How to lose 100 pounds in a year

Weight loss scrabble on a blue plate

In today’s article on “How to Lose 100 Pounds in a Year,” we’ll dive into simple, practical, and rational tips for safe and sustainable weight loss.

We’ll cover some evidence-based strategies, empowering you to make lasting changes for not only weight loss but also improved well-being and a positive relationship with food.

You ready? I’m ready. Let’s roll.

How fast can you lose 100 pounds safely?

Safely losing 100 pounds depends on several things, including your starting weight, age, gender, metabolism, and overall health. As a general guideline, it is recommended to aim for gradual and sustainable weight loss to reduce the risk of adverse health effects.

For most, a safe rate of weight loss is usually considered to be around .5 to 1.5% of your current body weight. If you’re currently 300 pounds that would equal 1.5 to 4.5 lbs per week on average. This rate allows your body to adjust to the changes, reduces the risk of nutrient deficiencies, and promotes the preservation of lean body mass. By taking your current weight and multiplying it by .5% and 1.5% you can get a rough idea of how long it might take you to lose 100 pounds.

But honestly, the correct answer is that it’s probably going to take longer than you want it to. 

You can learn more about how fast you can expect to lose weight here: How fast can you expect to lose weight

Will I have loose skin if I lose 100 pounds in a year

The likelihood of developing loose skin after losing 100 pounds in a year depends on things like your age, genetics, starting weight, rate of weight loss, and overall skin elasticity.

Losing a significant amount of weight in a short period can increase the risk of loose skin. When you lose weight rapidly, your skin may not have enough time to adjust to the changes in your body composition, and as a result, it may not fully retract to your new shape.

To minimize loose skin during weight loss, consider the following:

  • Gradual weight loss: As mentioned earlier, aiming for a rate of .5% to 1.5% of your current body weight in pounds per week is generally safer for your skin.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help maintain skin elasticity.
  • Strength training: Incorporating strength training exercises can help build muscle, which can improve the appearance of your skin by filling out some of the areas left by fat loss.
  • Balanced nutrition: Ensure you’re consuming a well-balanced diet that includes essential nutrients, such as vitamins C and E, which support skin health.
  • Avoid crash diets: Extreme calorie restriction or crash diets can lead to rapid weight loss and increase the chances of loose skin.

Even with these measures, loose skin may still occur, especially after losing a significant amount of weight. If you find yourself with loose skin after your weight loss journey, there are options available, such as skin-firming creams, medical procedures like body contouring surgery, or other non-invasive treatments that a dermatologist or plastic surgeon can discuss with you.

What is the easiest way to lose 100 pounds?

There’s only one way to lose 100 pounds and that is by creating a consistent calorie deficit over time. Not too big of a deficit so that you lose muscle mass, have low energy, and have a terrible mood. But enough so that you are motivated by the progress you’re seeing.

Losing 100 pounds is a significant and challenging goal that requires dedication, patience, and a commitment to making sustainable lifestyle changes. There’s no “easy” way to lose weight sustainably, but there are steps you can take to make the process more manageable and effective:

  • Set realistic goals: Break down your 100-pound weight loss goal into smaller, achievable milestones. Aim for a steady and gradual weight loss of .5% to 1.5% of your body weight each week
  • Consult with healthcare professionals: Before starting any weight loss journey, it’s essential to consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can help assess your current health status, provide personalized advice, and monitor your progress throughout the process. I also recommend speaking with a therapist. Mental health and physical health support each other.
  • Create a balanced and healthy diet: Focus on a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Avoid crash diets or extreme restrictions, as they are difficult to maintain and can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
  • Control portion sizes: Be mindful of portion sizes and avoid overeating. Learning to listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues can help you make healthier choices.
  • Incorporate physical activity: Regular exercise is crucial for weight loss and overall health. Start with activities you enjoy, whether it’s walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing, and gradually increase the intensity and duration as you become more comfortable. Working your way up to over 7,000 steps per day is a great initial goal. Build up to this over time if you need to. Start with where you’re at and progress from there.
  • Resistance train 2-4 times per week: Maintaining as much lean muscle mass is crucial when losing weight. The more muscle you can maintain the more efficient your metabolism will be.
  • Set up your environment to help you succeed: We’re very good at believing we just need to have more willpower or discipline. But our environment is far too influential for us to rely solely on those things. Create an environment that makes it easier for you to do the things you want to do more of and harder to do the things you want to do less of.
  • Seek support: Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, or even online communities that can provide encouragement, motivation, and accountability.
  • Monitor your progress: Keep track of your weight loss journey through journaling, using apps, or taking photos. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem.
  • Be patient and kind to yourself: Weight loss takes time, and there will be ups and downs along the way. Be patient with yourself and avoid self-criticism. Self-compassion is a very underrated part of this process.

Losing 100 pounds is a personal journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. The most effective approach is one that fits your individual preferences, lifestyle, and needs. Always prioritize your health and well-being above rapid results. By focusing on the big rocks you can create immediate and long-lasting progress without the deprivation.

If you need help getting started I wrote about the 4-phase approach I take many of my clients through.

How much weight can you realistically lose in a year

Not to beat a dead horse but…

beat a dead horse

Again, this will depend on several factors, including their starting weight, age, gender, metabolism, activity level, and overall health. As mentioned earlier a reasonable rate of weight loss progress is around .5% to 1.5% of current body weight.

