If you have any interest in losing fat, this is likely to be the most important thing you read on the topic.
You’ve been told that rapid fat loss is ineffective for the long term. I was told that as well. But as a clinician…I care about helping my clients, and the science and the evidence I see in the real world.
So I’m not going to give you my opinion – not just yet. I’m just going to give you the facts succinctly.
Years ago I searched for evidence regarding the benefits of slow vs rapid fat loss.
I found two interesting conclusions: those who lost fat rapidly either did just as well or often did better than those who lost fat slowly.
This is critical…those who lose fat rapidly often do better in the long term compared to those who lose weight slowly!
4 studies from 1995 -2010 were conducted to examine the differences between those who lost fat quickly vs slowly. Those studies all found that those who lost weight quickly had better long term results (better able to maintain loss) from 1 to 5 years later.
Why is this? No one knows for sure, but I believe when people see results, they get motivated and are more likely to stick with it, because they know it works. However, this logic will backfire if the results are from a crazy or dangerous approach. But if it is a sound approach that makes sense and works, people will stick with it. If the results occur too slowly, many will get discouraged and simply stop.
Is Rapid Fat Loss Always The Best?
Does this mean that rapid fat loss is best? Not necessarily. Those who are recovering from surgery, have had eating disorders, are preparing for an athletic performance, or are under very high stress don’t always do well with a rapid fat loss approach.
The point here is to consider the evidence and the countless examples from our experience at Spectrum that shows there are healthy ways to lose fat rapidly, and some strong evidence suggests that it is even more effective than slow weight loss.
4 Components of a Proper Rapid Fat Loss Program
So what does a sound rapid fat loss program entail? Here are the critical points:
1. Prevent physiological and psychological burnout by manipulating the nutrition program at the right times. You can’t simply just keep reducing calories forever. Just like a workout, you need to switch things up. Calories cycling, nutrient timing, diet breaks are just some of the examples of this.
2. Your exercise program must be focused. Maintaining muscle, liberating fatty acids from fat cells, and mobilizing the fatty acids to be utilized for fuel is the main goal of exercise at this point. Perhaps just as important is that these exercises should teach you better movement qualities, address or work around injuries, and should be flexible enough to be performed anywhere to accommodate chaotic schedules. This is probably the biggest secret: people try to get strong, increase endurance, build muscle, prepare for a 10 K, and lose fat all at the same time. That’s a very bad strategy. It’s like riding 2 horses with one saddle. When you are significantly cutting calories, trying to train multiple qualities at the same time is draining not training. For most people, losing fat is the common denominator, so when they lean out, all the other goals become easier to attain.
3. You must work to change habits. Changing habits requires a plan. Accountability, rewards and punishment, social support – these are all undeniable tenants of success. Look at business, academics, and sports. You will see clear examples where these elements are firmly ingrained into their culture. So how can you expect to succeed if you don’t have these elements?
4. Change you mindset: you are not lazy, unmotivated, fat, weak, un-athletic, old, injury prone, or whatever negative label you’ve ascribed to yourself to avoid addressing your health and fitness. Everyone has challenges getting fit and Everyone needs to work hard, some more than others. But everyone can benefit immensely from exercise and proper nutrition. It is a must for optimal health and functioning. What you need is to understand that your mindset determines your behavior. The sooner you decide to change your mindset, the sooner you can change your health. It sounds cheesy, but the research backs this up.