How Much Weight Can I Expect to Lose, and How Fast?
One of the first questions we are asked by nearly all of our clients prior to starting our program is “How much weight can I expect to lose, and how quickly?” I wish that answer was so simple but unfortunately, we cannot see into the future nor is it as formulaic as the old adage “calories in versus calories out” would lead us to believe. We work with men and women of all ages, from many different cultural backgrounds and areas of the country, in various stages of life with vastly different lifestyles and genetics, and with a wide range of physical, mental and emotional health concerns- in other words, each with a unique bioindividuality. And the truth is, every one of these factors impacts that answer. We know that consuming a diet comprised of whole, real foods the way nature intended is a critical element for weight loss (and maintenance), but it’s not the only one. Here are 7 other key weight-loss predictors, and ways to improve your odds of success:
- TIMING OF MEALS: Just one late-night meal can spell trouble on the scale the next day. Making late-night dining a regular habit, on the other hand, can totally derail your weight-loss plan and any chances of long-term results. Eating close to bedtime can elevate your body temperature, blood glucose and insulin which decreases your ability to burn fat. Make it a goal to stop eating at least 3 hours before you go to We always advise clients to leave the kitchen as soon as they’re done cleaning up after dinner to avoid the temptation for additional snacking. Also, you tend to consume more servings than you realize if you’re snacking while watching TV or mindlessly scrolling through your phone. So, if you do want a little post-meal sweet treat, put it on a small plate and enjoy it slowly and mindfully at the table without distractions.
- METABOLISM: As we all know, the speed of your metabolism plays a major role in your ability to lose weight and keep it off. Unfortunately (or fortunately) part of this is written in your genes and cannot be changed. However, there are other factors that contribute to your metabolism that are For instance, when you increase your lean muscle mass, you will boost your basal metabolic rate and burn more calories throughout the day. Also, it may sound counterintuitive, but if you regularly skip meals or restrict calories/fat too much, it can cause your metabolism to stall and your weight-loss attempt to backfire. In fact, it can even send your body into “survival mode” – holding on to every calorie consumed and immediately storing it as fat. To avoid these metabolic pitfalls, we suggest adding anaerobic workouts (weight-training) into your routine a few times per week and steering clear of any diets that create too much of a caloric deficit.
- SLEEP: When you don't get sufficient sleep, it can slow your metabolism so you are no longer burning calories effectively. It can also decrease energy levels so you aren’t motivated (or physically able) to exercise. Additionally, when you’re tired, you're more apt to make poor dietary choices and experience stronger cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates. Poor sleep quality can also disrupt the body’s ability to regulate hunger. In fact, just one night of poor sleep can cause you to eat up to 300 more calories the next day – imagine what that looks like over the course of a week or a month! Adults aged 18–65 should aim for 7–9 hours of quality sleep every night.
- THYROID: We know that your thyroid has a direct impact on your weight, but the way it actually affects your metabolism and energy levels is layered, because there are many other hormones and chemicals at play. However, if you find that losing weight is a constant struggle no matter what you try, we advise consulting your physician to get your thyroid levels checked out. For instance, if it's underactive, you may be diagnosed with hypothyroidism- a condition that can cause water retention and a buildup of salt in the body, thereby leading to weight gain. On the opposite end of the spectrum is an hyperthyroidism – defined as an overactive Some people with this diagnosis may have a hard time gaining weight (or maintaining a healthy BMI) but others may gain because they constantly feel hungry.
- MEDICATIONS: Unfortunately, there are many types of medications that can thwart weight-loss efforts, and in fact even cause weight gain (sometimes up to 10 pounds or more). Some examples are antivirals, steroids and medications for allergies, birth control, anxiety/depression, diabetes, seizures and blood pressure to name a few. If you’re experiencing weight issues as an unwanted side-effect, we advise consulting with your prescribing physician about possibly changing medications or adjusting dosage.
- EXERCISE: Exercise is a great way to torch additional calories, but in order to experience substantial weight loss, it must be combined with a proper diet. As we like to say, “abs are made in the kitchen!” In fact, research shows that 4.4 pounds is about the maximum amount someone can lose when using exercise as their sole method. We burn the majority of our calories by performing basic life-sustaining functions such as breathing and digesting/metabolizing food. Physical activity requires much less energy and therefore much lower caloric expenditure. Therefore, without making notable dietary changes, it is nearly impossible to achieve noticeable results.
- FAD DIETS: Sure you may lose weight on a fad diet (sometimes quite a significant amount in fact), but this is usually just loss of water and muscle mass, as opposed to fat. Additionally, trend-based or overly-restrictive eating plans are difficult- and sometimes dangerous- to follow long-term; therefore, people tend to regain the weight (and then some) quickly after stopping. Optimal diets are varied and balanced so that they are healthy, enjoyable and Yes, it’s important to operate in a “caloric deficit” when trying to lose weight, but this should be done under the guidance of a health coach, dietician or physician to ensure nutritional needs are being met.
In good health,
Robyn, Megan and the Sugar Snap Shift Team
This information is provided for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or manage any disease or condition. We are not physicians and any information we provide is not a substitute for medical advice and care. You, as always, are responsible for your own health and should consult your medical providers to ensure any changes are right for your personal medical conditions.