Two-thirds of Americans are overweight, with roughly half being obese. The desire to lose some of this weight can be fierce, meaning folks want to lose it fast so they can get the job done. This approach has both benefits and drawbacks. Keep reading to learn some of the pros and cons of losing weight fast.
Pro: Quick results are motivating!
If you’re looking to lose a lot of weight, then seeing it come off quickly can set a winning tone early on in your efforts. The sooner you see your weight loss results, be they diet, exercise, or something else, prove effective, the more likely they are to reinforce themselves so you’re motivated to keep going and keep losing weight.
Con: Weight lost fast often comes back fast.
If you’ve lost weight before, you might have noticed that the first 10 pounds or so come off really fast. In a lot of cases, cutting back on eating or eating healthier means you minimize the crud and sodium in your diet, and so the water weight within your body clears out through sweat, urine, and excretion. It’s even worse if you’re on a crash diet where you’re starving yourself or depriving yourself of badly needed macronutrients like protein. Your appetite will eventually rebound and your willpower will fade in the face of seemingly easy results, meaning your pounds come roaring back. Sometimes you wind up weighing more than you did before, and a pattern of yo-yo dieting can mean actually gaining weight over time.
Pro: You can feel better quickly.
Many times weight loss is inspired simply because a person is tired of how they feel. Being overweight, especially a lot, is not easy on the body. Joints get tired and out of alignment or out of position. It’s hard to stand up and move, and even sleeping can be something that wears you down if your neck or low back are at stressful angles without enough support. Many physicians and medical experts say that just a 5-percent reduction in a person’s weight is enough to minimize their pain, stress, and suffering, and even boost their metabolism and mood. Losing weight quickly makes hitting that mark only take a few weeks for most folks.
Con: You stall out.
Unfortunately, one of the dangers of the 5-percent mark is the fact that since it’s so easy to hit and effective, that’s also where many folks stop. They don’t continue their weight loss efforts or journey, given that they have practically solved the immediate problem at hand. Their weight will not only stall or plateau, but it might even start creeping back up again until they feel inclined to do something about it again. They might aim for 5-percent loss again, and they might succeed, but that second 5-percent might still leave them heavier than they were the first time around.
Pro: You’ll look great by a certain date.
Maybe beach season is coming up, perhaps it’s a wedding you know you’re going to be photographed at, or it could even be a class reunion you want to look good for. Whatever the case, losing weight fast helps you get ready for a certain date on the calendar. You might even fit into old clothes again that have been hanging in your closet for a long time or sitting in a dresser drawer. You can expand your wardrobe by shrinking your waist!
Con: You won’t look so great later.
If you start a pattern of fast weight loss and keep it up, it’s likely to reinforce itself and you wind up being one of those stories about someone that loses 100 pounds in nine months or less, regaining your former slender self. On the other hand, your skin didn’t have time to adjust and shrink, and so you also wind up one of those people that can pull their loose skin a foot out from their body. You either have to live with the lumpiness or get skin removal surgery and live with the scars.
As you can see, there are both pros and cons to losing weight quickly. Many experts recommend going slow but steady, averaging a pound or two per week over time. However, any weight loss veteran will also know that it really happens in spurts, and rarely so predictably. Work with your primary care physician to find your happy medium where you can enjoy weight loss without the potential setbacks of moving too fast.