If you do a Google search for ‘fast weight loss’ or something like that, you will immediately be shown promises, stating that you will “see results in ONE week!”, that you’re able to “lose 25 lbs in 5 weeks”, or how you can “lose 35 lbs without working out”.
These are all wonderful promises that will affect your motivation when you find out it doesn’t seem to work for you. A decrease in motivation is the main reason why people that want to lose weight quit.
This is such an enormous shame! Don’t believe all the fancy marketing talks that promise results that seem too good to be true. Losing weight as fast as is often advertises can furthermore affect your overall health, and therefore it might not be the smartest idea ever.
How Fast Can You Lose Weight?
Before I will throw all sorts of numbers and promises your way, we will first have to take a look at what ‘fast’ weight loss really is. I tend to make a distinction between obese people and people that have a healthy weight.
- People that have a healthy weight are recommended to not lose more than 1 lbs per week. This will translate to you roughly eating 20% below maintenance. For example: maintenance = 2000 calories/day, therefore you should ea 1600 calories per day in order to be able lose 1 lbs per week.
- People with obesity tend to see a much faster weight loss in the first few weeks. About 2 or more lbs per week isn’t shocking. As time goes on though, you will notice that the rate of weight loss will decrease to 0.5-1 lbs per week.
Why Am I Able to Lose Weight Faster?
A sudden drop in weight can have a couple of reasons. First of all, you might be experience a large calorie deficit. In other words: you’re consuming less than 80% of your daily calorie needs.
Secondly, people that tend to follow a low carb diet can lose weight quite fast. However, there is something that doesn’t get mentioned a lot. The weight that you’re losing because of a low carb diet, is often made up of carbohydrates and water.
This is because glucose gets converted into glycogen, which is then stored in muscles. Glycogen attracts water, making you heavier. Consuming fewer carbohydrates forces the body to use whatever it has in store.
The best thing you can do, is to be critical of your calorie intake. Then, you can alter your meal plan. Simply scrapping a group of macronutrients from your intake won’t cut it, especially in the long run.
Now, let’s discuss 5 reasons why you should not be losing weight too fast.
#1 – Yo-yo Effect
Losing weight at a fast rate might seem effective, but it can be very difficult to maintain whichever weight you want to keep. Only people with a lot of discipline, as well as people that are blessed with great genetics, are able to maintain their weight after a few years.
After a period of ‘starvation’, the body wants to refill on carbohydrates and other nutrients. A possible explanation would be the theory of fat cell stress. The body simply isn’t used to such a fast rate of weight loss, and therefore it will be defending itself.
This is why a balanced diet should always be considered.
#2 – You Will Lose Muscle Mass
If you are losing weight fast, you will risk losing part of your muscle mass. Not only is muscle mass useful for lifting things, but muscle tissue is metabolically active.
A decrease in muscle mass, which is often unavoidable when losing fat, causes your base metabolic rate, i.e. your maintenance calorie usage, to drop. In order to ensure progress, you will need to alter your calorie intake.
#3 – An Essential Nutrient Deficit
Another important drawback on losing weight fast, if that you will not ingest as many nutrients as your body needs. Intense dieting can cause deficits to many important nutrients, such as fiber, vitamins and minerals.
#4 – It’s Difficult to Maintain
A diet that requires you to consume a lot less than you normally would, can be very difficult to maintain. You will feel drowsy, you might be more irritable and you will have a lot less energy for your everyday tasks.
I have seen quite a lot of people that suddenly cut their energy intake, eventually start to develop enormous cravings for unhealthy foods. You might know this feeling from when you haven’t eaten all that much during the day.
#5 – Bad Recovery and Decrease in Performance
If you are going to work out with an energy shortage, your recovery might suffer. An energy shortage that’s above 30% often shows performance in the gym to drastically decrease. This simply comes from a calorie deficit. The body won’t have enough fuel, nor will it have a lot of building blocks (protein) to recover the muscles.
If you want to make sure that your performance doesn’t suffer from your weight loss, then make sure that you’re consuming enough protein and carbohydrates. This especially goes for people that practice strength training.
You can maintain high performance by consuming food 2-3 hours before a workout. As far as recovery goes, it is important to consume food 2-3 hours after working out.
Losing Weight at a Healthy Pace
Weight loss isn’t some trick. It is best done by slowly changing your food intake, as well as implementing physical activity in your life. Eat less but healthier and start moving. Go outside for a walk every day or try to work out at the very least 2 times a week.
So What is a Healthy Pace?
People without any medical diagnoses are advised to lower their calorie intake up to 500 calories per day. This approach decreases the risk of getting an energy drop, as well as muscle loss. This rate will in general allow you to lose 1 lbs per week. If you’re not sure about your personal situation, make sure to visit a dietician.
Simple Tips For Weight Loss
Here are some tips that can help you on your quest to lose weight.
- Drink tea or water instead of soft drinks.
- Buy products that contain fewer unhealthy fats, added sugars and calories.
- Eat smaller servings.
- Drink less alcohol, or stop drinking alcohol.
- Create a diet that features plenty of vegetables, complex carbohydrates and protein. This will ensure fast and longing feelings of satisfaction.
- It’s okay to ‘cheat’ every once in a while! Just don’t make it a habit.
- Register your food intake for the first few weeks.
- Decrease your stress! This will lower your cravings.
- Don’t blindly focus on weight alone. Fat percentage and waist are so much more important!
- Have patience. Losing weight naturally is a long term project.
- Surround yourself with people that motivate and support you.