Between 2013-16, almost half of all the adult Americans had the same goal – “lose weight”. So, if you are on the same journey and trying everything to get slimmer, you are certainly not alone.
If you are trying to lose weight there is some good news and some bad. If you had a huge meal and felt guilty that it will make you fat, be assured, a single meal, no matter how excess or high-caloric it is, will not make you gain weight, but if you continue the same for a week, it might. It takes time to gain weight. Great! is it not?
Now the bad part. Just the way it takes time to gain weight, it also takes time to lose it, even after putting up all the hard work. Want to know how much weight you can lose in 6 weeks? How quickly can you lose weight without harming your health? And what is the healthiest way to lose weight? Let’s find the answers.
Six-Week Weight-Loss 6 To 12 Pounds Challenge
If you want to lose weight without jeopardizing your health, you can lose 6 to 12 pounds in 6 weeks. That is a maximum of 2 pounds each week. Not losing more than 1-2 pounds of weight in a week is suggested.
There is one more benefit of losing weight gradually and steadily. According to the CDC, people who lose weight gradually, are more successful at keeping it off. Maintaining weight after weight loss can be a challenge if you lose it too quickly.
If you are setting a goal of losing 20-30 pounds in 6 weeks, it is not unmanageable, but you can achieve that only at the cost of your health which might have long-lasting consequences and will also make weight maintenance more difficult.
You start losing weight as soon as your total calorie intake is less than the total calorie you burn. So, if you are taking fewer calories and burning more, you will naturally lose weight. Creating a calorie deficit in the body is all you need to do to get lighter on the scale. The more the deficit, the more quickly the weight loss will happen.
Creating a high calorie deficit will lead to losing weight quickly, maybe even 20-30 pounds in 6 weeks, but it will harm your overall health unless you are doing it under the suggestion and guidance of a doctor. So, set realistic goals and lose weight in a healthy way.
The healthy way to weight loss
Weight loss basically targets to lose the excess fat from the body. Losing weight too quickly might lead to the burning of muscle mass along with fat, which is harmful to the body. More to the point, women are advised not to drop body fat percentage below a certain limit as it might affect the production of different hormones and fertility.
To make sure that the weight loss does not upset your metabolism or affect your health, you should not cut down your total calorie intake below a certain limit. According to Harvard Health Publishing, your daily calorie intake should not fall below 1200 calories unless you are losing weight under the direct guidance and monitoring of a doctor.
Keep in mind, body fat is necessary for health. 28.8%–35.7% body fat is considered normal for females and 17.6%–25.3% for males. Women can lower it to around 14% – 20% for an athletic build but lowering more than that is not recommended. Men can have as little as 6%-13% body fat to enjoy an athletic physique. That said, the healthy body fat percentage also varies depending on age.
According to dieticians, an energy deficit of around 3,500 calories will lead to 1 pound weight loss. So, if you can create just 500 calories energy deficit per day, in a week you can lose 1 pound of body weight. Most people can safely reduce 500 or more calories from their daily normal diet without going below the 1200 calories/day limit.
If you are creating around 1000 calories energy deficit daily, you are likely to lose 2 pounds in a week, which is within the healthy range.
How to lose 6-12 pounds in 6 weeks?
So, now you have a realistic and healthy weight loss goal which is the first and most important step of every healthy weight loss regime. If you stay focused, with a little hard work you can easily lose 6-12 pounds in one and half months. Let us check out how.
Plan your diet
There are several diet plans out there. From low-carb diet to ketogenic diet to ultra-low fat diet and Mediterranean diet, the list goes on. While some of these diets can be actually healthy and effective, some are nothing but fads.
The good thing is, you can always plan a healthy weight loss diet for yourself without following any of the diet trends. Every individual is unique and a customized diet plan is always the best. So, get a diet plan from a nutritionist, who will design it keeping your exact needs, goal, and physical status in mind.
Here are some basic tips to plan your daily diet.
Restrict the bad fat
1g of fat has about 9 calories. So, when you are counting the calories, keeping the fat low in your diet is a wise choice. Eat more raw and fresh fruits instead of fried and oily cuisines. However, do not reduce your consumption of good fats that you get from fish, nuts, and seeds. Meat, butter, cheese, ice cream are all loaded with saturated fats that you should avoid completely when trying to lose weight. Include a healthy dose of unsaturated fat in your daily diet.
Limit sugar and carb intake
Carbohydrate is an important building molecule but excess carbohydrate is converted to fat in the body and stored in the adipose tissue. Keeping your total carb intake low to moderate is important when you are trying to lose weight. Artificial sugars and sweeteners are high in calories but low in nutrition. You should completely avoid these when planning your weight loss diet. Refined grains and processed foods should also be avoided.
Eat more fresh fruits and veggies
Including more fresh fruits and veggies in your diet is the best way to fill your stomach without adding much to the total calorie. Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients but low in calories. They contain fiber which promotes satiation and can keep you full for longer without adding many calories to the body.
Intermittent fasting is good for weight loss
We all love to snack in between meals but if you are on a weight loss journey, stopping this habit can help more than you expect. Fasting between two meals prevents fat storage and helps to burn more fat. Limit the hours of the day when you should eat and eat early. Eating only during the day like between 7 am and 3 am or 10 am and 6 pm and fasting the night can be very effective to boost weight loss.
Follow a daily exercise regime
Your daily exercise regime should be planned according to your current weight status and your weight loss goal. Training under a professional can surely help. For quick weight loss maintaining variation in exercising is necessary. It is best if a professional can plan it for you. Including different types of exercises in your regime and introducing new activities can help you burn more calories and also keep you motivated towards the goal.
Ensure that your daily exercise regime includes sufficient cardio and strength training. Also, include muscle-strengthening activities in your exercise routine to maintain lean body mass during weight loss. You need to adjust your exercise regime and physical activities depending on how many calories you are eating and the energy deficit you want to create.
It is important to keep in mind that every person is unique and the effect of the same calorie intake and same exercise regime might lead to different results in different people. Following a healthy diet plan with an intelligently crafted exercise regime and activities can help you shed the extra weight in a healthy way.
If you want or need to lose more weight than 6-12 pounds, instead of trying to lose it quickly, follow the same routine for a longer duration.
Losing a lot of weight too quickly can be harmful to health unless it is done under the instructions of a doctor. Eating healthy, restricting total calorie intake, and burning the excess calories through regular exercise are all you need to do to create an energy deficit in the body which will lead to weight loss over time.
Set a realistic goal for weight loss instead of following an unhealthy crash diet which can harm your health and damage the normal metabolism. If you want to lose more than 6 – 12 pounds in 6 weeks, you should first consult with a doctor or nutritionist.