When it comes to losing weight, we would all prefer extra pounds to melt off like magic, delivering immediate results. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way, and weight loss requires time. How much time it takes to drop unwanted pounds largely depends on the lifestyle changes of each individual. But are extreme changes that lead to fast weight loss better, or is it wiser to make incremental changes and lose weight slowly over time? Research has uncovered the pros and cons of each.
Fast weight loss
In some cases, rapid weight loss might be necessary before a surgical procedure or other medical reasons. This type of extreme weight loss is safest under medical supervision.
There are plenty of ways to drop weight quickly, like detoxes, cleanses, and drastic exercise programs. In many cases, most of the immediate weight loss comes from water weight, and it can be difficult to maintain a physically taxing or strict weight loss program long-term.
Pros for fast weight loss
- Motivation. The motivation from seeing quick results when you step on the scale may help encourage some to continue with their diet and exercise program or even transition into a more manageable program that they can sustain over time.
- Better health. Obesity can lead to serious long-term health issues like Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and more. In many cases, it is in the individual’s best interest to drop weight quickly and then ease into sustainable health habits after the initial period of weight loss. Again, this type of rapid weight loss should involve medical supervision.
Cons for fast weight loss
- Health risks. Extreme weight loss from calorie restriction may put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies. When your body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, your immune system suffers.
- Energy may plummet. When you aren’t consuming the calories and nutrients you need to function, you feel tired and sluggish.
- It’s hard to maintain. If you rely on expensive diet plans or drastic cleanses to lose weight, it may be difficult to maintain the plan long term. As you return to old habits, some of the weight may return.
Slow weight loss
For most of us, slow, steady weight loss is more practical, realistic, and delivers lasting results. There are plenty of cost-effective, accessible ways to lose weight slowly that don’t require shocking calorie restriction or the risk to your health of a cleanse or fad diet.
Simple changes like switching to water from soda or taking a walk every night can make a big difference over time. Enlisting the help of a personal trainer may help boost motivation and accountability and ensure that you keep the weight off for good.
Pros for slow weight loss
- Healthy habits. Gradual weight loss requires a commitment to better health habits. Developing a healthier lifestyle over time can help you consistently lose weight and keep it off.
- More energy. With a gradual weight loss plan, your body still has enough calories and nutrients to function properly. When your energy levels are high, you’re more likely to keep up with your exercise plan.
Cons for slow weight loss
- It requires patience. Good things come to those who wait, and lifelong weight loss is no exception. It takes time and persistence to develop healthy habits that will help you lose weight and keep it off.