How to Lose 2 Pounds Per Week – Is It Really as Simple as it Seems?
It is all too common to see ads online claiming fat loss plans can guarantee you will lose 2 pounds per week, by following a simple plan or list of rules. Is this genuinely the case for all and is this the sort of message companies should be selling? It is often made to sound like a very quick, easy process, typically with a one-size-fits all approach.
You may have noticed a large influx of ads, emails and content from Instagram influencers, in recent years, all hoping to cash in on the newest fad. These are often some form of crash diet and range from detoxes using things such as gel sachets, skinny teas and other such magic potions to celery juice diets and other bizarre ways of eating.
“Nutrition is a bit of a minefield to navigate at the best of times and it can be hard to know what to believe.”
Misleading information and false advertising are often marketed so cunningly that we can’t resist giving the products or method a go to get the result desired, especially when it is made to sound so easy!
Weight loss vs fat loss – what’s the difference?
Firstly, we need to take a step back and go through the basics. The terms weight loss and fat loss are often used interchangeably, when in fact they refer to two very different things:
- Weight loss refers to a reduction of total body mass, by a mean loss of fluid, body fat or lean mass (namely bone mineral deposits, muscle, tendon, and other connective tissue), resulting from either voluntary (diet, exercise) or involuntary (illness) circumstances.
- Fat loss on the other hand refers to a reduction in body fat – which is typically what people want when they embark on a plan.
When it comes to dropping body fat, (although there is slightly more to it, which we will discuss later on) the driving factor is being in a calorie deficit – this means burning more calories than you consume, or vice versa, over a sustained period of time.
A calorie deficit can be achieved in two ways, either by increasing the amount of physical activity you do or decreasing the quantity of food you consume. At Fresh Fitness Food, we usually recommend a combination of both to get the best results.
The magnitude of deficit required will vary from person to person, but around a 20% deficit is typically a good starting point for many. Any greater than this and you could experience the following:
- Adherence to your plan may be reduced.
- Physical energy can suffer and you may frequently feel fatigued.
- Mental energy can suffer and you may find it harder to focus and concentrate on tasks.
- Risk the loss of muscle mass.
Is it sustainable to lose 2 pounds per week?
In theory, it is usually stated that a 500 calorie deficit each day, so a reduction of 3,500 calories across the course of a week, will result in fat loss of up to 2 pounds per week.
This sounds simple, but is it the case in all instances? More often than not, it isn’t. This is largely due to the fact that everybody is different and fat loss will occur at different rates depending on a whole host of factors. These include things such as genetics, metabolic rate, starting point, training regime, sleep patterns and hormone levels.
When you are first embarking on a plan or making large changes to your dietary intake, progress at the start can be rapid, but it is unlikely to continue in a perfectly linear pattern and can certainly plateau as the weeks go on. This means it is very difficult to keep up the same level of progress over time, especially in the longer term.
The human body is extremely smart and contrary to popular belief, fat loss is a little more complex than we may think.
Our bodies have developed mechanisms to defend our weight and this is known as ‘metabolic adaptation’ or ‘adaptive thermogenesis’ (1). Our bodies have been found to adapt to extended periods of dieting in a number of ways to minimize the energy deficit, attenuate weight loss, and promote weight regain (2):
- Resting metabolic rate is reduced, meaning the body burns fewer calories day to day.
- Changes to circulating hormones, in particular appetite hormones involved in increasing your drive to eat – increased ghrelin (often coined the hunger hormone) and decreased leptin (which plays a role in appetite suppression).
It is therefore important to consider the above when it comes to devising a fat loss plan, in order to facilitate sustainable progress.
What is the best diet to lose 2 pounds per week?
A quick online search will likely result in companies advocating the use of quick fixes and crash diet like approaches, commonly including diets characterised by a dramatic decrease in calories, often with the complete removal of certain food groups and coupled with unrealistic promises regarding the amount of weight you will lose in a set period e.g. lose 2 pounds per week.
Whilst you may lose weight in the short term, it will not be beneficial in the long run, as it will likely not be sustainable and could be accompanied by an array of unwanted, negative side-effects.
What is our approach at Fresh Fitness Food?
There is no magic pill when it comes to fat loss, it is about finding what works for you and your lifestyle.
It is important to be aware that what works for your friend, family member or colleague, may not work for you and that’s totally fine – we are all unique!
At Fresh Fitness Food we take a scientific-backed approach to nutrition, but we also fully appreciate the bespoke nature of this process and work to tailor your plan to you. Whilst a 20% deficit is applied on our fat loss plan, this is usually viewed as a good starting point for sustainable, controlled fat loss. However, we can adjust your plans throughout, depending on how our clients are progressing and, or feeling during their time with us.
We are often asked to put a number and a timeframe on fat loss progress and whilst we can theorise, based on the 500 calorie deficit theory mentioned previously, this does not necessarily always translate into real life. As a result, we would typically avoid advocating or setting targets of this kind.
There is also a lot more to the process than simply the number on the scales and this should be given a great deal of thought during this time too.
Try to think about what you are gaining from the process:
- Learning about nutrition
- Getting a better understanding of portion sizes
- Finding out what works for you and your lifestyle
Also, consider things like your mood, energy levels and exercise progress.
To round up, be wary of anything or anyone promising you rapid, guaranteed results – Rome wasn’t built in a day after all! These things take time, effort and consistency. Anything that sounds too good to be true is very likely to be just that.
If your goal is to drop body fat, we can help you sustainably work towards your goal, without compromising on flavour and enjoyment.
Book a call with one of our all-knowing nutritionists to discuss your goal further.
Have all the information you need but just don’t want to cook? Give our Fat Loss Plan a go with £50 off your 5-day trial with code BLOG50 – Start your trial here.
- Saunt, R. and West, H., 2019. Is Butter A Carb?. London: Piatkus.
- Trexler, E., Smith-Ryan, A. and Norton, L., 2014. Metabolic adaptation to weight loss: implications for the athlete. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11(1), p.7.