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Is Losing Weight Slowly Worth The Wait?

by Denis Faye | September 23, 2011

Here’s a positively awesome article from The New York Times about proper diet and exercise strategies for prolonged weight-loss. New research from The Lancet debunks the whole Cult of The Magic 3500 Calories by stating that the key to sustained weight loss isn’t crash dieting, but a long-term slight calorie reduction.

If the 3,500-calorie rule applied consistently in real life, it would result in twice the weight loss that the new model predicts, the authors wrote. This helps to explain why even the most diligent dieters often fail to reach weight loss goals that were based on the old rule. 

A more realistic result, he said, is that cutting out 250 calories a day — the amount in a small bar of chocolate or half a cup of premium ice cream — would lead to a weight loss of about 25 pounds over three years, with half that loss occurring the first year.

Many people get discouraged when weight loss slows even though they are sticking religiously to their diets, but Dr. Hall said a gradual loss is nearly always more effective because it allows the new eating and exercise habits to become a lasting lifestyle.

Yay Lancet!

The article (and the research it’s based on) also stresses the benefits of exercise, countering lunacy of dudes like Gary “Carb Czar” Taubes (Good Calories, Bad Calories) who feel exercise isn’t important to fat loss.

If a man weighing 220 pounds ran an additional 12.5 miles a week at a moderate pace, he would lose more weight, and slightly faster, than if he cut the equivalent amount of calories from his diet, the authors calculated.

Honestly, none of this stuff is new, but I’m always happy when a journal as prestigious as The Lancet validates something I’ve been telling people for the last decade. Perhaps modern science will indeed one day catch up with the super genius of the Real Fitness Nerd.

Happy Friday, Nerd Herd! My PT has me off my crutches, so I’m going to go for a hobble to the beach.

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