How Fast Should I Lose Weight?

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Impacts Of Losing Weight Quick vs. Slow

Embarking on a weight loss journey can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. One of the most common questions people have is “what’s the fastest way to lose weight?”

But we’re here to tell you to hold your horses because the recommendations for the ideal rate of weight loss sits between 1-2 lbs (or 0.5 to 1 kg) per week.

The reality is that not many people are content with losing only 4 lbs per month and are likely to engage in more extreme diet control strategies in an attempt to expedite the rate of losing weight. We’re here to answer some of people’s most burning questions about faster vs. slower weight loss.

Potential Consequences of Rapid Weight Loss

Weight loss may be your ultimate goal and seeing results, fast can be rewarding. Watching the number on the scale decrease can certainly be motivating but there are a few health concerns that come along with losing weight fast that you may want to consider.

Muscle Loss

Rapid weight loss will typically lead to a loss of muscle because your body will start to use muscle protein as a source of energy. While you may see the number on the scale declining, your muscles are important for daily bodily functions such as walking, talking and even breathing. A slower rate of weight loss helps preserve muscle mass, which is crucial for maintaining metabolic rate and overall health.

Metabolic Health

Losing weight fast can slow down your metabolism, meaning you burn fewer calories through out the day. This potential side effect has been shown to persist for several years after the weight is lost.

Hormonal Changes

Too-rapid weight loss can disrupt the balance of hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin. Leptin decreases appetite, and its levels drop during rapid weight loss, increasing hunger. Ghrelin, which stimulates appetite, can increase with rapid weight loss. 

Nutritional Adequacy

As you start your weight loss journey, it’s important to keep your body’s basic nutritional needs in mind. Meeting recommended targets for vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats is key to keeping your body at optimal function.

Mental Wellness

Along with the physical repercussions of rapid weight loss which are mentioned above, it’s important to keep in mind the potential mental side effects. These may include stress and mental illness such as disordered eating patterns.

Does Slow And Steady Win The Race?

Despite a widely held opinion that rapid weight loss is less sustainable, the evidence that suggests that the speed of weight loss has an impact on your likelihood of keeping the weight off long-term is contradictory. 

The evidence is murky, so to say, but the short answer would be that if you lose weight quickly, you’re not automatically more likely to regain that weight. The reverse being true as well, you’re not more likely to keep the weight off if you lose the weight at a slower pace.

What we can confirm with studies, however, is that the most effective way to lose weight, and keep it off is through sustainable lifestyle changes. In short, this means making changes that are realistic and reasonable for you and your lifestyle. 

Whatever changes you make to lose the weight, whether that be caloric restriction, increased exercise or both, make sure it’s realistic to adhere to those changes long-term if you want to keep that weight off.

Permanent weight loss requires permanent behaviour change. And if you need to grit your teeth and white-knuckle your way through these behaviour changes, it’s unlikely that you will be able to maintain them for long. As cliché and redundant as it sounds, long-term weight loss requires a change in lifestyle that is enjoyable or, at the very least, tolerable.

So, before committing yourself to a grueling exercise program or swearing off all carbohydrates, take a moment to consider if these behaviour changes can be lifelong. If the answer is no, then look for a way to modify the behaviour so it is both enjoyable and sustainable. And keep in mind that all of the research to date suggests that the best diet is the one that you follow for the rest of your life.

Tips For Sustainable Weight Loss

If you’re looking for tips on how to lose weight and keep it off, look no further than this blog post which will go through several scientifically proven tips and tricks to long-lasting weight loss. 

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