Fast weight loss v slow and sustainable weight loss

 The human body has a natural resistance to change. This is just as well – otherwise when you have a blowout weekend of bad eating and drinking, you wouldn’t be able to fit in your clothes the next day! Your body requires consistent, ongoing change of diet and energy expenditure before adaptations (in this case, weight loss) will occur. Known as your body’s ‘natural resistance to change’, this factor has a direct influence on the effectiveness of all weight loss programs – whether they’re designed for slow and steady or quick weight loss. How so? A weight loss program needs to provide enough stimulus to your body to elicit a change, in other words a decrease in body fat, but not so much stimulus that your body’s ‘resistance to change’ mechanism kicks in. This is when body fat levels are maintained to use as fuel in the future because it thinks it’s being starved and switches to survival mode. Weight loss of 1 to 1.5kg per week is considered steady and maintainable. Losing more than 1.5kg a week is hard to keep off. It’s well accepted that quick weight loss is difficult to maintain. The psychological factors that contribute to this may be more relevant than the scientific. Quick weight loss programs are hard work, involving discomfort and displeasure from hunger, mood swings due to low blood sugar, and lack of satisfaction at meal times. These negative experiences can result in a psychological compensation like comfort eating and overindulging, resulting in your hard-earned weight loss quickly disappearing.  Slower, less strict and more balanced eating plans allow the same results to be achieved, albeit over a longer period of time. Having suffered less deprivation during the weight loss process because of more moderate dietary restrictions, you should be less likely to feel the psychological need to compensate with poor eating and drinking habits the minute your goal weight is achieved. If the ‘diet’ is actually an eating plan that can be adjusted to include a few more enjoyable foods for the occasional treat or reward once the goal has been achieved, maintenance of the weight loss and adherence to the eating plan are much more achievable, especially for those of us who do not have the willpower of a super human. Finally, the pain and suffering of a quick-fix diet for that upcoming social event is, let’s face it, hell on yourself, your family and your colleagues! Is all the angst and deprivation really worth it for the period of time you actually get to enjoy your leaner body? Do those around you a favour and start your weight loss program earlier rather than later! If you’ve run out of time and are desperate to lose those extra kilos, consult your GP before undertaking any fast-track weight loss programs as they can have serious health implications. The longer the duration of, and the more often ‘quick fix’ weight loss programs are undertaken, the greater the negative effect on your overall mental and physical health – and the harder it will be to shift that excess weight.

The human body has a natural resistance to change. This is just as well – otherwise when you have a blowout weekend of bad eating and drinking, you wouldn’t be able to fit in your clothes the next day! Your body requires consistent, ongoing change of diet and energy expenditure before adaptations (in this case, weight loss) will occur. Known as your body’s ‘natural resistance to change’, this factor has a direct influence on the effectiveness of all weight loss programs – whether they’re designed for slow and steady or quick weight loss. How so? A weight loss program needs to provide enough stimulus to your body to elicit a change, in other words a decrease in body fat, but not so much stimulus that your body’s ‘resistance to change’ mechanism kicks in. This is when body fat levels are maintained to use as fuel in the future because it thinks it’s being starved and switches to survival mode. Weight loss of 1 to 1.5kg per week is considered steady and maintainable. Losing more than 1.5kg a week is hard to keep off. It’s well accepted that quick weight loss is difficult to maintain. The psychological factors that contribute to this may be more relevant than the scientific. Quick weight loss programs are hard work, involving discomfort and displeasure from hunger, mood swings due to low blood sugar, and lack of satisfaction at meal times. These negative experiences can result in a psychological compensation like comfort eating and overindulging, resulting in your hard-earned weight loss quickly disappearing.

Slower, less strict and more balanced eating plans allow the same results to be achieved, albeit over a longer period of time. Having suffered less deprivation during the weight loss process because of more moderate dietary restrictions, you should be less likely to feel the psychological need to compensate with poor eating and drinking habits the minute your goal weight is achieved. If the ‘diet’ is actually an eating plan that can be adjusted to include a few more enjoyable foods for the occasional treat or reward once the goal has been achieved, maintenance of the weight loss and adherence to the eating plan are much more achievable, especially for those of us who do not have the willpower of a super human. Finally, the pain and suffering of a quick-fix diet for that upcoming social event is, let’s face it, hell on yourself, your family and your colleagues! Is all the angst and deprivation really worth it for the period of time you actually get to enjoy your leaner body? Do those around you a favour and start your weight loss program earlier rather than later! If you’ve run out of time and are desperate to lose those extra kilos, consult your GP before undertaking any fast-track weight loss programs as they can have serious health implications. The longer the duration of, and the more often ‘quick fix’ weight loss programs are undertaken, the greater the negative effect on your overall mental and physical health – and the harder it will be to shift that excess weight.

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Russell Cox