Average Weight Loss Per Month With Diet and Exercise

If you’ve ever wondered how much weight can you lose in a month or what the average weight loss per month with diet and exercise is, then you’re in the right place!

I’m a dietitian and I want to start off by saying that there is a healthy weight loss and unhealthy weight loss methods, and we are going to cover both today!

You probably know that weight loss is a slow and graedual process that requires a combination of healthy eating habits and regular exercise. To quickly answer question, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person can safely and effectively lose about 1-2 pounds per week. This means that in a month, a person could safely lose 4-8 pounds.

Having said that, losing weight is not difficult, but keeping that weight off is where people struggle with the most. 

Let’s dive in and cover all the questions that constantly come up, including my thoughts on intermittent fasting, why you should not lose weight fast, and what it takes to achieve a successful weight loss.

barbells on rack

Average Weight Loss Per Month With Diet and Exercise

When Can Weight Loss Be Beneficial 

Weight loss can be so beneficial for some and can lead to better health, whether that’s physical health or mental health. And it is okay to want to lose weight for vanity. There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best and feel your best. 

Weight loss can be really beneficial for: 

Overweight or Obesity:

The most common indication for weight loss is being overweight or obese. Excess body weight is associated with an increased risk of various health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and joint problems.

Improving Cardiovascular Health:

Weight loss is beneficial for individuals with high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or other cardiovascular risk factors. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can lead to improvements in these factors and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes:

For individuals with type 2 diabetes, weight loss can be an essential part of managing blood sugar levels. Losing weight may improve insulin sensitivity and help control diabetes symptoms. 

Addressing Sleep Apnea:

Weight loss is often recommended for individuals with sleep apnea, a condition where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. Losing weight can reduce the severity of sleep apnea and improve sleep quality.

Enhancing Fertility:

Weight loss may be beneficial for individuals struggling with infertility. Achieving a healthy weight can regulate hormonal balance and improve reproductive health in both men and women.

Reducing Joint Pain:

Excess weight can put additional stress on joints, leading to conditions like osteoarthritis. Weight loss can help alleviate joint pain and improve overall joint health.

Managing Gastrointestinal Conditions:

Weight loss may be recommended for individuals with certain gastrointestinal conditions, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Improving Mental Health:

For some individuals, weight loss can positively impact mental health by boosting self-esteem, body image, and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Preventing Chronic Diseases:

Maintaining a healthy weight is associated with a decreased risk of chronic diseases and medical conditions. These include heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, and metabolic disorders. Weight loss can play a role in disease prevention.

Enhancing Mobility:

Weight loss can improve mobility and physical function, making it easier for individuals to engage in daily activities and exercise.

The Problem with Losing Weight Quickly

Wanting to lose weight quickly can feel very tempting and you may think it’s a good idea. However, a quick weight loss can actually be harmful to your health. 

How many times have you tried some fad diet that requires you to not only eat fewer calories but also to cut out specific food groups (like the keto diet which cuts out carbohydrates). This might seem like the answer in the moment and you may achieve significant weight loss doing this. However, in the long term, it is just not a sustainable weight loss method. 

A quick weight loss usually leads to muscle loss, fatigue, potential dehydration, and malnutrition. This is because when you quickly lose weight, you are probably not eating enough food which means you are not getting the nutrients in your body requires for it to function properly. Also, it is really really hard to sustain rapid weight loss in the long term, and most people regain the weight they lost. 

Here are other problems that can come up with quick weight loss: 

  1. Muscle Loss:Rapid weight loss often involves a combination of fat and muscle loss. Losing muscle mass can significantly impact your metabolism because muscles are more metabolically active than fat. As you lose muscle, your body’s ability to burn calories at rest decreases, which can lead to a slower metabolism. 
  2. Nutrient Deficiency:Crash diets or extreme calorie restrictions may not provide the necessary nutrients your body needs for optimal function. Have you ever lost weight and your hair started to fall out? This is usually a result of nutrient deficiencies.
  3. Hormonal Imbalances:Drastic changes in calorie intake can disrupt hormonal balance. Hormones such as leptin and ghrelin may be affected. This can lead to increased feelings of hunger and a decreased sense of fullness. Hormonal imbalances can contribute to overeating and hinder weight loss efforts in the long run.
  4. Metabolic Adaptation:The body has a remarkable ability to adapt to changes in calorie intake. When you lose weight too quickly, your body may perceive this as a state of scarcity. The body responds by slowing down your metabolism to conserve energy. This adaptive response can make it harder to continue losing weight and maintain long-term results. Also tying it back to nutrient deficiencies, certain vitamins and minerals play essential roles in metabolic processes. A lack of these vitamins can impair your body’s ability to burn calories efficiently.
  5. Risk of Gallstones:Rapid weight loss, especially through very low-calorie diets, increases the risk of developing gallstones. Gallstones can cause pain and discomfort and may require medical intervention by a healthcare provider. 

