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Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Woman holding scale

You have probably already heard the famous fable by La Fontaine, The Hare and the Tortoise. If this fable were to be adapted into a more contemporary version, it would most certainly feature two persons who want to lose weight; one would choose a slower method, knowing that lasting results are still far off, while the other would choose the fast approach, thinking that little effort will be required.

What is a healthy and realistic weight loss?

In order for a weight loss process to be healthy, the daily calorie deficit must be between 500 and 1000 calories, corresponding to 1 to 2 pounds of fat per week[1]. People with a body mass index (BMC) higher than 30 may get slightly higher results, but nothing more.

Will simply subtracting 500 to 1000 calories from my daily energy expenditure do the trick?

No! You should never eat less than your basal metabolism. This means that if you don’t burn enough calories during the day, you will not be able to compensate by cutting on calories indefinitely and hope for healthy results.

Imagine that you are at the grocery store with a basket that contains milk, eggs, bread, as well as all the gossip magazines available. You realize that you only have a $10 bill. What will you do? You’ll get rid of the magazines, right?

This is similar to what happens with the human body. If you eat less than your basic metabolic rate, your body will slow down by cutting on unnecessary functions. On the mid and long term, you can expect this to cause a lack of energy (and strength), a loss of motivation, moodiness, etc. From that point on, you will have no choice but to eat more and be less active. You will beat yourself up for failing, and make the mistake of thinking that it’s your fault because you don’t have enough willpower.

For those of you who want a quick overview of what the participants of the TV show The Biggest Loser (a show known for massive weight losses) look like today, you can consult this link. You will get to see how quick weight loss is rarely permanent. Losing weight fast using a strategy that aims to change everything in your lifestyle at once leads to a number of complications: having a hard time maintaining these changes, and overtraining along with everything it implies, such as an increase in injuries, increased susceptibility to infections, symptoms of depression, etc.[2]

However, with realistic goals, it is possible to lose weight quickly and healthily, and to maintain it. Your weight loss should be part of a sustainable change, which means to adopt a healthy lifestyle. I invite you to visit our transformations and to discover that the candidates of the I’m taking charge Challenge have maintained their weight for several months: www.nautilusplus.com/fr/transformations

Instead, you should take your time to develop lasting strategies within the context of a healthy lifestyle. You will be much more likely to experience a smoother transition and maintain your gains.

By Xavier Jutras

[1] Reminder: 1 pound of fat is equal to about 3500 calories

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overtraining

Xavier Jutras

Holder of a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the Université Laval, Xavier has decided to join the ranks of Nautilus Plus during the winter of 2012 to share his passion about training and sports in general. In sports, he has tried it all (soccer, tennis, dek-hockey, hockey, mountain biking, running, crossfit, etc.), so we could say he qualifies as a hyperactive person. That being said, between two sports, he particularly enjoys writing. Philosopher and blogger in his spare time, he gave himself the mission of selling you physical activity as the (sometimes unsuspected) solution to many of your questions and problems. With a very pragmatic approach, he will know how to guide you through the steps that will lead you to succeed in what should be one of the most important projects of your life: your own well-being. His motto: A healthy body leads to a healthy mind.

Slow and Steady Wins the Raceis a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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