Lose weight slow? Who wants to do that? Everybody wants to lose weight fast. Especially this time of year.
I even wrote a wildly popular eBook about it called Lose Weight, Fast! (that you can download by completing the form directly below this summary or by clicking here). But, to be frank, that eBook is about fasting as a means to lose weight and not about the pace of weight loss).
It is possible to lose weight quickly. Possible, but in most cases undesirable. This post explains why slow weight loss is better.
Lose Weight Slow as a New Year Resolution
Of all the things people resolve to do in the New Year, weight loss tops the list (Source:Statistic Brain).
|Rank||Top 10 New Years resolutions for 2017||Percent|
|Lose Weight / Healthier Eating||21.4%|
|Life / Self Improvements||12.3%|
|Better Financial Decisions||8.5%|
|Do more exciting things||6.3%|
|Spend More Time with Family / Close Friends||6.2%|
|Work out more often||5.5%|
|Learn something new on my own||5.3%|
|Do more good deeds for others||5.2%|
|Find the love of my life||4.3|
|Find a better job||4.1%|
Sadly, only about one-third of the people who make resolutions stick to them after the first four weeks. 25% drop out after only one week.
There are many reasons for dropping out. One common cause is the setting of unrealistic expectations. If your resolution is to lose a certain amount of weight by a certain time you’re setting yourself up for failure. Because the only resource working in your favor is your imagination and maybe a few supportive people in your social circle. Everything else is conspiring against you.
There are two tricks to overcoming these obstacles.
- Exchanging Habits for Outcomes
- Pace Yourself
Lose Weight Slow – Exchange Habits for Outcomes
I don’t care what book or website you’ve read or what expert you’ve consulted (unless it was me 😀 but I would never promise this→), no one can predict how much weight you’ll lose in a particular time period. The only exception is with amputation.
Even if you ate and drank nothing while exercising with a duration and intensity of scientific precision, no one can predict how your metabolism will adjust to its new reality.
So unless you have a hankering for a lifetime of meals from outfits like this,
save your money and avoid the rebound by adopting healthy habits that you know will make you feel better for life and will probably shed some pounds as a nice side effect. I don’t mean to denigrate Nutrisystem, because first I’d have to look up what “denigrate” means. But, Marie Osmond aside (or Dan Marino if that’s how you roll), I assume your goal is to not only lose weight but to keep it off. Are you going to do that through a lifetime of unsustainable short-term fixes? No, most people won’t.
Lose Weight Slow – Habits for Health
So, Davey H, what are these so-called habits I should be adopting?
For that, we go to, where else, The Wizard of Oz.
Like, Dorothy, you already have the power to adopt healthy habits that drive weight loss. You know what things you do that confound your health and weight and which would be easiest to nudge in the right direction. Examples may include:
- Say no to supersize.
- Switch to sugar-free versions of your beverage of choice (Blasphemy, I know. I believe no-and-low calorie sweeteners can be part of a healthy lifestyle).
- Eat a piece of fruit instead of drinking a glass of juice.
- Reduce your daily alcohol consumption by one drink per night or if you drink every day, make a couple days alcohol free.
- Apply idea #4 to whatever other daily guilty pleasure you have (e.g. chips, dessert, etc.)
- Make vegetables a bigger part of each meal.
- Pre-portion snacks to an amount smaller than what you normally eat straight from the container.
- Explore lower calorie versions of your favorite cook-at-home meals and adopt the lighter variety.
- Don’t listen to me. Do something else. You know what to do better than I. Just adopt the one simple habit without compensating in other areas.
If you thrive on challenge, choose a habit that’s a more difficult but there is no reason specific reason to make it hard. Aim for something you’re ready to commit to for life
Adopt this habit for a month and see what progress you make. After a month, you should feel like this habit is the new normal. If it causes you to lose a little weight, great! Now it’s time to pace yourself.
If the scale or your waistline doesn’t budge, don’t get discouraged. Ask yourself the following:
- Is there any other little adjustment I can make to improve this habit for weight loss?
- Am I sure I didn’t compensate elsewhere?
- Am I misunderstanding the impact this new habit should have and if so, who can help clarify? (Hint: I can)
Lose Weight Slow – Pace Yourself
What is Slow Weight Loss?
That depends on how much you have to lose to get to a “healthy” weight. But for the sake of throwing something at the wall and seeing if it sticks, let’s say about ½ a pound or 250 grams every 1 or 2 weeks. That seems slow, right? But think about it, that’s about twelve to twenty pounds in a year. Even if you’re 200 pounds overweight, that kind of weight loss has significant health benefits including better sleep, lower risk of chronic disease, improved mental performance and enhanced personal relationships (which I believe is what Charo would call Cuchi Cuchi).
Why is Slow Weight Loss Better?
No matter how good you are at conforming to your weight loss plan, your body conspires against you. Weight loss, especially rapid weight loss, causes your metabolism to cycle down because your body thinks you’re starving yourself. With a crash diet plan, you may lose five to twenty pounds quickly but in response, the number of calories you burn starts to drop as well. When this happens within a short span of time, your weight loss stalls. You may even start to see some of that weight come back because those drastic changes you made in your diet no longer stoke the weight loss furnace. You need to make more drastic cuts just to maintain what you’ve already lost.
When you lose weight slowly, your metabolism adjusts in a more gradual way and it takes longer for the “starvation mode” metabolism phenomenon to occur.
Longer? Does That Mean Depressed Metabolism is Inevitable?
Probably but it doesn’t have to be permanent. At some point, all dieters reach a plateau weight. This plateau is sometimes called the “set point.” This becomes your new normal weight. But don’t get discouraged. This is just your metabolism getting used to the new you.
If you still want to lose weight, continue doing everything you were doing before you got to the new set point. Keep it up for one to two months. Every day your weight stays the same is a win! If you lose a little more, all the better. And if you start gaining, look very closely at anything you’ve done that may vary from your pre-plateau routine.
After that one to two month set point period is done if you aren’t back on the weight loss track but want to lose more, consider adopting another habit. Recycle this process over again.
This is a sure fire way to lose weight slow.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race!
“But,” you may say “slow weight loss isn’t as satisfying.”
I beg to differ (despite it being impolite to beg). Depriving oneself of cherished food and drink for rapid weight loss isn’t satisfying. Losing large amounts of weight only to have it bounce back again isn’t satisfying.
Developing healthy habits that make you feel better, sleep better, think better and cuchi cuchi better is much more satisfying. And if you lose a few pounds along the way. all the better.
Look, I know that this is a little late to be refining New Year resolutions. Well, that’s part of my point. The best time to adopt a healthy habit is right now, whenever “now” is. The best healthy habit to adopt is one you can keep. And the best outcome for adopting a healthy habit is better health and not some number on a scale.
*NOTE TO GRAMMAR POLICE: I am aware that the title of this post should depend on the adverb “slowly” but “Lose Weight Slowly” just isn’t as snappy. Please direct you’re virtual corrective pen too this horrible constructed sentence instead.