Calorie Counting Diet Optimization Portion Control Weight Loss Strategies

Fast Weight Loss Diet Plan: Too Good to Be True?

Many of my patients ask for a fast weight loss diet plan. I’m breaking down science-backed ways to make sure you lose weight at a pace that allows you to maintain your progress for life!

Many of my patients start their first session with me by asking for a fast weight loss diet plan.

I’m breaking down science-backed ways to make sure you lose weight at a pace that allows you to maintain your progress for life!

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The Pace of Weight Loss in Research

In research studies, the typical pace of weight loss is between 0.5-2 pounds per week (Finkler et al., 2012). This is typically achieved by reducing a person’s daily calorie intake by 500-1000 calories compared to their usual eating habits (learn how to calculate your calorie goal for weight loss here!).

Scientists and practitioners have wondered whether losing weight at the faster pace of 2 pounds per week may be less sustainable than losing weight at the more slow-and-steady pace of 0.5-1 pound per week. Consider it a question of whether the tortoise or the hare truly wins the race!

Interestingly, research shows that pace of weight loss doesn’t seem to relate to the amount of weight loss in the short or long term (Purcell et al., 2014; Vink et al., 2016).

However… whether you’re losing weight slowly or quickly, studies have shown that most people regain the weight they lose (Purcell et al., 2014; Vink et al., 2016).

So, I’m here to help you focus on how to achieve long-term weight loss through a healthy lifestyle, so you can avoid this common effect of yo-yo dieting.

The Truth About a Fast Weight Loss Diet Plan

Typically, when something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

In the research, the rate of weight loss usually doesn’t exceed an average of 2 pounds per week (at the high end!). If you’re seeing advertisements for programs that promise faster weight loss than this, you should be skeptical.

Most importantly, regaining weight is EXTREMELY common, and this is what I pay attention with my patients from their very first session.

What is the point of trying to lose weight “fast” (or slowly), if it is likely you could gain it back?

Focus on THIS Instead of a Fast Weight Loss Diet Plan

Instead of getting caught up in losing weight as fast as possible, focus on sustainability a.k.a. your ability to maintain every pound of progress you achieve.

The key question to ask yourself when you are thinking about changing your eating and activity habits, with the goal of losing weight is:

“Am I willing to eat this way (or be active in this way) forever?”

This is the difference between people who lose weight and regain it versus those who maintain their progress for life.

If you focus on finding ways of healthy eating that fit within your lifestyle and forms of physical activity that you truly enjoy, you will be consistent.

Consistency in your habits every day = sustainability of your progress for life!

How to Stay Consistent

Here are three suggestions for becoming more consistent and finding lifestyle changes that you can stick to every single day.

1. Learn How to Track Your Progress Over Time

Weight is only one way to track your progress, and it can be frustrating when the scale doesn’t match your effort. Other measures of body composition, such as body fat percentage and visceral (belly) fat level, can reveal progress beyond your weight, especially if you are building muscle through physical activity!

For this reason, it is important to have a scale that not only measures your weight but also your body composition, so you can track many indicators of progress over time. This is an accurate, budget-friendly option for a body composition scale with an amazing, interactive smartphone app that graphs your progress for you!

In addition to body composition, you can monitor changes to your shape. This measuring tape integrates with the same smartphone app as the body composition scale, so you can track everything all in one place!

Of course, besides these measurements, you should definitely be paying attention to how you feel! This can include your energy levels, mood, sleep patterns, hunger, cravings, and stress levels. Don’t discount the benefits of your healthy lifestyle that help you engage more fully with the things that are important to you!

2. Clean Out Your Kitchen

The foods you are around most often are the foods you’re probably going to end up eating. This isn’t just an issue of willpower! If I had a bowl of my favorite candy on my desk throughout my workday, you better believe I would eat more of it than I would like to!

Go through your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer and identify the foods that you are most likely to overeat. Either commit to not buying them again, donating them to a local food bank, or throwing them away.

