Are you in a big hurry to lose weight? I have some weight to lose, but I don’t want to lose weight quickly – and neither should you. Here’s why.
I’ve been seeing a lot of Pins on Pinterest that say things like, “How I lost 10 pounds in one week,” or, “See how I lost 30 pounds in a month!”
And ten years ago, I would have clicked them.
Now I just roll my eyes at them.
We all want to lose weight quickly.
But my hope is that we are all wiser than to think that losing crazy amounts of weight quickly is a good thing long-term.
In my teens and early twenties I always thought I was overweight – when I wasn’t. I was always on the edge of being overweight – always right on the cusp of entering that BMI range.
But I was never ACTUALLY overweight. Now at 27, with two pregnancies and a NASM personal training certification to my name, I am. I am 9 months postpartum with my second baby and I am actually 20 lbs away from the “healthy” body max index range. And naturally, I want to be solidly in the healthy range, so I’d like to lose closer to 30 or 35 pounds.
But Why Do I Say I Don’t Want To Lose Weight Quickly?
Here’s the thing: there are many reasons. Some of them are personal and some of them are universal truths for everyone. If you’re willing to hear me out, I’ll go over both.
Losing weight quickly is okay for a little while, if you’ve got a lot of weight to lose. I’m talking about losing more than 1.5 pounds per week. If you’re super overweight and start changing your diet or exercise routine, you may find than you lose quite a bit more than that for awhile. That’s okay.
But for me and for those of us who have 50 lbs or less to lose, it’s not always a good thing to lose weight quickly.
I personally don’t want to lose weight quickly at this stage because of these things:
- It’s a lot of pressure! Especially if you’ve had a baby recently. This can backfire. I’ll talk about that more in a sec.
- It’s not always physically healthy. Your weight is more than just fat. You could be lacking many essential nutrients and lowering your defenses and affecting many internal organs.
- It’s quite misleading. What about water weight and muscle mass? Does it mean your overall health is improving? Maybe – or maybe not.
- It’s mentally and emotionally quite a roller coaster.
- It’s not guaranteed to last.
If you read those reasons and found yourself nodding, you have probably learned a few of your own lessons about weight loss. If you’re new to it, no worries, I’m going to elaborate now. Because that’s what I do.
Why I Don’t Want To Lose Weight Quickly – And You Shouldn’t Either
Number 1: Pressure That Backfires
Having the desire to lose weight quickly is putting a lot of pressure on yourself. That’s rough emotionally, mentally, and physically. It’s not a healthy mentality to think that your body should be able to recover from what took years to damage in just a few months. Not that you shouldn’t make changes in your life, it’s that the moment you fail or stumble, you’ll blame yourself and beat yourself up over it. (It’s also not an excuse to stay the same.)
I learned this lesson after having my first baby. I told myself that by the time I was a year postpartum, I needed to have “bounced” back. That means that I was supposed to lose 45 pounds in one year or less. It was a tangible goal in a perfect scenario, but there were so many other factors that contributed to my situation.
Firstly, I lost a TON of muscle mass during my pregnancy. I was very sick and the pregnancy diminished my strength. Then, it ended in an emergency c-section and I was unable to fully breastfeed – ever. Both of those things were devastating to me. So much that I later experienced pretty severe postpartum depression. Later, I had a back injury that I’m told was related to the cesarean. Those things weren’t something I’d anticipated.
Still, I expected myself to be a perfect size 4 and 130 pounds.
In fact, I think having all of these expectations in motherhood and life, and the idea that I could lose weight quickly after pregnancy contributed heavily to my postpartum depression. In other words, it all backfired. I went on to regain a lot of weight, up to 174 pounds at my highest. Yikes.
The point is that the moment we feel like we’ve failed when it comes to unrealistic expectations we’ve set for ourselves, we feel like complete failures and it spills into all other areas of our lives. Not good. Stop it. 😉
If you know yourself and look into your history, ask yourself if this is the type of thing that you might do. If it is, you might want to reconsider wanting to lose weight quickly.
Number 2: Not Always Physically Healthy
You know that losing weight quickly isn’t always healthy. But why? Firstly, if you’re eating less but what you’re eating isn’t dense nutritionally, is it really healthy? Or is your body starved of essential nutrients? Also, is your body losing muscle mass or getting dehydrated? The key is that if you’re going to lose weight quickly, it still needs to be in a healthy way. That means we’re focused on eating nutrient-dense foods, not just eating less. (You can eat 1600 calories worth of ice cream and lose weight, but that’s definitely not healthy.) Plus, if you’re eating less and it results in fatigue, you’re probably not going to go out and lift weights. The result might be a smaller number on the scale, but it doesn’t mean you’re getting stronger. You get the idea.
Number 3: It’s Misleading
This ties into No. 2. You can lose weight in the form of the number on the scale without increasing your health. But how do you know what’s really happening? If you are successful at losing weight quickly, this doesn’t mean you have improved on any important fronts. What about cardiovascular health? Lung capacity? Cholesterol? Has your Diabetes gotten under control? Can you lift more? Are you losing inches? Is your resting heart rate improving? There are so many other factors here! If you aren’t benefiting in some of these other ways, what’s the point? I am just saying that just because you have lost weight quickly doesn’t mean that various aspects of your health are improving quickly, too.
Number 4: It’s A Rollercoaster
Up and down… Sure, you can lose weight quickly if you set your mind to it. But think about the pressure you are putting on yourself to overhaul your life overnight. Is it worth it? Will you get upset and depressed the moment you have a small failure? Will that lead to more poor choices? The truth is that for most of us, the way we set ourselves up is to spiral out of control. We think we want to lose weight quickly and in doing so, we make all of these crazy expectations for ourselves. A small victory can lead us to an emotional high, then any small slip-up can send us spiraling down. I don’t know about you, but I’m DONE with that! I don’t want to lose weight quickly because I know my overall health is the conglomeration of a million tiny, healthy decisions.
Number 5: Is It Going To Last?
This is the truth: going extreme is not sustainable. That’s why I only advocate jumping into programs like the Whole 30, 21 Day Fix, or other challenges for jump-starting your journey. Overhauling your habits can result in quick weight-loss that keeps you motivated for some time. But real change is NOT reverting to your old habits once you face a real-life challenge. The fact is that life will happen. Your plans will change. How will you respond to setbacks? Healthy habits are more likely to withstand “life” than that life-changing meal replacement you’ve been taking religiously…for a week.
The point is that small decisions and many failures add up to change. We learn from our mistakes and continue to make an effort for change. The only thing that will stop us from changing is giving up. Right?
Now you know why I don’t really want to lose weight quickly.
I mean, if I could magically wake up one day with Carrie Underwood’s legs, I’d take ’em – and you would, too. Except that would just be weird, and that’s not how it works. 😉 But that doesn’t mean we can’t change!
Here are a few things you can do instead of focusing on losing weight quickly, and a few quick takeaways:
Create Realistic Goals
Being realistic is so important, I even wrote a post about how to create your own fitness-related goals the way personal trainers do.
Make Sure Your Plan Is Flexible, Because LIFE
You need to know how to respond to hiccups. To do this, know yourself. Know your habits and have a plan.
Celebrate Everything That Is A Step Forward
Non-scale victories are mental, physical, and emotional. Celebrate them. Here’s a huge list of things you should celebrate on your journey.
The worst thing you can do is quit. Learn from your mistakes and don’t let history repeat itself! I was so tired of going through the cycle of weight loss that I decided to start this blog for weight loss accountability. See how you can do that too!
There. Have I convinced you that you don’t want to lose weight quickly? (Permanent weight loss is so much better!) Tell me what you think!