Most of my followers already know that I didn’t lose weight very quickly. My first drop of Shakeology was in 2010, and I’m still working on my goal every day, a few lbs a month! As a reformed “yo-yo” dieter, it’s never really bothered me that people were unimpressed with my answer when they simply had to know “how long did it take you?” I have always been way more proud that the scale has always moved in the right direction, and that I didn’t have to do anything un-healthy along the way.
I’d like to take the time to explain why weight loss should take time, and what you can expect if you do things the right way.
It’s a well-known fact that 1 pound of body fat equates to approximately 3500 calories. So if you have a calorie deficit of 500 calories (meaning that you burn 500 calories more than you eat each day) you would lose approximately one pound per week:
500 calories x 7 days a week = 3,500 = 1lb
Pretty straightforward right? You’d think. The first thing many people think is, okay so if I cut even more calories I’ll lose even faster so I’ll just eat lettuce all day, that should do the trick. But has that every REALLY worked for anyone long term?
A healthy diet will help you lose weight consistently, help educate yourself on food, calories, nutrition ratios and more, but a crash diet will only set you up for failure. The faster you lose weight the more likely you are to put it back on.
Are you more interested in long-term results? I know I certainly was when I started, and I am even more committed to that concept now. An article on the Mayo Clinic site says, “Crash diets are called crash diets because they cause you to lose weight quickly. But perhaps a better reason would be because a crash diet will eventually “crash and burn.” Here is an excerpt from that article that is so perfect I’d like to give the author a kiss:
Losing more than a pound or two a week can not only be unhealthy, but it will very likely cause you to lose muscle along with the fat. This is bad because muscle is a metabolically active tissue, which means that your body burns calories just to sustain it. Thus losing muscle results in a lower metabolism, the rate at which you burn calories.With your metabolism running slower and slower, you have to eat less and less to lose weight. And it just keeps getting worse. If you continue to lose weight too quickly for a few days, your body thinks that you are threatened with starvation and goes into survival mode. Wanting you to eat more, your mind tricks you into thinking you are even more hungry than you are, making it all the more difficult to stay on your diet. And your metabolism is slowed even further to conserve energy. What it tries to conserve is your fat stores, and any weight loss comes at the expense of more muscle.Finally, you get discouraged, give up, and start eating like you used to. But now, with your slower metabolism, you quickly regain the weight you lost. And if you continue eating like you used to, you end up weighing even more than you did when you started the diet!
The goal of your diet and weight loss plan should not be to lose weight, but to lose BODY FAT. Exercise, in particular weight bearing exercise that builds muscle, will help prevent muscle loss and keep your metabolism from slowing. It’s also necessary to eat nutritious, well-balanced meals in order to maintain muscle and support all the bodily functions necessary for weight loss.
I hope this information is helpful in making you see that eating too little is actually a BIGGER problem than most people think it is. When you eat too little, you run the risk of losing muscle, and then actually burning LESS calories than before. Totally, leaving you in a situation where you are spinning your wheels, possibly quite literally, for nothing, which causes frustration that leads you to quit once again.
To avoid another failed attempt, when you create your calorie deficit, it should be small enough to avoid the starvation response and any significant muscle loss.
This post was a little all over the place, but the main points are 1) don’t lose your weight too quickly so that you can keep it off and 2) don’t eat so little while you are losing weight that you end up doing more harm than good. Probably could have said that from the jump and saved a lot of typing …
Believe me when I tell you that if you do it the right way you can be looking back at a 2 year stint of never gaining weight back, proud and ready to take on the next challenge knowing this is your lifestyle. Maybe one day even being able to help others around you! To this sink in, here is a picture of a tortoise eating a healthy meal very slooooooooowly 😉