Fast Weight Loss or Slow Weight Loss

– Which is Better Long Term?

Before I get into this, there is certainly a time and place for both approaches. We live in an age where everyone wants fast results – next day delivery, drive through, weight loss…. we want it all an hour ago! (enter the room fad diets and miracle weight loss pills)

We all know that eating healthy, staying active and reducing calories is an effective weight loss approach, but it can be difficult and slow. So what is the better approach for fat loss success?

We (Personal Trainers, Dieticians, Doctors, etc) are told that 1-2lbs weight loss per week is the general recommendation. Now this isn’t on an individual basis as it doesn’t take into account personal factors. Many professionals will speak out against rapid weight loss, and for the purpose of this we will take fast weight loss as anything from 2lbs up.

So let’s look at the options here;

Fast Weight Loss

If you have a lot of weight to lose, it is acceptable to lose 5-10lbs per week especially when starting out and with the assistance from someone qualified. Those that have gastric bands fitted may be given 400-600kcal diet plans to follow. These plans tend to come with supplements to take to ensure
adequate nutrient intake.

The Pros

Increased Motivation – Often when you see fast weight loss it spurs you on to keep going as you can see results by way of the number on the scales.
Better Health – For some, the risks to their health associated with their weight far outweigh the risks of fast weight loss. Think Diabetes, Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure, etc. Of course, this is something that is down to a qualified practitioner to help you through.

The Cons

Tiredness – When you essentially ‘starve’ the body of the essential nutrients and calories needed to function, your energy levels will hit the ground, making day to day living much harder.
Health Risks – Without proper medical support, using an extreme calorie deficit for fast weight loss can have a bad effect on your immune system, putting you at risk of serious illnesses.

Slow Weight Loss

Gradual weight loss is more realistic when it comes to sustained results for most of us. You don’t need to cut out certain food groups, make drastic changes or cut your calories to extreme levels.
This approach means you can enjoy it more and not cut out living whilst you lose weight.

The Pros

Healthy Habits – You create a healthy lifestyle with gradual weight loss, that means changes to your body, mind and diet. The longer you do this, the easier it becomes.
Energy Levels – Going low with your calories can cause nutrient deficiencies (like we spoke about above), eating in a slight deficit gives you the most energy whilst you lose body fat… meaning you can be more active, leading to more calories burned (win-win)
Looking Toned? – By doing it slower you ensure that you are losing mainly body fat, rather than muscle mass and water (which happens on Fast Weight Loss). This way, you’ll retain muscle and look more ‘toned’ rather than someone who’s ‘lost too much’.
Hangry – Calorie restrictive diets lead to hunger, which leads to tiredness and then of course irritability and anger! By taking the gradual approach, you can tune into your body more and avoid killing your partner because you are starving!

The Cons

Time – If you haven’t worked it out yet, gradual weight loss takes time. Motivation can drop if your scale-focussed. Losing it and keeping it off is hard. It’s not easy to change what your used to doing, but remember that change only comes from change.


In a Nutshell

Steady weight loss is more achievable, sustainable and realistic for most. Fast weight loss with quick fixes, fad diets just don’t last and see people go back to their old habits and normally gain more weight than before.
By losing weight slower, it gives you time to learn and understand how your body works. To realise what you enjoy and help create new habits. Experiment with your approach over time and remember that weight does fluctuate!

The ‘Spanner in the Works’; There is sometimes a time for fast weight loss BUT under the guidance of a qualified person

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