What is healthy weight loss?

Dr. William B. Salt, MD

Federal guidelines recommend that people maintain weight in a single healthy range instead of allowing weight to creep up over the years. Avoid crash weight loss by using a combination of exercise and healthy eating to achieve a slow and steady loss of weight (about one-half to 1 pound per week). Weight reduction of even 5% to 10% of body weight may improve many of the problems associated with being overweight, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the Mind-Body Brain-Gut Connection: 8 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functiona (The Mind-Body Connection Series)

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the Mind-Body Brain-Gut Connection: 8 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functiona (The Mind-Body Connection Series)

One in five people suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, or other functional bowel disorders. As a result, irritable bowel syndrome is the second leading cause of worker absenteeism. This...
Dr. Ileen Craven
Nursing Specialist

Thank you for this very timely question. This country is facing a massive issue regarding obesity, especially concerning our youth. The reality is that if we continue to have obese children the risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease will affect these children at an early age.

Healthy weight loss is losing about a pound a week. That is 500 less calories a day. Each pound of weight lost is equivalent to 3500 calories. This may be a slow loss for some, but the reality is that evidence based practice shows that people who lose weight slowly are less likely to gain it back. In America we are used to instant results for many things, but this is not often a recommended practice when our health is at stake.

Do you drink cream with your coffee? Substitute skim milk and that is probably a hundred calories you have saved. Take the top bun off the hamburger you eat. That may be another hundred calories. If you like regular salad dressing substitute low fat and you may save another two hundred calories. If you like pasta measure it to the equivalent serving and you could save at least a few hundred calories. And the list goes on.....

First, you must set a realistic goal for yourself. If you need to lose 40 pounds, 20 pounds, or 10 pounds you must think you can do it. Learn to exercise regularly. You don't have to join a gym. Go out and start walking. Check with your health care provider before you start any diet or exercise regime. Find someone in your family who will champion you and support you to lose weight. THINK YOU CAN DO IT. If you cheat, have a bad day, or are upset with yourself it's ok. Tomorrow is another day and you can start again.

Romy Nelson
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Healthy weight loss can be accomplished by changing your relationship with food, and eating 5 to 6 Small Meals a Day.

Do you lose the same amount of weight, only to “find” it again?

Is it easy to be “good” all day and then you find yourself over-eating at night?

Does your energy (physically, mentally and emotionally) drop in the late afternoon?

The secret fix for all of that is adapting the 5-6 “small” meals a day rule. It’s a rule that allows you to transform your body — if you continue the pattern for life. The key is being organized by always having convenient, healthy, portion-controlled food with you everywhere you go.

In this new relationship with food, a “meal” no longer refers to waiting too long to eat (4, 5, 6 hours or more), causing your blood sugar to bottom-out. When this happens, you will over-eat. In the small meal pattern, you are not on a diet and therefore there is no going off it. Instead, for the rest of your life, you make a commitment to eating every 2-3 hours to prevent the kind of hunger that drops your blood sugar and leads to over-eating later in the day.

Each “small meal” should to contain either fat or protein to balance the carbohydrates. Consume fruits and veggies (foods high in fiber, vitamins and minerals) and/or healthy fats at most meals.

Protein is the nutrient with the highest satiety value. That means protein makes you feel full sooner and for longer than do fats or carbohydrates. Fats have the second highest satiety value after protein. When you eat smaller amounts throughout the day with enough protein, your blood sugar is controlled. The other bonus of eating protein throughout the day: conserving muscle mass (the “good” weight) while losing more body fat. Strength training also helps preserve muscle mass while you lose fat.

When you eat 5-6 small meals a day, over-time your stomach shrinks, so you get full sooner on less food. However, it can be re-stretched if you go back to your old ways! This is a life-long eating pattern that will keep you at your goal weight and body fat if you make it an everyday habit, just like brushing your teeth!

Losing 1-2 lbs per week is a safe and healthy weight loss. The best way to lose weight is through a combination of increased calorie burn (more movement) and a reduction in calories consumed. You will also want to avoid any fad diet. These diets will initially cause weight loss but the vast majority of people will gain back all the weight plus some.

Focus on making better food choices and moving more throughout the day! Good luck!

Your healthy weight loss is about 1-3 pounds per week. Of course this will depend on your goals as well and where you will fit into that range. If you look at it this way if you have at least a 500 calorie deficit per day you will achieve a 1 pound loss per week. Just make sure you are tracking what you are eating and burning so you can stay on your goals.

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Healthy weight loss is gradual and sustainable. The goal of any weight loss should be to increase knowledge about food, your body, and your habits. There is no one way for everyone. Weight loss is individual and requires making a plan that works for you. Healthy weight loss allows you to look carefully at habits and circumstances that led to the weight gain. Healthy weight loss takes time so you can make long lasting changes so the weight does not return.

Dr. Ozgen Dogan
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

The aim should be to lose one or two pounds a week no matter what diet you follow. To do this you have to burn more calories than you take in. That is to say, if you have $10 in your pocket, spend $20. The only time it's okay to be a spendthrift is when it comes to losing weight.

