While most of the United States does not use the metric system, most of the world does. The metric system is used to describe measurements for weight, length and volume. The measurement used to describe weight is kilograms, and there are 2.2 pounds in every kilogram of weight. This can drastically reduce the number that shows up on your bathroom scale every morning, but it will not change the amount of weight that is healthy to lose each week.
A Safe Goal
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, recommends that people lose weight gradually, approximately 1 to 2 pounds per week. This equates to between 0.45 and 0.9 kilograms of weight loss per week.
When you first begin dieting, you may lose a little more than that in the first month. If you are following a low-carb diet, for example, your body burns glycogen stored in muscle tissue when it runs out of carbohydrates. Glycogen binds to water, and when it is burned for energy water is lost as well. This initial quick weight loss can be very motivating, but eventually it will taper off.
Losing Too Much, Too Quickly
The idea of eating fewer calories to lose even more weight as fast as possible can be attractive, but it isn't healthy and it won't help you reach your goals. Eating too few calories can actually cause your body to burn fewer calories, thus stalling weight loss. This is because the human body is designed to maintain homeostasis, or equilibrium. When it senses it's not getting enough calories, it starts preserving calories.
Not consuming enough calories also has other ill health effects that can affect weight loss. Notably, calories are your body's source of energy. Without adequate supply, you will feel lethargic, weak and even sick. A successful diet program should include physical activity, but if you don't eat enough, you won't have the energy to exercise.
Healthy Weight Loss
Talking about "weight loss" is misleading. The goal of a diet should be to alter body composition, losing fat and gaining lean muscle mass. The fact is, if you're exercising and doing strength training, specifically, in tandem with your diet, you may not see the scale move as much as you'd like because you'll be gaining muscle as you're losing fat. That's a good thing. The more lean muscle mass you have, the more efficient your metabolism is. This makes it easier to lose fat and prevent fat gain.
What you eat plays the biggest role in fat loss, not just how much you eat. Theoretically, you could eat your daily calorie allotment in a couple of donuts and a scoop of ice cream. But you wouldn't get the necessary nutrients to stay healthy and fuel exercise. You'd also find yourself very hungry very soon, and you'd have trouble not giving into the urge to eat more.
A healthy diet should include whole, unprocessed and nutritionally potent foods. The fiber in fresh vegetables helps fill you up and keep you feeling full; protein from lean meats, fish and tofu provides long-lasting energy and the raw materials for building lean muscle mass. Whole grains digest more slowly and are higher in nutrients than refined grains. You can cut a lot of calories out of your diet just by avoiding sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages and junk foods.
A Little Goes a Long Way
Eating a healthy diet, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight will help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure. Keeping a normal weight can also help reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Even a small reduction in fat can produce benefits such as reduced blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. A 5-percent fat loss may still keep you in the overweight or obese range but can decrease your risk of chronic diseases related to obesity. Knowing this, you can view your overall weight-loss goal as a journey during which you will continue to receive benefits before you reach the end results.