Our instant-gratification world has led to a society that wants everything on demand – including weight loss. While quick weight loss may be a common desire, and despite all the gimmicky products that promise it, it generally isn’t a realistic goal.
Quick weight loss is often the result of shedding water weight, which can happen when you cut carbohydrates and the body releases the water it typically stores, or when you become dehydrated. But in this case, this isn’t fat loss, and you will gain the weight back when you sufficiently rehydrate or take in carbs again. While it may be fast, it is a false and unsustainable weight loss.
Some recommendations for quick weight loss also include severe calorie restriction, essentially putting the body into a starvation mode. While this may lead to shedding pounds fast, the body first loses water, and then burns muscle for energy, which ends up slowing your metabolism. With a slower metabolism, you burn fewer calories each day, which makes subsequent weight loss even more challenging. And of course, semi-starvation is neither healthy nor sustainable.
When people want to lose weight, they want to get rid of fat, not muscle. Muscle burns calories and is responsible for a lean, toned appearance. The best way to shed fat is through consistent exercise (to burn calories) and a smart diet (to limit caloric intake). Weight loss will be much more difficult to achieve with only exercise or diet alone – it is the combination that leads to dropping pounds.
And for healthy, successful weight loss, it is recommended that you aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week, which can seem painfully slow for some. But the body responds better to gradual weight loss, and it is more effective at keeping the weight off over time, which is what you want anyway.
Quick weight loss can lead to weight cycling, where you continually lose and regain the same weight – and often, people end up gaining more each time, so they are actually heavier over the years and headed in the wrong direction. To shed pounds and keep them off over time, aim for a smarter plan that requires cardio and strength training and a nutritious, calorie-restricted diet. Yes, it takes hard work and time, and there is no magic bullet, but the results are worth it.