Fat Loss: The Slower the Better

Many times when we attempt to lose weight we go at it with the mindset of “I want to lose it as fast as possible”. We want to be lean and we want to be lean tomorrow not next week. This leads many to adopt fad diets that promise quick weight loss. The thing that needs to be realized is that in that short amount of time (3, 7, 14 days or whatever time frame they give) all you will lose is a high amount of water weight and lean mass. You end up lighter on the scale but your body composition (fat to lean mass ratio) did not improve. Also, likely within days of going back to your original diet, you are right back up to your previous weight (if not above it). Unfortunately, because of this misunderstanding and/or lack of patience for many it is a never ending cycle of lose 5-15 lbs, gain it back, repeat. Like anything else, if we want something to change we need to change what we are doing.

We NEED to address this mindset of wanting instant gratification. We NEED to shift our mind towards practicing patience and the understanding that if we go slower we will be better off (both in what we are actually losing (fat mass or lean mass) and whether we will be successful long-term (keeping the weight off)). The main issue is our desire to achieve something quick and with little to no work mixed with all the lies and weight loss schemes out here saying it is possible. They market lies, with no concern for your health or well-being because they know people want quick results and that they will pay for them.

So the first step, at least part of it, is to understand that if something promises quick results you should head in the other direction. The other part to that is realizing and accepting that you did not gain weight overnight so you will not lose it that quick either. It takes time, it is a process! Realize and accept that in the very beginning.

Second, you need to understand that losing weight fast IS NOT A GOOD THING. The quicker you lose weight the more likely it is from lean mass and not the fat you want to lose. Most do not really want to lose weight, nor do they care about their weight. Though it is stated that way “I want to lose weight” we really mean “I want to lose fat”. So, understand that when it comes to losing fat, the slower the better. You want to lose fat while preserving as much muscle mass as possible.
Trying to lose 5-10 lbs in 3 days, 7 days or even 14 days is not going to do that for you. Losing about 1-2 lbs per week is the best goal (or 1% of your total body weight a week). So for an individual who is 195 lbs wanting to lose fat, a goal of 1.95 lbs a week is realistic and effective in maintaining lean mass (among other things like sufficient protein and resistance training).

Lastly, after realizing and accepting the previous points, we need to make a realistic plan. Losing 20 lbs in a month is not realistic but losing 1-2 lbs a week (4-8 lbs a month) is. We need to make goals that are reasonable and healthy (as stated earlier 1% of your body weight a week is a good focus).

When it comes to fat loss, slower is always better. The faster you go the more lean mass you will lose and consequently be left with lower scale weight but the same body composition (having lost lean mass and little fat mass). The need to accept this fact and make realistic goals is extremely important. Understand that when you are aiming to lose fat, slower is going to be the safest, healthiest and most effective option. Be patient, make realistic goals and enjoy the process.

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