I bet that got your attention. If you haven’t seen a promise like this, or something similar, you might want to come out from under your rock. The crazy thing is that something like the title “lose 10lbs in 2 days” is actually not false advertising. It can, and has been done. In fact it is perfectly normal for you to fluctuate 1-7lbs in a day regardless of your weight loss or gain efforts. There are many factors that contribute to this fluctuation and most people are not aware.
This is the main reason “weighing in” is only a very rarely used tool for my clients to use when assessing their weight change progression.
Try it! Weigh yourself in the morning, afternoon, and night and see for yourself. Increase your water intake significantly on another day, try again, and watch in horror as you may gain weight and have your brain think you are getting fat! The scale is not good for your mental well being when you are trying to change your weight. It can be useful if you use it properly and understand how to interpret the results. Otherwise it can be very un-motivating and steer you in the wrong direction.
The best way to use a scale is to weigh in every two weeks on the same day, at the same time. A healthy amount of fat loss is actually 0.5-1lb per week. Those numbers can vary quite a bit depending on your current weight, nutrition changes, and activity level, among other factors.
The point is that you can in fact drop or gain a significant amount of weight in a relatively small period of time (like 2 days) if you wanted to.
For example: If you “fasted” (stopped eating) for 48 hours and only drank water you would potentially lose 10 lbs. If that sounds crazy and something you couldn’t imagine doing then you are not alone. Most people think that if they don’t eat lunch they will die. Or maybe kill someone from being “hangry”. This may be an exaggeration but honestly most people feel very uncomfortable if they don’t eat when they usually do. If you are not used to eating lunch and you don’t eat lunch you will be perfectly fine, no deaths to account for. If you usually eat lunch and you don’t get to eat lunch your body and brain will scream at you. You will feel like you might faint or just go crazy from starvation. You won’t.
In fact if you ever try fasting, you learn a lot about your body. You learn that hunger cues come and go. You learn what hunger is compared to a sugar craving. You learn that your body is resilient. You learn that you can in fact, go a long time without food and be just fine. The best part is that you may learn that this “hack” can force your body to use its energy reserves (stored body fat) to fuel you throughout your starvation filled day. This in turn of course produces weight loss.
So where am I going with all this? Thought you’d never ask.
The problem with this approach (and others like it) is that it is not sustainable long term. Whether we are talking about daily calorie restriction, fasting, juicing, only drinking special weight loss drinks, a soup diet, or whatever else is out there, it’s not going to continue to happen long term. Short term, it’s probably going to yield the results that have been claimed, but what happens after? Well for most, they go right back to the way they were eating before their diet. They go back to eating the way that got them into the situation they are trying to get out of. Most people will look out for the next fad and give it another try. Rinse and repeat. Cue the term yo-yo dieting.
The golden nugget in all of this is that if you think you can learn something about your body, brain, or food when trying a new approach, go for it. If it is a learning experience rather than an attempt to change for good then hopefully you will gain some perspective and maybe lose some weight. As mentioned earlier, fasting can be a fantastic learning experience but it doesn’t mean that you should fast permanently. Unless you have found a way to incorporate it into your life that works for you. If you have found that you feel great long term, your nutrient intake is closer to optimal than before, and you prefer it over your old normal, then run with it. However, if you are trying a new approach to get fast results and only fast results, be prepared to be disappointed in the very near future. The long term solution will always be the least popular but always the most effective. The formula goes something like this:
- Identify nutrient deficiencies and challenges around food
- Create a list of changes, obstacles, and challenges to overcome so that you are aware of them
- Rate them in order of importance and likelihood of achieving them
- Choose ONE and only ONE habit/challenge/change at a time and work on ONLY that for two weeks
- Approach the challenge with the long term goal in mind and remember that you have the rest of your life to perfect it
- If you are successful after two weeks then move on to the next thing on the list
This is not just about what to eat and what not to eat. There are many, many factors in the nutrition change journey. To name a few; food quality, food amounts, macronutrients, micronutrients, food prep, cooking skills, food shopping, kitchen organization, time management, hunger cues, stress, blood sugar, sleep, exercise, digestion, nutrient timing, food preservatives/chemicals, fiber, alcohol, food allergies and sensitivities, and more.
This is why nutrition change and long term results are so hard to achieve. It takes knowledge, effort, and consistency to find success. This is where a coach becomes invaluable. Coaches can see what you can’t see, educate you so that you have confidence, and provide you with accountability. Next time you see an advertisement that claims results that seem too good to be true, think about what you just read.