Losing Weight Slowly Works Better than Losing It Too Fast

Racing Weight bathroom scale RW2

Racing Weight bathroom scale RW2One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 cal­ories, so for every pound of fat you want to lose, you need to create a caloric deficit of 3,500. Based on what we know about calories in versus calories out, this deficit can’t be achieved in a day, or even a few days.

To put it into perspective, losing one pound of fat in a day would require a daily workout equiv­alent to running 35 miles. That’s a tough day!

The truth is, there’s no fast, easy method to lose weight and keep it off. Sure, the scale might say that you’ve lost 5 pounds in 5 days when you follow a highly restrictive diet, but in fact most of that loss won’t be fat; it will be water pounds lost through dehydration.

Here’s an example: If you were to lose those 5 pounds in 5 days and then eat a bagel on day 6, you would magically gain back those 5 pounds you thought you just lost. How is this possible? For every gram of carbohy­drate you consume, the body stores 3 to 4 grams of water. That means for every 400 grams of carbohydrate you consume, your body will store 16 ounces (1 pound) of water. By simply cutting out 400 grams of carbs a day, you can “lose” 1 pound on the scale. But again, this is just a reduction in hydration, and hydration is a key factor in long-term weight loss. And long-term weight loss is all about losing fat, not dehydrating your body.

Fad diets that promise rapid weight loss can be dangerous. Rapid weight loss usually means loss of muscle mass and water, not fat. Chronic fad diets can increase your risk of heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and liver disease. And some strict diets can actually cause malnutrition because they cut out entire food groups.

A much more sustainable and realistic approach is to create a daily caloric deficit of 500 calo­ries through a combination of consuming less and moving more. Over the course of a week, this would add up to 1 pound of weight loss. If you have more than 30 pounds to lose, you might find that you initially lose weight much faster than the 1 pound per week pace, but as you approach those last 5–10 pounds, the rate of loss will inevitably slow down. Here’s the bottom line: You can expect to lose 8–16 pounds over the 8 weeks of the Core Envy program, and if you do it right, you will also gain muscle tone and feel great.

Losing 1 pound a week might sound painstakingly slow—you’ve probably fol­lowed diet plans before that promised much bigger results in a shorter amount of time. In fact, you may have enjoyed rapid weight loss on these types of plans, but I’m guessing that the weight came back, or you wouldn’t be reading this blog post.

Allison Westfahl’s Core Envy will tone and sculpt your abs, back, stomach, and sides—and build a strong, sexy core you’ll love showing off. Her Core Envy program solves the problems other abs programs ignore with a three-part approach to slim down and tone up. You’ll clean up your diet, fire up your metabolism, and tighten up all the muscles of your core without a gym or equipment. In just three weeks, you’ll start seeing results.