Beware: The answer isn’t the same for everyone.
If you’re an athlete or workout a lot, losing too much weight too fast can hurt your performance. Aim to lose less than 0.7% of your weight per week in order to maintain muscle mass.
Another thing to consider is your personal approach to weight loss including your previous successes and failures. If you’ve tried dieting before by going cold turkey and ending up rebounding and gaining all you lost and more, try a more methodical approach this time and make lifestyle changes slowly. Conversely, if a drastic jump start is what you need, then clean out the cupboard and go for it. Whatever you choose, be true to yourself. Don’t try an approach that you already know will leave you frustrated and failing.
Often times we can be more successful when dieting with a friend. It makes us accountable to another person, and requires us to set a good example in return. Just keep in mind that you may not lose weight at the same pace as your friend. Don’t be discouraged. In general, the heavier a person is, the faster they can lose weight. Plus the psychological and fitness factors mentioned above also play a role.
Bottom Line: Many dieting programs or online calorie trackers allow you to set a target for how fast you want to lose weight. These programs fall short when it comes to considering all of the important factors, so use them as a guideline only. Start with who knows you and your body the best… YOU! Begin with a small, realistic goal (maybe 0.5 – 1.5 per week). Be honest about your calorie intake & expenditure. And remember what they say about weight is true “it’s just a number” and no single number tells the whole story. Equally as important to your health is your level of strength, cardiovascular endurance, body fat percentage, waist-to-hip ratio, and your overall outlook on life.