When you think about losing weight, and the ways that the weight loss process would be ideal, the descriptors that come to mind are generally "fast" and "easy" or variations on those themes. This makes total sense, of course. It's human nature to wish that things which are difficult for us would become easier, and that journeys which tend to be long and arduous would become fast and quick.
In fact, this is such a large facet of human behavior, that this is the aspect of weight loss that is most studied and most written about. How can we make it easier? How can we invent a pill which will basically lose the weight for you, and do it by next week?
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Of course that's where companies put their research dollars - if anyone could invent something like that, people would pay through the nose for it - as they do right now for just the promise of it.
Unfortunately, our baser human natures are attracted to the areas of weight loss which are ultimately not the most important. The real issue should be achieving weight loss that is safe, first of all. I mean, what good is being thin if your health suffers and enjoy it, or - even worse - you die as a result of drastic, unsafe weight loss measures? There is no good to be had there.
Once the primary determination of safety has been settled on, then the next thing you want to aim for in a weight loss program is level of effectiveness. After all, why would you put yourself through the difficult process of sticking to a diet and exercise regimen if it's not going to help you lose weight in the long run? It becomes pointless.
When measuring how effective a plan is, you shouldn't merely take into account how quickly that program helps you to lose weight. No, that is giving in to our baser instincts again, making a judgement on how good a program is based on how quick and easy it is. No, what you want to take into account when deliberating on the effectiveness of a weight loss plan are the following main two factors -
1) How steadily does the weight loss occur on the plan? Obviously, there will be plateaus and even spikes and drops in weight as you continue along your weight loss journey, but what you don't want to see are huge swings in your weight, even though that might feel emotionally encouraging. Slow and steady wins the race.
2) How long does the weight loss last after I've gone back to "regular" eating habits (meaning, practicing moderation but not strictly adhering to the rules of the diet)? Unless you plan on being on this diet for the rest of your natural life, you are going to need to know how it leaves your body, specifically your metabolism, able to handle foods or an eating schedule that is outside the strict purview of the diet. If you can't maintain your weight following simple guidelines of moderation and focusing on healthy, fresh foods after you discontinue this diet, then you can't classify it as effective.
Understandably, this is not the approach that feels the most emotionally gratifying right out of the gate. But, trust me, it's the approach will serve you well in the long term!
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