Weight loss programs can be frustrating. If you lose weight the right way, it can be a frustratingly slow process.
I know. You’re overweight and all you want is to see the number on the scale go down as fast as possible. That’s why so many of us go for quick weight loss programs. But, we learn from experience that these weight loss programs never keep the weight off in the long run.
Why? Adam Bornstein, an award-winning fitness and nutrition writer and editor, offers his theory and has research to back it up.
Why Weight Loss Programs Have to Be Slow
Bornstein points out that most people who fail to lose weight while following a realistic weight loss program quit too soon.
“Dropping one to two pounds per week is considered healthy, but it’s also the average. That means you might lose four pounds one week and zero the next. To put it another way, a plateau is a normal and necessary part of the process.”
Just like your brain, your body does not like change. That’s why your trainer is always telling you to “get out of your comfort zone.”
When you make the appropriate small changes to your eating habits, the scale should move, but sometimes it doesn’t. Our biology fights change. So, when you try to lose weight, “your body does everything in its power to get you back to normal.”
Weight Loss Programs Take Time Because You’re Body Has a Set Point
Many dieters give up as soon as the scale stalls and assume they’ve failed. What you need to understand is that your body needs time to adjust to change. Hang in there. Then you will see progress again.
Here’s the explanation of your body’s set point:
• We all have a “normal” body weight
• In your head you want to change that number ASAP
• But your body wants to cling to what’s familiar
• The more weight you lose, the harder your body works to resist that change
• It does this by slowing your metabolism (amounts vary according to the research) and increasing your hunger.
What the Answer? Be patient and wait it out. Give your body some time to adjust to the change and it will come around.
How long? There’s no set in stone answer. Adam Bornstein believes that it might take about four to eight weeks to adjust to your new weight. After that, you’ll establish a new set point, and your body will respond like that’s your new normal.
He suggests focusing on what you think you can do for six to 12 months. When you do, you won’t be as frustrated when you hit the set point.
The Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center offers similar advice on weight loss programs.
“Scientific evidence supports losing no more than 10% of your body weight at a time.” That’s due to your body’s set point and your hormones. After you’ve lost about 10% of your body weight, your body starts fighting back.
They suggest that a good strategy is to maintain your new, lower weight for 6 months and then reduce calories again and expect to repeat the cycle.
It is only through consistent small, gradual changes to your daily habits that you’ll be able to reach a healthy weight and maintain the weight loss.
Click here to read the full article on why weight loss programs have to go slowly.