Easy Does It

Permanent, sustainable weight loss can’t come too fast. Obviously, we’d all like to be at our goal weight tomorrow. That ain’t gonna happen, sweetheart. Nor should it. A steady loss of a pound or two per week is all you should try for.

Those huge amounts of weight lost on The Biggest Loser aren’t real-world examples. The fact that many contestants — even some of the winners — boomeranged back to their starting weight is an illustration of that. With quick weight loss, baggy skin often follows. Icky. But if you lose weight slowly, you will plump up that saggy skin with muscle and give it a chance to regain some elasticity. As we age, though, our skin naturally becomes less elastic, so we’re all getting baggy eventually. More important to worry about being healthy.

We hear about celebrities having a baby and the next day are back down to their pre-pregnancy weight. But many of them have an entourage of trainers, medical folks, and personal chefs.

How long did it take you to put on this weight? It wasn’t overnight, was it? Just sayin.

Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Focus on yourself. Trim and sculpt at your pace.

Slow and steady wins the race, Rabbit.

But really, losing a pound a week is nothing to scoff at. If you have 50 pounds to lose, then next year this time, you’ll already be there. You might even be there six months from now. How exciting!

With any large task you need to have mini-goals built in. If you’re running a marathon, you need to break it down into 26 individual miles because it’s overwhelming to think about running 26 miles. If you’re writing a novel, you need to break it down into chapters and paragraphs and sentences and words, because seriously, it’s lunacy to write a novel!

For weight loss, no matter how much weight you want to lose, you need to break it down into smaller — sorry — bites.

Each mini-goal should be 10% of your weight. If you weight 200 pounds and you should be closer to 150, you can’t say, “I’m going to lose 50 pounds.” Well, you can, but that’s just crazy talk. It’s a staggering number.

Take it slower. Ten percent of 200 is 20. That’s your first goal. “I’m going to lose 20 pounds.”

At a pound per week, you’ll be there in five months. Because you’ve done it the right way, and because you’re not “dieting” — you’re living a new lifestyle — it should be a permanent loss. If you lose two pounds per week, you’ll be there in two-and-a-half months.

Now you weigh 180. Ten percent of that is 18 pounds. “I’m going to lose 18 pounds.” Because your metabolism is revved from your fabulous workouts and you’ve got a handle on healthy eating, this might be even easier. On the other hand, it might be harder. If it is, change things up. Do completely new workouts. Fool your body by eating the same number of calories per week, but maybe not always 400 at a time. Eat 200 for one meal, then 600, then another 600, then 200. You might also have to reduce your calories a bit for future goals, but you’ll figure it out when you start to gain again.

You should reach your next goal in four-and-a-half months. Or in a little over two months.

And now you weigh 162. Ten percent of that is 16 pounds. And when you do that, you weigh 146 and you are a new person.