The concept of weight loss and dieting is fairly simple – In order to lose weight, you have to be more physically active and reduce the number of calories that you intake while you are increasing the number of calories that you are burning on a daily level. Both rapid and slow weight loss plans are arraigned around the same concept.
Many of us do not have the patience that is needed for a slow and steady weight loss, so they choose to rely on a rapid weight loss as a way to prepare their beach bodies. But is rapid weight loss really the way to go? Does it really deliver effective results that make you proud? Let's find out!
Does slow and steady weight loss deliver the best weight loss results?
Slow and steady weight loss is the opposite of most weight loss programs that you often read about in most women’s magazines, online, etc. Instead of being under the pressure of getting rid of that extra body weight one month before the summer so that you can get your summer body, we would recommend getting on this weight loss journey a few months before. A slow and steady weight loss allows you to get in better shape, improve your self-confidence, and once and for all change your body and life for the better. There is no need to become a slave to the gym or starve yourself with the hopes of losing weight in a fast and effective way. Slow and steady weight loss teaches us about the importance of healthy habits that can change our life from its core, while slimming our bodies on the way, without us noticing (1, 2).
Like any weight loss plan, the slow and steady weight loss also requires you to stay physically active while reducing the number of calories on a daily level. But it also teaches you to pay attention to the smallest details that are meant to improve your life and health for the better. If you are one of those people that think about quality before quantity, then this is the right weight loss plan for you!
Talking about the long-term results
Experts have talked about how motivating can a fast weight loss be, but they also point out the fact that nearly 50% of the dieters actually gain their lost weight back. The chances are that you, too, have had the same experience in the past as well. And can you guess why that is? We previously mentioned how slow and steady weight loss teaches us all about healthy habits and how to implement them in our lives in the long-run. This is where the secret lies.
Now when you are trying to lose too much weight in very little time, you do not have the time to learn about healthy eating habits. All that you are trying to do is lose as much weight as possible over the shortest amount of time. At times like these, we often rely on unhealthy diet plans and spend hours and hours working out, yet without any great results. When you do not feel pressured by time, you get a chance to do things right. You get to learn what is the best way to implement these habits that we keep talking about in your life without changing too much of it. Losing 10 pounds a week is not sustainable nor healthy, and this is why we encourage you to avoid any diet plan that promises results of that kind at any time (3, 4, 5).
When you are practicing a slow and steady weight loss, the goal would be to lose around ½ lb a week. This is considered to be much more sustainable and healthy. In addition, you will not avoid losing water weight and muscle, which are crucial components for an effective weight loss, but you will also focus on losing as much fat as possible, which will definitely show the next time that you look in the mirror. A fast weight loss does not actually allow you the time needed to burn the body fat, which is why the lost weight is so easily returned, being only water weight and weight from lost muscle tissue (6).
But a fast weight loss does not only increase the risk of gaining back the lost weight, but it also carries a few health risks as well. Rapid weight loss has been linked to dehydration, electrolyte disturbances, and heart arrhythmias, in addition to many other mild to more severe health issues as well. And not to mention that our bodies are built to survive. If you undergo a massive calorie reduction, what your body is capable of doing is activating his fat-storage mechanisms. In order to survive, it will store fat, burning muscle tissue, and reducing your metabolism. This is the biggest reason why yo-yo dieting happens (7, 8).
A study published in 2017 explored and compared the effects of a slow and a fast weight loss. For the purposes of the study, 42 obese and overweight participants were divided into two groups – one that practiced rapid weight loss and another that practiced slow weight loss. Both groups have shown effective weight loss results, but long-term results were only visible in the slow weight loss group. The fast weight loss group only showed what we had discussed so far – reduced body weight, lean muscle, and fat-free mass, confirming what we have been talking about today (9).
Yes, slow and steady weight loss will take time, dedication, and patience, but it will change the way that you think about your diet and lifestyle, and most importantly, it will deliver the much-wanted weight loss results. Those results will come gradually, and the chances of losing your achievement are much smaller, which is what you need to consider when choosing a diet plan.
