Losing weight takes time. Usually it takes time to put on weight however we are all impatient when it comes to weight loss. It is a commitment to your health that needs to be made and sustained for however long it takes to reach your goal weight, and beyond.
Losing weight is half the battle, but really you need to be confident you can maintain the loss. Reducing your weight quickly might seem like the most efficient approach but does the speed with which you lose weight make a difference to your long-term success? Or is how you reach your goal less important as what you do when you get there? We’ve looked at some of the advantages and disadvantages of fast weight loss.
Are fad diets a good way to lose weight quickly? There are lots of diets being marketed towards people who want to lose weight fast. They have different names and different key approaches (high protein, high fat, low carb etc) but they also all have some elements in common.
Restricting an entire food group from your diet usually results in a calorie deficit. In the case of a low carb diet, it results in a significant reduction in sugar which of course means less refined carbs in our diet. In the case of a ketogenic diets, your body uses up glycogen stored in the muscle and then the body burns ketones and can result in fast weight loss. Weight loss is the goal so this seems like a good thing but this severe restriction can be challenging to sustain and may lead to a deficiency in certain nutrients in the body.
Are meal replacement shakes a good way to lose weight quickly? Meal replacement shakes are a very efficient way to manage kilojoule intake and managing kilojoule intake is a very efficient way to reduce weight. Shakes are not designed to be used over the longer term and because they have replaced meals they have not helped change the eating habits of people who are using them. Changing eating habits (portion sizes, the times of day you eat, the macronutrient values of what you eat) is vital to sustain weight loss and is a skill that needs to be learned. Using meal replacement products like shakes or bars does not teach these skills, and are not necessarily nutrient dense!
Time and time again research shows that combining diet, exercise and lifestyle modification is the best way to lose weight and to keep it off. The weight loss may happen more slowly but the changes in habit and behaviours that the longer program encourages mean that the weight loss is more likely to be sustained. Weight regain is a problem after nearly all diet and exercise programs treating obesity (according to a study published in the Obesity Research Journal in December 2004) with study participants regaining 30% to 35% of the lost weight within the first year but including lifestyle modification greatly improves weight loss outcomes.
How much weight is safe to lose? It seems that slower is better for your body. Weight loss of approximately 1 kg per week is recommended. This ‘slow and steady’ approach also has the benefit of giving your mind time to catch up with your body.
By embracing new habits, making sustainable lifestyle changes and learning how to fuel your body for optimal health you will be able to maintain your goal weight. There are many and varied benefits to this lifestyle change aside from weight loss!