MYTH: If You Lose Weight Too Fast You Won't Keep It Off

Fri, 08/16/2013 - 12:37

Some people say that "healthy" weight loss means losing one to two pounds per week. So if you're losing more - or less - than that, are you doing something wrong?

The Truth: There is no such thing as “losing weight too fast.” As long as you’re consuming a healthy amount of calories by eating nutritious foods and exercising more, you’ll lose weight at an appropriate speed for your body.

A lot of people have different versions of what "healthy" weight loss might look like. The truth is that the answer isn't so cut and dry. Weight loss occurs differently for everyone and that's okay. Here's why:

It’s not the speed at which you lose weight that matters, it’s the method. I’ve had success after success of taking more than 100 pounds off people, and they’ve kept it off for years. It’s the way you lose the weight that is the most crucial part! If you’ve lost weight through exercise and clean eating — it shouldn’t be a problem for you to maintain your weight loss. On the flip side, if you’ve lost weight by more extreme measures, like starvation, cleanses, or crazy crash diets — it’s much more likely all the weight you lost will come right back just as quickly.

Dropping the pounds quickly may give you more motivation to stick to your weight-loss plan. A recent study from the University of Florida revealed that losing weight quickly in the early stages of a weight-loss program may be more beneficial, over the long term, both for losing the weight and keeping it off. The researchers found that those who lost weight quickly were five times more likely to achieve clinically significant weight loss in 18 months than those who lost weight at a slower rate. Losing weight quickly helps to reinforce that the behaviors you’re changing are working. When you can see and feel the results of your efforts, it helps to keep you motivated!

Keeping weight off is a matter of maintenance. Weight maintenance is something that confuses a lot of people and causes them to struggle. They often feel if they don’t continue to work out as hard and diet as fastidiously, they will gain their weight back. This is not the case. While you should still count calories, eat healthy food, and continue to exercise, you don’t have to be so rigorous. For weight management, you simply need to eat the same amount of calories you are burning — rather than create a calorie deficit. In fact, weight management should actually be easier for that reason alone.

The Bottom Line: There’s nothing wrong with dropping pounds quickly — as long as you’re doing it smartly. Losing weight more quickly may give you more motivation to keep going, though it doesn’t really matter how many pounds you lose a week. The only thing that matters is the method you’re using to experience weight loss and how well you follow your maintenance plan.