Take your average guy or gal that decides they’re committed to finally losing that extra weight that’s crept on over the years. They’re going to eat healthy (primally, of course), start working out, and stop all the nonsense they know to be unhealthy. This might be you.

A few days go by, then a week. The scale is budging, but barely. “This is going to take forever! How long is this going to take?” We all want instant results, right? Well, what is realistic? What is safe? What is effective? And what can you expect when you attempt to lose excess body fat and reach your ideal body composition?

Everyone knows that slow, gradual weight loss produces the best long-term results and fast weight loss is unsafe and unhealthy. People you know have probably clucked “Oh, you’re losing weight fast now with that low-carb fad diet, but just wait a few weeks and it’ll all come rushing back!” And when you go somewhere like the CDC’s weight loss page, they pat your head for “want[ing] to lose it very quickly” and reassure you that “people who lose weight gradually and steadily are more successful at keeping it off.” It’s become an article of faith that slow and steady weight loss wins the race.

But is it actually true?

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