While weight loss can be good for your health, going to certain extremes to achieve it generally isn’t. For instance, not getting enough calories and not exercising is a recipe for not only relapse and weight gain, but could take a toll on your mental and physical health as well.3
It may be important for you to think about your reasons for wanting to lose weight. Weight loss is not a smart choice for everyone. If you have concerns or questions about your weight, speak to your healthcare provider to get personalized advice.
Use the following truths about weight loss to formulate your own unique plan for weight loss success that works best for you.
The Process Is Slow
When it comes to sustainable weight loss, the process is usually slower than you expect and almost always slower than you want it to be. And when your results don’t measure up to all that hard work in the short term, the burst of motivation you felt on January 1 may begin to subside. Still, it’s important to keep going and take your journey day by day. Slowly losing weight over the course of a year or more will increase your chances of keeping it off for good.
You Can Make Up for Lost Time
Even if you’ve spent the last six months on an exercise hiatus, remember that it’s never too late to get started. However, making your exercise comeback with a full week of intense, all-out 2-hour workouts is a recipe for soreness, burnout, injury, and an intense dislike of exercise.
If you have been sedentary or if you have a medical condition, speak to your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program. Your provider can make suggestions about modifications if necessary. Then start slowly based on where you are right now.
For example, if you aren’t exercising at all, don’t commit to exercise most days during the week. Start by adding one or two days of exercise per week. After you reach that goal consistently for a several weeks, add a day of exercise and see how it goes. Setting realistic goals and reaching them will help you feel accomplished and boost motivation.
Regular Exercise Is Key
Research shows that a healthy diet leads to successful long-term weight loss,4 but diet is only one part of a healthy lifestyle.
Guidelines suggest a certain amount of exercise you need for optimal heart health. For many, it’s more than we realize (about 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week).5 But that doesn’t mean you need to do that amount of exercise when you first start out.
Everyone needs a different amount of exercise based on a number of factors such as level of fitness, age, sex, genetics, body type, body fat, weight, diet, and lifestyle, to name a few. But for anyone, regular exercise is crucial for long-term weight loss and overall health. Begin with a simple program that takes into account where you are now and build slowly, making consistency your goal.