Losing weight. Ask anyone and most will tell you they could stand to lose a few pounds.

Some may need to shed more than a few, and with summer around the corner in the Northern Hemisphere, the time is now (as in yesterday).

So, as we all want to slim down for the summer, here is three things you may be doing that compromise your weight loss goals.

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Slow and steady

No matter how many pounds you’d like to shed, slow and steady will give you a better chance of losing the weight, and not finding it again.

While the appeal of a bikini ready body with rapid weight loss may sound appealing, it brings with it several risks. So here are three to consider before you embark on a crash diet:

1) Increased risk of regaining the lost weight and more

If you choose to lose weight rapidly, you’re likely on a program in which you exercise like a maniac, and/or eat in an unsustainable manner for the long haul. You might severely limit your caloric intake, or remove any and all carbs, or drink juice for a period of time.

When the program ends, you will regain the fat lost (and more) if you return to old habits. Better to build a solid eating plan based on whole foods, paired with a movement regime that works for you.

You may encounter a few setbacks along the way, but being healthy is a choice – one you make every single day.

serious health risks of extreme weight loss_32) Loss of muscle mass and energy to move

Even with a good exercise regime you’ll lose muscle mass due to inadequate protein and essential amino acid  intake.

When you restrict your caloric intake, more often than not, protein intake is restricted as well and you cannot maintain muscle mass without protein. In addition, when caloric intake is restricted you may lose the energy to exercise.

The majority of rapid weight loss diets are low in carbohydrates and your muscles perform best when carbs are available.

If your rapid weight loss plan lacks breads, grains, fruits and starchy vegetables then you’re at risk of losing energy. Then your metabolism may slow down…it’s like a ripple effect. Better not to go down that road.

3) Loose skin

Rapid weight loss can leave loose skin on the stomach, arms and legs. The skin has lost some elasticity and doesn’t have time to shrink with the rest of the body.

This isn’t necessarily a dire health consequence, but it can be mentally uncomfortable, as well as cause chafing.  Allow time for your skin to shrink with you.

All these reasons, and more

For these reasons, and many more (gallstones, liver troubles, etc) slow and steady weight loss is more sustainable over time, and better for your body and health overall.

If you’re looking to lose weight, aim for no more than 1-2 lbs. each week. Eat whole foods more often than not, and add movement throughout your day.

And remember, that health is a choice you make every single day. What are you choosing?

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