Slow and Steady Weight Loss

Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight

Remember the childhood story of the race between the tortoise and the hare? The speedy rabbit was certain he would win a foot race with the slow-moving turtle. But we all know who ended up victorious, right? It was the tortoise’s slow but steady, never-ceasing progress that won the day. What’s the lesson here for us? The same principle applies in our quest to achieve healthy weight loss.

Meet the hare in this scenario: A person gets so disgusted with her appearance that she is very motivated and determined to change. She makes promises of ambitious new exercise regimens, restrictive dietary plans calling for drastic changes to her usual habits. While these promises are well-intentioned, they are typically unsustainable. That kind of fiery, intense motivation quickly burns out. Rising an hour earlier every day to go to the gym quickly loses its appeal and the empty, growling stomach does not take well to the sudden, drastic calorie reduction. The hare’s story ends not long after it begins when she cannot stick to the overzealous plan. Feeling defeated and bad about herself, she gives up and returns to her old unhealthy ways.

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Now meet the tortoise: She too, is unhappy with how she looks and feels and wants to make a change. However, the tortoise understands that with the demands of the modern busy and often stressful life, she cannot take on too many changes at once. She is slow out of the gate, with modest adaptations – a bottle of water replaces the afternoon soda; no more second helpings are taken at dinner. After a while she becomes accustomed to those changes and adds more – a 20 minute walk 3 days per week; she trades a vending machine snack at work for a piece of fruit and a few almonds. The longer she sticks to her plan, the better she looks and feels. The new healthy weight loss changes become easier to make and gradually more and more are incorporated into her routine as she continues steadily toward her goal. Hooray for the tortoise!

In our society the tortoise’s style is not flashy or sexy enough to grab and hold people’s attention. We have all heard the outrageous claims promising rapid and dramatic weight loss, and they may sound tempting, but they are not a winning plan. True, healthy, sustainable weight loss is achieved gradually because it takes time to change our habits and attitudes about food and eating. So take a cue from our friend the tortoise and approach weight loss in the slow and steady fashion and you will cross the finish line, a fit and healthy you!


Diane Yelich is a Certified health coach with the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute. A passionate teacher, she switched her focus after 10 years, from elementary school to teaching adults about the 4 pillars of health: lifestyle, exercise, attitude, and nutrition. Another facet of her teaching is a cardio-fusion class she leads at a local senior recreation center. Diane has 3 grown children and lives in Atlanta, Georgia. Through her business Nutrition Know-How, LLC, Diane shares her knowledge and enthusiasm to help empower others to create the lives they desire.