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Home Lifestyle Losing Weight Slowly: Taking the Sustainable Route

Losing Weight Slowly: Taking the Sustainable Route

Losing weight slowly

Most people want to lose weight as fast as possible. The sooner you can fit into that new dress, the better, right?

But there’s something to be said for slow and steady weight loss. It’s certainly the safest way to shed those extra pounds, but it also has countless other benefits. From long-term success to minimal side effects, it may be time to slow down your weight loss journey.

Discover why slow weight loss is healthy weight loss and 7 proven strategies for slowing down your efforts.

Losing Weight Slowly: Is It Better Than Rapid Weight Loss?

Absolutely. Slow weight loss means you are making positive changes with behaviors that you will hopefully maintain for life. While fast weight loss might boost your motivation, it can cause more problems in the long run, like muscle loss and fatigue.

Losing weight too quickly can do more harm than good. It can mess with your metabolism, making future weight loss and maintenance more difficult. You also risk nutrient deficiencies and side effects if you cut too many calories or eliminate certain food groups.

For many people, fast weight loss is only a temporary solution. Chances are you’ll quit your new diet much sooner than you would with a slow weight loss program.

4 Benefits of Losing Weight Slowly

Slow weight loss has a number of benefits for your overall health. It eliminates the problems of yo-yoing between weight loss and weight gain by helping you stay on a sustainable path.

#1 Gives long-term results

The best thing about slow weight loss is that it is more sustainable. You can adjust your lifestyle to ensure that you’re slowly but surely shedding stubborn weight and becoming a healthier version of yourself.

With rapid weight loss, it’s easy to regain the weight you’ve lost if you go back to your old ways. You may see noticeable results in the first few weeks of a crash diet, but ultimately it is not a sustainable approach. It’s very hard and unhealthy to stick with a drastic diet plan.

#2 Helps to maintain muscle mass

Cutting too many calories too quickly will cause you to lose fat and muscle. The sudden drop in muscle will also slow your metabolism, making it harder to burn calories and lose more weight in the future.

On the other hand, steady weight loss allows your body to lose fat while maintaining muscle. This ensures that you have enough muscle to continue burning calories.

#3 Prevents loose skin

Skin stretches when you gain weight and shrinks when you lose weight. When you lose weight quickly, the sudden loss of body mass doesn’t give your skin time to shrink and regain its former elasticity, resulting in loose and sagging skin.

Sagging skin can affect different parts of your body, including your arms, abdomen, legs, and even your face.

When you lose weight slowly, your skin has time to adapt and change at a healthy pace. For this reason, slow weight loss is essential if you want to maintain healthy skin.

#4 Doesn’t affect hair and skin health

Sudden and extreme weight loss can shock your system. When you significantly reduce your daily food intake, nutrient deprivation, and overall stress can trigger problems like hair loss, thinning hair, and dry hair.

Doesn't affect hair and skin health


In addition, nutrient deficiencies and possible hormonal shifts can wreak havoc on your skin, causing breakouts and blemishes.

Again, gradual weight loss doesn’t put undue stress on your body, so you can keep your hair and skin healthy.

#5 Keeps metabolism intact

Slower weight loss has less of an impact on your metabolism. By maintaining more of your muscle, you can keep your calorie burning at a healthy rate. Your metabolism will still drop with a slow and steady approach, but it shouldn’t send you into starvation mode.

7 Tips to Lose Weight Slowly and Healthily

If you’re ready to commit to slower weight loss, you can try the following strategies to ensure that you continue to lose weight slowly and steadily. You can maintain these long-term habits until you reach your dream weight and beyond for a healthy body.

#1 Include more protein

Eating more protein is one way to fight hunger and reduce your daily food intake. That’s because protein increases satiety hormones and keeps you fuller longer, which automatically reduces calories.

Studies have shown that high-protein diets reduce body weight, decrease body fat, maintain lean body mass, and prevent obesity and obesity-related diseases.

Include more protein

Continuing to eat a good amount of this essential nutrient as part of a long-term diet plan will ensure that you’re working slowly toward your weight loss goal.

#2 Eat more fiber-rich foods

Fiber is another essential part of your gradual weight loss program. Like protein, it fills you up so you can control your appetite and eat less throughout the day. Fiber-rich foods are also a fantastic gut health hack. They support your gut microbiome and promote regularity.

