Quick weight loss leads to rapid regain.
It’s tempting to try to shed pounds fast. But, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes, evidence shows steady, gradual weight loss – about 1 to 2 pounds per week – is your best bet for keeping it off (and really, who wants to yo-yo?). You need to take time to alter what you eat and step up your activity. “Patience is key when you make these changes. If you want weight loss fast, it is going to come back fast,” says Pat Barone, a certified personal trainer and professional health and leadership coach in Madison, Wisconsin, who lost more than 90 pounds slowly, and has kept it off in the 18 years since. Here’s how you can pace yourself for success:
Consider: Can you keep this up for life?
Besides being bad for your health – and in some cases downright dangerous – deprivation diets that severely restrict calories or require you to forgo a whole food group, for example, have another strike against them: They’re unsustainable. “I tell clients – and my No. 1 rule is – don’t make a change that you can’t keep for life,” Barone says. Taken another way, if you want lifestyle changes to last, you have to take your time implementing them. “It’s not about a 30-day this, a 60-day that,” says Andy Bellatti, a registered dietitian in Las Vegas. Rather, experts say, gradually implement changes to your diet and exercise regimen over weeks and months (rather than ASAP for a month-long blitz), so you can maintain it for the long haul.
Quit villainizing macronutrients.
Your body needs carbs, fat and proteins. But many diets lean heavily on what Barone describes as “false restrictions” – usually of a macronutrient like carbs or fat – that cause your body to regain the weight quickly. “It desperately needs that nutrient,” she says. Instead, try a more gradual, nuanced approach. Cut back on breads and cakes that fill you up but don’t provide nutritious sustenance and instead get more of your carbs from whole foods like lentils and beans and fruits, for example. And focus on eating healthy fats from sources like avocados and cold water fish, such as salmon and tuna.