Whenever you hear people talk about weight loss, one word that comes up a lot is "fast." You see diet message forums in which people pop in and say, "how can lose (insert unrealistic number here) pounds in one month?" or "what's the fastest way to drop the pounds?" The problem is that when it comes to losing weight, fast is not good. Slow is better.

Impatience is a Detriment

It takes years to put on the pounds-- or at least months. People will spend years of their life overweight sometimes, but then when they finally decide to lose it, they want it done yesterday.

It seems like the pervasive attitude is that people want to lose it fast, or it's almost not worth the efforts. After all, if you're going to have to wait 6 months or a year for results, why bother?

The problem is that when it comes to losing weight, fast is not good. Slow is better.

But the sad thing is, the same person finds himself asking the same question a year down the road... and a year after that. Then the horrible thought strikes—had I just stuck to the slow and steady methods 2 years ago it would have been done by now!

Why Fast Doesn’t Work

There’s a reason fast weight loss doesn’t work—the body is designed to fight against it. The body is not so far evolved that it doesn’t remember the caveman days, when food could sometimes be hard to come by. The body wants you to eat and fill up—just in case you don’t find food again for a while. The body doesn’t know about walk-in pantry’s, mega-marts or 24 hour drive through windows; it knows about preservation.

So the body feels you losing weight fast, and it panics. It goes into ‘starvation mode’. It tries to shut down unnecessary systems. It tries to learn how to operate on fewer calories—and it can succeed rather quickly. In a matter of days, in fact, it can learn to just coast on less calories, changing your metabolism forever. Now, for the rest of your life, you’ll gain weight more quickly and will have a harder time losing it.

Why Slower is Better

When you lose weight more slowly, you don’t shock your body and spur it into taking action, so you don’t mess your metabolism up permanently. Your body cooperates with you when you’re losing weight gradually. It becomes a partner rather than an opponent.
When you lose weight more gradually, you have fewer problems with loose, stretched-out skin, and it also gives you time to build muscle.

Finally, most of the time people’s weight problems are not just due to the body—there are also environmental factors, otherwise known as bad eating habits. When you try to change your entire lifestyle too abruptly, you can get very stressed and there’s a good chance it won’t last long. So you eat right for a while, but then you go back to your old, comforting habits. When you lose weight gradually, you adapt to your new habits gradually, making them permanent.

When it comes to weight loss, don’t worry so much about fast; worry about permanent. It’s hard enough without including a rush order to your body. Take your time, and do it right. This is one of those situations like the story of the tortoise and the hare—slow and steady will win this race.