Monday, April 12, 2010

Fast weight loss pro & con – good & bad....

Today's Post: Monday, 4-12-2010

Ad after ad promises FAST weight loss or has testimonials from people who lost a lot of weight their first month.

Clearly that sells more of whatever the ad sells.

But, is it a good idea?

The answer is that most of the time it’s a horrible idea! But, sometimes it isn’t.

This post has two parts.

1. Why it’s a bad idea most of the time & is in fact a horrible idea for most people to aim for.

2. Why and under what exact circumstances it can be a good idea instead – but ONLY then.

Here’s why fast weight loss is a bad idea most of the time & is in fact a horrible idea for most people to aim for.:

It’s very simple why it’s usually a horrible idea.

a) The people involved think of losing weight as a temporary starvation plan.

And, although carefully programmed calorie restriction of some kind IS a key method of weight loss and, more importantly, a method, for losing excess fat, if the calorie restriction isn’t sustained, two truly horrible things happen. It’s temporary for sure.

And, people stop trying to lose weight before they lose all the fat they want to lose or should lose.

Even worse, they gain back whatever they lost when they stop!

And, since fast initial weight loss is often from restricting calories enough to produce a starvation effect, virtually everyone who does it stops too soon and gains all the weight they lost right back!

Why does this happen? Our bodies are descended from ancestors who survived famines. In fact many people are descended from many generations of famine survivors!

So, guess what happens when you starve yourself for two or three weeks or more?

Your body’s famine program kicks on full blast. It sets every one of your hunger subprograms on MAX. You think about food. You get cravings for food and fattening food far greater than normal. Food smells and tastes better. Your ability to stop eating or even want to stop eating is slammed down to zero.

And, that’s just part I! Part II is when your body lowers your metabolism and drops your energy level enough to ensure that you move less. It may also prevent you from burning fat to some extent and may use your lower priority muscles and bones for energy instead.

It’s a failsafe that ensured your ancestors survived long enough to have you exist at all. It’s very reliable and virtually never fails.

You feel like eating -- irresistibly so. And, even if you manage to not eat, you lose very little weight and feel like you are weak and sick and tired all the time.

So your weight loss and fat loss plan fails. Worse, if this happens several times to you, you begin to wonder if losing weight is possible and begin to feel it may not be possible for you to ever do.

Since losing excess fat – losing all of it -- & keeping it all off IS possible and you very likely can do it, this kind of fast initial weight loss and the resulting crash and burn and feeling helpless is horribly bad. It’s typical, unfortunately.

Why go there?!

The secret is to cut calories ONLY SOME and do it in ways that neither make you a lot hungrier nor do they trigger your famine response – AND you simply upgrade your lifestyle to make these changes part of your new every day and every week routine. Since they become normal for you and you keep doing them, two wonderful things happen. You can keep losing your excess fat until it’s ALL gone. And, it never returns.

So, what are the two exceptions?

The first one is why many weight loss plans start out with a stricter initial break-in program though usually just for a couple of weeks. People want results. So if they see none after two weeks, they quit trying. That clearly is a bad idea. You won’t lose excess fat if you make no effort to do so.

Even so, I disagree with this approach. Too often it winds up failing anyway for the reasons we just covered.

You need to focus at first on learning how to do the many things that remove fat but don’t make you hungrier and to begin doing them and get used to doing so.

You also need to have a positive but much longer focus. Think of how much you’ll lose in one to five years if you continuously lose just 1.5 to 5 pounds a month.

Wait at least a month to weigh yourself to check for results. If you install enough effective things and keep doing them, the fat loss is virtually guaranteed. But by making them mostly small changes, they are far more doable and sustainable. And here’s the really HUGE benefit. Your famine response NEVER kicks in! No 100 % effective sabotage ever shows up!

Here’s two typical tracks.

The fast fat loss person eats a quarter of what they are hungry for and virtually eats no fats or oils and keeps that up for three weeks. They lose 4 or 5 pounds a week. Then in the fourth week, they lose no weight and feel horrible and so tired it’s like being sick. Then in the fifth week they begin stuffing themselves and gain back the whole 18 pounds they lost in just three weeks. End of experiment. Total failure. Oops!

The long term person who makes lots of tiny changes that they expect to keep doing only loses 2 pounds the first month. Then they add something and try a bit harder and find they lost 3 pounds the second month. Then over the next 10 months they keep losing 2 or 3 pound a month for a total of 25 more pounds. At the end of the year, they have lost 30 pounds. And if they need to lose more, they will keep losing until they do.

Even better, since their new lifestyle is now normal, familiar, and easy to do AND they don’t want the fat back, they keep following it and the fat never returns.

This method produces success. And almost everyone can do it.

What’s the second way fast fat loss can be OK? There are some people who are doing a lot of things wrong. It’s why they have excess fat and weight they want to lose. But they are able to begin immediately doing each of the things that ARE sustainable and which do NOT trigger hunger or the famine response.

Such people sometimes do lose 10 or 12 pounds a month for several months.

Suppose someone is relatively young but has been drinking four regular soft drinks a day for 15 years and is just from that alone 60 pounds of excess fat too heavy. Suppose that they do some walking and once jumped rope when they were a much younger person but did it then until they got good at it. And, let’s further suppose they virtually never eat any nonstarchy vegetables. Lastly, let’s say they know a great personal trainer who can tutor them in getting into an effective and progressive strength training plan and that they can afford to do this and do it.

They also drink water, black coffee, or tea with no milk and never ever drink another soft drink. They go on the DASH II diet that features several servings of vegetables a day.

And, in addition to the strength training, they use Dr Al Sears Pace method and work up from one set of 25 reps in the jump rope to several sets of 100 in the first 3 months.

By doing ALL these things and by both being a worst case to begin with AND being a bit younger with some background in exercise, this person might well lose 30 pounds their first 3 months.

Going from tons of soft drinks to none will get this kind of results. Research has recently confirmed you don’t get any hungrier by doing this either!

Doing well with a progressive strength training plan does make you a bit hungrier. But if you mostly stick with what you planned to eat without pigging out on fattening foods, it burns a LOT of calories and ensures the weight you lose is virtually all fat.

The same is true of a PACE style work out with a jump rope. In fact, one many who had jumped rope regularly once who got back into it lost 20 pounds in two months just from doing that one thing.

Eating regular daily servings of nonstarchy vegetables, which have very few calories but do have a lot of nutrition and fiber, allows you to cut calories with very little if any increase in hunger. In fact, if you eat some health OK protein foods and oils too, your famine response will not kick in.

So, what happens if someone does all of the above well right off the mark? They CAN safely lose a lot of fat just in the first 3 months.

Most people need to start a bit slower and gradually add more to get all this in place and won’t do that well. But if they keep finding ways to do these things that they find doable and sustainable and doing them week after week, their success is just as certain.

Think about it.

Would you rather lose 15 pounds in three weeks and have it all come back about that fast?

Or, would you rather lose 15 to 30 pounds of fat a year until it’s all gone and have it never come back?

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