Slow weight loss may not satisfy our need for immediate results but, believe it or not, it’s best over the long haul. Ever heard the expression, slow and steady wins the race? That is good advice here. When it comes to weight loss, fast doesn’t usually yield results that last.
Slow weight loss hones your focus
An exclusive focus on quick weight loss distracts from the ultimate goal – overall fitness and better health. Experts generally recommend losses of a pound or two per week. Any more and you’ll likely have to resort to fad dieting or extreme calorie restriction. Both of these can reduce the sources from which your body derives the nutrients you need to be your best. Unintended consequences may include:
• Loss of more water weight than actual fat. You may even lose lean tissue, which is actually better to keep.
• Fatigue – when you’re tired you are less likely to hit the gym or even take the stairs to get the extra calorie burn from being more active throughout the day.
• Irritability – remember the advice to HALT? Avoid big decisions and be wary of the fallout if you allow yourself to get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Extreme diets often leave you hungry and vulnerable to all kinds of trouble.
• Undue stress on your organs.
• Headaches or dizziness that may lead to injury.
• Rapid weight loss may actually contribute to future weight gain by slowing your metabolism.
Take time to develop more healthy habits
Slow weight loss allows you time to develop the habits that will help you sustain it. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study participants were most likely to maintain weight loss, even after five years when they:
• Exercised regularly
• Maintained a low-calorie, low-fat diet
• Observed consistent meal patterns and eating habits
• Ate breakfast regularly
• Weighed themselves regularly
To be successful over the long haul, you must adopt and commit to lifestyle changes that support healthy weight. Habits are established over a period of time through repetition and reinforcement. When you lose weight gradually, you give yourself the time and support needed to make the changes that will make the difference.
Losing weight isn’t just about looking great. It is also about better overall health. Trading a smaller jeans size for bigger health complications just isn’t worth it. Sure you may get the short term satisfaction when you drop pounds quickly, but you won’t get the long term results you really want.