Choosing Moderation

I'm not really the moderate type. Never have been. I'm a bit more of the off-the-deep-end type. Unfortunately. I don't think going off the deep end is always the healthiest choice. It may be the excitingest choice, but often also the regrettingest choice.

When it comes to diet and weight loss, I think a lot of us dive off the deep end. We want something dramatic to happen on that scale. Something earth shattering. And FAST! Losing a few ounces per day is just so HO-HUM. Maintaining the weight loss is another huge bore. Dropping 6 dress sizes in 6 days? Now THAT'S more like it!

But today I want to make the case for moderation. There are MANY very good reasons to lose weight SLOWLY and CONSISTENTLY rather than astonishingly quickly. And although I completely love The Biggest Loser show on TV, I disagree with the push to lose lots of weight fast. (And I also understand that the show would be a lot less riveting if the contestants lost weight slowly, over a year or two's time, in their own homes. Snooze.)

However, experts like Dr. Barry Sears (who writes the Zone diet books) will tell you that humans are just unable to lose more than a pound or two of fat per week. There is just no way to metabolize your own fat more quickly than that. If you are losing dramatic amounts of weight per week, you are probably losing mostly water, although it is also possible you are losing MUSCLE. This is the last thing you want as carrying less muscle means lowering your metabolic rate and burning less fat. Losing muscle is the same as shooting yourself in the foot, diet-wise. Shooting yourself in the foot is more painful in the short-term, though.

Slow and steady weight loss is also more likely to be PERMANENT weight loss. When you adjust not just your diet, but your lifestyle and your habits as well, you will put yourself on the road to success. You will be exercising, burning more calories, building muscle (instead of losing it) and transforming your body composition from mostly fat to mostly lean. This kind of transformation might take many months or even years. But once those healthy habits are in place, you will have set yourself up for a lifetime of positive choices. Not just 6 days.

Need another reason? If you have a lot of weight to lose, losing it slowly will give your skin more time to adjust to your smaller self. If you are still young, there is a better chance you can avoid all that excess hanging skin (to a certain extent) if you lose the weight over time. This is not to say you can avoid stretch marks. But cocoa butter and coconut oil can do wonders for those!

I know it's not Monday, but contrary to popular belief, you can start a diet any day of the week! So if it is time for you to lose some weight, there's no need to go off the deep end. Slow and steady wins this race.