If you’ve finally decided that you want to lose weight, you will naturally want to track your progress. There are a number of ways you can do that and, to be honest, it is not that difficult at all. What you want is a methodical way to track your process and, in this article, we will help you with just that including how to calculate weight loss percentage.
Losing Weight and Staying Healthy
Before we get down to doing the math, there are a few things you should know. Whether you are looking to simply shed a few pounds or 100 pounds, the most important thing is your health. You should always approach the subject of weight loss with your health in mind.
The reason is that there are countless ways you can actually lose weight. There among them, there are many ways that might be detrimental to your health. Although you might be happy to lose weight in the short-term, the damage to your health in the long-term might make you regret your decision or even lead you to gain all of the weight back.
We all want to lose weight as fast as possible. But if you are in it for the long-run, you want to take it slow and listen to your body. In order to lose weight and keep it off, you have to track your entire progression. You start this by tracking your weight on a weekly basis.
Short-term Weekly Goals for the End-Game
According to the American Heart Association, you should not lose more than two pounds a week. Losing more than two pounds a week can have a number of negative side effects, but in the short-term, you will lose something that you might actually care about.
The thing is, our body cannot lose more than two pounds of fat a week without undergoing radical and unhealthy changes. If you are losing that might weight in a week, chances are you are losing more than just fat. Rapid loss of weight always results in loss of muscle mass, which will not only make you weaker but also reduce the number of calories your body naturally burns throughout the day.
Aside from the loss of muscle, you risk developing a number of metabolic diseases such as glucose intolerance and diabetes. This then increases the risk of heart diseases and even stroke. Since you are losing unnatural amounts of weight, chances are you are not eating properly.
This can leave you severely fatigued and affect your life in a number of profound ways. It could affect your performance at school or work. It can also affect your social life in ways you couldn’t have imagined at the outset.
Fat Retention and Hibernation
The worst of all, your body can enter the hibernation state, where it deliberately stores fat and expends muscle. What happens is that the body falsely thinks you don’t have access to food and intentionally tries to save fat as a self-preservation mechanism. If your body does enter this state, you still stop losing weight and gain weight at a much greater rate if you go back to your previous eating habits.
This is one of the main reasons why a disproportionate majority of people regain all of the weight they’ve lost. Not only is this demoralizing but it also makes it more difficult to try and lose weight again. You want to do your best to avoid going down this route, and it’s really easy to avoid being in such a situation. Just make sure you continue eating and eat only healthy foods in moderate portions.
How to Calculate Weight Loss Percentage
The formula for calculating the percentage of weight loss is quite simple. So even if you think you’re not good at math, you have no reason to worry. It involves basic subtraction, multiplication, and division.
Calculating weight loss percentage is exactly the same as calculating percentage change. Start off with your starting weight and subtract the current weight to figure out the difference between your starting and current weight. Multiply the difference between 100 and divide it by your starting weight.
- Calculate the difference between your starting weight and current weight.
- Take the difference and multiply it by 100.
- After multiplying it by a hundred, divide it by your starting weight.
Let’s take a look at an example and get a better idea of how it works:
Starting Weight: 240 pounds
Current Weight: 150 pounds
240 – 150 = 90
90 x 100 = 9000
9000 / 240 = 37.5%
Weight loss of around 37.5%
How to Document and Track Your Progress
Now you know how to calculate weight loss percentage, let’s move on to how to track your progression. There are a number of ways you can do this. The simplest way to do this involves nothing more than a paper and a pencil.
The problem is simply recording your weight loss progress is that our bodies are complex systems that involve a lot of moving parts. It is absolutely possible to shed fat but lose insignificant amounts of weight.
For example, if you’re lifting weight and strength training while eating properly, chances are you will gain muscle mass while losing fat. So the increase in muscle mass will compensate for the loss of fat. The good thing is that a pound of muscle barely has ⅓ of the area of fat. Meaning, you can shrink without the tipping the scales.
Here are few things you should do to track your progress:
- Take a picture of yourself every week. You might not see much difference week by week, but a few months later, it will give you a certain type of motivation that will prevent you from falling off the wagon.
- Measure and write down your weight every week. This is the most basic thing you should do.
- Measure your body fat percentage. This can be a bit trickier and not particularly accurate. If you are extremely overweight, you can skip this part and simply measure in inches. You can use a body fat caliper to measure your body fat percentage.
- Take measurements. When you take your weekly measurements, make sure you do it in the morning and not in the evening or after your workout session.
There is no right way to lose weight except to eat healthily. What you eat is the most important thing. As you might imagine, what you put in your body will ultimately shape how it looks. So, next time you decide to lose weight, take it slow and stick with it. Don’t go for the radical approach. Take it slow. Be methodical. And remember, you don’t want to lose weight at your health’s expense.