So you’ve started making healthy changes to your diet –
- You’re eating adequate protein at each meal throughout the day
- You’re adding in 3-5 cups of produce and half your bodyweight in oz of water
- You’re in a Caloric deficit you know is necessary for weight loss
Week 1 (Days 1-7) – This first week, three things are happening that can make the scale go down. You can expect to lose 2-3% of your body weight if you do everything right.
- You lose water. You’re eating more mindfully and likely have minimized or eliminated foods to cause inflammation – refined sugar, alcohol, plus other foods you might be sensitive to (like dairy or gluten, for example) – so your total inflammation levels will drop.
Decreased inflammation = decreased excess water = scale goes down
- You lose bowel contents. You’re establishing a Calorie deficit, maybe a big one. Many people start their “diets” with a bit of an unsustainable extreme. For example, if 1700 Calories is sustainable, you may start your diet at 1400 Calories to establish the deficit. The result is your body is clearing food from your bowels faster than more food is coming in, which = the scale goes down.
- You lose fat. The Calorie deficit you’re in adds up, and your body burns stored fat for extra fuel to keep your body alive and get through your day. If you’re in a 500 Calorie deficit for 7 days: 500 x 7 = 3500 Calories = 1 pound lost and the scale goes down.
In summary, if you followed your meal plan, you probably lost 2-3% of your body weight in the first week! Hooray!
On the flip side, if the scale didn’t drop in the first week, you’re not on the right meal plan.
Week 2 and beyond (Day 8 and beyond) – expect to lose .5-1% of your body weight each week
As you move in to week 2, you will not continue to lose more water, you will not continue to decrease the contents of your bowels, but the weight from fat loss should continue to come off.
If you spent the first week in an unsustainably low Caloric intake to create the deficit, you’ll have to increase your Calories to a sustainable level at this point to avoid
- Mood swings and getting “hangry”
- Significant decrease to your metabolism that can stop weight loss, &
- Intense cravings that lead to binging.
Did you know???
There is no benefit to being in an extreme Calorie deficit. Your body can only burn a certain percentage of it’s fat every day. The higher your body fat percentage, the more of a deficit your body fat can supply energy through the day, and the more pounds of fat you can lose each week. The leaner you are, the less energy your body fat can supply, and the less weight fat you can lose each week.
If you’re eating too little, your body will burn muscle and bone to make up for the extreme deficit, you’re metabolism will slow, and you’ll lose fat at the same rate as if you ate at a sustainable Calorie intake.
Let’s assume you’re doing it all right –
- You’re on the right meal plan
- You’re doing resistance training twice per week to keep your muscles active and metabolism elevated
- You’re staying active through your days to burn extra Calories
Where will you lose fat from?
- You’ll lose fat evenly from how you store it. This means that if you carry a significant amount in your belly and just a little on your arms and legs, you’ll lose a lot from your belly and a little you’re your arms and legs (although you might not realize it). In this example, because your arms and legs were already leaner, you’ll notice tone come into those places first and it might not seem like you lose much in your belly, but if you took measurements, or tried to fit into a smaller pair of pants, you’d see your waist did in fact shrink as well.
- You’ll lose visceral fat around your organs as you restore hormone balance or last. We store fat in two places – under the skin and internally around our organs in the mid-section (called “visceral fat”). Visceral fat is created when hormones – specifically Cortisol and Insulin levels (which also involves Testosterone, Leptin, and other hormones) – are out of balance. The ONLY way to get rid of visceral fat is to restore hormone balance, which some people – thanks to their genetics- can do this with resistance training, food, and lifestyle, but many people will need to get to ideal body fat levels to restore hormone balance and rid the visceral fat (and the health risks that come with it).
How To Know Exactly How Many Calories to Eat to Lose Weight
If you want to know exactly how many Calories to eat for Week 1 and for Week 2 and beyond to guarantee fat loss, a 15 Resting Metabolic Rate Test at Lift and Live Fitness can give you that information. Click here to learn more about RMR Testing and how to get scheduled today!