Why Dieting Doesn’t Work for Weight Loss

Most diets don’t work in the long run because they are not sustainable. The blame is often placed on a specific nutrient (like carbs) or ingredient for the weight gain. There is not one specific nutrient that causes weight gain on its own. And if you have found yourself losing weight quickly when you go on a diet, it was mostly water weight, especially in the beginning. 

It is the overconsumption of food, a sedentary lifestyle, stress and sleep deprivation that leads to weight gain. Off course this is not taking into account those with health conditions and hormone imbalances. Prioritize these factors and you will feel so much better and the weight comes off a bit easier. 

How to Lose Weight Sustainably and Keep it Off

To lose weight in a healthy way and keep the weight off, it is important to make healthy lifestyle changes that you can maintain in the long term. I personally do not believe that you need to be counting the number of calories you’re eating to lose weight. It can be beneficial to understand which foods are higher in calories per serving size. However, counting your daily calorie intake is too stressful and can be discouraging. 

Here are ways you can achieve long term weight loss to help you lose weight and keep it off without drastically reducing your energy intake:

Add Fiber to Your Diet

When aiming for sustainable weight loss, one of the best dietary changes you can make is to eat more fiber-rich foods. Whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes provide essential nutrients and contribute to a feeling of fullness.

Fiber, being indigestible, plays a crucial role in promoting a feeling of fullness and satiety. There are two main types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both types contribute to the expansion of the stomach.

The stretching of the stomach walls and the presence of bulk from fiber send signals to the brain. These signals trigger a feeling of fullness and satisfaction, which helps regulate food intake. Additionally, the slowed digestion caused by fiber can extend the time it takes for the stomach to empty. This contributes to a prolonged feeling of fullness after a meal.

You need to drink extra water to help fiber do its job in supporting a healthy digestive system. Aim for at least 30 grams of fiber per day. And if you are newer to a high fiber diet, you need to START SLOW otherwise it can cause digestive discomfort.

Add Protein to Your Diet

add protein in diet

The best approach to portion control is to increase your protein intake.

Protein plays a crucial role in sustainable weight loss by promoting satiety and preserving lean muscle mass. Incorporate lean protein sources like meats, fish, eggs, and legumes into your meals. Aim for a daily protein intake of at least 1.0 grams per kilogram of body weight for weight loss goals while maintaining muscle mass. I recommend around 100 grams of protein per day for most women or 30 grams of protein at every meal and around 25 grams protein for snacks. 

Some sources of high protein foods includes lean proteins like chicken breast, ground turkey, or fish like salmon for animal-based protein.

Eggs, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese are other great options. Plant-based sources include tofu, lentils, and beans are good alternatives for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet. To boost protein intake, consider you can make protein smoothies. This can include fruits and protein powder. Or you can snack on Greek yogurt, or incorporating protein-rich foods into your breakfast. 

Make sure to check out: The Best Macros for Weight Loss Female: Healthy Fat Loss after you’re done reading this.

Try Cardio for Weight Loss

Increased physical activity such as aerobic exercise, is a great way to calorie burn and lose weight. Some examples of cardio exercises include running, cycling, swimming, and dancing. Some examples of cardio exercises include running, cycling, swimming, and dancing.

You can even choose walking as your regular physical activity. Get moving and get your heart rate up. You do not need to complicate your exercise regimen. If you’re new to aerobic activity, you can start with a 10-20 minute walk.