3. Experiment with New, Healthy Foods

In addition to cleaning out your kitchen to reduce triggers for overeating, it is essential to then fill your kitchen with healthy and delicious foods you truly love! You want to look around your kitchen and see many options for tasty foods that fit within your eating goals. This will help you embrace your healthy eating habits instead of feeling like you have to pick plain celery sticks over the Doritos that are calling to you from the pantry.

I personally recommend Thrive Market as the top company for delivering healthy kitchen staples to your home. You can filter their options based on a number of dietary preferences/restrictions, such as paleo, gluten-free, and low-carb. They have kindly offered my audience a special deal for 25% off your first order!

You can also explore my ideas for healthy meal preparation or grab my favorite healthy cookbook for inspiration!

4. Explore Physical Activity Options

If you don’t enjoy the type of physical activity you’re doing, you’re not very likely to keep up with it forever.

Think back to the type of activities you liked when you were younger. Did you enjoy playing sports, being outside with your dog, or going on long walks around the neighborhood? Connect with your younger self and remember that these are still great options for being physically active long-term.

Walking is my personal favorite choice and what I recommend to my patients. I’ve created two free science-backed walking for weight loss programs that can help you get started. You may find it motivating to treat yourself to a fitness tracker that can keep you accountable for following through with physical activity and cheer you on as you find the types of exercise you truly love.

Take Your First Step

You found this page because you were looking for a fast weight loss diet plan and may be surprised by my advice to focus instead on finding the strategies you’re willing to stick to for life.

I encourage you to take your first step towards figuring out one healthy lifestyle change you would look forward to keeping up with forever.

Maybe you read my article to learn strategies for portion control, treat yourself to a fitness tracker that will motivate you to stay active, or buy a scale to track your progress over time.

Regardless of what you feel inspired by after reading today’s post, decide to take that first step now. You’ve got this!

Dr. Schulte’s Summary

Although many people are searching for a fast weight loss diet plan, research shows that the typical pace of weight loss is between 0.5-2 pounds per week. Since weight regain is extremely common, I encourage you to focus on sustainability as the key to achieving weight loss progress that lasts for life. This means that you should focus on being consistent with your healthy lifestyle habits every single day. Some ideas for achieving consistency include: learning how to track your progress over time, cleaning out your pantry, experimenting with new, healthy foods, and exploring physical activity options.

What step will you take today towards finding consistency in healthy eating and physical activity? Let me know in the comments below, and remember, I’m here to support you!


Finkler, E., Heymsfield, S. B., & St-Onge, M. P. (2012). Rate of weight loss can be predicted by patient characteristics and intervention strategies. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics112(1), 75–80.

Purcell, K., Sumithran, P., Prendergast, L. A., Bouniu, C. J., Delbridge, E., & Proietto, J. (2014). The effect of rate of weight loss on long-term weight management: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology2(12), 954-962.

Vink, R. G., Roumans, N. J., Arkenbosch, L. A., Mariman, E. C., & van Baak, M. A. (2016). The effect of rate of weight loss on long‐term weight regain in adults with overweight and obesity. Obesity24(2), 321-327.

Disclaimer: all opinions are my own and are not affiliated with my employers. Please seek medical guidance before pursuing weight loss or making significant changes to the way you eat or your physical activity routine.

2 replies on “Fast Weight Loss Diet Plan: Too Good to Be True?”

Hello, I must say that your article is no nonsense. Especially for someone like me who enjoys seeing fast results. It’s true that should focus more on establishing proper eating habits. For me when I walk everyday, eating proper fodds and meditate, I see results that are beyond my expectations. Thanks for this nice article!

Of course! Thank you so much for reading and sharing how it resonates with you! I encourage you to continue to focus on the things you’re willing to do forever, and that’s where you’ll find progress you can maintain forever! Wishing you the best of luck and hope to hear how it goes!

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