You have been eating healthy protein and broccoli and exercising every day. You’re drinking lots of water and saying NO to pizza dinner plans.
In terms of diet and exercise, you’re probably on the right track. But if you’re still not satisfied with your weight loss journey, there are other important factors that could be influencing your journey.
You can correct some of these to lose weight faster, however, there are certain things you may not be able to do anything about.
Before you jump on board to speed up your weight loss journey, know that there is a healthy amount of weight to lose over time.
Losing too much weight too fast is not going to help. As a general guideline, most experts say weekly losses of 0.5 to 2 pounds (0.2 to 1 kg) are feasible and recommended.
Here are some surprising factors that influence how quickly or slowly you can lose weight:
1. Your current weight
Your current body mass or weight is the No. 1 determinant of your metabolic rate, or how many calories you burn per day. The larger you are, the higher will be your metabolism. Now, to lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories per day than you burn. This can be easier for those with a higher weight, as they burn more calories.
Dr. Craig Primack, a member of the national board of directors for the US Obesity Medicine Association, simplifies this with an example. He says, “So, someone who weighs 300 pounds and burns 2,800 calories per day can cut more daily calories to lose weight faster than someone who weighs 150 pounds and burns 1,800 calories per day. Note that most experts recommend not cutting your daily calories below 1,200.
2. Your weight-loss history
If you have had a history of weight gain-weight loss-weight gain, it can get harder and harder for you to lose weight each new time. That’s because when you lose weight your metabolic rate drops lower than it should, based on pure body size, explains Dr. Michael W. Schwartz, professor of medicine and co-director of the University of Washington’s UW Medicine Diabetes Institute in Seattle.
For example, if two women weigh 180 pounds (approx 82 kgs), but one of them used to weigh 250 pounds (approx 113 kgs) – all else being equal – she will burn 25% to 30% fewer calories per day than the other woman. So she needs to put in extra effort this time than she had to do previously.
3. Your lifestyle
Now, this is not to discourage those who are already leading a healthy lifestyle, however, those who switch from an unhealthy lifestyle to a healthier one will be losing weight faster.
Some basic factors that can be worked upon for improvement are your nutrition habits, activity levels, sleep, and stress levels. So if you are already into a decent, healthy lifestyle, pushing further and closer to the ideal healthy state can help you boost your weight loss journey. This could include going to bed an hour earlier and waking up an hour earlier, quitting all kinds of packaged foods, quitting alcohol, meditating every day, etc.
4. Your sleep habits
The amount of sleep we get daily makes a large difference in our metabolic rate and how fast we are able to lose weight. Experts argue that people who sleep less than seven hours per night tend to have slower metabolisms.
Along with the number of hours, the quality of your sleep matters too. Sleep apnea, for example, is consistently linked with weight problems. Treating sleep apnea can help to speed up weight loss.
5. Your age
As people get older, it becomes harder for them to lose weight. Even if they are able to lose weight, the process is much slower. This can be due to many reasons such as hormonal changes and loss of muscle mass that occurs as we keep aging.
However, one way to prevent or reduce losses of lean body mass with age is by engaging in routine exercise as well as strength training. Eating a diet rich in muscle-building protein also helps. Ensuring healthy muscles is essential for a good daily metabolic rate.