“It’s natural for anyone trying to lose weight to want to lose it very quickly. But evidence shows that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a “diet” or “program”. It’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits.”, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In regards to fat loss, quicker is NOT better (unless you are competing and that is your only reason for fat loss at the time).
We all know how hard it is to remain patient and do anything slowly, let alone when losing weight.
Having 20+ lbs to lose makes that 1-2 lb a week increment seem very off putting. However, when it comes to fat loss, to get the best results, the slower you go, the better.
One of the first actions required is a mindset change. We need to shift our mindset from this instant gratification, “I need to lose weight now”, “losing weight fast is good” mindset.
We need to empty our minds of all these 7, 14, and 21 day quick fix programs and promises and remember that it is what we can sustain that will truly bring results.
Maybe a fad and/or crash diet will allow you to lose 10 lbs in 7-14 days but be assured that not only is much of the weight lost likely fat-free mass (everything but fat) but any fat lost will surely accumulate right back (in the following days and weeks) as soon as you go back to your old patterns of living.
This leaves you with a decreased lean mass and the same if not higher fat mass (a step in the completely wrong direction).
This is why many are stuck in a lose 10 lbs, gain 10 lbs cycle (or some variation of that) and very likely ending up with a higher fat mass then when they first started (having continued to lose more lean mass each time and gain back fat mass).
So, having said all that, the goal is to turn our mindset away from the “I need to lose weight fast” mindset, as well as away from the idea that fad and/or crash diets are anything but harmful, a waste of time, metabolically damaging, and a step in the wrong direction.
Another aspect we really need to focus in on is developing habits. Many times it is not losing weight that is the problem but rather keeping it off.
One of the many reasons for weight regain is the fact that we do not develop habits (but as stated earlier, we seek out quick fixes so that we can lose fat as quickly as possible).
No matter what we are aiming to accomplish, consistency is the key to results.
No goal (at least no goal such as fat loss) is accomplished overnight. And to be consistent long-term we need to develop habits.
As desirable as losing fat quickly is we need to shift our minds towards a different way of thinking.
This is done by first, understanding the harm in losing fat quickly (such as with fad/crash diets) and the benefits of losing fat slowly (through developing healthy habits).
Losing weight at a rate of 1-2 lbs per week is a great general guideline, however your current body fat level will determine whether that number is higher, in between, or lower.
The more body fat you have, the quicker you will be able to lose it without sacrificing lean mass and the less body fat you have the slower you will need to go to preserve lean mass.
Just remember, slower is better more often than not when it comes to weight loss.
Shifting our mindsets towards a realistic and appropriate time-frame of weight loss and developing healthy habits for long-term sustainability are two important keys to successful weight loss/maintenance.
When setting up a weight loss plan, we really must learn to be more cautious of letting our innate desire to “speed up the process” cause us to schedule unrealistic weekly weight loss goals.
Be realistic. Be consistent. Be patient. And the results will come.