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Quick vs. Slow Weight Loss: Which Method Produces Long Lasting Results?

Fitday Editor
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Should you try to lose weight quickly or focus instead on slow weight loss? This is a question that has baffled researchers because the studies have shown mixed results. Still, the findings do lend some good insights.

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Research on Quick Weight Loss

One study at the University of Florida concluded that quick weight loss is a better way to achieve long lasting results. The faster group lost more than 1.5 pounds per week. The slower group lost less than half a pound each week. This study reported that women who lost weight faster were 5 times more likely than the slower group to lose 10 percent of their body weight after a year and a half.

In this study, those who lost weight faster kept food journals and did not eat as many calories as the group that lost weight more slowly. These are interesting observations because they are a clue into what will help you to achieve long lasting results. Other conclusions were that the quick weight loss group was seeing visible changes in physical appearance and energy levels. This encouraged their efforts to continue with their plans long term.

Defining Quick Weight Loss

The key to answering this question rests in defining "quick weight loss." Some studies have shown that people who lose extreme numbers of pounds in a short time without first changing their habits end up gaining the weight back. This makes sense because losing 5 to 10 pounds or more a week is stressful, challenging and potentially unhealthy. It is something that is difficult to maintain long term because it often involves cutting an excessive number of calories or exercising for an amount of time and intensity level that is not sustainable in the long haul.

For example, if you were to set your weight loss goal at 5 pounds per week, that means burning off 17,500 calories per week. To achieve this, you would have to cut your caloric intake by 1,500 calories per day and burn 1,000 each day through intense fat burning exercise. This is very difficult to sustain long term for most people and does not allow you to establish new, healthy habits.

Setting Reasonable Weight Loss Goals

As indicated by the above study, setting your weight loss goal at 1 to 2 pounds per week is sensible and doable. You can achieve this by cutting down on high fat foods and sugary snacks and drinks. Adding aerobic activity several times per week will help you to build muscle and burn off excess calories. Keeping track of your food intake in a food journal will help you to establish healthy eating habits.  

To conclude, you want to avoid weight loss plans that encourage you to lose too much or too little weight at a time. You want to lose enough weight to see a difference and stay motivated to continue your healthy habits. It is best to avoid extreme diet plans that make you feel deprived and leave you yearning for your old ways of eating.

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