Take off fat fast

What would be better than losing weight? Easy, that would be losing weight quickly, but everything we hear about weight loss cautions us that healthy weight loss is a long, slow, tedious process. Does it have to be that way?

Well, I guess that depends on your definition of long, slow and tedious. Losing 30 pounds in 30 days is hardly considered slow by anybody’s standards. Can it be done, and if so, is it safe and most of all, how likely is it to lose it that fast and keep it off?

The universal diet wisdom tells us rapid weight loss is unsafe, unhealthy, and unsustainable. Interestingly some researchers have challenged that wisdom. They have objectively gathered data to determine if those beliefs are facts.

Dr. Donald Hensdrud repeats the conventional wisdom in, “Why do doctors recommend a slow rate of weight loss? What’s wrong with fast weight loss?” an article he wrote for mayoclinic.org.

The concern with fast weight loss is that it usually takes extraordinary efforts in diet and exercise — efforts that could be unhealthy and that you probably can’t maintain as permanent lifestyle changes.

From my perspective and personal and professional experience, he’s right. I haven’t experienced the unhealthy part of the concern about rapid weight loss, but the maintainable concerns applied to me and to a lot of other people I’ve helped to lose weight.

I actually did lose 30 pounds in 30 days and I gained 36 pounds in 30 days. So, yeah, the concern about sustainability is valid. The rapid regaining of weight is physical and psychological.

In order to lose a lot of weight quickly it is necessary to eat very few calories. I stayed in the 500-600 calorie range. The problems associated with such a very low calorie diet are real. They include feeling hungry and deprived most of the time (I actually dreamt about eating.)


When I got to my target weight I was more than ready to quit dieting. Physically I was driven to eat until I felt really full. As soon as that wonderful feeling of fullness wore off I would need to eat some more. Then there was the psychological need to eat food that satisfied on all other levels such as taste and texture. That explains why the gain was even faster than losing weight.

It’s true that rapid weight loss causes more fat to be lost, of course, but the down side is a greater percentage of muscle is also lost this way.

Unless you are actively engaged in exercises to build muscle while losing weight, losing some muscle mass is a part of your total weight loss. While you may rejoice in the lower number on the scale, you may not be aware that losing muscle means your body will be requiring fewer calories to sustain itself – in other words – you’ll be burning fewer calories at rest. That’s another reason why gaining weight is so easy when you go off a very low calorie diet.

If you really want to take off just fat and do it quickly, you might have to change your definition of what is a fast rate of weight loss. Losing 1-2 pounds a week on average is a fast rate of fat loss. It doesn’t sound fast compared to 30 pounds in 30 days and when you think about it, why do you need to lose that fast anyway? What really matters, how fast you get to your goal or how long you’re going to stay there?

If that’s just too slow, here is more from Dr. Hensdrud on rapid weight loss which refutes some of the dire consequences of losing faster than 2 pounds a week:

In some situations, however, faster weight loss can be safe if it’s done the right way. For example, doctors might prescribe very low calorie diets for rapid weight loss if obesity is causing serious health problems. But an extreme diet like this requires medical supervision. And it can be difficult to keep this weight off.

In summary, he’s going back to the standard recommendation for rate of weight loss and I do too. That’s not to say that some people have lost weight faster, without a doctor’s supervision, and have successfully maintained the loss. It’s reiterating that it’s not typical and your results may not be satisfactory.

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.