Posted by: Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes | January 12, 2009

The 10 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes #2 – Trying to Lose Weight Too Quickly

        Hardly a week passes where I don’t come across some diet, exercise program or ergogenic aid that makes a wild weight loss claim such as “lose 20 pounds in 3 weeks”.  I’m sure you see them as well.  I have a question for you.  What’s the most weight you can healthfully lose in a week?  You probably realize that 20 lbs. is way too much to drop in a 3-week time period.  If you said 3 or 4 lbs. you are still way off.  That’s too much weight to lose in one week.   If you said 1 or 2 lbs. you might be surprised to learn that you are only half right.  Two pounds is also too much weight to healthfully lose in a week.  The most weight you should try to lose in a one week period is one pound and even better is a half-pound.  Why?  Because the faster you lose weight the more certain you can be that you are losing muscle mass and water, instead of body fat.  As I discussed in my last post, Mistake #1 – Going on a Diet, this is the last thing you want to do because muscle loss leads to a decrease in body metabolism and ultimately, weight gain. 

If you want to lose weight healthfully, albeit slowly, simply make one modification to your current eating habits that will result in a 150-300 calorie reduction every day.  This can be as simple as drinking one less soda pop, eating one less bag of chips or sipping one less $10 cup of coffee.  You will be amazed at how quickly these calories add up.  For instance, you need to incur a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound.   If you reduce your energy intake by 250 calories/day, you would lose 26 lbs. over the course of a year (1/2 lb. a week).  I know this is not as fast as many of us would like to lose weight, but it is a safer, healthier and more effective way of losing body fat that will stay off!

NEXT POST – January 15, 2009

The 10 Biggest Weight Loss Mistakes # 3 – Trying to Lose Weight without Exercise



  1. Great, This is a well written POST and I belive everything you say. It is healthy to lose 1-2 lbs per week and no more. Sometimes these diet pill companies offer a huge weight loss in just a few weeks and it is possible, but never long tem and very risky.

  2. […] as I have discussed in my 3 previous “Weight Loss Mistakes” articles (Going on a Diet, Trying to Lose Weight Too Quickly and Trying to Lose Weight WITHOUT Exercise), starving yourself will lead to significant muscle […]

  3. I’m trying to find healthful ways to lose a few more pounds. I’ve been working hard for years to be thin. Right now I’m trying to be thin and actually healthy too. I’ve stopped counting calories and have opted instead to adopt the Abs Diet and exercise program, but I’m afraid because I’ve actually gained a couple of pounds. And I’m not just talking about numbers on a scale, I can see it and feel it, naked and clothed.

    I’m afraid of adding more cardio in case I’d burn muscle with it (something I read in The Abs Diet book), and maybe I just need to give it time, but I was wondering if you had any advice for someone who wants to lose those last few pounds to be really hot instead of just for those people who are obese. It’s easy to lose a few pounds when you’ve got at least 20 lbs to lose…

    • Hi Arielle,

      Thank you for your question. Let me begin by commending you on your efforts to find a healthy weight and to live a fitness lifestyle. It’s not easy to provide you with specific advice because I don’t know much about what you are doing now. However, I do have a couple of general suggestions. First, do not be afraid of cardiovascular exercise. In fact, if you want to lose weight you will need to burn extra calories and aerobic exercise is an excellent way to do this. Just make sure you perform strength training exercises on a regular basis to maintain your muscle mass. Second, don’t worry about making dramatic changes to your eating habits. Very few people can do this successfully. It is much more effective to make one minor change that results in a daily reduction of approximately 250 calories. This can be as simple as replacing a large bottle of soda pop with water or a diet soft drink. If you slightly reduce your caloric intake while slightly increasing your level of exercise you will lose weight, albeit slowly, in a manner that allows you to keep it off permanently. I hope this helps. Best of luck to you!


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