When it comes to weight loss, we forget our patience. The sooner the pounds drop the better, we think. Although it might sound ideal to lose weight quickly that strategy may not bode well for the long term. If you are anxious to speed up your weight loss, here are a few good reasons in praise of slowing down.
Better long-term outcomes
Weight gain is often tied to a set of habits. Weight loss requires a modification of these habits, which takes time. When weight loss happens before the new habits have been established weight gain is inevitable. That’s because weight gain and weight loss often accrue one choice at a time.
Gradual weight loss allows time for the psychological and physical adjustments required to feel routine, or at least familiar enough that there is not as much struggle with every choice. Without sufficient time to understand and adjust your behavior, old habits will quickly return you to your old weight.
Lose the fat
Quick weight loss does not target the real culprit – fat. Fad diets and severe calorie restriction help you lose water weight and, in many cases, muscle. Deprived of too many calories your body will plunder muscle cells for the nutrients it needs. Muscle actually burns more calories at rest than does fat, so your weight loss will be extremely difficult to maintain. Muscle is more compact than fat so when you lose it you won’t have the lean, toned look you’re after. What’s more, a poor fat to muscle ratio will wreck (read slow) your metabolism. In other words, you are plotting an almost certain course for yo-yo dieting and excess weight that will be more difficult to lose.
Fatigue, nutrient deficiency, irritability…these are just a few of the challenges you will face with crash dieting. At a minimum, you will be less likely to exercise and more likely to binge. Neither is ideal for sustained weight loss.
Sure you want the weight gone today. You also want it to remain gone tomorrow. Slow weight loss gives you time to make lifestyle changes for lasting weight loss. In the meantime, be patient with yourself and look for other signs of success. Are you sleeping better, experiencing less anxiety, or enjoying more energy? Celebrate feeling better. Signs of improved overall health may surface before the scale hits that magic number.