In America, about 68 percent of people age 20 years and older are obese or overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of these people want to lose weight or have considered losing weight. The question they face is if they should lose weight quickly or slowly.
Slow Weight Loss
To lose weight and keep it off, you should lose between 1 and 2 lbs. a week, advises Dr. Michael Hall, a family practitioner in St. Marys, Pennsylvania. Therefore, it can take between 25 and 50 weeks to lose 50 lbs.
Benefits of Slow Weight Loss
While slow weight loss can take months or even years, this pace will help you maintain your weight loss, according to MayoClinic.com. Slow weight loss also increases your chances of losing fat. Your body can only burn so much fat within a week. After this, it has to resort to burning lean muscle tissue. Hall explains that slow changes to your diet and exercise allow you to make healthy eating and exercise lifetime habits.
Disadvantages of Slow Weight Loss
The only real disadvantage of slow weight loss involves the length of time it takes to see results. When people want to lose weight, they want results now, explains Dr. Luisito Dingcong, a psychologist in Clearfield, Pennsylvania. Many people enjoy hearing others comment about their weight loss, and stay motivated because of these compliments. However, with slow weight loss you need to compliment yourself and reward yourself. Dingcong advises keeping a journal and setting goals you can track. When you successfully reach a goal give yourself a reward such as a pair of shoes, a night out dancing or a manicure.
Rapid Weight Loss
Rapid weight loss means losing more than 2 to 3 lbs. a week, explains Hall. Most often diet pills, patches or creams, as well as diets that greatly restrict your calorie intake will result in rapid weight loss.
Benefits of Rapid Weight Loss
Rapid weight loss gives people the results they want to see. When you lose 6 to 10 lbs. in a week, you can see the results almost immediately and may stay motivated to continue the diet. It may also provide a way for you to fit into the dress you need to wear at an upcoming wedding. A short-term fast or extreme calorie restriction may help you to overcome cravings or get you over a plateau, advises Hall.
Disadvantages of Rapid Weight Loss
Rapid weight loss has many disadvantages. You often regain any weight you lost using a rapid weight-loss plan and you may even gain back more than you lost, explains Dr. David Caruso, a family practitioner in St. Marys, Pennsylvania. This can result from the lose of muscle tissue. When your body has to burn muscle tissue, you cannot burn as many calories as you used to, according to Penn State University. Rapid weight-loss diets may even cause you to suffer from health consequences like dehydration, nutrient deficiencies or even a heart attack and should only be used for a very short time or under the supervision of a doctor, explains Caruso.
- Mayo Clinic: Why Do Doctors Recommend a Slow Rate Of Weight Loss? What's Wrong With Fast Weight Loss?
- Mayo Clinic: Weight Loss - Choosing a Diet That's Right For You
- Help Guide: Healthy Weight Loss and Dieting
- American Heart Association: Quick Weight Loss or Fad Diets
- Weight-Control Information Network: Weight Loss and Nutrition Myths
- Yale-New Haven Hospital: Choosing a Diet Plan