By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
Losing weight at a slow and steady pace is thought to be the healthiest for your body. Perhaps this is true since losing weight at a slow and steady pace gives your mind and body time to adjust to new lifestyle habits and can be easier to sustain. Unfortunately for most, a slow and steady weight loss of even 5 or 10 pounds can be quite difficult. Seeing weight loss at a slow rate can be discouraging since it may take months to achieve.
In my own personal weight loss journey, I have found the opposite to be true. I have always been most successful working to lose weight as quickly as possible. Losing weight in a hurry for me has always spurred me to drastically change my daily eating and exercise habits, while engaging in as much physical activity as possible (i.e., walking the dog, cleaning the house, etc.), both day and night. Once I have achieved my desired weight loss goal, I am more motivated to maintain the weight loss. I, along with most others, always feel that maintaining weight loss is typically easier than initially losing the weight itself.
Speed of Weight Loss does not matter
For years, many people have believed that the aforementioned “quick weight loss” cannot be sustained. In a new study, it appears that the speed in which you lose weight does not matter in terms of sustainability. The research also suggests that the most successful weight losers ate regular frequent meals, ate more vegetables, and avoided candy and fast food. I know you may be reading this and thinking, “well of course eating right and avoiding bad food and you’ll lose weight, I already knew that.” The point of this research is to highlight the notion that whether losing weight quickly or slowly, long-term sustainable weight loss is possible.
Now you have to figure out if “slow” or “quick” weight loss works best for you and your current lifestyle. More than anything commit to weight loss. Losing weight is not a Monday through Friday day job; it’s a commitment and a mindset that you have to work at. In order to be successful, you need to give it 100%, all of the time. From the food that you eat to the exercise and physical activity you engage in, you need to keep your end goal in mind. Remember, losing weight is not easy, but it is definitely empowering because you earn every pound you lose!
Soini S, Mustajoki P, Eriksson JG. Weight loss methods and changes in eating habits among successful weight losers. Annals of Medicine. Published online. 2016. DOI:10.3109/07853890.2015.1136428