Stop Trying to Lose Weight Fast: Focus on Forever

If you go on any weight loss message board, you will see the same kinds of cries for help: people desperate to lose weight, fast. A woman has to go to her sister’s wedding in 2 months and wants to drop 60 lbs. A guy going back to school wants to drop the belly flab and grow muscles in two weeks in hopes he’ll be more popular. They are willing to do anything to lose weight fast.

Why are people so willing to go to extremes to lose weight fast, when they should really be focusing on a life-long change so they can lose it forever?

The Problem With Fast

There are numerous problems with trying to lose weight fast, and studies have shown us that faster is not better. The effort required to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time is usually not something you can sustain for very long. Once you are satisfied enough to ease up on your efforts, you begin to gain weight back. When you lose weight quickly, it doesn't give you time to adapt to new, healthier habits, so they tend to fall by the wayside.

Severely restricting your calories for more than a few days at a time can cause your body to go into what is known as "starvation mode". There are a lot of myths about starvation mode-- some people say it makes you gain weight. This is not entirely true-- you will, of course, continue to lose weight when you are starving.

The problem comes when you stop starving yourself. Starvation mode has taught your body to operate on fewer calories-- so now when you're eating more normally, you'll gain back weight a lot faster. It can take months for the body to get out of starvation mode, and by then, you can gain all the weight back, plus more. Another problem with severe dieting is that it makes you more prone to developing eating disorders.

Finally, nothing is more discouraging than unrealistic goals. When you continually fail to reach them over a period of weeks, your efforts seem more futile and you’re more likely to give up.

Focus on Forever

Instead of trying to lose fast, think about losing permanently. Come up with a strategy for eating healthy and exercising that you can work into your life and live with, long-term.

Set your sights on not gaining weight. Don’t worry about how much the scale did or didn’t go down—focus on never letting it go up. That way you’ll be more mindful of your weight, without putting pressure on your body to perform on demand.

This will eventually bring the weight down—sometimes faster, sometimes slower, depending on a number of variables. But it will be steady, and it’s more likely to be permanent than when you’re in a heated rush.

Photo: Pexels

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