That's the amount of weight lost in the first week by a contestant on the Biggest Loser. With reality tv at it's height and weight loss shows becoming ever more popular, is it any wonder that so many of us are starting to have unrealistic expectations?
Yesterday evening I had my second weigh in. After a week of diligently following the program, staying within my points and working out daily, I weighed in at 241.4 pounds, giving me a loss of 2.4 pounds. My first reaction upon seeing that number was disappointment.
That's right folks. Since about the age of 12, I've read fitness magazines and books. I absorb the information within them and am almost obsessive in my knowledge of what is recommended and healthy. Yet, I found myself disappointed with losing an amount that was almost exactly 1 percent of my body weight.
In reality that is the maximum that I should lose per week.
As nice as it would be to have a quick fix, it's important to remember that a quick fix is just that. Quick. And often it is quickly over too. Research shows that weight lost quickly is weight easily gained back. It would be far better to take a year and a half to lose weight then to lose it all in 6 months and gain it back 6 months later.
The recommended rate of weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week, or 1 percent of your body weight. In fact, some sources even recommend a rate of 0.5 - 1 pound per week. It seems slow, and in some ways it is. This is where you have to start looking long term and considering why you are trying to lose weight. Setting unrealistic goals will not help you. They set you up for disappointment, making you frustrated and making it harder to stick to your plan.
I'm in this for life. I'm no longer trying to lose weight to look good in my wedding dress or fit into a bikini. I'm doing it so that I can hike up a mountain without huffing and puffing, so I can climb stairs without my knees aching and so that I have the energy to keep up with my children and lead a quality life.
If I had taken this attitude 6 years ago (last time I was at a healthy weight), I would still be there today. So, while I may not be at my ideal weight in 6 months, I will be in 18 months. And I still will be in 6 years and even 16 years. Really a year and a half is a small price to pay when I'm talking about the rest of my life.
So, while my initial reaction to my weight loss was disappointment, upon reflection, it's elation. Because I've taken the first step. Heck, I've taken the first 10 steps. After all, this isn't a little interpretive trail I'm on, but the first of many through hikes.