Losing weight is often difficult, necessitating lifestyle changes and a great deal of commitment. There is a myriad of reasons that a person may want to lose weight, including obesity, heart disease, and type II diabetes.
Rapidly losing weight is unhealthy, and tends to lead to a yo-yo approach to weight loss. Whatever your goal, it is important to lose weight in a controlled manner.
Read on to find out how to calculate weight loss percentage, as well as methods for losing weight in a safe manner, and other weight loss advice that will help you to reach your ideal body weight.
A weight loss journey is an individual journey, and comparisons to others will only make the process more difficult. Everyone loses weight at different rates and in different quantities, and comparison will only demotivate and demoralize you. This is especially the case with comparing yourself to those on social media, as the parts they choose to share are carefully curated versions of themselves, with flattering angles and good lighting on their side.
Calculating your own weight loss percentage means that the only person your comparing yourself to is you. This helps you to stay motivated, as you can track your progress.
Ways to calculate weight loss as a percentage
When it comes to tracking your weight loss progress, calculating it as a percentage – rather than counting the lost pounds or kilograms – may be a more sustainable and healthier approach.
Given that weight loss, and how much weight you want to shed, is an individual process, calculating weight loss as a percentage is a method that is unique to your own journey.
There are different ways to calculate a weight loss percentage, including using a weight loss percentage calculator, or weight loss percentage formula.
A simple weight loss percentage equation
You might prefer to calculate your weight loss percentage by yourself. Doing so will give you an understanding of how the calculation works, and allow you to manually work out the percentage, without the need for a weight loss percentage calculator.
To do so, divide the amount of weight you have lost (in pounds or kilograms), by your initial weight, then multiply the result by 100. Make sure to use the same units!
Here is an example:
- 10 pounds / 170 pounds x 100 = 5.8% lost of starting body weight lost
If you started out with a body weight of 170 pounds, and currently weigh 160 pounds, then you have lost approximately 5.8% of your initial body weight.
Calculate weight loss as a percentage in a spreadsheet
Using a spreadsheet allows you to track your progress.
It’s important to remember that weight loss takes time, and you may experience fluctuations in your weight along the way. Keeping a record of your progress using a spreadsheet can allow you to see an overall pattern of progress, which will help to motivate you to stay on track.
It is not recommended that you calculate your weight loss percentage daily, as this can encourage obsessive behavior and unhealthy dieting habits.
We recommend working with a healthcare professional during your weight loss journey, as they can advise you on weight loss methods and appropriate goals, allowing you to achieve a weight that’s healthy for you. Don’t forget to track your starting weight too, as this will help you to see the weight loss.
Using a weight loss percentage calculator
There are many weight loss percentage calculators available online, which will allow you to quickly and easily calculate your weight loss percentage. They use the formula above, without you needing to work out the math!
The importance of setting realistic goals
The most important aspect of losing weight is ensuring that you set yourself realistic goals. Failing to do so can lead to disappointment, the development of unhealthy habits, and even muscle loss.
Additionally, to experience health improvements from diseases such as diabetes, you would need to lose between 5% to 10% of your weight. This makes a weight loss percentage calculation a more efficient way to achieve these improvements, as staying within that range will depend on your individual starting weight and weight loss, rather than a fixed weight loss goal of, for example, 10 pounds.
Is the percentage of weight loss the best way to go?
For some people, tracking their weight loss as a percentage can be difficult to get to grips with. This is usually because traditional weight loss programs have focused on a set goal, such as “Lose 10 Pounds in 3 Weeks!”.
However, it’s not necessary to track your weight loss percentage, and you may prefer to stick with a whole number to reach your weight loss goal.
As an alternative to recording weight loss progress, which some may find unappealing altogether, you could monitor your physical activity and general diet. Taking notice of how many steps you walk per day, as well as what you’re consuming at mealtimes, can help you to keep track of your lifestyle. From this information, you could add a lunchtime walk, choose the stairs over the elevator, and switch a mid-afternoon chocolate bar for an apple. Small changes such as these can have big effects when combined with a little willpower and commitment.
There are plenty of apps available that allow you to track your daily activity, food intake, and water consumption, which can be useful tools to add to your weight loss arsenal.
How to lose weight safely and improve your health
As we have discussed above, there is no “one size fits all” solution for weight loss. As individuals, everyone’s journey is different. Your individual approach to your weight loss journey and improving your health should begin with discovering how your body works.
Bear in mind, however, that weight loss isn’t necessary for everyone looking to improve their health. If you already have a moderate weight, or if you are underweight, weight loss or fat loss shouldn’t be your goal.
Calculating your BMI can give you a good indication of whether or not your weight is within what is considered a healthy range.
Here are the BMI ranges, as outlined by the CDC:
- BMI of less than 18.5: underweight
- Moderate weight: BMI between 18.5 to 24.9
- BMI between 25.0 to 29.9: overweight
- BMI of 30.0 or higher: obesity
It is simple to determine your own Body Mass Index, using a calculation involving your height and weight. The formula is Your weight in kg/Your height in m2.
If weight loss is your goal, it’s important to try to lose fat in a safe and responsible manner.
What is a healthy weight loss percentage?
There is a multitude of health risks and potential health conditions associated with being overweight or obese. These include type 2 diabetes, stroke, many types of cancer, and mental health conditions.
Those who have more fat around their belly are at greater risk of developing:
- heart disease
- metabolic health conditions.
The CDC outlines that for an overweight person, even a small weight loss of 5% to 10% can be beneficial to their health. This reduction can lead to lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
A gradual weight loss program is recommended over “crash” dieting, which is unsustainable and can pose health risks.
Are there better ways to track weight loss and improve your health?
The number on the scale isn’t the only potential indicator of health. A healthy weight range depends on a variety of factors, such as your age, sex, muscle mass, metabolism, and physical activity levels.
Those who regularly practice exercise tend to have a higher muscle mass. After all, muscle weighs more than fat! This means that your training could cause your weight to increase, even if you are losing body fat.
Additionally, using your BMI as a reference point is a great start… However, it should only be used as a starting point. This is because it doesn’t take your lifestyle or unique composition into account.
Here is a list of alternative methods for tracking improvements in your health, and lowering the risk of health issues associated with a high body fat percentage:
- Keep track of how much your strength has increased as a result of exercise.
- Checking any changes in how your clothes fit you (perhaps jeans that were once tight now feel loose)
- Noticing whether you feel more energetic, or if your stamina has increased
- Noting improvements in your diet, such as an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption
Too much belly fat is associated with a number of serious diseases and health issues. However, it is only a healthy option to lose weight if you are overweight or obese.
Calculating your weight loss as a percentage can help you to lose weight in a controlled manner, which will deter you from focusing on whole numbers alone. It’s a method that’s unique to you, and therefore unique to your own weight loss journey.
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