We all know the story of The Hare and The Tortoise – one of Aesop’s most famous and beloved fables. With the tortoise proving that many aspects of life are a marathon, and not a sprint, it’s important for us to remember that weight loss most definitely comes within this category.
So why is weight loss a marathon?
Research has proven that slow and steady weight loss is far easier to maintain long-term. It helps you to develop healthy eating habits, and is far safer for our bodies than losing weight very fast.
Studies have shown that people with high fluctuations in their weight during the first few months of a weight loss period actually lose less weight in the long run, compared to people whose weight loss stayed consistent.
But what if I want to lose weight fast?
Losing weight really quickly can increase your risk of some horrible side effects. These include muscle loss, a slower and lower metabolism, gallstones, and many more horrible things which don’t even bear thinking about. These side effects are even more prevalent if you’re trying to lose weight fast without any specialist medical support.
Sure, you can do a juice cleanse, a detox, reduce your calories (these are not methods BUA supports!), and yes, you’ll likely see a short-term drop on the scales…. But as soon as you go back to normal food consumption, this short-term weight loss will be a distant memory.
As part of the above study, over 180 people were followed who partook in weight loss programmes. The researchers running the study found that the participants whose weight fluctuated the most during the first 6-12 months actually lost LESS weight after 1-2 years, than those whose weight stayed more consistent.
What is a healthy amount of weight to lose?
As a long-term goal, it’s healthy to aim to lose up to 1 or 2lbs per week. As a general rule, to lose 1 to 2lbs each week, you need to burn between 500 to 1000 calories more than you consume each day. This can be through a lower calorie diet and regular physical activity.
I guess I need to change my diet?
It does help, yes. Eat clean, green, healthy foods, and try and cut out uber-processed choices, and junk food. Try and eat at least five servings of fruit and veggies every day, and replace white bread, rice and pasta with the brown varieties.
Enjoy lots of protein vegetables like lentils, edamame, pint beans and chickpeas. If lean meat is your thing, consume fish, such as chicken breast (not thighs), turkey breast, salmon, tuna, and haddock…. although maybe it’s best to not have your haddock breaded, and with a portion of chips every time!
Do I need to exercise as well?
A lot (the majority) of your weight loss is directly related to your diet. However, it is very important to keep your body moving, and to stay fit and healthy with exercise. Try and do a minimum of 30 minutes exercise – this can even be a walk – at least five days a week. Your body, and your mind, will thank you.
So by making small changes in your life and your diet, you’ll see huge improvements in your health, your body, and the way your clothes fit!
As always, stay fit, happy and healthy.
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