Fast Weight Loss is Better than Slow Weight Loss

Myth:  You Should Strive to Lose No More Than One to Two Pounds Per Week

Dogs have four legs. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has four legs. Rudolph is a dog.

This is the common flaw in logic that has led to the ridiculous claim that you must limit yourself to losing no more than one or two pounds per week while on a diet. It is also a perfect example of the basic assumption made by most of the so-called experts: that you cannot be trusted to apply some common sense to your dieting efforts.

Losing Weight Fast is the Way to GoHere is what has led to the slow weight loss nonsense. Statistically, people who lose weight very rapidly are more likely to put it back on. This is because such rapid weight loss is usually accomplished with a very low calorie diet, and the dieter, feeling deprived, goes back to his or her old ways and lets the weight creep back on. Dieters who lose the weight more slowly have the time to assimilate to the new regimen, and do not feel as deprived at the conclusion. A slow dieter does not feel compelled to reward himself with a week at the Bellagio Buffet in Las Vegas as a reward for losing weight.

But this is where the logic breaks down, because the connection between cause and effect is blurred.  The diet gurus reason that if dieters who lose weight quickly tend to put it back on, then dieters should be told to slow down their weight loss. In fact, this belief is so strongly held by some that they suggest you sabotage your diet if it is working too well. On the Slim-Fast web site, you are told that if you find yourself losing more than the maximum two pounds per week, you should find ways to add more calories to your diet. It is suggested, for example, that you might want to add Parmesan cheese to your Slim-Fast pasta. In Weight Loss, Dr. Art Ulene finds even that rate of loss to be too much, suggesting just one pound per week.  But the rapid weight loss is not causing the problem, it’s what the dieters do after the rapid weight loss.

Let’s apply a little logic here (understanding that logic to most diet “experts” is like Kryptonite to Superman). It is true that if you starve yourself for several weeks, it’s like throwing chum to a shark when you return to regular food. But why does everything related to dieting need to be an all-or-none proposition? Here is a shocker for the industry: you are not limited to one diet. Why not plan a diet that allows you to dump as quickly as possible 90 percent of the weight you want to lose, and then switch to the sort of slow loss plan the other experts suggest?

Don’t let false logic cause you to stay overweight a moment longer than necessary. Excess weight is not just a matter of aesthetics, it is a health issue. If you discovered a possible skin cancer on your arm, you would not wait a year or two to deal with the situation. If you are overweight, you are unhealthy, and you should not listen to anyone who tells you to take your time in dealing with that health issue. The slow weight loss proponents are saying, “losing weight too fast is unhealthy, so stay fat and unhealthy longer so you won’t be unhealthy.” Could the logic be any more tortured?

Dr. Art Ulene tested his weight loss program as part of NBC’s Today Show, using 20 volunteers.  Two or three of the volunteers were very overweight, but most just had the 40 pounds or so that creeps on with age.  Dr. Ulene is a card-carrying member of the slow weight loss club.  After six months, following the good doctor’s slow loss approach, the average weight loss among the 20 volunteers was 18.5 pounds (around three-quarters of a pound per week).  Since larger people drop more actual pounds as a percentage of total weight, I’m confident that the two or three very obese volunteers skewed the results somewhat, meaning that the remainging volunteers probably lost less than 15 pounds on average.  Dr. Ulene proudly displays in his book a picture of the volunteers, taken at the six month reunion.  Sadly, while the volunteers are all smiles, you can see that they are all still overweight, most of them very much so.  In other words, they have been depriving themselves for six months, and are still fat.  Who wouldn’t find that discouraging?  Think how much happier and healthier these people would have been if they had followed The Morris Plan, dropping an average of 30 pounds in one month, or in other words, TWICE the weight in ONE-SIXTH the time! (Or at least a far higher percentage of their weight if they didn’t have that much to lose.) In that same picture, all but the three heaviest would have been completely trim, already living their new healthy lives as lean, attractive people.  Should they be deprived of that because statistically they might put it back on?

Don’t fall for the slow weight loss nonsense. It’s not only wrong, it’s dangerous. Rosie O’Donnell was a member of the fat acceptance club until health issues finally forced her to open her eyes. But even when she decided to lose weight, she fell for the “healthy eating/slow weight loss” nonsense. I saw her on the Doctor Oz show, taking him on a tour or her office, where she had huge portions of wholesome foods available to her, and was attempting to lose weight by eating better and exercising more. I thought to myself, “Wow, Rosie, that ship has sailed. You are way too heavy for the slow approach. You need to lose the weight now, not over years.”

This month, the still very overweight O’Donnell suffered a heart attack at age 50. (Ironically, O’Donnell claims she suffered the heart attack while helping an “enormous woman” out of her car.)

Am I saying she would not have suffered the heart attack had she lost the weight faster? Of course not; that is impossible to know. But without question rapid weight loss affords far more than instant gratification. You are healthier faster, and following The Morris Plan, you don’t have to worry about putting it back on.

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August 20, 2012Permalink Leave a comment

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