• The Myth of Slow and Steady Weight Loss

    by Scott Isaacs, MD
    on Sep 1st, 2019

If you want to lose weight, and you’re thinking that “slow and steady” is the way to go, you’re not alone. When it comes to dieting, many people believe that moderation and balance is a more sustainable approach long term. However, research suggests fast, healthy weight loss can be far more motivating and effective.

The Research

A two-year weight loss study grouped 262 people into three categories: Slow, Moderate and Fast weight loss.  “Slow” weight loss was defined as losing .5 lb. or less per week. “Fast” was defined as losing 1.5 lbs. or more per week.

The results were striking: Compared to those in the slow weight loss group, those in the fast weight loss group lost two and a half times more weight in a 6-month period and were keeping off almost three times as much weight after 18 months! More weight lost and more weight kept off longer1.

A review of many different weight loss studies concluded: “The totality of evidence does not support the myth that gradual weight loss improves long-term outcomes2.” That’s the word they used: myth. The myth of gradual weight loss being more successful than fast weight loss.

The Math

Now to be fair, slow and steady weight loss does sound appealing in that it seems, so… reasonable. But when you look at the math behind what it would take to reach your goal, the reality is daunting. 

Say you want to lose 30 lbs. Using the definition of “slow” weight loss from that 2-year study, here’s your progress in your first four weeks on your diet: -.5 lb., -.5 lb., -.5 lb., -.5 lb. You’re now down 2 lbs. after a month. At this rate, losing the remaining 28 lbs. will take 56 more weeks – a little over a year!

Are you really ready for that? Losing a lot of weight with slower weight loss takes a long time. And for your weight loss to be “steady” assumes an impressive consistency with your diet, your exercise and your commitment through the ups and downs that come with life. Without consistency, you can lose the steady part of the weight loss and it can slow down even more. And slow weight loss without steady weight loss can quickly become no weight loss. 

The Hopeful Message‚Äč

Knowing the facts, you don’t have to buy into the slow and steady myth! Instead, consider the idea that you have a finite amount of focused weight loss drive and determination in you. Now, make the most of that time and do what you can to lose the weight quickly.

Fast, healthy weight loss is far more motivating and cuts down on how long it will take to lose the weight, and the combined effect can substantially increase your chances of reaching your goal.

If you’d like to learn more about permanent weight loss, please feel free to call us or schedule an appointment with Dr. Isaacs using the online booking tool on this website.

1Nackers LM, Ross KM, Perri MG. The association between rate of initial weight loss and long-term success in obesity treatment: Does slow and steady win the race? Int J Behav Med 2010;17:161-167.

2Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition (Impact Factor: 5.18). 06/2014; 55(14). DOI: 10.1080/10408398.2014.922044

Author Scott Isaacs, MD Endocrinologist and Weight Loss Specialist

You Might Also Enjoy...

Do you have a fatty liver?

Fatty liver disease is the most common type of chronic liver disease and the number 2 cause for needing a liver transplant. It’s caused by a buildup of fat in the liver and can lead to cirrhosis or liver cancer.

Why Meal Replacements Work

According to the Journal of American Dietetic Association, “meal replacements were given the highest rating for weight loss and weight maintenance for people who have difficulty with self-selection and/or portion control”.

The 5 Key Components of Setting SMART Goals

When you set out to make any sort of change, no matter what it may be, setting a goal to work towards, or many small goals to break up the long road ahead, gives you a way to measure success.

How to Make Healthy Eating Easier

Wouldn’t it be great if the day you started a diet, you stopped craving any other foods? The reality, however, is that we all have food temptations that ride right alongside our best intentions for weight loss.

If It's Not My Thyroid Then What Is It?

Fatigue, weight gain, mood swings, poor concentration, memory issues, sweating, heart palpitations – your internet search says these are all symptoms of thyroid disease…but what happens when thyroid blood tests are actually normal?

Location
Atlanta Endocrine Associates
775 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342
Phone: 404-531-0350
Office Hours

Get in touch

404-531-0350