I know them are fightin' words, but it seems like such a common-sense concept that it's mind blowing to me that most people don't "get it"!
First of all, I'm not talking about the 10 to 15 lbs you lose when you adopt a healthy eating lifestyle. Start eating your 3 to 5 servings of vegetables, your 2 to 4 servings of fruits, and your 6 to 11 servings of whole grains each day and yes, everyone who has been eating 3000 calories a day should lose some weight and get healthier. Problem is, it won't be a lot of weight because it won't keep you from driving through the fast-food or having those oreo and peanut butter late night snacks.
The first "common sense" notion I want to get across is this... The experts have been promoting slow weight loss for ages! "Eat right, exercise, loose weight". Right? If it worked... why are we still so overweight? According to an October report from the World Health Organization (WHO), excess weight has reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than 1 billion adults being either overweight or obese. More people worldwide now die from being overweight and obese than from being underweight.
If the most important thing to consider in losing weight is the number of calories we are consuming then we have to lower the number of calories we eat each day. In order for our body to use its own stored fat for energy we have to take in fewer calories than our bodies require. Yes, some people can make a few changes in their lifestyle, eat healthier, move around more, and lose some weight. But! I believe most of us cannot.
Hunger and cravings are the biggest obstacles to fast weight loss. If we solve the hunger part then we still have to deal with cravings. I can eat an apple or drink one of those little Slim Fast® shakes and not be hungry but if I want a burger and fries that apple or shake will not satisfy me for more than 3 minutes!
Meal replacements can help here but please be aware that all meal replacements are not created equal. You will have to do some homework here to find one that eliminates both hunger and cravings. I can not stress the importance of this enough. Look at the ingredients and make sure there is is very little sugar in the product. I have seen so-called diet products that have 5-9 grams of sugar! That is enough to stimulate quite an appetite which is the opposite of what you want so stay away from them. I recommend a sugar content of less than 2 grams and a total carbohydrate content less than 10 grams. They should also contain a good amount of protein and fiber.
When you find a good product you should be convinced that the ingredients have been studied and selected to eliminate not only hunger but also cravings. You still have to do your part. Simply eating the meal replacement will not cause you to lose weight (there is no "magic" here). But, these meal replacements will help you stay on your low-calorie diet so that you can lose weight. They do what diet pills do but they are significantly healthier and don't have any of the side effects chemical pills do because they are a food. You will find that when you are not hungry and you are not craving certain foods you will be able to eat less and lose weight.
Back to the fast weight loss... you are eliminating hunger and cravings so you can comfortably stay on a low-calorie diet. If you see the weight falling off quickly it is incredibly motivating. The comfort and the motivation will help you stay on your new plan longer so you can lose the weight quickly. I'm not saying fast weight loss is the answer to all our obesity problems. I'm saying neither is slow. So, why torture yourself with slow weight loss if it is not the solution? Most of us have to lose weight more quickly than today's recommended rate or we will give up.
There really is no scientific evidence that fast weight loss is bad for you and that slow is better. Actually, a study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine suggests that, for obese patients in the initial stages of weight loss, shedding pounds quickly may actually be key to keeping them off.
Slow weight loss is just another commonly accepted notion that has gained a foot hold in our way of thinking because the proponents have been preaching it for years. Let's get away from their way of thinking and lose some weight once and for all!