Fiber also slows down digestion, which slows down your body’s response to carbohydrates. This supports blood sugar and insulin management.

#3 Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol

In addition to building new habits, breaking bad ones will support your weight loss journey. Alcohol and sugary drinks are packed with added sugar and hidden calories. Just a few of these drinks a week can put you over your calorie budget and make it difficult to stick to your weight loss program.

For best results, replace these drinks with hydrating and nutritious beverages like water, herbal teas, and coffee that aid weight loss.

#4 Consume complex carbs instead of simple carbs

Consuming too many carbs of the simple or refined variety can lead to body fat accumulation and obesity. While these foods taste good, they are stripped of nutritional value and have little value in your diet. They also cause large spikes in blood sugar and insulin after meals.

Replacing most or all of your simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates is extremely beneficial, especially in the long run. Complex carbohydrates have many nutrients to help you lose weight and keep your body functioning at its best. Brown rice, beans, and quinoa are great examples.

#5 Have an exercise routine

Increasing physical activity is a must if you want to reach your weight loss goals. It helps you burn more calories in a day, making it easier to achieve a calorie deficit. It also increases lean body mass, strengthens cardiovascular fitness, and reduces the risk of chronic disease.

Exercise can also help prevent weight gain after weight loss, supporting long-term weight control.

Have an exercise routine

An effective exercise plan includes a combination of strength training (including weight lifting) and aerobic activity. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.

It helps to choose activities that you enjoy for consistent weight loss, such as daily running, walking, biking, and swimming. When you enjoy something, you’re more likely to stick with it as part of a routine.

#6 Start planning your meals

Planning your meals is one of the best ways to create and maintain healthy eating habits. It’s easier to stick to a healthy diet when you plan ahead because it eliminates those last-minute decisions to eat junk food or binge when you’re hungry.

You can make sure your diet includes a balance of all food groups to optimize your vitamin and mineral intake. Complex carbohydrates, good fats, and lean protein are essential for a slow and steady weight loss plan.

Slow weight loss means you don’t have to follow extreme restrictions. You can eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and still enjoy your favorite snacks and treats in moderation. The goal is to build a sustainable diet to support your long-term success.

#7 Be on a calorie deficit

Calories count, and creating a calorie deficit is the only way to lose weight. Gaining weight usually occurs because you consume more calories than you burn. To make a deficit, you need to eat fewer calories than you burn, burn more calories than you consume with exercise, or both.

To lose one pound per week, you need to reduce your energy expenditure from food by 500 calories per day.


Is it normal to lose weight slowly?

Slow weight loss is normal. Many people lose weight quickly in the beginning before hitting a weight loss plateau. This is when weight loss slows down as your metabolism naturally declines.

Is losing 4 pounds a month slow?

Losing 4 pounds per month is considered healthy weight loss. The CDC recommends losing 1–2 pounds per week to remain in good health. That equals 4–8 pounds per month, making 4 pounds a slow but positive goal.

Why is weight loss so slow?

As you lose weight, you also lose some muscle mass, which causes your metabolism to slow down. As a result, your weight loss will slow down. You must either increase your physical activity to burn more calories or reduce your calorie intake from food.

A Word From a Dietitian

Losing too much weight in a short period of time can be problematic. It can be tempting to lose weight quickly, but it’s better for your physical and mental well-being to lose 1–2 pounds per week. This will help alleviate problems such as loose skin, poor hair health, and muscle loss.

Slow weight loss gives you the opportunity to address bad habits and improve your overall lifestyle. It can help you develop a healthy relationship with food without the pressure of harsh restrictions.

You can find a plan that works for you and allows you to reach and maintain your body weight goal.


Slow weight loss is your best bet, whether you want to shed a few extra pounds or lose a lot of weight. Losing weight gradually ensures that your health remains a priority. It’s tempting to chase the promise of quick weight loss, but these diet tricks can do more harm than good.

Put your health first and lose weight in a healthy way with good eating and exercise habits. Always choose a balanced diet and regular physical activity over crash diets and excessive exercise.

Written by
Edibel Quintero, MD

Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel's goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.

Losing weight slowly

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