Let’s get something straight. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet. There’s too much garbage to sift through. If you want advice on anything, you could spend all day researching and end up with opinions that come from every angle, that all contradict each other.
The reason I’m writing this article is because of one common piece of ‘advice’ I’ve been seeing in various weight loss discussions –
It’s only safe to lose 1-2 pounds a week.
Wrong, wrong, and wrong.
I don’t know where this rule originated, but let’s look at some myths related to this “lose 1-2 pounds a week” rule.
Many people tend to think that the only way you’re going to lose weight fast is through starvation. While it is true that you will lose weight fast through starvation, the short-term results are not worth the long-term damage you can do to your body. It’s incredibly unhealthy to lose weight this way (which we will leave for another article) and the weight loss is not going to last.
While starvation is dangerous, the truth is you can lose weight fast when everything you’re doing is making your body healthier. Double bonus! Look better and feel better. That’s what healthy weight loss is all about.
When you replace junk food with natural food, and start exercising after years of being sedentary, your body will thank you. Processed foods and junk foods provide minimal nutrients compared to healthy alternatives we should be eating. Bad foods also contain a lot of sugar and salt, which do not do us any good.
Starting exercise, even 20 minutes a day, will increase the strength of your heart and lungs, allowing your to start feeling better. Once you become addicted to exercise, you will cut fat off your body faster than you thought possible, and for most people (specifically overweight and obese people) it will be more than 1-2 pounds a week.
Let’s say you are 60 pounds over weight. You start eating healthy with a diet of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables only. You cut heavy salt and sugar from your diet, and you cut back on the processed foods. You start an exercise program that will get you active and in the gym 6 days a week. You are determined!
After a few days, you feel great. You have some new found energy, notice your clothes are fitting just a little bit better, and you’re getting better sleep.
After one week, you get yourself on the scale and you’ve lost 10 pounds.
“My god, that is way too much!”
If you’re a stickler for the rules, then you’ve lost at least 8 more pounds than you should have. So what are going to do next week? Stop working out and eat to gain 6 pounds? If you’re crazy, then yes. But if you’re like 99% of people, you love seeing results.
You cannot control exactly how much weight you can lose. Some athletes and figure competitors know their body’s like monks know the Bible, and they can get their body to any specific weight they want. But for most of us, we have no way of knowing exactly how much weight we will lose. We only which way the scale should move – up or down.
When you are consumed by getting fit, weight will come off. You will have no control over exactly how many pounds you will lose a week. You just eat right and exercise, and your body will dictate the rest.
To lose weight and keep it off forever, you need to change your habits – your diet habits and your exercise habits. That is certainly true. But why do it slowly? You can change habits over the course of a few months, but why not weeks or days?
Do smokers quit over a few months? No, they quit on a specific date.
We are an impatient people and we want to see results right now! Losing a lot of weight takes some incredible willpower and we need motivation to keep going.
We need to shock our bodies into transformation. Overweight and obese people have more than one bad habit – you are the way you are because of many bad habits. Change all of your bad habits as quickly as possible so you have the best chance of seeing results. The bigger the shock, the better the results, and the more motivation you have to continue.
Imagine two people, both 100 pounds over weight. One person completely changes their life, and the other person only adds one day of exercise a week, and stops eating junk foods on Fridays. The person who took control of their life has lost 60 pounds over 6 months. The person who pussy-footed their way into weight loss lost only 10 pounds.
Who is more determined to keep going towards their goals after those 6 months? The one who gets compliments from their friends or the one still depressed that they are 90 pounds over weight?
The most amazing weight loss stories you hear are from people who dive right in and never look back.
The greatest example of proving the “1-2 pounds a week” rule wrong is the hit-TV show The Biggest Loser. Millions of people watch a show where the goal is losing as much weight as possible as quickly as possible. How can this be when we’re only supposed to lose 1-2 pounds a week?
The Biggest Loser has two hard-core trainers kicking people’s asses into shape. The contestants cry and whine relentlessly for weeks upon weeks and beg for mercy. But in the end, they are all thankful.
The Biggest Loser teaches the contestants about healthy eating from Day 1. They get the contestants working out until they can barely breathe. It’s not pleasant for the contestants, but it’s for the best.
Imagine the ratings on a show called “The One or Two Pounds a Week Losers.”
I’d rather watch grass grow.