The secret to a successful weight loss is pretty simple: eat a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, and strive to be more active. But this is where problems occur for most people; you do not have enough time to be more active besides exercising for about 30 minutes a day. If your job involves sitting the entire day, it is not enough to work out for half an hour, you have to make some wise decisions to start losing weight successfully.
Often, at times like these, people choose to follow ridiculous diet plans that promise them fast weight loss results, but the question is – are those results sustainable? Is it worth starving yourself and eating only a piece of fruit a day to get that bikini body? No, it is not and we will tell you why. We will also share some amazing weight-loss foods that you simply have to add to your diet to get those effective, long-term weight loss results that you have been dreaming of. Let’s start, shall we?
Why You Should Always Choose to Lose Weight Slowly
The biggest mistake that most people do when trying to lose weight is perusing ridiculous weight loss plans that require dangerous calorie restrictions, causing them to starve themselves day after day. But weight loss is more than a simple diet or a permanent plan. Weight loss is all about changing your current lifestyle, making decisions that would improve your lifestyle, and with that your overall health, for the better, while you are successfully losing that extra weight in the process.
Did you know that a healthy weight loss is considered to be losing about 1 to 2 pounds a week? That is at least what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests (1). That certainly does not seem as much and many people question this method on its efficiency. But it is the weight loss method that will not only help you lose weight but also help you to hold tight to those weight loss results for a long time afterward.
Let’s look into a 2017 study published in Obesity. The study followed 183 people who took part in a year-long weight loss program. The results clearly showed that people whose weight fluctuated during the first 6 to 12 months of the study had lost less weight in the following one to two years after the study (2).
The participants who successfully lost four pounds a week, unfortunately then regained two of the lost pounds the following week, losing one more the next week, and so on throughout the study. They had experienced more common weight fluctuations and less effective weight loss results as compared to the group of participants that lost one pound a week for six months.
Another study that needs to be considered is a study published in the International Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism. The study showed that although both rapid and slow weight loss resulted in a reduction in body mass index (BMI), waist and hip circumference, and lean body mass, only the slow weight loss caused further reductions in waist and hip circumference and BMI (3).
The Beneficial Effects of A Slow Weight Loss
Let’s look into the beneficial effects of a slow weight loss that you may be unable to see, but they are most certainly there, improving your overall health and helping you lose weight along the way.
Sustainable weight loss results
A slow weight loss can speed up your metabolism, making it possible to lose more weight as compared to the rapid weight loss that causes your metabolism to slow down, trying to protect your body from starvation and potentially death (4).
And you know that if you want to lose weight, you need a strong, fast metabolism to burn through those calories and especially stored fat to provide the weight loss results that you need. Luckily, there are a lot of ways in which you can speed up your metabolism, and slow weight loss is one of them!
No loss of muscle mass
When you are following a rapid weight loss plan, you are on extreme calorie restrictions. But your body still needs enough calories to provide energy for everyday activities. And so, it starts burning through the body’s storages, such as the muscle cells to obtain enough energy. This will result in loss of lean muscles which can be a problem if you opt for a lean, toned bikini body (5).
Slow weight loss, on the other hand, delivers the needed calories that your body needs to function properly. While you are eating healthy and still managing to lose weight, you will also be able to tone your body through regular workouts.
No loose skin
Our skin is pretty elastic, but it needs time to get used to the changes that are happening in terms of losing weight. This one of the biggest problems that people do not take into consideration when trying to lose weight fast. While they are trying to get a skinny body, they end up with loose skin on their arms, stomach, and other parts of their body because the skin did not have enough time to get used to the changes that had just happened. This is also the reason why so many individuals peruse plastic surgery after losing large amounts of weight, trying to get rid of their excess, loose skin (6).
But when you are losing weight at a slow rate, your skin has more than enough time to get used to the changes as they are happening along the way. Working out regularly will also help your case, with strong muscles forming where there used to be fat. In the end, no-sag or wrinkles will be present as you look at yourself in the mirror.
Slow weight loss has perhaps only one disadvantage that needs to be considered – the length of time that takes for the satisfactory, sustainable weight loss results to be achieved. Throughout this length of time, people often experience a lack of motivation to continue on their weight loss journey because they are not seeing the results right away.
But what most people fail to see is the internal changes that are happening inside of them. How they are getting stronger with each workout or how the numbers on the scale may not be lowering because they are losing fat and building muscles instead. Or how their improved diet in a combination with regular physical activity has helped them to feel more energized, sleep better, and be in a better mood each day (7).
