What to know before you try to drop a few pounds
Slowly or rapidly
Recently a study that was published seems to “absolve” rapid weight loss. We usually advise that gradual loss is the way to go. This study suggests that a more dramatic loss may not be “bad” either. In both cases there is an important issue that needs to be addressed. That is, how do we maintain a healthy weight long term? Weight loss occurring progressively is supposed to help you alter your habits and allow your body a longer adjustment period. A more abrupt change will require some extra effort and determination on your part.
One can lose weight by limiting his energy intake only, which is by changing his diet only. The results will not be the same if one decided to exercise regularly and vigorously but kept consuming large quantities of food. However that does not mean exercise is not important. In fact, although diet will (mainly) carry you through the initial stage, exercise will make it a lot easier for you to keep losing weight over the long-run. Furthermore, in light of lasting weight maintenance that was highlighted above, exercise has a crucial role to play. Why is that? Because once you lost the kg you needed to lose, exercise’s role is now elevated. Although diet is still essential it wouldn’t be easy to keep slim without exercising. Physical activity will improve your metabolism, which is your ability to burn calories, and together with a diet adjusted to your energy needs will help you keep a healthy weight.
As we saw above losing weight has an exercise component and a diet component. However there is a third one, mental preparation. Cutting down on food and increasing physical activity is not as straightforward as it sounds. Extra weight is usually a product of years of overeating and avoiding exercise. Habits kept for long periods are difficult to give up. This is why it is essential to be mentally prepared. In addition, you should know that keeping weight off too is mentally challenging. In fact as we consider the skills needed to lose weight to be different than those needed to keep weight off it is not something you can keep building on throughout. In mentally coaching patients dietitians turn to techniques developed by psychologists. What motivates them? How can they stay positive? Have they set proper targets? How do they feel about those targets? The mental challenge of losing weight and maintaining it is tough and a good dietitian should be able to provide you with tools to make it with both.