If you're following a Weight Watchers diet, which is now called WW, it's important to lose weight gradually — whether your goal is to lose 10 pounds or 50 pounds.
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During your first month on a WW plan, you might lose weight at a faster pace than during subsequent months. This is normal, and the initial period of rapid weight loss shouldn't last more than a few weeks.
Monthly Weight Loss on Weight Watchers
Weight Watchers encourages healthy eating and discourages food deprivation. While following a WW plan, you can expect to lose an average of 8 pounds a month, or 2 pounds a week. This is a realistic and healthy goal to aim for, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Your weight loss may fluctuate from week to week and month to month. During some weeks, you may lose less than 2 pounds and during other weeks, you may reach a plateau. You might even have some weeks in which you gain a little.
As long as you average a loss of about 2 pounds a week by the end of the month, you're on the right track, says registered dietitian Stephanie Rost, RD, former director of corporate program development for Weight Watchers.
Why You May Lose More Weight Initially
During the first few weeks of the Weight Watchers plan, it's possible to experience more dramatic weight loss, a sign that your body is adjusting to your new eating plan. The majority of the weight you're losing, however, is most likely water weight and not fat.
After the first few weeks, you should maintain a more gradual weight loss, losing about 2 pounds per week.
The Risks of Losing Weight Too Fast
Dropping more than 2 pounds a week has been linked to numerous health risks, per the National Health Service (NHS). Rapid weight loss can cause gallstones, which can lead to severe or life-threatening infections, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, and are associated with symptoms including nausea, vomiting, chills, gas and bloating.
Dramatic fluctuations in weight can also negatively affect your energy levels, your metabolism, kidneys, thyroid function, level of sex hormones and cardiac function — including an unhealthy change in your blood pressure.
Additionally, over time, loss of bone density could cause your bones to become weak and brittle, increasing your risk of fracture, per an October 2014 review in Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity.
What to Do if You're Losing Weight Too Quickly or Too Slowly
If you've followed your WW plan for several weeks and haven't lost any weight — or if you're dropping more than 2 pounds a week after the first month — it's time to meet with your WW coach and evaluate your diet.
It's possible that you may need to adjust the number of points you're using to keep track of food portions and calories. If you're experiencing a weight-loss plateau, you might need to trim a couple of points from your daily total. Or, if you're losing weight more quickly than the recommended safe amount, you might need to increase your points by two or three until you're back on track. Your coach can help you best determine which next step is right for you.
- National Health Service: "Should You Lose Weight Fast?"
- Mayo Clinic: "Weight Loss: 6 Strategies for Success"
- Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity: "Weight Loss and Bone Mineral Density"
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Gallstones"
- Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity: "Weight loss and bone mineral density"