Sprint vs. Marathon

There are times when we want/need that weight to come off as quickly as possible.

Here are some examples, one of which is medical and the other is non-medical.

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Medical: A person has severe knee pain and requires knee replacement. The orthopedic specialist informs the patient that for surgery and rehabilitation to be successful, the patient needs to lose 50 pounds as soon as possible. This situation requires immediate and substantial weight loss. Let’s call this a “sprint”.

Non-medical: A person’s daughter is getting married in 2 months and the parent wants to look really good in his/her wedding attire. Immediate, aggressive weight loss is needed for the person to fit into this outfit. Let’s refer to this situation also as a “sprint”.

However, for most people wanting/needing to lose weight, the urgency is not really dictated by a medical or non-medical reason. The desire is to lose weight and keep it off for both long-term medical and non-medical reasons. Therefore, the “process” should be looked at more as a marathon than a sprint.

With this concept in mind, if the “marathon” situation is present (and this should almost be looked at this way, as we want the weight loss to be permanent and not just for the “acute” situation) then slow, steady weight loss is the best course. Similar to the marathon when the runner needs to pace her/himself, the person seeking to lose weight and keep it off needs to not come out of the gate following some ridiculous, fad diet, starving her/himself, spending crazy hours at the gym, etc.

It is important that your behavior/life-style changes are sustainable for there to be any chance of long-term success. If you come out of the gate trying to “sprint” for long periods of time, you are certain to burn out and ultimately fail in your long-term efforts.

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Author
Dr. Robert Posner One of the world’s leading medical weight loss researchers, Robert Posner, MD, operates his state-of-the-art weight loss clinic, Serotonin Plus, in the heart of Burke, Virginia, in the suburban Washington area.

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