“…And Mr Tickle was on the 5:2 diet. Unfortunately, he’d got it wrong and had fasted for 52 days straight. He lost so much weight in such a short amount of time that his arms were now mostly skin.” – Quote from Mr Greedy Eats Clean to Get Lean (For Grown-Ups), by Roger Hargreaves.
I have been coaching men to lose weight now for 25 years and have been asked many questions along the journey, but none as often as this one: “…I know it’s hard to say, but…so how much weight can I lose in a month?”
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How much weight can I lose fast! How much weight can I lose in a month?
The science, as well as clinical experience, has taught me that this is one of the hardest questions to answer. It really does vary. The dietetics textbooks suggest that a large bloke entering into a diet and reducing his calories can lose 0.5 to 1kg a week (on average per week anyway), or 2 – 4kg a month.
If it’s better health you are after, let me suggest you aim for a 10% weight loss over 16-26 weeks. More is a bonus! How you achieve your weight loss is most important and will allow you to maintain the loss.
An important MYTH to clear up here is that weight loss equals fat loss. Nope. In fact, many people who drop heaps of weight in the first month or so through unhealthy or unbalanced methods will likely drop plenty of muscle (and perhaps water too), rather than pure fat.
In fact, there is only one way to lose fat only, and that is to have it surgically removed – a procedure called liposuction, whereby a surgeon inserts a fine cannula beneath the skin and in a rather aggressive and repetitive motion (perhaps similar to a plumber unclogging a pipe) sucks the fat out, without touching any muscle mass.
How to drop weight (fat weight, that is) without dropping muscle?
There are two strategies:
1. Keep the diet NOURISHING and don’t try it through starvation.
2. Stay ACTIVE – you see, working the muscles (exercising) protects us from muscle loss.
Changing your DIET, however, is the key to losing weight. And including some exercise, such as resistance or strength training exercises, helps protect against losing muscle.
Why is retaining muscle important when dropping kilograms?
Well, muscle drives metabolism, the rate at which the body burns fat, and you don’t want to slow that rate down! This also helps us understand why, as a general rule, blokes drop weight faster than gals, as we tend to carry a little more lean body mass (LBM) ie. muscle. Some good news!
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