I’ve noticed a trend in online fitness enthusiasts boasting of their eight pound weight loss in 10 days, or posting before & after photos 30 days or less apart. While there’s nothing wrong with being proud of short-term progress (progress is still progress… right? The answer: sort of), I do take issue with selling short-term changes on the scale as anything resembling real, sustainable progress. We shouldn’t fall for this tactic! We should be impressed by consistency and long-term commitment to healthy habits and lifestyle choices instead. Yes, it’s less flashy and ‘gram-worthy, but it’s a more honest treatise.
If we’re talking about a dramatic weight loss of more than a couple pounds in a narrow timeframe, such as 7 days or 21 days, we are not talking about sustainable weight loss here. Beyond incredibly targeted, intentionally short-term, and potentially dangerous water cuts administered with the help of coaches and professionals for weight-classed athletes, the only way to lower the scale that dramatically in such a short timeframe is by dramatically reducing your caloric intake. For people that don’t appreciate tiptoeing around words, we’d just call this starvation.
Most people wouldn’t like to jump on a diet program that drastically reduces how much you can eat, followed by big, disorienting rebounds backwards. That sounds awful. And yet, this is a prevailing diet tactic, supported by proof that “it works” based on the number of pounds temporarily lost.
So, next time you see before & after photos three weeks apart, know that it’s mostly water weight that was lost. Significant changes to body composition, such as a change in body fat percentage or amount of lean muscle mass, take years to build, not days. Even a full year into this lifestyle change is short enough to still consider yourself a newbie. Be patient and keep going.
How to lose a ton of weight in 10 days is kinda like that movie: he just comes back in the end. But if they ever make How To Lose A Guy in 1,000 Days, I’m all ears.