If you’re currently 300 pounds that would equal 1.5 to 4.5 lbs per week on average. This would put you around 78 to 234 pounds in a year. But come on, no one is losing 234 pounds in a year nor would you want to. As you lose weight your rate of progress will naturally slow. The lower your body weight the less energy/calories you need to maintain it. This means the high end of this range will naturally come down. You’ll also eventually get to a place where you no longer wish to lose weight.

Instead of focusing on how much weight you can realistically lose in a year. Focus more on the behaviors that lead to the outcome you want and track adherence to those things.

  • Building up to 7k+ steps per day
  • Building a consistent sleep routine
  • Eating at a reasonable calorie deficit
  • Eating lean protein and veggies with most meals
  • Practicing stress management and being kind to yourself
  • Resistance training with progressive overload 2-4 days per week
  • Getting 80-90% of your calories from whole foods and 10-20% of your calories from off-plan foods

Celebrate any progress you’re making. This includes progress on the scale, in the mirror, how you feel, energy levels, mood, confidence, and making better choices more often.

How many calories per day to lose 100 pounds in a year

Track macros

Let’s say your average rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week over a year. This corresponds to a daily calorie deficit of approximately 500 to 1000 calories. To lose 100 pounds in a year, you would need to create a total calorie deficit of around 350,000 calories over the course of the year.

There are a number of ways to estimate what your daily calorie intake could be and this can get fairly complicated. Below are a few formulas that give you your estimated basal metabolic rate (BMR). This is an estimated number of calories per day to perform basic life-sustaining activities like breathing, circulation, and cell production.

Harris-Benedict Formula:

  • Males: 66 + (13.7 x BW in kilograms) + (5 x height in centimeters) – (6.8 x age)
  • Females: 655 + (9.6 x BW in kilograms) + (1.8 x height in centimeters) – (4.7 x age)

Cunningham Method:

  • 500 + (22 x lean body mass in kilograms)

NIH bodyweight planner and calculator (factors in activity levels)

  • Calculations can be done here

The easiest approach and one I use often with clients:

The method I use with most clients is taking their goal weight and multiplying it by 12. For example, if you’re 300 pounds and have a goal weight of 250 you can multiply that by 12 and get a starting calorie intake of 3,000 on average per day to aim for. Keep in mind that this is an average per day to aim for. Some days you may eat more and other days you may eat less. But if you average this amount over a week you should start to see progress. 

Next set protein intake. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll use .7 to 1 gram per pound of body weight. Recommended intakes are going to range from .8-1.2 grams per pound of body weight (1.8 to 2.7 g/kg)

  • Male: 300 x .7 to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight = 210 to 300 grams
  • Female 300 x .7 to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight = 210 to 300 grams

If you are overweight or obese, aim for .54 to .68 grams per pound of body weight or 1.2 to 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight. Or, use 1 gram of protein per pound of your goal weight.

Keep in mind that these calorie estimations are only starting places. Based on your adherence and progress you may have to adjust. 

Read more: How to calculate and track macros (plus, alternative ways if you don’t want to).

Maintain a healthy relationship with food and your body while losing 100 pounds

Yes, the practical stuff will help you lose 100 pounds in a year

  • Track your calorie intake and eat in a moderate calorie deficit
  • Increase your fiber
  • Load up on veggies
  • Increase your protein
  • Cut back on refined carbs (replace)
  • Self-monitor and hold yourself accountable
  • Walk a lot
  • Resistance train 2-4 days per week
  • Practice mindful eating (eat slowly and stop at 100% full)

But an overlooked part of this process is the mental journey and relationship you create with your body and food.

A healthy relationship between food and your body goes both ways. It’s not being overly positive about your body and food choices or body shaming yourself and food choices.

It’s about taking advantage of meaningful opportunities with food, without getting food anxiety. You should be able to eat holiday cookies without freaking out. And be ok with ordering takeout because you were not in the mood to eat your prepped meal.

But it’s also being comfortable making choices based on your goals. You should be able to confidently diet, track calories, intermittent fast, and turn down treats or food gifts without feeling shame, guilt, or stress.

It’s being confident and comfortable with our choices around food and being honest about our goals and how we feel about our bodies. 

We’ve become too black-and-white in our thinking. On one side of the coin, you’ve got the body-positive crowd which suggests loving your body at any size. Which I get and understand, but not at the expense of lying to yourself. If you want to lose weight because you’re not happy with your shape that is ok – it doesn’t mean you hate yourself. 

While at the same time, we’re bombarded with advertisements and Instagram models selling us abs and asses. You don’t have to feel bad about not having or aiming for physiques like that.

A healthy relationship with food is also about being able to decipher between when we’re physically hungry and when it’s something else. Are we eating because of physical hunger or because we’re angry, lonely, tired, or bored?

There’s a lot that goes into having a healthy relationship with food and our bodies. And it may be a place that some of us never get to and that is ok too.

What does a healthy relationship with food look like for you?

That may be the most important step you can take today. Instead of letting someone else define it for you.

For me, it’s not having food anxiety. I want to be able to eat socially and not freak out if I cannot follow my meal plan.

It’s also being honest with myself about why I’m eating the way that I am eating. Am I doing a detox because I actually want and believe it will detox me or because I really want to lose 10 pounds? Am I eating all the pizza and ice cream because I’m “bulking” or is it just because I’m feeling deprived and want to eat those things?

It’s also not using food as a way to numb and distance myself from difficult or uncomfortable emotions. If we can get better at coping with pain and discomfort we can improve the way we respond to them. One way to do this is by learning to practice compassion and empathy for ourselves and others.

And lastly, get help if you need it. Hire a coach, work with a specialist, or spend some time with a therapist.




Photo by Total Shape on Unsplash