6 Reasons Slow & Steady is the Best Way to Lose Weight

Article posted in: Diet & Nutrition
slow and steady weight loss

No matter how much we have to lose—10, 20, 30, 50, 100 pounds—we all have the same weight loss goal. We want to lose it yesterday.  As wonderful—and impossible—as that sounds, losing weight quickly is not necessarily the ticket to a slim, new you. In fact, slow and steady weight loss can be the key to success in terms of keeping the weight off in the long run.

In a study, average weight loss on the first week of Nutrisystem was 5 pounds.* After the first week, you can expect to lose one to two pounds a week. A rapid, substantial weight loss in the beginning of a diet is a good thing. In fact, a 2016 Australian study, published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, found that losing weight early on in a weight loss diet was a significant predictor of successful long-term weight loss in the study participants. It helps motivate you to keep on going. But slow and steady weight loss after the initial drop is the prescription for a smart, healthy diet and permanent change.

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Here are six reasons a slow and steady weight loss will pay off for you:

1. Keep the weight off.

weight loss

Scientific evidence says that people who lose one to two pounds a week are more likely to maintain the weight loss, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends losing weight gradually. That’s because weight loss isn’t just about a “diet.” Thinking of your weight loss plan that way implies it’s something you go on and off, instead of being a lifestyle change that you stick with forever. Most fad diets, and quick-weight-loss diets in particular, aren’t sustainable over the long haul.

Permanent weight loss is about changing your eating and activity habits, something that takes time. In fact, according to researchers at University College London, it can take an average of 66 days for new habits to stick—and as many as 254 days, the good part of a year. That’s a long time to be eating like a bunny.

2. You lose fat, not muscle.

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When you start depriving your body of calories, you want it to hit your fat stores for energy and not your calorie-torching muscles. But that will only happen if you don’t drop your calorie intake so low your body has to grab it from wherever it can to keep you going.

Slow and steady weight loss helps you maintain lean body mass. In one study of postmenopausal women, published in the journal Appetite, one group went on a quick weight loss diet, while the other group went on one designed for slower weight loss. Both groups lost weight, but the women who lost weight quickly lost muscle. The slow weight loss group experienced some other advantages: Their trigylcerides (a dangerous blood fat) and blood pressures dropped along with their weight. High levels of both are some of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome, a potentially pre-diabetic condition.

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3. You’ll stay healthier.

stay healthier

Unhealthy weight loss generally requires you to seriously restrict calories. And when you restrict calories to an unhealthy extent, you’re probably going to miss out on many important nutrients.

In one pilot study, published in Nutrition Journal, 104 obese people who went on a very low-calorie diet plan were deficient in a number of vital micronutrients, including vitamins A, E, C, D, folate, iron and calcium, even though their diet plan was supplemented with vitamins and minerals.

If you’re obese (your body mass index is over 30), it’s very likely that you already have some nutrient deficiencies—possibly the result of poor diet and some metabolic problems involving insulin and appetite hormones. That makes an unhealthy weight loss diet even more detrimental to your health.

4. You’re at lower risk of painful gallstones.

gall stones

Obese people have a tendency toward gallstones, hardened deposits of bile that can accumulate in the gallbladder. If they block your bile ducts, they can cause pain and in some cases have to be removed surgically.

People who lose weight rapidly also have a high risk of developing gallstones. According to one study, published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the prevalence of  new gallstones increases 10 to 12 percent after eight to 16 weeks of a very low calorie diet (more than 30 percent in those who undergo gastric bypass surgery). The reason? When you lose weight quickly, you run the risk of fatty cholesterol supersaturating bile, which creates the stones. Roughly a third of those stones can cause symptoms.

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5. Food deprivation may make you gain.

slow and steady weight loss

Your body is programmed to avoid hunger, something you probably won’t be able to avoid on a continuous, rapid weight loss program. Believe it or not, we all have a hardwired system of chemicals that drive us to eat. Who knew we needed that? Also part of the system are chemicals that tell us to stop eating when we’re full. Feeling hungry is a natural part of that system and ignoring the signals can stress you out. The result: Stress produces its own chemicals. One, cortisol, can actually drive your hunger and make you eat more, according to a study in Obesity: A Research Journal. And you won’t be reaching for a nice salad or a big bowl of broccoli. Harvard Medical School studies have found that stress sets up the hunt for comfort foods, mainly filled with sugar and fat. That means all your hard work and effort works against, not for you. Stick to slow and steady weight loss as opposed to crash dieting, which can lead to overeating.

6. Choose Nutrisystem for safe, effective weight loss.

That’s where Nutrisystem comes in! By choosing one of our convenient weight loss plans, you are given everything you need to achieve weight loss success the right way, all while learning about healthy portion sizes, what foods you should be choosing and how to maintain your weight loss once you’ve reached your weight loss goal.

After the first week on Nutrisystem, you will transition to sustaining an eating schedule that promotes slow and steady weight loss. This means that, in addition to eating delicious, calorie- and portion-controlled foods, you’ll also get to incorporate fresh grocery foods into your diet. This will help keep you satisfied while you lose weight. It will also ensure you’re getting all required nutrients to maintain a healthy diet plan, all while continuing to watch the weight come off.

Looking for a meal delivery service that helps you lose weight and get healthy? Get started with Nutrisystem today! >

*Results vary based on starting weight and program adherence.

*IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Continuing this meal plan for more than one week in any consecutive four-week period may lead to health complications and is not recommended. If you have diabetes, are under 18 years of age, are pregnant or a nursing mother, or are following a specialized diet for health issues, you may not use this meal plan. Please consult with your physician before beginning Your First Week on Nutrisystem or any other weight loss program. Please be sure to eat all of the food that’s recommended for this program. Failure to follow the program protocol and eat all recommended food may result in developing health complications.