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When I made the decision to lose weight, I considered either a fast weight loss diet to lose weight quickly or a slow weight loss method to lose weight over time. For me, I knew I did not want to lose weight to only gain it back after a short period of time. I needed a weight management solution that would help me successfully lose weight and keep the weight off long term.
You also have choices. You can ignore your weight problem, participate in a lose-weight quickly diet, or commit to slowly and successfully losing weight. The Mayo Clinic states the average and healthy weight loss rate is one to two pounds a week. This is exactly the average that I recommend in this blog for lasting weight loss.
Slow weight loss from counting calories and tracking/logging those calories in a food diary works for long term weight loss. This method worked for me. Plus, many paid diet plans incorporate elements of counting calories. This method is what the Food Tracking Momma blog is all about.
For more information on counting and logging calories to lose weight (food tracking) or for recipes from the Food Tracking Momma, please CLICK HERE to subscribe to this blog and let me help you live life more healthy and abundantly (John 10:10). You will receive the FREE eBook LOSING WEIGHT WITH FOOD TRACKING.
A Lesson from Aesop’s Fables
My toddler son loves to be read to and one of his favorite stories is The Tortoise and the Hare. There is an important truth in this tale. The moral lesson of the story is that you can be more successful by doing things slowly and steadily than by acting quickly and carelessly. Slow and steady is how to be successful in many of life’s situations. It can be a mantra for many areas of our lives. Why would losing weight be any different?
It is possible to commit to a month-long rapid weight loss program. Any of us can do anything difficult for a short amount of time. Especially if we know there is an end. So, we lose the weight and then celebrate that the “diet” is over. And we then return to our previous habits that caused us to gain weight.
Fast weight loss is trendy- but leads to yo-yo dieting
Fast weight loss often leads to yo-yo dieting. Yo-yo dieting is when you lose weight quickly, and then just as quickly bounce back to your original weight (if not even heavier). The yo-yo diet cycle doesn’t work for many people. In fact, research by the universities of Exeter and Bristol suggests that repeated dieting may lead to weight gain because the brain interprets the diets as short famines and urges the person to store fat for future shortages.
We live in an impatient, fast-paced world. We rarely wait for anything anymore. I think patience has become a lost art. Why would weight loss be any different? You want to lose weight now!
Let’s look at some of the headlines for fast weight loss I found on Pinterest:
- Lose 20 Pounds in Two Weeks!
- Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days by Drinking Water
- How to Lose Weight Fast!
- Lose 15 Pounds in Three Days
I wanted to lose weight fast also. But more than that, I wanted to have a long-lasting weight loss. What good is it to lose weight to just as quickly regain that weight? That is yo-yo dieting and it is discouraging!
Lessons from the Biggest Loser
The New York Times did an article on Danny Cahill, Season 8 winner of The Biggest Loser, the popular weight loss show. The article quotes, “But in the years since, more than 100 pounds have crept back onto his 5-foot-11 frame despite his best efforts. In fact, most of that season’s 16 contestants have regained much if not all the weight they lost so arduously. Some are even heavier now.”
I really feel bad for those contestants. They worked so hard and they lost the weight. But the efforts they took to lose the weight were not sustainable. When they left the show, they would no longer have access to dietitians 24/7 nor have time to work out six hours a day. They would not be living with a community of likeminded dieters, and not have personal trainers who could motivate them to lose weight. The show makes for great television, but it does not address how to SUSTAIN a long-lasting weight loss.
3 Reasons to lose weight slowly
Slow weight loss allows for lifestyle changes
The biggest reason I would encourage slow weight loss is that it gives you time to make lifestyle changes. You must get to the root of your weight problem. Do you eat to comfort yourself? Are you a mindless snacker? Do you have health issues that has limited your ability to exercise? Whatever the reason, you need to learn where your weaknesses are regarding food.
By logging your food, you will have measurable evidence of your eating patterns. You will give yourself time to learn new patterns. You will give your mind, body, and spirit time to adjust to a new way of life. You will change. No, I didn’t say you will lose weight, I said you will change. And this change will help you keep the weight off.
Slow weight loss allows for smaller changes that are more sustainable
Large changes may work in the short term, but they rarely last on a long-term basis. I once tried a no/low sugar diet. And sure enough, I quickly lost 10 pounds. And as soon as I got off the diet I gained it back. Not eating sugar (or carbs, or meat, or whatever) is often not sustainable. Ask yourself, can I sustain this method for the long term? If you count calories and track them, the answer is yes.
Am I suggesting you must log your food in a food diary long term? Not necessarily. When I lost the weight, I continued to track and log my food for another nine years. Because it had become a habit and it had worked so well. But eventually I stopped logging and I sustained my weight for another year or two. It wasn’t until recently that I had my first weight gain. I’m currently about 15 pounds over my goal weight and I have returned to logging my calories.
Slow weight loss allows you to learn about your food habits
Counting calories is often only the beginning. When counting calories, we learn:
- Our habits regarding food;
- Which foods are healthy;
- That exercise helps our bodies burn foods more efficiently;
- How to serve a healthy food portion;
- To decrease our overall intake of food and this gives our bodies time to adjust to the smaller servings;
- To make healthy food choices (or at least lower calorie choices) when eating out.
Without giving our bodies and our minds time, we would not learn how to live a healthier lifestyle. For me, cutting sugar was helpful, but it didn’t teach me about my day-to-day food habits. Speaking of habits, check out my 17 Healthy Habits to Successfully Lose Weight.
I want you to be successful losing weight. This blog is a resource and I am here to help you. Please let me know any questions or concerns you may have on losing weight. I’m here to help.
Thanks, Andrea- The Food Tracking Momma