As many of us have experienced, we can lose 6, 8 or 10 lbs within the first week of almost any weight loss plan. But as we also have experienced, weight lose will slow considerably over time, why is this?
The weight dieters’ lose within the first few days is composed of 70% water, 5% muscle and 25% fat. 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. 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. Patients often feel a little frustrated or impatient with this seemingly slow rate of weight loss. 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!
That’s an enormous amount of food to cut out of one’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. So focus on behavior changes you can sustain for that necessarily slow but important decline in your body’s fat stores.