.Ā  I try to help them understand the enormous success of losing 2 lbs in 1 week by putting it into the perspective of how many calories this represents.

A 2-pound weight loss in 1 week is the equivalent of eating approximately 7,000 less calories than an individual normally would of eaten had their weight remained the same. Visualize 7,000 calories on a dinner table; that’s enough food to feed 10 people at dinner!

Thatā€™s an enormous amount of food to cut out of oneā€™s diet in only 1 week. Decreasing one’s caloric intake by that much is a tremendous success if you ask me, and it’s hard to fathom how one could cut out many more calories without hurting themselves from a nutritional standpoint.

So remember, the initial weight loss is primarily water and is followed by a necessarily slow decline in predominant fat weight.Ā  So focus on behavior changes you can sustain for that necessarily slow but important decline in your bodyā€™s fat stores.

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