As a college physical education instructor, I often get asked the question, "How much weight loss is considered safe to lose per week?" The answer has been well documented and is in numerous text books used by health and fitness professionals, but still because of tv and advertising, many in the general population are confused about what is safe.
First, let us consider what safe means. To lose weight in a safe manner includes maintaining enough calories and nutrients to keep all the bodies systems humming along. When we deprive ourselves of an adequate supply of calories for long enough, the body will start to devour its own muscle tissue and hold onto the stored body fat. That is unsafe weight loss! The body can also become very dehydrated and the electrolyte levels can be deficient from taking over the counter diet pills. Sleep can also be disturbed from taking diet pills. These conditions can cause us to feel dizzy, shaky and irritable.
Safe weight loss then is defined as .5 - 1.5 lbs per week, or 2-6 lbs per month. If you create a 500 calories deficit per day via 250 calories less of food and 250 calories burned through exercise and you do that 7 days per week, that equals 3500 calories, or 1 lb of fat. Some weeks you might slack off and some weeks you might work extra hard, so it will vary. Maintaining a resistance training program is ultra important to reduce the amount of muscle lost during a diet phase.
However, if you only have 5-10 pounds to lose, it may come off much slower. The closer you get to your goal weight, the harder it can be to arrive there. Stay consistent and be patient.
Products or programs that advertise losing 10 pounds per week, or quick weight loss are suspect at the very least. Special foods, supplements and devices that promise to melt away the fat are bogus because nothing short of surgery does that. Even having liposuction, which can be very dangerous, is not a guarantee the fat will stay off. If we want to lose weight safely, it takes a long, slow progressive program of making changes in activity and changes in diet.