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Like most important changes, one of the most effective steps toward attaining your weight loss goals is to set safe, measurable, and attainable ones. Understanding how fast you can lose weight safely either through lifestyle change or Houston weight loss surgery will help you chart a better path to your desired size and shape.

There are some metabolic and health challenges that make it more difficult for people to lose weight with lifestyle changes alone. Let’s discuss setting realistic weight loss goals and how to address specific challenges like muscle loss, inability to exercise, and thyroid issues by considering all your weight loss options.

Setting Realistic Weight Loss Goals

Man in oversized pants in weight loss concept

Many of us have a significant amount of weight we would like to lose, which can lead to setting extremely high targets for ourselves. One study showed that many overweight people wanted to lose as much as 32% of their body weight.1 Losing one-third of your body weight is a truly challenging goal to set for yourself!

It is possible to lose life-changing amounts of excess weight, but important to remember that losing as little as 10% of your body weight will provide health benefits. If you do have a significant amount of weight you plan to lose, set achievable milestone goals for yourself to get there in a healthy way.

How Fast Should You Lose Weight?

There are a few different ways to look at this question and individual factors will change the rate at which you lose weight, so consider these guidelines from professional organizations and medical experts as you create your own downsizing plan, and again always check with your doctor before you start any weight loss option:

  • Aim to lose 5-10% of your body weight in each stage of weight loss.2
  • Losing 1-2 pounds of weight per week is considered a fast and healthy speed to lose weight.2
  • A weight loss rate of 1% of your body mass per week is considered rapid but reasonable.3

What Factors Affect How Fast You Lose Weight?

Losing weight faster than these recommended rates often comes at the cost of muscle loss.3 Losing muscle is counterproductive to long-term weight loss because muscle mass burns calories while fat tissue stores them.

These highly individualized factors will influence the rate at which an individual is able to lose weight:

  • Your Starting Weight. The more excess weight you have, the faster you are able to lose weight safely.3 By following the 1% of your body weight per week standard, a person who weighs 300 lbs. or more could safely lose 3 pounds per week.
  • The Type of Exercise You Do. Those who combine cutting calories with adding exercise will increase their weight loss rates, but studies showed that those who do aerobic exercise will lose more muscle mass in the process than those that choose resistance training.3
  • Eating Enough Protein. Because muscles are made from amino acids, eating a diet rich in protein will protect muscle mass while you lose weight. Choosing to build or protect muscle while you lose fat tissue will slow down your rate of weight loss, but it is beneficial in other ways.
  • Getting Good Sleep. Studies have shown that those who sleep 8.5 hours a night lose more fat and less muscle on a low-calorie diet.3 Those who do not get enough sleep or have high stress levels lose weight more slowly.
  • Eliminating More Calories. If your diet is already very low in calories, finding new ways to cut down on portion sizes may be the only way to reduce your food intake any further. Many doctors are recommending weight loss surgery in and near Houston more often than ever before to help people control their calorie intake.
  • Receiving Treatment for Medical Causes of Obesity. People who have an underactive thyroid, metabolic syndrome, and medical conditions that make it difficult to exercise may be able to improve their weight loss rate with new or different treatment options.4
  • Taking Advantage of Professional Help. For those who struggle to reach their weight loss goals or have reached a plateau, seeking out help from a Houston weight loss surgery team or dietitian in your area can get your weight loss moving again.

When Is It Time to Consider More Effective Weight Loss Plans?

Obese Woman Doing Push Up Exercises to lose Weight

With all these factors influencing how fast you can lose weight, clearly this is a very individualized challenge. Not everyone can lose weight with the standard advice of “eat less and exercise more.” While this simplistic statement is often given to those who struggle to reach their weight loss goals, many doctors are now changing their perspective on more advanced weight loss techniques.

If you have been told in the past that you were not a candidate for weight loss surgery because you were not overweight enough, the standards are changing based on new research. While gastric surgery was once an option reserved for the morbidly obese, studies show that it is even more effective if done before an individual reaches that point.5

Some of the other findings which are changing medical minds about weight loss surgery include:5

  • Patients who choose weight loss surgery before they reached a BMI of 50 were more successful at getting down to a BMI of 30 or less.
  • Those who reached a BMI of 30 or less were more likely to stop needing medications for high blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar.
  • 92% of patients who lowered their BMI to 30 in the first year said they were highly satisfied with their surgery, and even among those who saw less reduction in their BMI, 78% were still highly satisfied with their choice.
  • Doctors are now encouraged to recommend bariatric surgery as a primary treatment for obesity, instead of asking patients to wait until their body mass index is higher, or using surgery only as a last resort when other methods have failed.

Setting Your Individual Weight Loss Goals with Medical Guidance

More than one-third of adult Americans are considered obese by medical standards,5 and most of those people would like to lose weight and improve their health. While medical professionals have set a BMI of 30 as a standard, we are all unique individuals with bone structure and muscle mass variations which may change our target healthy weight.

Setting weight loss goals and taking effective steps to reach them should be a partnership with your doctor and his or her team of dietitians and fitness counselors. Achieving a healthy lifestyle and restoring your ability to enjoy life fully does not have to center around the number on the scale. Partnering with a team you trust may be the most successful step on your road to a healthy lifestyle.

Avoiding fad diets, extreme starvation, or dangerous medications designed to curb appetite and increase metabolism are other important factors in reaching your goals without harming your health. Weight loss should be a way to enhance your strength, energy, and quality of life. Be wary of programs that promise faster weight loss than bariatric surgery, and consult with your own doctor to see if Houston weight loss surgery is a choice you should consider.

Evaluate Your Weight Loss Progress at Regular Intervals

Doctor writing diet plan on table and using vegetables

What works well early in your weight loss journey may slow down as you move forward. Often, we get plenty of compliments and encouragement when we start losing weight but, after about three months of hard work, we may reach a plateau and struggle to find the motivation to make more changes.

Every 3-6 months is a useful interval to evaluate any plan for results. When you reach these milestones, it is time to make an honest evaluation of what you have achieved. Maybe your weight has leveled off but you feel healthy and are able to exercise for longer periods of time. Maybe critical health markers like blood pressure are improved or your sleep apnea is gone.

All of these changes are positive for your health and your continued success. Stop and celebrate these achievements, and then plan your next stage. If your pounds lost are less than you hoped, seek out more resources and tools that will help you reach the next level.

Exploring Advanced Options for Weight Loss

A medically supervised weight loss plan is one of the best ways to reach your realistic weight loss goals. Bariatric surgery for weight loss is a highly effective tool in combination with a healthy diet and exercise to reverse the serious health risks of continued obesity.

If you are ready to take the next step toward a healthy lifestyle, reach out to Bariatric Care Centers in Houston, Texas. Dr. Brian Mirza is board-certified and has more than 15 years of experience performing these life-changing procedures for his patients. Contact us today for a consultation to discuss your individual needs and learn how our team can help you reach all your goals. We are closed now, but we hope to open in the near future.

Disclaimer: This is only for general information. All patients should consult their doctors prior to following any of the recommendations in any articles, post, or video. Every patient has individual needs and limitations that only their treating physicians can be aware of.