Turns Out: Rapid Weight Loss Maybe Ain’t So Bad

A study published in The Lancet last week states,
Weight Loss: slow and steady does not win the race.”

I hate when I’m wrong! I’ve always agreed with the common thinking that if you lose weight slowly, you will be less likely to put the weight back on. When it comes to college reunions, important work events and weddings, I said, “Go for it. Starve yourself, slim down, look great, but know you are probably going to put the weight back on.”  This new study, out of Australia, looked at people who lost weight in just 12 weeks and compared them with people who lost the same percentage of body weight in 36 weeks. After 3 years, both groups gained about 70% of the weight back. To further disprove the theory shedding pounds fast is bad, 80% of those in the rapid weight loss category reached their target weight, while only 50% of those trying to lose weight more gradually, met their goal.

What does this tell us?

First, it is only one study, so don’t go on a starvation diet just yet.

Second, it is extremely difficult to keep weight off, no matter how long it takes you to lose it, so focusing on healthier nutrition and exercise habits is better than focusing on the numbers on the scale.

Third, there is no quick and easy answer to weight loss. Move more, eat less.

Fourth, similar to an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, not letting your weight get out of hand in the first place will help you avoid the roller coaster diet ride. My grandmother, who died this year at 97 years old, gave me great advice. “Eat well, but don’t make yourself crazy. Pay attention to your body and as soon as you feel like your clothes are getting a little tight, spend a week or two eating less and exercising more. It is easier to lose five pounds than ten.”

Fifth, for me, this study underscores the importance of teaching our kids good eating habits from the get go. Instilling in them a healthy relationship with food is the best way to ensure they grow up without weight and health struggles, which can lead to both psychological and physical illness.

Quotes about weight loss:

“Dear stomach. You are bored, not hungry, so shut up.”

“Do not reward yourself with food. You are not a dog.” 

“If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up.”

“I’m not losing weight. I’m getting rid of it. I have no intention of finding it again.”

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”

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