Slow and Steady Does Not Always Win the Race

May 6, 2013 in Blog, Blog Slideshow

By Kevin Charles

Look up weight loss articles and you’ll undoubtedly read warnings that you should drop the pounds slowly if you want to maintain your weight loss. It turns out this warning is unfounded and that the opposite may actually be the better way.

The Mayo Clinic is only one of many esteemed institutions cautioning that you should only lose between one to two pounds per week. Researchers at the University of Florida, however, disagree. They were the first to cast doubt on the superiority of slow weight loss. In a 2010 study published in the ‘International Journal of Behavioral Medicine’ the researchers noted that women who lost weight at a faster rate, greater than 1.5 pounds per week, in the long run lost more and maintained a greater weight loss than those who lost weight at a slower rate.

A more recent study published in the February 2013 issue of the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ reviewed numerous randomized clinical trials and found that people who have rapid weight loss ended up losing more weight than those who had slow weight loss. The study also found that people who had a large amount of weight loss in the first four weeks ended up having the most weight loss over the next two years. So the moral of that is to start as you mean to go on.

Losing more than 1.5 pounds per week can seem daunting. It amounts to a deficit of 5250 calories per week. While that number may seem unattainable, it’s actually only 750 calories per day and more doable than you think. You just need to have a clear plan that you can stick too.

To reach your goal, you’ll need to include both diet and exercise. You should aim to burn at least 300 calories per day through exercise. This can be achieved through a combination of cardio and strength training. Whenever possible, you should also try to include some high intensity cardio intervals. These have been proven to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time than longer bouts of slow and steady cardio.

The remaining calorie deficit should come from your diet. Reducing your calories by 450 calories per day is not as difficult as you may think. Get rid of soda pop, juice, sweets and junk food and focus on eating lean protein and lots of green vegetables which are low in calories and will keep you feeling fuller throughout the day.

A tip to keep your eating habits in check is to use a food journal. In the 2010 University of Florida study, the women who lost the most weight kept better food records. Keep a food journal to record what and when you eat. It will help you know whether you are eating the right amount of calories and give you clues about what foods keep you full longer.