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Dr. Larry Burchett addresses why it’s unrealistic—and unsustainable—to try to lose a lot of weight very quickly.
Whether you’re at the start of a fitness journey, or looking to improve or maintain your results, it’s pretty common to be looking for ways to lose weight—but it’s important to do so in a healthy and safe way. In a recent video on his YouTube channel, Dr Larry Burchett speaks about the rapid weight loss diets he has come across online, including spurious advice which claims to be able to help people lose up to 30 pounds in 30 days. But that simply isn’t possible for most people, let alone advisable.
“If you’re 300 pounds, if you’re 350 pounds, yeah, you can lose a lot of water by starving yourself,” he says. “But what’s the truth? You lose 30 pounds in 30 days… you’re going to put it back on.”
What’s more, attempting to lose such a large amount of weight in such a short amount of time can actually hamper your body’s ability to manage and weight loss in the future. “When you lose weight that fast, you’re going to lose muscle,” says Burchett, “and muscle is what burns calories.”
Instead, he reasons that weight loss should be approached as a slow, sustained process which can be part of your ongoing lifestyle. “A pound a week, or even half a pound a week, over a year, that’s 26 pounds. That’s 50 pounds,” he says.
Eating at a caloric deficit, i.e. eating fewer calories per day, can aid weight loss. One way to do this, says Burchett, is to eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day, say every three hours, as opposed to overeating at lunch or dinner. He also recommends cutting down on processed foods and sugar, and eating protein at every meal.
“It’s going to build up that precious muscle; that’s what burns calories,” he says. “And protein makes you feel fuller.”