Healthy Weight Week: What Weight Is Healthy?

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With all of the current pressures to lose weight to an unrealistic or unhealthy degree, how can you tell if a weight-loss plan is healthy and sustainable?

With so many new fad diets out there promising miraculous weight loss, the science of what is a healthy and sustainable plan can get lost in all the noise. And once you learn which diets are helpful and which ones are unhealthy, newer diets are always ready to emerge and cloud the situation all over again. How can you know the difference between 

When everyone’s body works a little differently and loses weight at different rates (even with the same diet and exercise levels), how can you tell if your weight loss is happening in a healthy way?

Let’s start with what we know for sure. According to the CDC, the best weight loss plans are the ones that happen gradually “about 1 to 2 pounds per week”. The slower weight loss tends to be more successful and is much more likely to be permanent. The CDC also notes that weight loss based on holding to a stringent diet is much much less likely to be sustainable since almost everyone will drop a diet in the long run.

How does the CDC recommend you lose weight and still be healthy? By doing so through gradual changes in your diet and exercise level. The best way to know whether or not your weight loss is healthy is through examining your changes and asking yourself if the new habits you’ve picked up are sustainable and good for you. If the answer is no, then chances are it won’t last. If it is based on eating healthier and consistent exercise in a way that you can hold to, that’s when you know if your weight loss is healthy.

Another great sign is whether your weight loss plan is created for your situation or on an extreme diet being prescribed to everyone online. If you’re making it using straightforward principles (for example: eat more vegetables, less processed food, less red meat). You can also find very straightforward, scientifically validated strategies on the CDC’s website here.