Slow and Steady Wins the Race

9 05 2016

tortoise and hareWhen embarking on a weight loss journey, we often begin with the end in mind. Here is my starting point, and here is where I need to be at the finish line. Seems logical, but this point A to point B thinking can lead to: frustration, when things don’t happen as quickly or as easily as you expect; anxiety, when the methods that used to work are no longer doing the job and the fear of failure creeps in; and uncertainty of how to complete this daunting task to get healthy.

Believe it or not, slow weight loss is actually better for several reasons:

  • Maintenance – Once you reach your goal and you need to maintain that ideal weight, the weight loss process can actually determine how successful you are long term. Rapid weight loss will cause your metabolism to slow after some time, whereas slow weight loss ensures that the metabolism remains efficient.

 

  • It’s Safer – Slow weight loss will help decrease your risk of experiencing health issues associated with weight loss, such as nutrition deficiencies, dehydration, and overtaxing your organs, such as your heart.

 

  • Eliminates Muscle LOSS – Losing weight very quickly is usually related to a major reduction in caloric intake. This means that the body is taking in too few nutrients, and needs to take in energy from other sources, i.e. your muscles. Slower weight loss will lead to a leaner and firmer figure.

 

  • Reduce the Loose Skin Issue – Weight loss causes the loosening of skin…but skin is elastic and needs time to catch up to the loss of body mass. But by losing weight more slowly, skin is less likely to wrinkle or sag, as it will contract to fir your smaller body.

 

  • Reduces Fatigue – High exercise doses paired with very low calorie intake is a recipe for exhaustion. Pacing weight loss to find the right balance of activity and calorie reduction will allow for better energy efficiency and less fatigue.mountain steps

 

 

So yes, we all want to make progress, but knowing that this journey takes time, and that it SHOULD take time, might allow us to slow down a bit and take one step at a time. Rather than climbing directly to the top of the mountain, carving out stairs allows for successes and failures to happen in stride, without tumbling back down to the bottom. It makes the process a lot less daunting!

 

Stephanie R. McWilliams, M.A., Health Behavior SpecialistIMG_9997

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