If you try to lose more, your body will stonewall you. When you decrease your caloric intake by too much, your metabolism goes into defense mode and slows down. This cancels out any weight loss. Losing no more than two pounds per week prevents this "set point" from kicking in. Another reason is that depriving yourself of a reasonable amount of calories will cause you to feel hungry and weak, making you more likely to cheat or blow your diet altogether.

The best way to lose weight is through a health diet and daily exercise. Most experts agree that more than 2 pounds per week will result in bounce back weight gains.  It is much more healthy to lose weight slowly than to lose and gain. Initially, since most of the weight loss is fluids the weight loss may be greater than 2 pounds but after the first couple of weeks no more than 2 pounds per week is recommended.

Julia Havey
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Healthy weight loss is only weight lost that stays off! The constant 'yo-yo' roller coaster of losing weight and gaining it back is not healthy and should never be one's goal.

If you go about losing your excess weight in a manner that you can't or won't adhere to for the rest of your life, you are better off forgoing the fad.

Lifestyle change is the best and most healthful way to lose weight.

At the ABCNews Time Magazine Obesity Summit, Drs. Oz, Katz, Brownell, Agston, Ornish...all debated which "diet" would end obesity. NONE agreed on what "diet" mankind should eat, but ALL agreed that what is missing from lasting weight loss and ultimately solving obesity is "lasting lifestyle change."

That's what The Vice Busting Diet is, and I am happy to let anyone who wants to use it have my book, workbook and audios absolutely free (e/download versions) simply visit and sign up today or to learn more.

Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing Specialist

Most of the experts advise a slow steady weight loss of 1-3 pounds a week. I agree with this but also say that for some of us staying away from the scale may be necessary. Too many of us weigh ourselves several times a day as we obsess looking for some success. Success isn’t in the pounds. It is in the belly fat shrinking, your dangerous waist measurements shrinking, and your improvement in blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. I limited myself to weighing in once a week and also measured my waist and blood pressure and had my physician keep an eye on my labs. Watching my clothes get lose and getting rid of them and getting into the next size down worked for me. Every time I changed a size was a victory. Gradually I melted away 86 pounds and my waist went from 45 inches to 25. My BP went from 165/110 to 110/60 and my resting pulse is now 55-60.

Needless to say my lab values changed dramatically too. Measure your weight loss as healthy when you are healthy and work out a plan with your health care provider to get there.... Remember slow and steady can do the job of leading you to permanent lifestyle changes and not just another diet.

Ms. Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Healthy weight loss is one that is gradual ~1 to 2 times/week. This will be a weight loss pattern that will be sustainable. It would include foods from all the different food groups and incorporate whole grains, high fiber, lean protein, low fat dairy/dairy alternatives in the right portions. It would also include a regular physical activity component. Lifestyle and behavior changes are critical for the success of a healthy weight loss to occur.

Robert DeVito
Fitness Specialist

What is healthy weight loss? This is a simple but tricky question.

What is healthy weight loss?  It is a method of reducing the amount of fat stores on your body while preserving your lean tissues. It is a slow and sustained process of altering your thinking and your choices to align with your new goals and values.

Healthy weight loss provides nutrition for your body and movement to energize you to feel your best. It is a diet rich in grains, fruits, veggies and healthy fats. It is an eating style that includes foods, not eliminates them.

How do you achieve healthy weight loss?

  • Healthy weight loss focuses on... healthy patterns.
  • Healthy weight loss focuses on the long-term outcomes, not instant gratification.
  • Healthy weight loss allows you to be flexible, not rigid in your food and exercise selections.
  • Healthy weight loss allows for setbacks, not punishment for a poor choice or temporary loss of focus.
  • Healthy weight loss focuses on caring for your physical, mental and emotional needs, not punishing yourself.
  • Healthy weight loss is slow and steady.
  • Healthy weight loss is allows you to eat out at restaurants, not sit home alone obsessed with following a "diet".
  • Healthy weight loss allows you to feel good about yourself and know that you are making great changes for your life, not that you are sacrificing and restricting your choices.
  • Healthy weight loss includes all foods, not limiting the "magical fattening" foods.
  • Healthy weight loss includes strength training to boost your metabolism, help your posture and allow you to enjoy more food.
  • Healthy weight loss is balanced.
  • Healthy weight loss is intelligent and planned, it avoids fads and falling for "miracles."
  • Healthy weight loss is a way of life. Your new life.

In this new life, you would:

  • Know that you have control over many things but do not have control over everything.
  • Focus on obtaining fruits, veggies, fiber and protein from your food choices.
  • Focus on moving more simply for the sake of moving.
  • Focus on reading and learning to build your "brain muscle."
  • Focus on trying new recipes, finding activities to do with your family and friends.
  • Focus on your relationship with yourself and with others.

Healthy weight loss is a journey to a new lifestyle. Enjoy it.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.