When it comes to weight loss, people want the weight off - and FAST! This is understandable. Extra weight can be uncomfortable, lower confidence, and cause worry over its health implications.
However, I want to emphasize that slow weight loss is not only healthier and more gentle on the body, but more likely to last long-term.
Weight regain is the elephant in the room when it comes to weight loss with the vast majority of those who lose weight regaining it back and often even more (time frames for regain vary but usually occur over one to five years).
One of the problems is "dieting." The concept of dieting is reflected in deprivation and restriction - things that are not only disruptive to the body but are unable to be maintained. Although this can help shed pounds relatively quickly, this sets the body up for failure. What has also been found in many studies of restrictive diets that result in significant weight loss, is that metabolism slows down. But the worse part is that the metabolism often does not return to normal even when normal eating patterns return. This not only leads to weight regain but makes it harder to keep weight off since fewer daily calories are consistently needed to counteract the slowed metabolism.
Therefore, the most sensible approach to weight loss is slow, incremental, and sustainable habit changes that don't deviate from a normal amount of daily calories for your height, weight, age, and activity level. You want to take time to experiment with small changes and always be adjusting to find what works for you. Only do things that you could conceivably do as part of the way you eat long-term.
And this brings us to one of the key points: long-term weight loss involves an eating plan that does not focus on food CALORIES but on FOOD quality. I don't think I can emphasize this enough. Cutting calories does not work. Maintaining normal caloric intake with QUALITY food allows the body to adjust in a good way, without slowing metabolism, and without being thrown out of whack. High quality, natural foods without added sugars and processed grains help the body burn fat efficiently - even when caloric intake is normal.
Not having to restrict calories to lose weight long-term is great. The caveat is that adopting a diet that is truly high quality and learning how to navigate a food environment that makes it difficult to eat healthy food affordably and conveniently takes time! But with this investment in time and a little bit of patience (ok, A LOT of patience!), you are setting yourself up for success in the weight loss game in the long run.
What also takes time is ensuring that the rest of you daily habits support long-term weight loss. This includes physical activity, solid sleep, and stress management, among other things.
When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady wins the race.