And not to mention all of the health benefits such as improved cardiovascular health, lower risk of chronic diseases, lower stress levels, etc. that are to be added to the list as well. There are a lot of beneficial effects that are to be considered as a result of these small, yet meaningful lifestyle changes.
The Dangers of Losing Weight Too Quickly
If you will not do it to prevent loose skin and slow metabolism, then consider perusing slow and steady weight loss to preserve your good health. The truth is that rapid weight loss has been linked to many mild to more serious health issues over the years. Let’s discuss some of the biggest dangers linked to rapid weight loss.
Many rapid weight loss diet plans exclude important food groups which can mean that you are missing out on important nutrients that allow you to stay healthy. Nutritional deficiencies bring additional health issues such as weak immune system, hair loss, brittle nails, and low energy levels (8, 9).
The big changes in your weight that you are seeing during the first and second week of your rapid weight loss plan are actually due to loss of water weight. However, rapid water loss can expose you to the risk of dehydration, especially if you are forgetting to hydrate your body properly daily. Dehydration can lead to headaches, muscle cramps, constipation, and low energy levels (10).
High risk of binge eating
When you are rapidly losing weight, you may experience hormonal disbalance, especially when it comes to the hormone that is controlling your hunger – leptin. Very low-calorie diets have been scientifically linked to causing disturbances in the leptin levels and with that to contribute to the risk of getting obsessed with food and even binge eating which will lead to regaining the lost weight over time (11).
Compromised mental health
You may think that you will feel better about yourself and increase your self-confidence by losing the excess weight, but rapid weight loss can have serious mental consequences that you should not ignore. Dysmorphia, anorexia, and bulimia are very likely to happen as a result. Already existing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression can only worsen over time as well (12).
The 6 Weight Loss Foods That You Need to Add to Your Diet
A sedentary lifestyle is associated with increased hunger and inflammation, both of which lead to overweight and obesity. Berries are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties primarily due to powerful flavonoids called anthocyanins. These compounds “shut down” inflammatory genes. The high antioxidant content in berries also decreases the risk of numerous diseases and they are effective for weight loss (13). Since they are naturally sweet, you will not be tempted to eat candies.
Nuts are a wonderful source of plant-based Omega 3 fatty acids that provide anti-inflammatory effects (14). They are also a great source of Vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant. It is needless to mention nuts are abundant in vitamins and minerals, suppress your appetite, and pose as a healthy snack you can munch on while working.
3. Olive oil
Olive oil is the healthiest oil on the planet because it is highly beneficial for your overall wellbeing. Not only does olive oil decrease the risk of heart disease, but it also helps you slim down and belongs to the group of healthy fats. Olive oil is versatile and you can add it to just about any meal.
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry it’s radiant yellow color and it is also considered as the healthiest plant in the world. Why? Turmeric owes its health benefits to an active compound called curcumin. This compound has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that decrease inflammation and it also helps you lose weight.
5. Green tea
Green tea is incredibly healthy and chances are high you have noticed weight loss products contain it as an ingredient in their formula. That is not an accident; thanks to potent antioxidants and other active compounds, green tea speeds up your metabolism, accelerates fat burning, and it helps you lose weight successfully. Plus, it is incredibly refreshing and ideal for summer days.
Not only is avocado packed with important nutrients that improve your health and help regulate weight, but it is also associated with increased diet quality and reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. People who eat avocado are more likely to increase the intake of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods than those who don’t consume avocado (15).
Tips to Lose Weight When Sitting All-Day
- Stay hydrated throughout the day;
- Snack fruits and vegetables instead of chips and other unhealthy snacks (16);
- Ditch diet soda;
- Don’t forget to do your daily workout;
- Use stairs instead of elevators;
- Don’t park your car at the nearest spot to the entrance so you can walk more;
- Take a short break to walk around the office;
- Eat fiber-rich foods, they suppress appetite and prevent cravings;
Obesity is not an option, not with all of the consequences on both our physical and mental health that it has. But unfortunately, many people find it hard to lose weight and maintain their weight afterward.
That is why today we chose to talk about the advantages of a slow and steady weight loss as compared to the disadvantages and potential health risks that a rapid weight loss plan carries along the way. We have also shared some delicious, weight-loss friendly foods that you need to be adding to your diet more often and some great ways that will help you to lose weight and stay in shape even when you think that you do not have enough time to hit the gym!