Consistenly losing more than 2 pounds per week is unhealthy and ineffective in the long run. A quick drop in weight is usually the result of drastic lifestyle changes that can’t be maintained, or deprivation diets that cost your body nutrients, water, and essential muscle tissue. Either way, if weight is lost too fast, it is more easily regained, and is even tougher to lose the next time around. Any more than 2 pounds per week, and your body is likely not getting the calories that it needs to maintain a fat-burning metabolism, again making it tougher to lose weight in the long run. This recommendation is seconded by the ACSM and the AHA.
Accumulating small bits of fitness can be as effective as longer workouts. According to a University of Pittsburgh study, and supported by the ACSM, longer workouts can be broken down into a series of 10-15 minute workouts throughout the day and still result in improved health. By maintaining moderate to high intensity, these shorter workouts raise your heart rate enough to help burn calories and lose weight.
Water is an underestimated cornerstone of a strong weight loss and healthy living program. Besides being a vital component of your body, water also helps to reduce weight. The more hydrated you are, the quicker your metabolism works. When you are dehydrated—even before you start feeling thirsty—your liver has to help the kidneys function, and can’t metabolize fat as quickly. Your metabolism slows down, and unwanted fat remains. Water also improves your memory, mood, energy levels, immune system and mental power. Read "Water is a Secret Ingredient" to learn more about the benefits of water.
The way to build motivation and momentum is to start with very small changes. Many experts in building or breaking habits assert that long-term changes start with baby steps. Building on success, no matter how small, is important to build confidence and enthusiasm that can be maintained through the good and the bad times.
Any program can work if you stick with it. But only about 5% of people who lost weight have been able to keep it off long term. With hundreds (possibly thousands) of exercise and menu planning options out there, can it be that none of them work? Of course not. In many cases, the one thing they have in common is that people simply do not stick with the program. If you consistently make good choices and consistently stay active, you will see long-term results.