Why Losing Weight Slowly is Good

I thought I’d write this quickly because I’m at University at the weekend and so I probably won’t get chance to write anything.  I do have another blog in the pipelines right now, but it’s not quite ready for release.

So, this is in connection to previous blogs, ‘Martin’s 10 Rules…’ and ‘The Fat Trap’, the latter is because I commented on the original article and received a reply

My original comment:

Lian Munday wrote

I read this article yesterday when Tim Ferris first tweeted it. I am currently working with a nutritionist in the UK, Martin MacDonald, @MacNutrition and through him I have come to realise that whilst I have struggled all my life with weight and also had a gastric band fitted and removed (just 22nd December 2011) when it too didn’t work. I now know there is a better option and it is through good nutrition and only fresh wholesome foods that I will achieve the weight loss and eventually the maintenance that I so desire.
This study really demonstrates that a stupidly low caloric diet of 500 – 550 per day is insufficient to fuel the metabolism and the weight loss of 30lbs in 10 weeks is also unsustainable. Weight lost this quickly means that you have not leant how to eat the way you need to eat to be the way you wish and indeed should be.

The reply:

Barbara Berkeley said…
Hi Lian,
I completely agree with you about the study’s major flaw: the very low-calorie diet. This degree of calorie suppression really casts doubt on the validity of the hormonal data and certainly raises the question of whether the same results would occur with more modest restriction.
As far as losing weight rapidly, I personally don’t think it’s a problem. The problem comes from not having an intensive maintenance program or counselor thereafter. At some point, you must learn to accept and support the idea of a complete nutritive change. You can learn this during a slow weight loss or you can learn it after weight is lost. The major issue is that learn it you must.

So, to lose weight quickly or not – that is the question…

From Martin’s 10 Rules –

Rule 4

  • Don’t lose weight too quickly? 

It didn’t go on quickly, so don’t try to get it off too quickly.  If you want to lose fat and for it stay off, it needs to be slow, horribly, demotivatingly (made up word?) slowly in fact.  Have you ever been guilty of saying ‘great, this week I lost 4 lbs?’  Sounds boring and repetitive, but  1 – 2 lbs per week is a great speed to lose weight.  The more naturally active you are, the closer to 2 lbs you can be.  These figures relate to being in an energy deficit per of 500 – 1000 kcals.  However, remember the body is not an engine and it isn’t simply a case of kcals in and kcals out, otherwise we’d have hungry people everywhere with great abs!  A slowed metabolism is a very real thing but is only one consequence of improper dieting methods.  So, as an example, a person who sits at a desk most of the day for work and is only able to commit to 2-3 hours per week to exercise may only be able to lose 1 lb per week to allow them to eat enough to keep the body functioning properly, to avoid plateaus and to prevent weight regain.  So…. either eat more or exercise less.  quick is BAD!  Quick causes weight regain

Not only does it cause weight gain there are other issues that arise from losing weight too quickly – as Martin keeps telling me when I say I want to lose 2 kg per week or some other stupid utterance!  I also think that this is every bit as important as the fact that if you lose too quickly you stand a higher chance of regaining the weight.

If, like me, you have shed loads of weight to lose, there is the question  – what happens to the skin you are currently living in?  I am sure you have seen the photos of people who have lost loads of weight often through gastric surgery  ( I can’t find any at the moment, but I will update this blog when I do).

Hanging Body Skin

So, you lose weight really quickly, your skin doesn’t have time to shrink back to fit your body again.  It’s not so easy to throw out the skin like the clothes you’ve just shrunk out of, once you get it, the only way to get rid of it is with surgery, well, I could only find information on surgery to remove it once you have it.  So, if you lose weight slowly, and have enough fat in your diet, your skin will have the elasticity it needs to allow the skin to shrink back.


Another result of losing weight too quickly is wrinkles.  Again, this is more hanging body skin, just more visible on the face, neck and décolleté.  This can also happen if you don’t have enough fat in your diet (I am also in the process of writing a blog about why women need fat in their diets – leaching in here a bit too)

Hair Loss

If you lose weight too quickly it can also impact on your hair, and nails, lack of the correct proteins and again – fats in your diet may affect the growth and strength of both hair and nails – this is also mentioned in Martin’s 10 rules…

Gall Stones

Gal stones are clumps of solid material that form in the gall bladder. It is caused possibly by a shift in the balance of bile salts and cholesterol.  Sudden changes in diet could increase cholesterol formed by the body and reduce the bile salts which would then result to clumping of cholesterol to form solid material.  Very painful and again may need surgery to remove them.


Shivering happens because when you are over weight, you store a layer of fat just below the skin, as you lose this fat,  you lose this layer of insulation.  So, in the short-term you will not have developed enough muscle tissue to generate the heat to keep you warm, so your muscles spasm to generate more heat to keep you warm.  This happened to me within weeks of starting to work with Martin, I was so cold and just could not get warm.  Luckily, this was a very short-term thing for me, I so hate the cold…

Loss of Muscle Tissue

One massive disadvantage of losing weight quickly is loss of lean muscle tissue. The body has its way of using energy resources with utmost efficiency. When you lose weight too quickly, the body recognizes that it isn’t getting the calories or nutrients for its daily needs.  Since it considers body fat as its energy reserve, your metabolism adjusts to preserve its energy reserve.

The body results to digesting your muscle tissue to provide energy.  This makes sure your reserve energy is expended slowly.  A reduction in muscle tissue has the added disadvantage of reducing basal metabolic rate meaning you expend even less energy.  Ergo, losing weight too quickly literally can make your body to hang onto body fat while digesting your muscles, so you can become ‘skinny fat’.  Martin wrote an article in ‘Closer Magazine’ a while back about this.

So, why the hell would anyone including ME want to lose weight quickly.  As I said at the beginning of this piece, I feel this information is every bit as important as the fact that you may gain weight again more easily if you lose it to quickly.

So, when you are in danger of wanting things to happen too quickly – remember this blog!

About Lian Munday

My journey from having a gastric band to actually losing weight in a healthy controlled way with the help and support of Martin MacDonald, Mac-Nutrition, my Nutritionist and Andy Angell, my Personal Trainer. Please join us on our journey.
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2 Responses to Why Losing Weight Slowly is Good

  1. This is the best blog for anybody who needs to search out out about this topic. You understand a lot its virtually exhausting to argue with you (not that I actually would need…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, just great!

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