Add Resistance Training for Weight Loss

Resistance training, also known as strength training, is a great way to build muscle and burn calories. Some examples of resistance training exercises includes using dumbells or even just your body weight. Get around 20 minutes of moderate-intensity workouts 3 times a week if you’re a newbie and that in itself will help you lose weight. There are plenty of videos on Youtube or even TikTok that shows you strength training exercises for both at-home workouts and gym workouts.

Factors Affecting Normal Weight Loss Per Month

Average weight loss per month with diet and exercise will depend on several factors, including age, gender, body composition, metabolic rate, your starting weight and current weight.

Everybody is so different and your weight-loss plan is going to vary from someone else. Do not compare your journey to other people because it will be so different. You need to look at your current lifestyle and assess which areas you need to work on.

Is it finding the time to work out, is it increasing protein and fiber, or is it reducing portion sizes that you struggle with? Or is it all of the above? Take time to get pen and paper out and figure out what a balanced diet and lifestyle means to you. 

My thoughts on Intermittent Fasting

As a dietitian, my perspective on intermittent fasting aligns with the belief that it can be a good approach, provided people practice it mindfully. While intermittent fasting does have benefits, it becomes counterproductive if individuals tend to overeat during the designated eating window. 

The essence lies not only in the fasting period but also in the quality and quantity of food consumed when breaking the fast.

You do need to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet during the eating window to see health benefits and potentially a modest weight loss. 

It is also important to emphasize that it is essential to maintain a reasonable fasting duration. I highly advise against extended periods of fasting beyond 12 hours to prevent potential negative effects on metabolism and nutritional intake. If you like the idea of intermittent fasting, then you need to find a balance where you are reaping the potential benefits of intermittent fasting without compromising your nutritional well-being.

Average Weight Loss Per Month With Diet and Exercise

Living a Balanced Lifestyle for Long-term Weight Loss

Weight management does not simply include eating less calories. It will take work to change your lifestyle habits and your day-to-day, and this might seem hard. But what’s harder is looking back a year from now and realizing you have not committed to yourself and your health. Something I always recommend as a dietitian is to not cut out any foods. You do not need to eliminate specific foods out of your life to achieve weight loss. You probably need to change your mindset around food which takes me to my last point.

Living a balanced life involves changing the way you think about food. Many struggling with weight loss often have a not-so-healthy connection with what they eat, using it as a way to deal with emotions. Food becomes a go-to for filling up voids caused by boredom, stress, or anxiety. Undoing these habits, where you reach for food to fill those emotional gaps, takes time and effort to recognize and unlearn the triggers.

So, the next time you catch yourself reaching for a bag of chips when feeling bored or stressed, just take a minute to understand what’s really going on. Figure out the emotions behind the urge and think about what else you could do when those feelings pop up (some people like a food diary or a journal). It’s a small step, but it can make a big difference in building a healthier relationship with food and a more balanced lifestyle.

Average Weight Loss Per Month With Diet and Exercise: Bottom Line

The best way to lose weight is to make a lifestyle change that includes healthy eating habits and regular exercise. A weight loss journey is a gradual process that requires patience and commitment. To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by reducing your caloric intake and increasing your physical activity level. Losing even a small amount of weight can help reduce your risk of heart disease and other health problems.

When trying to lose a lot of weight, it’s important to set realistic goals and make healthy habits a part of your daily routine. 

The Mayo Clinic recommends working with a health care provider (like a Registered Dietitian) to develop a personalized weight loss plan. This can include a high protein diet and simple ways to incorporate healthy foods into your diet. It’s also important to be aware of nutritional deficiencies that can occur when following a reduced-calorie diet. Which is why it is important to consult with a health care provider if you have any medical questions or concerns.

To lose weight safely and sustainably, it’s important to avoid drastic measures such as fad diets or bariatric surgery. Instead, focus on making small changes to your diet and exercise routine that you can maintain in the long term and improve your overall health. For example, try incorporating high-intensity interval training into your workout routine to increase your muscle mass and burn more calories. Additionally, aim to make healthy choices such as drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep, and keeping a food journal to track your food consumption.

The only way to lose weight safely and sustainably is to make a lifestyle change that includes healthy eating habits and regular exercise. To achieve your long-term goals and maintain a healthy weight that lasts beyond a short period of time, focus on making positive changes to your daily routine that you can sustain in the long term.

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