Is losing weight slowly really better than losing it fast?

Weight loss diets come in every form imaginable. Conventional wisdom says that losing weight slowly over time is more likely to result in a healthier long term outcome – but a new Australian study is bucking that concept for lack of evidence. So - can those crash diets be just as good?

First, let’s talk about the study itself, for some context.

204 participants were chosen for the joint study by University of Melbourne and La Trobe University. All of the study subjects had Body Mass Indexes between 30 and 45KG/M2 – roughly the spot where “overweight” becomes “obese”. The 3/4 of the study participants were women, and ages ran anywhere from 18 to 70.

Half of the participants were subjected to a 12-week rapid weight loss program, while the rest took a lower-impact 36-week approach. Each program was intended to affect a 15% weight loss on the participants. The study was based purely on diet - exercise and other lifestyle changes were not considered or applied. Also, take note that a 12-week weight loss program is NOT the same as a crash/starvation/skinny-pill diet - those kinds of approaches can be dangerous, and are not recommended.

The results? 81% of the 12-weekers reached their 15% goal, versus only 50% of the 36-week subjects. Follow-up data also showed that roughly 71% of both groups ended up regaining the lost weight - but it isn’t hard to see which group got more immediate benefits.

What does this mean for me?

Simple – you’re more likely to reach your intended goals if you’re willing to take it serious and really sacrifice to get where you want to be. And unlike the study participants, if you’re serious about losing weight you’ll be incorporating other lifestyle changes as well – such as a more disciplined sleep schedule, daily exercise, etc. All of which are going to increase your chances of keeping it off.

You can't take harmful shortcuts when it comes to your body - but doing it right doesn't always mean doing it slow, either.