How much weight do you want to lose? Are you being realistic about how long it will take to achieve your weight loss goal?
When someone has decided to lose weight, one of the first things that a person should do is set a goal weight or an ideal weight.
Unfortunately, when most people decide to lose weight, they are not being realistic about how much weight to lose and how long it will take them to lose that weight. For many, their ‘ideal weight’ may be the wrong weight for them to be aiming for.
The sad fact is, years of being overweight and jumping from one fad diet to another may have confused your mind and body about what is truly your ideal weight. One of the major problems comes from a lack of understanding of metabolism. If you’ve been overweight for a very long time, or if you’ve consistently ‘yo-yoed’, your body may respond to your initial weight loss by slowing down its metabolism because it believes that you are starving to death. This slowing down of your metabolism leads to discouraging plateaus that often knock people off their diets entirely, and lead to regaining all or part of the lost weight.
Many weight-loss experts today recommend aiming for shorter-term, more attainable weight loss goals. Since the bulk of diet research shows that most dieters lose weight steadily for about 12 weeks, then hit a plateau, that’s the number of weeks that the weight loss experts suggest you should aim for. The weight loss strategy that many have found works best for them is one of alternating periods of weight loss and maintenance, each lasting 8-12 weeks.
The strategy calls for choosing a realistic weight loss goal for an 8-12 week period. Knowing that the most reasonable and healthiest weight loss rate is 1-2 pounds per week, losing 25 pounds in three months is not unrealistic. You should be on your weight loss diet until you reach that goal, or for 12 weeks, whichever comes first, and then switch to a maintenance diet.
Why switch to a maintenance diet at that point?
Simple, you’re giving yourself a break from more restrictive eating. More importantly, though, you are re-educating your body and letting it establish a new starting point. Once you’ve maintained your new weight for 8-12 weeks, set another weight loss goal, and move back into weight loss mode. By giving your body a break from ‘starvation’, you’ll have overcome its resistance to weight loss.
You’ll also be giving yourself a chance to ‘practice’ maintaining your new, healthier weight. Researchers have found that more than half of the dieters who take off significant amounts of weight do not maintain that weight loss once they go ‘off’ their diet. By practicing weight maintenance in stages, you’ll be proving to yourself that you can lose weight and maintain that weight loss over a period of time.
This weight loss plan will work with any long-term weight loss diet. You’ll find dieting and reaching your weight loss goal much easier to do if you choose a diet that has concrete ‘phases’, such as the South Beach or the Atkins diet since the weight loss and maintenance phases are clearly laid out for you to follow. Regardless of the diet, you choose, though, by alternating between weight loss phases and maintenance phases, you’ll teach yourself and your body how to maintain a healthy weight.