If you are trying to lose weight or have lost weight in the past then you will know how much of an adjustment it is. When you initially make the decision to lose weight you feel motivated, ambitious and you are intent on improving you eating habits. This feeling can be exacerbated when you see how quickly the weight is coming off (as it does in the early weeks). However weight loss eventually stabilises as your body becomes adjusted to the new ways of eating at this stage you may only be losing 1-2lbs a week. This is not unusual and it doesn’t mean you are eating the wrong foods or hindering your weight loss in some way. A weight loss of 1 -2 pounds a week is the typical recommendation, this may seem like a slow pace but by losing weight this slowly you are more likely to keep the weight off long term.

1lbs of fat contains 3,500 calories, by losing that pound a week you need to burn 500 calories each day (500 x 7day = 3,500 calories). Chances are if you have changed to a healthier way of eating then you are more than likely not taking in as many calories daily and the 1lbs weight loss is the result of this.
The major concern with rapid weight loss is that it is usually done in an unhealthy manor and can take extraordinary efforts, which are more than likely extreme and difficult to maintain long-term. This means you are more likely to give up as it’s very difficult to maintain unhealthy weight loss efforts. Additionally by losing weigh quickly you are less likely to lose fat and more likely to lose water and lean tissue. This makes it even more difficult to burn calories.  If your doctor requests you to lose weight for health reasons then rapid weight loss can be safe as it’s done under the supervision of a medical professional.

Don’t fall for a fad
It’s so attractive reading an article online or in the newspaper about a person who lost 2 stone in a month from the juice diet or the 80:10:10 diet but you need to remember these articles are written for shock value. Following a fad diet is not recommended the likelihood of anyone losing weight and keeping it off is slim to none. Yes we have all followed some sort of crazy diet at one stage where you were drinking some revolting juice or living off rabbit food for a month and yes you may have lost 3-4 pounds on this diet but how often has the weight crept back on and some. The truth is a fad diet is not a balanced diet, the weight may comes off fast at first and when you have had enough of calorie restriction you binge and say to yourself “I will try again on Monday”. By following a balanced diet you never have the food cravings and binging as you are not restricting your diet. You are eating healthier and more balanced getting in a range of food groups and enjoying your meals. A balanced diet is easy to follow and if you eat everything in moderation you will lose weight and keep it off. This is why I recommend a balanced diet to my clients and teach them about healthy eating and what meals and food groups they need to incorporate. 

Why slow weight loss is easier to maintain
Losing weight can be easy for some, but maintaining it is what can be challenging. By losing weight at a rapid pace you are more likely to gain back the weight. Rapid weight loss occurs when you are on a calorie restricted diet, I have spoken about eating little and often before and how every woman needs to intake 1900 calories a day and every man needs to intake 2450 calories. By restricting your calorie intake over a long period of time, you may slow down your metabolism and as a result weight loss will become slower and you will be restricting calories and possibly feel hungry.
When your weight loss is slower your metabolism is kept constant and you lose weight steadily. You are not restricting calories or food, the food you eat will be more balanced and healthy. You will see better weight loss results down the line. Not only are you shedding the pounds but you are educating yourself on healthy eating habits that are easier to maintain. Your energy levels are increased, unhealthy food cravings are reduced and you are not obsessing over food.

Losing weight slowly is safer By losing weight at a slower pace you are less likely to experience nutritional deficiencies, dehydration and it gives your body time to adjust to the new changes in lifestyle and diet. By following a quick fix diet you may be eating few and fewer calories and your weight loss can become slower. This can lead to anxiety and body will crave food causing you to binge eat. You may feel like you have failed in your attempt to lose weight and after a time of binge eating or unhealthy eating you will try a quick fix diet again. This is what’s called yoyo dieting and is extremely   damaging to the body when done long term. When losing weight slowly you tend to keep the weight off long term.

Reduces muscle loss
Another advantage to slower weight loss is the reduction in muscle loss.  It’s a known fact that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, for this reason it’s vital to maintain our muscle stores. We all have muscles and when you are on a calorie restricted diet the body will try and obtain energy from your muscle cells as it is not getting sufficient energy from your food.  This can result in muscle loss and a reduction in muscle tone. By losing the weight at a slower rate you are giving your body the energy from your food as you are eating balanced and not restricting the food you intake.

Reduced fatigue By losing weigh slowly your body does not feel deprived of food as you are following the eating little and often analogy. You are receiving a steady flow of energy from your food and you can lead an active lifestyle.  When you restrict calories and macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat) your body is not receiving adequate energy and this can leave you tired and fatigued when you go about your day.

Don’t ever be disheartened if weight loss is slower than you initially thought. Some of us have unrealistic ideas about weight loss and we think it should happen overnight.  If you are overweight and losing weight every week then in time you will see a noticeable difference. By losing weight slowly on a healthy diet, the likelihood of you returning to your old unhealthy ways of eating are dramatically reduced. You feel for energised as you are eating little and regularly and not starving yourself. Restriction diets rarely work and if they do it’s for a short period of time. Eating balanced and including a range of different essential nutrients is the most ideal way to keep the weight off for good.  

Aisling xo

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