Famed investor Warren Buffet, when asked why no one copies his strategies, once quipped that “no one wants to get rich slow.” This rings true for many things in life. Perhaps it’s hard to see into the future, and things change so often in modern times that future prospects aren’t guaranteed. However, the “slow and steady” strategy continues to win many races.
Fat loss is no different. It’s understandable that people who want to lose weight would like to do so as fast as possible. There are a few explanations for this. The first is that excess weight can damage your self-esteem, which can be very troubling. The second is that many health professionals recommend losing weight to avoid health issues. The third is that the process of losing weight can be very difficult, and nobody wants to suffer for too long.
Many companies prey on the desire of those who want to lose weight quickly. They offer a solution in the form of pills, creams, and exercise routines. Large sums of money have been made offering quick and easy weight loss, with less than spectacular results.
A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition examined the effects of fast versus slow weight loss. They studied two groups of people. While both groups lost the same amount of weight, one did so quickly and the other went slowly.
The researchers found that the group who went slowly burned more body fat and preserved more muscle mass than the group who went quickly. They also had a higher metabolism at the end of the study, which means that they were burning more calories throughout the day, even at rest.
Another study, published in the International Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, found that there were health benefits to losing weight quickly and slowly, but the group that lost weight quickly also lost more muscle mass.
It’s not necessarily harmful to lose weight quickly, but it’s not optimal. You want to burn body fat when you’re losing weight but keep muscle mass. The first reason is that muscles look good and they make you strong, both of which are the main benefits of weight training. The second reason is that muscle burns calories, while fat does not.
A gradual pace of one to two pounds per week of weight loss is ideal and can be managed over a long period of time, as long as you have excess weight to lose. Taking the slow and steady approach works for Warren Buffet’s bank account and your fat cells alike.