Hey Angels and Alphas,
You’ve probably heard that when it comes to losing weight and the process of weight loss in general, slow and sustainable is the way to go.
And that’s because most fitness and diet professionals (who actually know what they’re talking about) advocate for consistency and sustainability over the idea that you should just do a complete overhaul of your fitness and diet habits so you can reach perfection.
That being said, losing weight slowly – meaning in the range of 1-2 pounds a week – might not always be the best option for those of you looking for long-term success.
There’s a case to be made for fast weight loss…
For adequate weight loss, the energy you consume has to be lower than the energy you expend – a concept known as energy balance. This means you have to maintain a caloric deficit if you want to shed pounds. And the higher the deficit, the faster this usually happens.
You might have also heard that research shows people who lose weight fast are more likely to bring it back up. This is because when we lose weight, our metabolism starts adapting downward – so when weight loss is over, we have to keep eating less and less food to maintain this new weight. This is also why dietitians recommend the less “rapid” approach – so the body has a chance to gradually adapt to this new normal instead of shocking the body with something it can’t sustain.
However, there’s new and emerging research showing that, for some people, losing more than 2 pounds a week can still be sustainable.
And while this won’t apply to everyone, there are several reasons why some people who lose weight rather quickly can actually keep it off.
Experts have suggested that losing more than 2 pounds a week may also indicate that people have made extremely effective changes to their exercise and diet regimen. And what’s vital in those cases is that keeping up those healthy habits for months to come can be both effective and sustainable.
Not to mention, quick weight loss can be an amazing motivator to keep doing what you’re doing. Some people might give up prematurely on their weight loss goals because they are not seeing the results they want quick enough. But if someone sees their efforts are paying off – and paying off well – they will have all the more reason to keep going.
Furthermore, there’s research out there that points to the fact that quick weight loss improves bad cholesterol, blood sugar, insulin resistance, and insulin sensitivity way more significantly than slow weight loss. These positive changes to your overall health can make it easier to maintain that weight loss and sustain it.
Let me give you a scenario: there are actually times where someone might need life-saving surgery, and in order to perform that surgery, rapid weight loss is necessary. That being said, expediting weight loss under the proper care of a doctor is the best possible method.
But let’s be honest – even if you are losing weight quickly and it’s working out great for you, the key is in sustainability. It’s vital for you to find a weight-loss regime that not only works for you now but will work for you for the rest of your life.
And there’s also a case for the slow approach to weight loss…
On the other hand, losing weight quickly could be successful in the beginning… but may fail to be sustained in the long term. People could initially lose a ton of weight (not a literal ton,) but then rapidly start experiencing burnout. That’s because the changes they made, like, for example, exercising more than usual or restricting their diet from certain food groups, can cause more harm than good. For this reason, people find that sustaining a smaller calorie deficit is much easier to accomplish in the day-to-day.
Moreover, rapid weight loss could also make you lose muscle, slowing down weight loss in the future. Slow weight loss, on the other hand, could potentially help you retain more of your muscle mass as you’re shedding fat. Lean muscle mass must be preserved as we age because, not only is it more metabolically active than fat tissue, but it also tends to be much, much harder to gain as we get older. Preserving what you have is vital.
To wrap it all up…
If you’re considering the fast lane route to weight loss, take a step back and think about where you want to be six months or a year from now. Do you want to continue eating fewer calories just so you can maintain your weight? If the answer to this question is a resounding NO, then you might find that the slower approach is the better option for you.