How to practice a slow and steady weight loss?
So now that we have covered the part about why and how important a slow and steady weight loss actually is, we can finally share some much-needed tips on how to lose your weight slowly and steadily. You will quickly discover that many of these tips are actually inexpensive and yet much effective when it comes to losing weight, but also leading a better and healthier life. So let’s start!
Eat breakfast every day
One of the biggest mistakes that you can do while trying to lose weight is to skip breakfast. We understand – we all live in a busy environment that causes too much stress and often makes us forget about our priorities and our health, but it is up to us to fight it. Even if that means that you will need to get up half an hour earlier to get some healthy breakfast in your body to get a jump start on your day. Eating a protein-rich, fiber-rich breakfast with some added seasonal fruits will provide you with energy that not even coffee can replace. Plus, you will reduce the number of calories that you intake from the very same start of the day, which is a wanted benefit when you are trying to lose weight (10).
Drink enough water
And off to our second tips that involve drinking enough water throughout the day. If you want to lose weight, but most importantly, to improve your health, then you have to drink those eight glasses of water each day. Water will help you to stay hydrated but also work to reduce the number of calories as well. Whenever you are feeling hungry, take a big sip of water and wait to see if your body has been perhaps tricking you. Drinking 500 ml of water before your lunch and dinner has also been scientifically proven as an effective way to reduce your calorie intake. So you see, you are using a healthy habit to lose those extra body pounds, and that is something that you should look for in a diet plan. (11, 12)
Practice portion control
If you are trying to lose weight, overeating is not an option. And in order to avoid overeating, and with that – the risk of obesity, you need to gain control of how much you eat with every meal. We would recommend working on your portion control for the best weight loss effects. What you can do is during each meal, to fill half of the plate using veggies only, while the other half of the plate you would fill with proteins and complex carbs, divided by a quarter. Using smaller plates and bowls also helps, and using the same plates and bowls for every meal. You will discover that it is the small things that make a huge difference and help change even the worst eating habits that you can imagine. (13)
Staying physically active should be a priority in your lifetime. For each period of your life, there should be a certain level of physical activity present, as a way to maintain good physical and mental health. But a healthy weight loss without physical activity is not imaginable. It is very important to choose a physical activity that fits good in your schedule but also seems engaging enough for you to consider it almost as a hobby instead of a thing that you have to do each day. Staying active will help fight weight gain in the future but also reduce the risk of gaining back the lost weight (14).
Aim for at least 7 to 9 hours of beauty sleep each night to let your body and mind rest properly. Sleep helps our bodies to function properly, but sleep also plays a big part in the weight loss process. Without enough sleep, you are exposed to the risk of binge eating, increased belly fat retention, and higher cortisol levels, which all threaten to reduce the effects of your weight loss process. So do your body and mind a huge favor and go to bed a bit early tonight and feel the difference that only a good night’s of sleep is able to make. (15)
Stress is listed as a risk factor in the occurrence and development of multiple health issues, including headaches, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, anxiety, arthritis, etc. But stress is also capable of harming your weight loss results as well. When faced with stress, a lot of people respond by emotional eating, craving foods that are high in sugar and fats, increasing their risk of obesity.
So it is time to say goodbye to stress and improve our mental health as much as we can. Rely on relaxation methods such as yoga and meditation, but also physical activity, in general, to relieve your stress levels and improve your life for the better. Your body and mind with thank you, and you will start noticing as your body is changing as the weight loss process runs efficiently. (16)
Losing weight slowly and steadily is the only way to go when you are trying to lose weight, without the troubles of gaining it back in the near future. It revolves around healthy eating habits, getting enough sleep, but also reducing the calorie intake by only setting up reasonable goals for yourself. Weight loss does not have to be about starving yourself in order to achieve the expected results. It can very easily mean a long-needed change of lifestyle that will reflect positively on your physical and mental health as well.