Fast weight loss - a good idea?
Fast weight loss plans can work in the short term, but they very rarely last in the long term. People find that once they’ve lost the extra weight using a fast weight loss plan they put it straight back on again, often ending up heavier than they were before they started dieting.
The very best way to lose weight and keep it off is the slow and steady method – if you’re looking for long term results. Unsustainable fast weight loss plans often lead to a spiral of limited weight loss followed by greater weight gain and can make you feel like giving up on your weight altogether.
This article will explain the ideal way to lose weight. If you follow our method you could get slim and stay slim for the rest of your life. First we would like to point out some common weight loss myths.
This article is written by Jackie Griffiths, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
Five common weight loss myths
- Skinny people have a faster metabolism.
This idea is so well-propagated you’ll be amazed to learn it’s simply not true. The term ‘metabolic rate’ means the amount of energy your body uses to keep it functioning healthy (your heart beating, lungs breathing, brain working etc). Research shows that people who are overweight actually use more energy than thin people to keep their body functioning healthily. This is due to having larger muscles and organs. However, when comparing like with like, studies show that thin and overweight people have similar metabolic rates. Your metabolic rate is influenced by body composition, so the more muscle you have the more energy you use to keep your body functioning healthily. In other words, fit people with more muscle on their body burn energy faster just sitting around!
- Not eating, or starving yourself, is a good way to lose weight.
As mentioned in the introduction, crash diets often lead to even greater weight gain in the long term, and may only produce effects in the short term. During very limited food intake your body starts to crave high-fat, high-sugar foods, and these are the first thing you eat when you give in. Starving yourself is unsustainable and can cause more problems than you started with.
- You need to do a lot of exercise at the gym to lose weight.
The best way to lose weight is the slow and steady method – slight changes to your lifestyle that you know you can keep up in the long term. This may only involve eating slightly less and doing slightly more. Perhaps cutting down on the amount of time you watch television or sit at the computer, walking more often, and not taking the lift.
- Carbohydrates are fattening
As long as you eat carbohydrates in normal quantities they are not fattening. It’s also better to eat wholemeal bread, pasta, and rice, and to avoid frying your food.
- Snacks labelled ‘low fat’ or ‘reduced fat’ are a healthy choice
Unfortunately, foods labelled as ‘reduced fat’ don’t mean that they aren’t still full of fat! There may be less fat in them than there could be, but they could still be an unhealthy choice. Many low fat foods contain a large amount of sugar. In fact many foods, including so-called healthy, weight loss promoting cereals, contain very high levels of sugar and salt.
So what is the best way to lose weight?
Although we find it extremely difficult, losing weight is actually very simple. All you have to do is output more energy than you input. In other words, you need to burn more energy through physical activity than you consume by eating. Physical activity includes your metabolism, and the exercise and moving around you do each day.
Making sure you eat 500 calories less than your energy requirements will mean you lose about 11 lb every week. Try to cut down on the size of your portions, eat lower fat products, and more fruit and veg. Cut down on ready-made food and sugary snacks.
Another good way to reduce calorie intake is to cut back on alcohol and sugary drinks. Common mistakes include buying ‘fruit drinks’ in supermarkets instead of ‘fruit juices.’ Sometimes they’re even misleadingly called ‘fruit juice drinks.’ A pure fruit juice contains only fruit and its juice (whether from concentrate or freshly squeezed). Fruit juice drinks often contain sugar and other additives.
Burning more energy means becoming more active. This doesn’t have to be drastic or even mean going to the gym - simply take the stairs instead of walk, or get up from the sofa to get things for yourself instead of asking other people to fetch them. Try and incorporate more activity into your daily life. Sit down less and take regular breaks.
Setting realistic goals like this will help you stick to your plan and facilitate steady weight loss. Remember, some days you may appear to lose more weight than others, or even not lose weight at all. Don’t be disheartened, because as long as you’re steadily losing weight in the long term, that’s the important factor.
Profile of the author
Jackie Griffiths writes journal and newsletter articles for companies and non-governmental organisations across the UK. As founder and senior writer at Freelance Copy, she writes top level content for websites and print across a broad range of sectors including health, medical, biological, governmental, and pharmaceutical.