The trite, overused phrase ‘if you fail to plan, you’re really just planning to fail’ could never be more true when it comes to executing a successful weight loss program. The most important place to start is determining how much weight you want to lose in a given time period so you can have realistic goals to shoot for. While many people have in their minds a certain amount they want to lose, it may not be possible in the amount of time they’re willing to diet for. This can be figured by a calculation taken from your body fat percentage. Before starting any weight loss program, get your body fat measured by a qualified professional so you know how much fat you actually need to lose.
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Once you know this, you can set realistic goals and expectations. For mental and physiological health reasons, do not try dieting for longer than 12-16 weeks at a time. Depending on your muscular tone, physical conditioning, body type and several other factors, you can expect to lose 6-20 pounds of body weight in the first 3-4 weeks of any correctly designed nutrition program. Beyond this, a reasonable goal is to try to lose 2 pounds/week for the remainder of the time.
This means a realistic weight loss goal is between 30-40 pounds in a 3-4 month period. If you have 100 lbs. to lose for example, you will need more than one nutrition program to reach this goal. If you need more than one diet program, do not plan on doing one right after another as you will have diminishing returns.
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