Healthy Percentage of Body Weight to Lose a Month

Losing weight can be tough, especially if the excess pounds don't come off as quickly as you'd like. For those who need it, weight loss can be healthy. A 5- to 10-percent reduction of your body weight if you are overweight can lessen your risk of diabetes and heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, it's important to lose body weight at a safe rate to stay healthy.

Body Fat

The American Council on Exercise reports that most people can safely lose up to 1 percent of body fat per month. This is not quite the same as losing body weight. You would actually need to lose more than 1 percent of your body weight to lose body fat, as some people lose water weight or lean muscle instead. This is especially true if you lose weight more rapidly than 1 percent per month.

Pounds and Calories

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Many people find it easier to count weight loss in pounds when they step on the scale instead of calculating percentages. The CDC recommends losing weight steadily and consistently at a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week. This works out to be between 4 and 8 pounds monthly. A pound gained or lost is equal to 3,500 calories. You will need to shave 500 to 1,000 calories from your daily diet, or eat 2,000 to 4,000 fewer calories per month to meet this goal.


Eat healthy and exercise regularly to lose weight safely. A July 2008 issue of "The New England Journal of Medicine" shows that following a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil, produce, whole grains, chicken and fish promoted more weight loss than a low-fat diet. Physical activity also plays a role in helping you burn calories. Aerobic exercises, such as running, step aerobics, rollerblading, skiing or playing racket sport, burn from 300 to over 800 calories in one hour depending on your weight and how vigorous you exercise, according to


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Losing more than 1 percent of your body weight or more than 8 pounds in a month can be described as rapid weight loss. This may pose some risks to your health. People who lose weight quickly may not be getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy, according to the American Heart Association. Following a low-calorie diet can also cause fatigue if your body isn't getting enough energy through food to function.