Quick Weight Loss or Gradual Weight Loss?

  • 2 Minutes Read

When we want something, we want it now. But this might not be the best approach to losing weight. Find out if rapid weight loss or gradual weight loss is the best road to success.

Quick Weight Loss or Gradual Weight Loss?

When people lose weight, it is often heard that gradual weight loss is safer and yields better long-term weight loss than rapid weight loss. But why is this? Many believe that those who lose weight more quickly are also quicker to gain it back. Is there science behind that belief? Let's find out.

In a recent study published in The Lancet: Diabetes and Endocrinology, the results of a Melbourne-based clinical trial attempted to shed light on the matter. The trial included 204 participants (51 men and 153 women) ages 18-70 with a BMI between 30 and 45. Through random assignment, participants were either enrolled in a 12-week rapid weight loss program or a 36-week gradual weight loss program.

After Phase 1 of the study, 50 percent of the gradual weight loss group and 81 percent of the rapid weight loss group lost 12.5 percent or more of their starting body weight. These people then started Phase II of the study. In this phase, both the gradual and the rapid weight loss groups regained most of their lost weight, with a 71 percent regain rate in the gradual group and 70.5 percent regain rate for the rapid group.

The researchers interpreted these results by stating the "rate of weight loss does not affect the proportion of weight regained within 144 weeks. These findings are not consistent with present dietary guidelines which recommend gradual over rapid weight loss, based on the belief that rapid weight loss is more quickly regained."

So these researchers say that it the end it doesn't matter. But is that true? Could they be missing something? What about quality of life?

Fast diets, pretty much 100 percent of the time, are also very hard diets to follow. They are often extreme and designed not the be followed long-term. Some experts believe this is why they lead to weight regain.

A gradual rate for weight loss is recommended at one to two pounds per week, and though that may seems slow, but remember, you didn't gain the weight overnight either. More pertinent is that according to Mayo Clinic (link above) if you lose weight quickly, you might not be losing as much fat as if you were losing weight gradually. Instead, water weight and even lean tissue tend to go first before fat calories shift to the negative.

The problem why people are attracted to the "quick" plans for losing weight is that people live in a quick-fix society. We are attracted to the ads and promises of success and put ourselves in the mindset that we can "do anything" for the short-term, and then all our problems will be fixed.

But weight really happens on short-terms diets, physically, is that our metabolism slows down because we go into a "starvation" mode. We eat fewer calories but we don't lose weight, and the fewer calories we eat the more our bodies try to rebel against that change.

Slower weight loss is about lifestyle changes; changes that can last; changes that can be helpful for the whole family. We all know how hard it is to be drinking some "magic" shake for dinner when our families are enjoying a hot plate of colorful foods.

Quality of life improves on long-term eating changes because we also have more energy to expend. We're not so focused on foods we're not eating that we, instead, create a healthy relationship with food. We eat so we can move, and we move so we can be fit. It's a win-win.

What would you rather have...three weeks of starvation for a short-term thinner waist or a life full of color, flavor, and energy that will ultimately lead to where you want to be anyway?

Weight Loss->Goals & Monitoring Weight Loss->Weight Loss Tips & Quips
Nov 6, 2014
Ryan Newhouse - health writer, MyNetDiary

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